July 2018 Security Update
Dear Chapel Field Parents,
I wanted to wish you all a wonderful summer as we have successfully come through another school year. I am pleased to tell you that this year was a wonderful year and that it was a delight and a privilege for us to work with your children. I also wanted to bring you up to speed regarding some of our security measures and to look forward to what is happening next year.
As you know, this was a year of upgrading our security. We upgraded many of our locks, especially on the perimeter of our buildings and have established “road blocks” for entrance into our upper and elementary school buildings by installing electronic locks on the interior lobby doors. On top of that, we have also installed ten video cameras around the campus allowing us to keep an eye on all the main entrances as well as parts of our campus that are not within view of our front offices. I am thankful to our security team, made up of parents from our school as well as members of our Chapel Field staff, for their wisdom and their involvement in the process. It is a process that is not over, but rather just beginning, and one which requires continual diligence. I am glad to have such a team working together on it.
Besides our security upgrades, we began running our lockdown drills this year. We had our second drill in late May in both the upper and elementary schools. I am pleased to announce that even though we intentionally set the drill in a bit more difficult setting than the first drill, the students and staff in both schools did exceptionally well. Members of our security team were on hand to observe and review the process. We were very proud of the students as they put into motion the protocols that we had been reviewing over the year.
As we move forward into next year, thanks to Glenn Piscatelli and his company ITConnexions we will be installing a new campus wide emergency alert and situational awareness system which will allow first responders to have immediate and up to the moment knowledge of every part of our campus in the case of an emergency. By this system, faculty and staff will be able to report trouble or threats in their part of the building, or on the other hand, to report that their area is secure. This real time information will allow first responders to have precise knowledge as to the location of any threat in the building, helping them prioritize their actions in a situation where every second counts.
I am also pleased to let you know that the plans are still in motion for the coming year to have a deputy sheriff on our campus everyday during school hours. I have just received the contract from the County and am having our lawyers review it. When the contract is agreed to, the process of hiring the right people for the job will begin. Our administration will be involved in the hiring process as we make it a priority to find people who will fit into our environment and become part of our Chapel Field family. Though on one hand we hate to have to do these things, we believe that the security of our children in times such as these demands nothing less. That being said, you will notice in your registration packet for the coming school year that a security fee has been added. We have opted to divide the cost for the deputy sheriff over the number of families attending the school. We know that any new fee is a financial burden and we do not take that lightly, but in this case we believe that the cost is well worth it and that this measure will give us all an added sense of confidence as we send our children off to school.
If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to call the office or email me at
email@example.com. I hope you all have an enjoyable and refreshing summer and I look forward to seeing you all in the fall.
Superintendent of Schools
February 2018 Security Update.
Dear Chapel Field family,
I am so thankful for you and your children. The staff and I here at Chapel Field count it a great privilege to educate and minister to your kids. I want you to know that we do not take lightly the responsibility that comes with this privilege. These are frightening times that we live in and we have witnessed horrific scenes in schools and churches around the country over the past couple of years. These things break our hearts for the state of our nation and they cause us to cry out to God for mercy and protection. I understand the obvious concern that you all have regarding the security of our school and I want to let you know that we are making every effort within our ability to improve our security. I thought I would write and update you on our current situation.
As you will recall, this past January we had the Orange County Sheriffs out to the school to do a training session with our staff. This was a sobering, but fruitful time. Undersheriff Weed walked the property with Mr. Stein and myself and offered wise advice, revealing some of our vulnerabilities and confirming some of our strengths. Since that time we have begun to make a series of improvements and set in motion some new procedures. First, we have established a security team consisting of a few parents with military, police, and fire fighting background, along with myself, Mr. Stein, Glenn Piscatelli as a representative of our tech department, and Mr. Bailey, head of our buildings and grounds. Together we are prioritizing our needs, strategizing ways to meet them, and establishing policies and procedures for the school. I am grateful to them for their willingness to serve and work together for the well being of our student body and staff.
Secondly, we have received a grant for school security and have been researching prices and getting quotes for certain upgrades around the facility. Over the rest of this school year we will be adding and upgrading security features within the interior and exterior of the high school and elementary buildings, including the installation of electric locks on the front doors of both schools, replacing the foyer door in the high school and installing an electric lock requiring staff to buzz a person through, adding secondary reinforcing locks to the classroom doors and reinforcing the classroom door glass throughout the school. We will also be adding video surveillance around the campus.
I am also excited to let you know that we are currently in talks with the Orange County Sheriff’s office about the prospect of bringing on a full time deputy sheriff to guard our campus. The Sheriff’s department offers to train, uniform, and arm a retired officer to guard local schools while the school pays the hourly wage. The officers are deputized by the department and maintain the same proficiency and training as the active duty Sheriffs. The officer would be at our disposal, to roam the campus from 7:30 am when busses arrive to 3:30 pm when they leave. Surprisingly, no school in the county has taken them up on this offer other than BOCES. I have recently met with the two undersheriffs responsible for the program and expressed our interest in participating. We are presently working on the language of the contract with the department and hope to have more details for you before too long. The sheriffs assured us that we will be fully involved in the interview process so as to find an individual who is the right fit for our setting and who will be able to become a member of our Chapel Field family. We understand that as fast as the local authorities would be in responding to any crisis that occurred on our campus, having an armed officer already present would be invaluable. This along with the equipment upgrades that we are making will go a long way toward securing our campus.
Finally, please be advised that we will be administering a lock down drill this coming week. Taking into consideration the advice of the Sheriff’s department, we will be meeting with the student body to instruct them, as a whole, on the necessary procedures in the classroom, in the areas outside the classroom, and those areas outside the school. Attached is a copy of the document that the State Police recently gave us to review with our students. It is of course a fine line between soberly drilling in order to be vigilant and unnecessarily instilling fear in our kid’s hearts. As I am sure that you all already have, please continue to talk these things over with your kids so that they will be prepared to take the drills with the utmost seriousness while at the same time being reinforced with the utmost confidence in the sovereign providence of God for their ultimate security. We will approach the drill with the desire and intention to balance these two ourselves.
Please feel free at any time to reach out to me with questions regarding this or any other issue at school. Again, it is a great joy and privilege to partner with you in the high calling of educating your children in the light of Jesus Christ.
Superintendent of Schools