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SPS Maps Out Plans in Wake of Newtown Tragedy

The following is a letter sent to Sudbury Public Schools families from Superintendent Anne Wilson.

As we have all been wrestling this weekend with the sadness and emotion of the tragedy in Connecticut, I wanted to connect with you to let you know of the plans developed over the weekend by SPS administration.  Please know that the safety of your child(ren) is a top priority in our school district.  

I am so thankful to work with a wonderful group of caring and dedicated professionals who serve the needs of all students on a daily basis.  We are focused this week on being attentive to the needs of students and staff in light of the tragic events in Newtown, CT and reviewing our safety procedures.  

Coincidently, on Tuesday of last week the principals and central office staff began an annual review of our safety procedures and crisis plan.  We will continue that review and refinement process this week and into the new year.  

We have had several inquiries related to our safety plan and procedures and there will be an opportunity for parents to hear about safety in our schools on Tuesday evening as detailed below. 

The following actions will be in place tomorrow and beyond:

  • Staff at all schools will meet with principals before students arrive and will be provided with specific guidance on how to respond to student questions about the tragedy and reminders of resources for students who may exhibit fear or anxiety.  Staff will not initiate specific discussions about the tragedy but rather will respond to individual or group questions as developmentally appropriate.  
  • The guidance provided to staff was developed by SPS school psychologist Elizabeth Clark and Student Services Director Debbie Dixon who compiled the most current research related to talking with children about tragedy and violence.  Our goal is to reassure students of their safety at school and to provide support and resources as needed.
  • School counselors and school psychologists will be available in each building to provide support to students and staff.  All staff members will be particularly attentive to students who we know to be vulnerable. Please be in contact with your school if your child experienced unusual stress during the weekend so we will be certain to make contact.
  • Sudbury police will be present at all schools during morning arrival to assist with providing a secure environment.  In addition, Central Office staff will be present at each school during arrival to answer questions and to support school staff as needed.

As you know we have safety plans in place at each school and we hold fire and lock-down drills annually, however, we continuously review our procedures to determine what we might do to improve.  Lt. Nix and I will meet tomorrow to discuss our school safety and crisis planning and to consider any additional measures that might prove helpful to ensuring student and staff safety.  

An opportunity for parents to hear about safety in our schools will be provided on Tuesday evening at 7:00pm at the Curtis Middle School library.  This meeting is in lieu of the "evening chat with the superintendent" scheduled for Tuesday evening, 12/18/12.

Thank you for your concern and continued support for our staff.  I know that by working together we will provide all students with the support and care that they deserve to make their school experience positive and secure.

As always, please be in contact if you have questions.

Respectfully,

Anne

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