• Dear Bexley Family,

    We are proud to announce that Bexley City Schools and the Bexley Education Association (BEA) have reached a contractual agreement that both entities are pleased to implement. One of the immediate outcomes from this new contract is a change in the student day and the elimination of late start days beginning with the 2018 – 19 school year.

    One of the valued outcomes of this new contract is an extended teacher contract day.   The extended day will allow our teachers to be available for students who may need extra help outside of their school day and provide collaboration and planning time for teachers. Therefore, we will be changing the start times of school, effective August 2018. Our elementary (K-5) school day will be from 8:15 a.m. – 3 p.m. while our secondary (6-12) school day will be from 8:35 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    Research shows that adolescent students benefit from additional sleep. In fact, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics, our nation's largest pediatrician group, delaying the start of high school and middle school classes to 8:30 a.m. or later is “an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss” and the “epidemic of delayed, insufficient, and erratic sleep patterns among the nation’s teens.”

    "As adolescents go up in grade, they're less likely with each passing year to get anything resembling sufficient sleep," says Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and lead author of the AAP statement. "By the time they're high school seniors, the NSF data showed they were getting less than seven hours of sleep on average."

    Elementary students will begin their day at 8:15 AM.  This change will allow older siblings who need to escort elementary students to school the time to do so.  Further, younger students will not be left unsupervised until the elementary day begins. We will work with our after-school care providers to support the slightly earlier release time for elementary students.   

    These changes in the contract day and student day will benefit students, support our teachers to be available to students outside the instructional day, encourage professional planning and collaboration among teachers, and be more convenient for families.  Details of each school’s daily schedule within the student day as outlined above will be communicated by building principals.  However, please allow principals time to set their schedules as these changes will take some planning time.

     

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From The Superintendent

  • On Sunday, May 6, we held a forum on school safety at Montrose Elementary School.  The forum was intended to provide residents with an opportunity to learn more about what the School District, the City, and the Police Department are doing to continuously ensure a safe environment at our schools. During the forum, I was able to directly engage in dialogue aimed to promote awareness and education on how parents can partner with us to create and maintain a safe environment for our students. At the conclusion of the forum, we conducted a Q&A session to allow all attendees to ask questions of the School District, City, and Police regarding school safety topics. You will find those questions and the answers below.

    1. Are all doors locked during and after lunch in the high school?
      State law says that all doors must be locked during school hours. Bexley’s tradition of open lunch for high school students requires us to have some doors unlocked for a period of time during the lunch hour in order for students to re-enter the building.


    2. Are the doors locked during lunch?
      Due to our open lunch policy, there are a few designated doors that are unlocked for a period of time during lunch. The location of these doors is made public to our students. Doors at Montrose and Maryland are to be locked all day including during lunch.


    3. What do you tell people/students when they communicate about a “red flag” individual? “See Something, Say Something” How do you follow up with the “red flag” student/person?
      We follow-up on any information regarding a concern about a student or other individual who may have access to our schools. The appropriate personnel become involved beginning with the building principal. Often school counselors and other administrators become involved as well. In the case of students, we contact and work with parents or guardians. Also, in any situation that involves a threat or possibility of harm to others, the Bexley Police are informed as well as Franklin County Children’s Services if necessary. Ongoing support and continued oversight of the situation continues over time and each situation is handled as an individual case.


    4. What is the District’s policy and/or view on arming teachers?
      The Bexley City School District is not arming our teachers with guns. Teachers and administrators have a great deal of responsibility in their current roles.


    5. What is the plan for implementation of the text system? When will it begin? Will it be mandatory? Just for students and parents?
      We are currently involved in upgrading and changing our district-wide communication systems. We will continue to investigate and implement opportunities that meet the needs of today’s students and their families.


    6. What are the drawbacks to School Resource Officers?
      While there have been documented examples of situations where the school resource officer did not behave in a way that was beneficial to the students, the school, and community at large, we believe the key is having the right person in the position who understands that the role of the SRO is primarily to build relationships with students. Any successful school program is depended upon the people and the relationships that they are able to build. An officer that does not understand the role would certainly be at a disadvantage. For this reason, any consideration of implementing an SRO program would be proceeded with extensive study and community engagement.


    7. After the board (if they do – sounds like it was started) decides to further investigate an SRO, how do you anticipate taking that consideration to the greater community?
      The hiring of a School Resource Officer is a rigorous process. We will make sure to take community feedback into consideration before making any major decisions regarding a School Resource Officer. If the Board decides to move forward in researching a School Resource Officer, we will host community forums, Q&A sessions, etc.


    8. SROs are a concern especially for people of color and students with disabilities. Can we expect there to be rigorous research by the district/city/board about the impact specifically on these demographic groups?
      Chief Rinehart acknowledged that there are sometimes instances where individuals have experienced interactions with law enforcement that may cause them to be wary of an SRO. Having the right person in the role, who is focused on building positive relationships with students, would be critical. No decision to move to an SRO would be implemented without extensive study. The school district would be an equal partner in determining who the school resource officer would be if chosen to be implemented.


    9. Does Bexley have a screening process for school volunteers (fingerprinting, BCI, etc.)?
      Bexley City Schools has a policy that addresses requirements for volunteers who have unsupervised access to students. Superintendent Miller indicated, however, that she has had a few situations brought to her attention this year, which have led to her decision to review this policy with the Board of Education and Administration.


    10. What are students told to do during lockdowns?
      Adult staff are to lock doors in the location that they are when the lockdown or drill is announced. Students are directed to stay away from doors and windows. An actual lockdown was called in February 2018 as a result of a misidentified staff member - so there was no threat to staff or students. However, we are aware that we need to spend more time ensuring that our administrators, staff, and students have consistent and up-to-date knowledge of what steps to take in the event of a lockdown. The addition of a Director of Staff and Student Operations was in part developed because of the need to address inconsistencies in understanding and implementing safety procedures.

    Questions 11 - 16 are all answered with the following statement:

    These are all topics that need to be explored in further detail. At the April Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Miller recommended that safety and security in Bexley Schools become an area for further study in the 2018-2019 school year. The questions and topics raised require thoughtful study and engagement of the community to determine future policies and practices.

    1. When the District conducts lockdown drills, why don’t they practice a true release?
    2. Can there be staff at every door during student arrivals?
    3. Open Lunch- Would you consider/is it a possibility to implement a swipe in/swipe out security system with electronic cards?
    4. I agree that “legacy issues” need to have further consideration – they are significant safety issues. When can the greater community expect discussion about these?
    5. Does the School and police do active-shooter drills with or without students in the building?
    6. Why does the District not practice active shooter drills or ALICE training with teachers?

     

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