Supporting both the east and west events extends organization’s reach and influence among school safety experts

NEWTOWN, Conn. – July 20, 2016 – Safe and Sound Schools announced its sponsorship of the 3rd Annual Campus Safety Conference, both East (July 25-26, 2016, in National Harbor, MD) and West (August 9-10 2016, in Long Beach, CA) events.

As an Association Sponsor, Safe and Sound Schools is further investing in its mission to empower communities to improve school safety. The Campus Safety Conference is a two-day intense conference for administrators and public safety officials, security and law enforcement executives from all over the country looking for solutions to campus safety, security, emergency management and technology challenges.

Attendees will hone their skills, improve their departments’ incident and response programs, and upgrade their school, university, or college protection profile. In addition, they will hear from the leading safety and security experts, learn strategies and tactics to reduce risk and improve response, learn first-hand about best practices and procedures for emergency response, and walk away ready to prepare and plan for emergency situations, protect students and faculty, and prevent a crisis on campus.

“To achieve our mission to empower schools to improve school safety, it is important to support not just local school communities, but the entire school safety ecosystem and events such as Campus Safety Conferences,” said Michele Gay, executive director and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools. “Through our booths and involvement at both the East and West events, we hope to share our free tools and resources with more people responsible for the public safety and security of our nation’s schools, universities, and colleges so that together, we can rethink school safety.”

Safe and Sound Schools supporters can use the special discount code, SAS15, to receive a 15% discount on registration.

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

 

Untitled designNEWTOWN, Conn. – July 16, 2016Safe and Sound Schools has received a $5,000 donation from the Newtown, CT Big Y World Class Market to support the organization’s mission of improving school safety. While Safe and Sound is a national movement, this donation represents the impact Safe and Sound has on local communities.

“The Newtown Big Y was Joey’s favorite place to shop,” said Michele Gay, executive director and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, and mother to Josephine Gay, who lost her life in the Sandy Hook shooting on December 14, 2012. “Big Y has always been there for our family, and now, with its generous donation to Safe and Sound Schools, Big Y is reaching families and children across the country. I applaud Big Y for its leadership and local support, and through this donation, helping to keep our schools safe.”

The donation from Big Y will support Safe and Sound’s efforts to empower communities to improve school safety. Safe and Sound provides tools, resources and programs at no cost, to encourage schools to rethink school safety plans, measures, and practices. The organization’s framework, Straight A Safety, is an active and continual process to help schools Assess, Act, and Audit. Safe and Sound Schools’ community-wide education programs build stronger partnerships among parents, administrators, educators, students and first responders, and address all aspects of school safety such as fire, bus, environment, security and health and wellness.

Big Y is committed to making a difference in the communities around its stores. Aside from the donation to Safe and Sound Schools, it also provides the Big Y Scholarship Programs, and other community programs such as food drives.

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org

Staples associate nominated Safe and Sound Schools for its efforts to improve school safety

NEWTOWN, Conn. – June 15, 2016 – Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., has awarded a $500 grant to Safe and Sound Schools in recognition of its ongoing efforts to educate communities about proactive school safety measures.

Through a program called 2 Million & Change that allows Staples associates around the globe to direct more than $2 million in donations each year, a Massachusetts-based Staples associate nominated Safe and Sound Schools for a grant based on the organization’s commitment to creating safer schools nationwide.

“Gaining recognition from an international brand like Staples is a true testament to the impact Safe and Sound Schools is having on school safety,” said Michele Gay, executive director and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools. “We are growing, we are reaching more communities, and our tools and programs are encouraging schools to rethink school safety plans, measures and practices. With support from organizations such as Staples, we can continue our community-wide education programs and help build stronger partnerships among parents, administrators, educators, students and first responders.”

Safe and Sound Schools is focused on a broad outreach effort in hopes that no other community has to endure a school-related tragedy. Just as the country has improved fire safety through better fire education and training, Safe and Sound Schools aims to improve other areas of safety schools face today.

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Staples Community and Giving

Staples contributes to educational and job-related community efforts with a primary focus on disadvantaged youth, from literacy and mentoring to career skills development, through in-kind and monetary donations and grants from Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc. Through its community and giving efforts, Staples has helped thousands of organizations in 26 countries. For more information, visit www.staples.com/community.

Staples

Discusses Response and Recovery After School-Based Tragedy

Decatur, Ala. – March 8, 2016 – Safe and Sound Schools executive director and co-founder, Michele Gay, shared her experience of the response and recovery efforts at Sandy Hook School with child safety advocates and community members on March 8, 2016, at the 14th Annual Alabama Child Safety Conference at the Decatur Baptist Church in Decatur, Ala.

During her presentation, Michele shared her personal perspective of the Sandy Hook tragedy, focusing on the challenges, successes and lessons she learned. “For me, it’s the day my life changed forever,” said Michele. “Safety is a team effort. It takes all hands on deck to maximize the safety of our community and our children.”

Michele is the mother of Josephine Grace, lost on Dec. 14, 2012 during the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Through her experience and lessons learned, Michele is uniquely positioned to to help other communities address prevention, preparation, response, and recovery efforts in the event of a school emergency. In her presentation, she reminded the public of the importance of delivering safety curricula and training that aligns with the unique needs of students and staff of all ages, abilities, and educational levels.

Michele’s presentation is part of her ongoing efforts to advocate for improved safety measures, plans, and practices in schools across the nation. “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to protect one,” said Michele. “The key takeaway is the need for community involvement and making sure those efforts are strengthened.”

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

Donation to fund school safety programs in Maryland

Baltimore, Md. – February 29, 2016 – BFG Community Foundation, Inc., during their 2016 Champion in Life Gala, bestowed a $20,000 endowment award to Safe and Sound Schools in recognition of its ongoing efforts to educate communities about proactive school safety measures.

With this endowment award, Safe and Sound Schools will establish a School Safety Series exclusively for Maryland school districts. During this education initiative, Safe and Sound will be able to impart important lessons about better planning, management and recovery strategies to improve a community’s resiliency during a school-based emergency.

“The Safe and Sound Schools team has courageously shared the lessons learned from the tragic Newtown shooting and created a growing movement focused on improving school safety,” said Michael O. Brooks, Chairman and CEO of BFG Community Foundation. “Bringing this wisdom and expertise to Maryland schools will help create a stronger, safer learning environment for our students and their educators and families.”

Safe and Sound Schools will unveil specific plans for the School Safety Series over the coming months, but aims to reach a minimum of five districts and 500 educators, with the power to impact thousands of Maryland students.

“Support from philanthropic leaders like the BFG Community Foundation will have a lasting impact on schools by making is possible for us to bring vital assessments, tools and resources to local communities,” said Michele Gay, executive director and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools. “I am so grateful for BFG Community Foundation’s endowment award, not only for the impact it will have on Maryland communities, but for the organization’s commitment to improving school safety.”

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

 

New Free “Safety Plan Wizard” Now Available to All Illinois K-12 Schools

Powered by the NaviGate Prepared(R) School Safety System,
Wizard Assists With Safety Plan Development

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OH – Dec. 02, 2015 – In an effort to assist school administrators with the enhancement of current safety plans or the development of new safety plans, the NaviGate Prepared® school safety emergency response system announces the launch of a free ‘Safety Plan Wizard,’ available to any K-12 school in Illinois.

The wizard features the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) recommended school safety plan template and allows for easy customization and implementation of plans to meet individual school needs.

“The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) has been a sponsor of the NaviGate Prepared school safety system since 2014, helping to introduce the technology to schools throughout Illinois as an aid to improve crisis preparedness and emergency response,” said Roger Eddy, Executive Director, IASB. “Illinois school administrators take the safety of our students very seriously and a free resource designed specifically to help enhance current building safety plans or devise plans if they don’t exist is sure to aid with crisis training and preparation, while helping to standardize school safety plans throughout our state.”

The Safety Plan Wizard features a simple step-by-step questionnaire so administrators can easily create plans, save them as PDFs and download, print and share them with first responders and other key stakeholders. Administrators can also:

  • Start, stop and save information anytime
  • View helpful hints to answer questions
  • Seamlessly copy information from one building safety plan to another
  • Track plan development progress for each building
  • Track district-wide plans year-to-year

“Our organization is committed to school safety and we don’t want to see any school, in any state, lacking in the area of safety plans so we set out to develop a tool that any school could use as a guideline for improving their building safety plans — at absolutely no cost and from a credible and reliable source [FEMA],” said Jim Hummel, President of Lauren Innovations/NaviGate Prepared. “The wizard is designed so that schools can take the information they input and customize it per their specific needs to ensure they have current, up-to-date safety plans that they can actively use.”

Michele Gay, mother of 7-year-old Sandy Hook victim, Josephine, past teacher and co-founder of Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook Initiative, travels the nation speaking to groups and organizations and offering resources and recommendations on processes, protocols, technologies and more that can make all the difference when faced with a crisis situation.

She says: “Planning and preparing for crisis may be the single most important action schools can take to protect the school community. With emergency plans in place, the school community is better prepared to recognize, prevent, mitigate, and even recover from school-based crisis.”

For schools that currently use the cloud-based NaviGate Prepared system, in addition to comprehensive safety plans, administrators can also securely organize additional imperative school data and information — and allow first responders 24/7 ‘eyes on’ access to it to improve crisis training and aid with emergency response.

The system offers real-time access to emergency call lists, safety plans, virtual binders, building maps and floor plans, 360-degree images, live video feeds, drill logs and more. Staff can also access the award-winning NaviGate Flipcharts mobile app, which allows instant access, with or without Internet connection, to emergency and crisis flipcharts.

NaviGate Prepared is SAFETY Act Designated as an anti-terrorism-level technology by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It has been implemented in hundreds of school districts throughout the nation, including several in Illinois, such as Grayslake Community High School District 127 (Lake County ROE), Fisher Community Unit School District 1 (Champaign-Ford County ROE 9), Cuba Community Unit School District 3 (Fulton County ROE 22), Robinson Community Unit School District 2 (ROE 12), Quincy Public School District 172 (ROE 1) and more.

To obtain the Safety Plan Wizard, administrators can visit: safetyplan.navigateprepared.com. More information on NaviGate Prepared can be found at: www.navigateprepared.com.

About NaviGate Prepared®

NaviGate Prepared® is a proven school safety emergency response system designed to assist and prepare school officials and first responders for crisis situations. The secure, cloud-based platform offers 911 dispatch centers and emergency personnel real-time Internet access of a school’s facility and safety information before, during and after a crisis. Developed by Ohio-based Lauren Innovations, NaviGate Prepared is SAFETY Act Designated as an anti-terrorism-level technology by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. For more information, visit www.NaviGatePrepared.com, www.LaurenInnovations.com or call 866-861-7400.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

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Download the .pdf NaviGate Safety Plan Wizard

School Safety Experts Convene in Boston, Turning Tragedy into a Safer Tomorrow for K-12 and College Communities

Distinguished Panelists Hone In On Most-Effective, Actionable
School Safety Solutions

BOSTON – Oct. 26, 2015 – To tackle the ongoing and increasing challenges of school-related violence and safety, Safe and Sound Schools and the Boston University Police Department recently hosted a panel discussion, “From Tragedy to a Safer Tomorrow.” On Oct. 22, 2015, national and regional experts shared their personal experiences, perspectives, and suggestions to help first responders, parents, administrators and students take important strides toward improving school safety, from elementary through university settings.

The panel included:

The event kicked off with a networking reception, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Meghna Chakrabarti of WBUR, Boston’s NPR station. Panelists addressed questions from the live audience and through Twitter via #ASaferTomorrow. Though the experts covered a lot of topics during the two-hour discussion, they focused on the core tenets of school safety:

  • Assess potential threats and preparedness: school safety goes far beyond gun violence to include fire, harassment, bullying, weapons, bomb threats, drugs, bus, environmental and health and wellness. The first step for any school is to assess the measures, plans, practices and protocols it already has in place.
  • Examine the physical space: simple enhancements to the structure of the building can help schools control access, deter violence and make it easier for teachers, administrators and law enforcement to take action quickly in an emergency.
  • Assess the education and training offered in the school community: ensure that each community member is empowered to participate in his or her own safety and that of the community.
  • Foster a culture of active awareness: make sure the community is aware of security measures in place, and encourage the all school community members to speak up and take action if they see something amiss.
  • Establish a communication protocol: ensure the school community is tied into official communication channels and communicating with one voice to avoid the spread of misinformation social and unofficial sources.
  • Collaborate with local law enforcement: in addition to establishing a partnership with local police, explore options for bringing in a School Resource Officer (SRO), a school-based law enforcement officer working on site to secure the school community.
  • Continue the conversation: school safety should be a part of the ongoing dialogue among the school community. School safety improvement is a continual and active process.

“We don’t want to just inspire people, we want them to realize their own roles in school safety,” said Kristina Anderson, founder and executive director of The Koshka Foundation, and survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting. “We want people to own their responsibility, to take some small, actionable steps and repeat that. Each of us can have a big impact.”

“Prevention is key, and we can’t do it by ourselves,” said Scott Paré, deputy director of school safety, Boston University Police Department. “If you see something, say something and do something. Everyone should think ahead and have a plan so they know how to respond to any potential threat.”

“School safety is far too great a responsibility to put upon the shoulders of just one individual or one role in the community,” said Michele Gay, founder and executive director, Safe and Sound Schools. “So we must empower each person in the school community with the education, options, tools and training that support safe schools.”

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

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Download a .pdf of Post Event Press Release

SUNY Oswego to Feature Safe and Sound Schools
Executive Director at Public Justice Event

Michele Gay to share school safety lessons and personal story

OSWEGO, N.Y. – Sept. 2, 2015 – Safe and Sound Schools executive director and co-founder, Michele Gay, will speak on the need for improved school safety on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, at 4 p.m. in SUNY Oswego’s Marano Campus Center auditorium. This appearance is part of the SUNY Oswego public justice department’s fall Cutler Speaker Series, an initiative of the Cutler Public Justice Excellence Fund, endowed by class of 1974 alumnus David Cutler.

Michele’s presentation will draw on her deep background as a teacher and involved parent, as well as her personal story as the parent of Josephine Grace, lost on Dec. 14, 2012, at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Conn. As a result, Michele is uniquely positioned to help school communities prevent more tragedies and better prepare and respond in the event of an emergency.

Parking on campus for the talk requires a permit. Those who don’t have a current SUNY Oswego parking sticker may visit oswego.edu/administration/parking for information on obtaining a day-use permit.

For more information about the event, contact public justice faculty member Jaclyn Schildkraut atjaclyn.schildkraut@oswego.edu.

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

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Download the .pdf of Oswego Speaking Op Release

Michele Gay to Keynote National Association of
School Safety and Law Enforcement Officials

Personal story of loss turns to lessons of recovery

Grand Rapids, Mich. – July 24, 2015 – Safe and Sound Schools executive director and co-founder, Michele Gay, will present the keynote presentation on July 26, 2015, at the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officials (NASSLEO) Conference at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich.

NASSLEO is the oldest non-profit, membership-funded organization dedicated to providing professional information, training and other resources available to school districts, charter schools, private educational institutions and law enforcement agencies across the United States and Canada.

Michele is uniquely positioned to help school communities prevent more tragedies and better prepare and respond in the event of an emergency. During the keynote presentation, Michele will convey the lessons learned in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting as the parent of Josephine Grace, lost on Dec. 14, 2012. Michele will also speak to the important role these school safety and law enforcement officials play as stewards of school safety, from prevention to recovery.

“These professionals are focused on the safety of our school communities, day in and day out,” said Michele Gay, executive director and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools. “I am humbled by their dedication and honored to speak during their annual conference. I hope that my perspective as a parent and teacher enriches conference discussions and spurs further initiatives for school safety in the members’ communities.”

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including free assessment tools, tool kits and resources, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

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Download the .pdf of Grand Rapids MI Speaking Release

Safe and Sound Schools Wins
2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award

WALTHAM, Mass. – May 7, 2015 – The Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) has announced Safe and Sound Schools as one of the eight winners of the prestigious 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Awards. The winners, narrowed from a list of 20 finalists and an initial pool of 175 organizations, were announced at the May 6th Evening of Innovation program held at the Westin Hotel, Waltham, Mass.

“The New England Innovation Awards showcases the best innovative companies in our region who possess the most explosive growth potential to expand our economic base. The health of the New England Economy depends upon the creative forces of innovation to drive capital formation and job creation,” said SBANE President, Robert Baker.

The nominees competed in two rounds of judging. The initial round was held on March 19th at the Conference Center at Bentley University in Waltham, where the nominees were narrowed to a list of 50 semi-finalists. In a second judging session, that list was then narrowed to 20 finalists.

“As is the case each and every year, the task of selecting our 20 finalists from a pool of over 175 nominees is an arduous one, with this year being no exception,” said SBANE’s New England Innovation Awards Committee Chairman, Todd Faber, President, The Faber Group.

The 20 Finalists presented to a panel of 68 judges on April 9th at the MIT Endicott House in Dedham, Mass. After the presentations, the judges chose Safe and Sound Schools as one of two winners in the “Non-Profit” category.

“All of our winners have exemplified what SBANE considers true industry agnostic innovation and we are delighted that they have joined an exclusive group of tremendous companies and organizations from throughout New England in SBANE’s ‘Circle of Excellence,’” said Faber.

Safe and Sound Schools shares this award with the additional non-profit winner The New England Center for Children, the for-profit winners, Affirmed Networks, Comark, Convergent Dental, and HALO Maritime Defense Systems Inc., and the Rising Stars, BioDirection and Medrobotics Corporation.

About SBANE:

The Smaller Business Association of New England, Inc. (SBANE), founded in 1938, is a private not-for-profit association of approximately 600 member companies located throughout the six-state region. SBANE was established to provide a legislative voice for small business at the state and federal levels and to make practical information available to help business owners grow their companies. SBANE runs diverse, educational programs each year and has active chapters in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The membership is characterized by a high degree of participation, reflected in a large and dynamic committee structure, addressing a range of topics from international trade to human resources. Visit SBANE at www.sbane.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit www.safeandsoundschools.org.

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Download the .pdf of SBANE Winner Release