SAFE & SECURE SCHOOLS
The Center for Safe and Secure Schools was created in 1999 in response to a request by superintendents of schools in Harris County. The Center was tasked with the mission of supporting school district's efforts to have safe and secure learning environments where teachers could teach and students had the opportunity to learn.
About Safe & Secure Schools
Who We Are
Developed at the request of local superintendents in the spring of 1999 to advance safe and secure environments for learning and teaching, the Center for Safe and Secure Schools is a leader in the development of increased safety and security strategies in school environments for students and educators. This role was reinforced on August 31, 2005 when the Texas Education Agency asked the Center to coordinate school relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina with state, county and local disaster recovery officials and agencies.
The Center focuses on the emergency management cycle including: prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. These efforts take shape through utilizing six key components:
- Criteria for Standards and Promising Practices
- Emergency Management Planning and Operations
- Communications, Coordination and Business Continuity
- Training and Certification Programs
- Assessments, Reviews and Audits
- Safe and Secure Learning and Teaching Environment
- Table-top Exercises for School Districts
While school campuses are often considered the safest places children can be, the reality is that educators need to review how they will continually plan for, respond to and recovery from all-hazard events that may occur on their campuses. Further, ever- evolving state and federal laws require schools to have multi-hazard emergency operations plans. The Center offers guidance for planning for the inevitable emergencies that school districts may face.
What We Do
The Center is the established/recognized School District Liaison for Harris County and City of Houston through their Offices of Emergency Management (OEM); the Harris County Office of Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES); and Houston METRO. We coordinate/participate in a variety of planning initiatives involving multiple county, city, state and federal partner agencies and organizations. Additional unique services and opportunities available through the Center include, but are not limited to:
- The Development and sharing of recognized standards of practice. Standards developed through Center initiatives, and in concert with district members, have been and continue to be utilized to form the foundation of the TEA adopted Texas School Safety and Security Standards
- In-depth school facility safety audits, recommendations for enhancements, and/or training in all aspects of this mandated process for a reasonable fee.
- Active participation and exchange of information on a variety of relevant and evolving challenges (such as bullying) and successes in the field of school safety during quarterly Center District Member Operations Board, as well as other established and evolving committees offered through the Center.
- Facilitates monthly membership districts 800 MHz radio system checks.
- Participates in Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management's weekly regional 800 MHz radio system checks.
- Notification of federal, state, local and foundation funding for school safety initiatives and the opportunity to receive relevant guidance and support on funding initiatives.
- FEMA and U.S. Department of Education recommended School-Based National Incident Management System (NIMS) Training and Certification, including development of tabletop and functional exercises and or audits of exercises and development of Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning for a reasonable fee.
- Member participation in on going training and utilization of the nationally recognized and innovative web-based www.safeschoolalerts.org emergency school closure notification system.
- Coordinates and conducts quarterly Operation Board Meetings to keep member districts up-to-date on current school safety/health issues, updates and trends