Posts

Now that the new year has come and gone and students have settled back into their school routine, we’re rewinding the tape–just a bit–to bring you our 2018 year-end review. To those following Safe and Sound Schools, you may have noticed Safe and Sound’s more mainstream presence over the last year. While we’ve been quietly and successfully working around the clock since the loss of our children, 2018 brought our work into the forefront in many ways, offering us the opportunity to work in partnership with national groups like Alice’s Tea Cup, Shake Shack, Kellogg’s, and Door Security & Safety Foundation. It was also the year we launched our inaugural State of School Safety Report. With more than 2,170 media placements in 2018, Safe and Sound Schools is committed to elevating the national school safety conversation and effecting change globally.

During our last quarter, the Safe and Sound team sustained momentum from quarters one, two, and three, and collectively traveled to 16 states and 34 cities, with a mix of local and national engagements. Here’s quick look back at our fourth quarter.

October was the busiest month. Our team of speakers traveled to communities all across the country, while our in-house team focused on spreading our mission virtually, using social media to shed light on topics like Fire Prevention Week, Bullying Prevention Month, and Safe Schools Week.

In November, the Safe and Sound team presented for groups like the New York State PTA and the Maryland Association of School Business Officials. During the Maryland visit, co-founder Michele Gay was awarded the President’s Award for her work in school safety, both nationally and as part of our Safe and Sound Maryland initiative, sponsored by the Building for God Foundation of Maryland.  During this month, we also announced the National Summit on School Safety, an intensive and interactive two-day conference focused on the six key areas of comprehensive school safety. Note – this conference is scheduled for March 29-30, 2019 and there is still plenty of time to register!

December marked the 6th anniversary of the Sandy Hook School tragedy. Our team scaled back community visits as the Gay and Parker family focused on remembrances for Josephine Gay and Emilie Parker. To commemorate Joey and Emilie’s lives, Alissa Parker shared a sweet memory highlighting Joey and Emilie’s friendship.

Safe and Sound Schools concluded December with the exciting unveiling of an updated logo and a new website! We also filmed a new educational video about door safety, thanks to the generous support of the Door Security & Safety Foundation, and provided the media with a sneak peek at our new partnership with Bark.

As our team expands, so does our reach. And with every day, our work becomes increasingly important. Thank you to all the donors and supporters who made 2018 such a success.

For a detailed look at our fourth quarter travels and select media engagements, check out the lists below. And to keep up with all things Safe and Sound, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Look out for our 2019 first quarter recap in April!


Select Media Engagements and Featured Publications


Fourth Quarter Community Visits

October

  1. Oct. 4, UT – Alissa Parker presents in Lehi for the Utah Association of Secondary Principals, sharing School Safety: A Parent’s Perspective.

  2. Oct. 5, NY – Michele Gay keynotes for the Genesee Valley School Boards Institute in Rochester, New York.

  3. Oct. 8,  ID – Frank DeAngelis attends an educational conference in Boise, Colorado.

  4. Oct. 8, PA – Michele Gay presents at the Reading/Berks County School Nurses Association Conference in Reading.

  5. Oct. 9, PA – Michele Gay shares School Safety: A Parent’s Perspective with the Wilkes-Barre Area School District.

  6. Oct. 16, PA – Lisa Hamp presents at Uptown! Performing Arts in Westchester, Pennsylvania.

  7. Oct. 16, MO – Frank DeAngelis presents on workplace violence in St. Louis, Missouri.

  8. Oct. 19, CO – Frank DeAngelis presents for National Council of State Education Attorneys in Denver, Colorado.

  9. Oct. 19, DC – Michele Gay and Lisa Hamp attend the American Institute of Architects Conference for Safe School Design in Washington, DC.

  10. Oct. 21, MA – Natalie Hammond participates in a panel discussion, Gun Violence Prevention and Keeping Our Children Safe, for Common Street Spiritual Center in Natick, Massachusetts.

  11. Oct. 22, NV – Alissa Parker presents Engaging the Community in School Safety: Tools and Ideas for Safer Schools at Nevada Principal’s Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  12. Oct. 23, NY – Michele Gay presents for GST BOCES in Painted Post, New York, focusing on a Parent’s Perspective, Beyond Tragedy, Reunification, and Engaging the Community.

  13. Oct. 23, MI – Frank DeAngelis presents for the International Association of Emergency Managers in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  14. Oct. 23, FL – Alissa Parker shares her personal story of faith, hope, and healing for the Children’s Healing Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida.

  15. Oct. 24, MA – Dan Jewiss presents Tragedy at Sandy Hook School:  Law Enforcement’s Perspective for Lee Public Schools in Lee, Massachusetts.

  16. Oct. 24, MA – Micheel Gay presents Tragedy at Sandy Hook School: A Parent’s Perspective for Lee Public Schools in Lee, Massachusetts.

  17. Oct. 24, MA – Natalie Hammond presents Tragedy at Sandy Hook School: A Survivor’s Perspective for Lee Public Schools in Lee, Massachusetts.

  18. Oct. 25, CA – Alissa Parker attends Guidepost Magazine’s Cabinet Gathering in Huntington Beach, California, discussing healing, faith, and her book An Unseen Angel.

  19. Oct. 26, NY – Lisa Hamp presents for the Monroe-Woodbury High School community in Woodbury, New York.

  20. Oct. 28, TX – Frank DeAngelis presents in Humble, Texas.

  21. Oct. 30, PA – Melissa Reeves hold a threat assessment workshop for LLIU13 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

  22. Oct. 31, PA – Melissa Reeves holds a threat assessment workshop for LLIU13 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

November

  1. Nov. 1, PA – Jin Kim presents Active Shooter Survival Strategies for PJM Interconnection in Audubon, Pennsylvania.

  2. Nov. 1 – Frank DeAngelis joins Raptor Technologies’ webinar and presents Leadership Lessons from Columbine and Beyond.

  3. Nov. 1, OH – Alissa Parker travels to Sylvania to present School Safety: A Parent’s Perspective for Sylvania Schools.

  4. Nov. 2, TX – Lisa Hamp presents for day-one of the  ALERRT Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

  5. Nov. 2, MD – Michele Gay presents a Parent’s Perspective for the Maryland Association of School Business Officials in Annapolis, Maryland. During this visit, Michele was awarded the President’s Award for her work to ensure safe and sound schools.

  6. Nov. 3, MD – Michele Gay presents School Safety: A Parent’s Perspective for the Association of School Business Officials in Linthicum Heights, Maryland.

  7. Nov. 4, TX – Lisa Hamp presents for day-two of the ALERRT Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

  8. Nov. 5, CA – Michele Gay presents for the Gavin de Becker Advanced Threat Assessment Academy in Lake Arrowhead, California.

  9. Nov. 7 , TX – Michele Gay presents Beyond Tragedy: Response and Recovery in a School Based Crisis for Region 7 Education Service Center in Kilgore, Texas.

  10. Nov. 9, Utah – Alissa Parker shares her story of hope and healing for Time Out for Women in St. George, Utah.

  11. Nov. 11, NY – Alissa Parker presents School Safety: A Parent’s Perspective for NYS PTA in Saratoga Springs, New York.

  12. Nov. 13, IL – Frank DeAngelis presents for Juvenile Justice Council Coordinator in Effingham, Illinois.

  13. Nov. 13, TX – Scott Poland presents Youth Suicide Prevention and Threat Assessment for the Midlothian Independent School District, in Midlothian, Texas.

  14. Nov. 14, TX – Frank DeAngelis presents at the Collin County Mental Health Symposium in Plano, Texas.

  15. Nov. 28, DC – Michele Gay presents for the ALEC Policy Summit in Washington, DC.

December

  • Dec. 3, MD – Michele Gay attends the NASRO Leadership Summit in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Dec. 6, MD – Michele Gay visits John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Dec. 11, PA – Michele Gay presented Beyond Tragedy: Response and Recovery in a School Based Crisis for the Center for Safe Schools in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

 

With summer already in full swing, we are already looking forward to the second half of this year. We thought you’d appreciate a look back on our progress through April, May, and June.

  • Expert presentations– we traveled to 12 states, 17 cities, and even went to Sweden, reaching nearly 10,000 educators, emergency responders, mental health professionals, students, school staff and community members on topics ranging from physical safety to mental health and resilience. Read on below for a detailed list of our presentations and community visits.
  • Tools and Resources – we launched our first-ever State of School Safety Report to help communities better understand how parents, students, and educators view school safety threats and opportunities. We also grew our crisis response network to help schools affected by tragedies this year. We are working on several exciting projects to be announced later this year. We are deeply grateful for the generous donations of many individuals, corporate partners, and organizations that make this work possible.
  • Community SupportWe also appreciate the donations and fundraising efforts from following groups and organizations: Indian Lake Central High School, Ransom Everglades School, Oakdale High School Student Government Association, Jammin Hammer Jewelry, Building for God Foundation, and Alice’s Tea Cup.
  • Organizational Readiness – In May, Michele Gay and Alissa Parker joined the Safe and Sound’s Board of Directors for the annual Board Retreat in Boston, MA. Thank you to all of our board and team members for making the trip!  

We’ve got a lot ahead of us, from conferences to new partnerships, programs, and resources, and we are excited to share it all with you in the coming months! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to stay up to date with all things Safe and Sound. Thank you for your support.

Now, here’s a report on all our visits during Q2, showing you the breadth, depth, and reach of our organization’s work:

  • Alissa Parker – PublicSchoolWORKS webinar about practical ways school community members can improve school safety.
  • Dr. Todd Savage – School-Based Safety and Crisis Prevention, Preparedness, and Intervention Considerations for the Art and Science Academy in Minnesota
  • Michele Gay  – Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals
  • Michele Gay – Chinle Unified School District, on tools and ideas for safer schools and community engagement
  • Paul Tim – PublicSchoolWORKS
  • Michele Gay – ALEC task force on school safety in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Michele Gay – Maryland Task Force on School Safety for Students with Special Needs at Ivymount School in Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Michele Gay – Marriotts Ridge High School to share the Sound Youth Council with students and parents
  • Michele Gay – Keynote at the DHI Connextions Conference in Baltimore
  • Michele Gay – school safety webinar, sponsored by Raptor Technologies.
  • Alissa Parker – attended the Dougy Center Gala Event in Portland to honor the Parker family and celebrate Emilie’s birthday; funds from the gala go toward supporting grieving families
  • Alissa Parker – North Penn School District in Landsale, PA
  • Dr. Melissa Reeves – Indiana School Safety Academy
  • Michele Gay – Secure Schools Alliance meeting in Washington, D.C., with national safety and industry leaders to develop a unified national coalition of school safety leadership
  • Frank DeAngelis – Kaufman County Office of Emergency Management on Leadership Lessons from Columbine and Beyond
  • Michele Gay – PrepTalk for FEMA alongside Kristina Anderson of the Koshka Foundation, Sarah Thompson of Save the Children and Lori Peek of the Natural Hazards Center.  You can check out Michele’s talk at https://www.fema.gov/preptalks/gay  
  • Michele Gay – Axis Communications Advisory Council in Sweden, with Safe and Sound speaker and expert Paul Timm, and national school safety expert Kevin Wren, to present to area school and safety leadership in Lund.  What an exciting opportunity to share Safe and Sound’s message and trainings internationally!
  • Frank DeAngelis – Large Unit District Association of Illinois
  • Michele Gay – Pennsylvania community leaders, educators, safety professionals, and community members
  • Michele Gay – Keansburg Schools in New Jersey
  • Michele Gay – South Carolina Association of Superintendents
  • Michele Gay – Baltimore County School safety leadership’s annual school safety conference
  • Alissa Parker – Texas Association of School Administrators Summer Conference
  • Alissa Parker – Axis/Dallas Independent School District
  • Michele Gay – National Association of School Resource Officers in Reno, NV, about Safe and Sound’s “Kids First” program on developmentally appropriate safety education
  • Jin Kin – International Center for Leadership in Education in Orlando.

Thank you for reading, and if you have any questions about our work, please reach out through info@safeandsoundschools.org.

 

With the close of this year’s first quarter, we’re excited to share an update for January, February, and March.

We started the year with a visit to Westport High School in Massachusetts. During her visit, Co-founder Michele Gay shared her story and introduced the Safe and Sound Youth Council to students and staff. Later in January, Michele made her way to Pennsylvania to present for staff and shared Safe and Sound Schools’ resources and programs with the Hazleton Area School District.

Early in February, Michele traveled to Georgetown, South Carolina, where she presented first for students and staff and then for the community. Shortly after, she traveled to Wisconsin to present for the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association. In late February, Co-founder Alissa Parker headed to the Cincinnati area, where she shared her story and practical ways to improve school safety with community members. Soon after, Michele traveled back to South Carolina to attend the South Carolina Association School Administrators School Safety Summit, where she shared her story and lessons learned in school safety. February community visits concluded in Michele’s home state of Maryland, where she attended Howard County’s school safety community meeting to advocate for funding and improved safety measures and training. Finally, Michele conducted a nationwide webinar with School Messenger, citing the power of communication capability and planning for school-based crisis management.

March community visits kicked off with a visit to Little Rock, Arkansas, where Safe and Sound Speaker and Mental Health Advisor, Dr. Stephen Brock, presented on bullying and suicide prevention for the Arkansas Mental Health in Education Association (ARMEA). The following week, Alissa traveled to Arlington, Virginia to present at the National PTA Legislative Conference, while Michele gathered with Lisa Hamp, Virginia Tech Survivor; Dr. Melissa Reeves, School-Based Mental Health Expert; Dr. CJ Huff, former superintendent of the Joplin, Missouri Schools; Kiki Lebya, Columbine survivor and teacher; John McDonald, school security and safety expert; and Mac Hardy of the National Association of School Resource Officers to kick off the Maryland School Safety Initiative, sponsored by the Maryland Center for School Safety and The BFG Foundation of Maryland. This year’s theme, Recovering the School Community from Crisis, brought together inspiring stories of recovery and resiliency and was particularly timely in the wake of several national school-based crisis. Stay tuned for more travel and trainings across Maryland as part of this year’s Maryland School Safety Initiative.

Also in March, Raptor Technologies hosted Dr. CJ Huff once again in a nationally attended school safety webinar on called “Seven Leadership Lessons.”  And the University at Buffalo hosted the 15th Annual Safe Schools Initiative Seminar, where Michele and Dr. Amanda Nickerson presented alongside Mo Canady, Safe and Sound Advisor and Executive Director for the National Association of School Resource Officers. While Safe and Sound speaker and Virginia Tech survivor, Lisa Hamp, spoke at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, Michele spoke in Wellesley, Massachusetts where she shared her story and invited community members to rethink school safety as a community. The following day, Michele traveled to Illinois to speak at the Illinois Fire Inspectors Association Conference, accompanied by Safe and Sound speaker and special advisor, Frank DeAngelis. Several days after this conference, Frank traveled to Georgia where he presented for the Eastside High School community. Later, Safe and Sound speaker Lisa Hamp traveled to Chicago to present her survivor’s story to Chicago area school leaders. The first quarter concluded with Michele and Dr. Melissa Reeves joining forces with Morris County, New Jersey school and law enforcement leaders to create a customized threat assessment matrix for assessing and managing threats to school safety.

Our first quarter was not only defined by the communities we visited and the relationships we forged during this period, it was also defined by the tragic events that took place during this time. We found ourselves deeply inspired by the student-led movements and took action to support the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. We also launched a national survey focusing on school safety perceptions and are currently analyzing the data to provide insights in the form of our first annual “State of School Safety” report to help school communities better tackle the myriad challenges of school safety. Stay tuned for our findings later in the spring.

To support Safe and Sound Schools and our mission, you can share our materials, donate, shop our School Store, or purchase an Inspire Change bracelet from Jammin Hammer Jewelry. Learn more about Jammin Hammer’s fundraiser for Safe and Sound Schools, here.

As we look forward to continuing our work and mission in 2018, we’d like to share a look back at our work in the last half of 2017.

We kicked off the month of July with Michele delivering a keynote and afternoon workshops in Philadelphia for the Independent School Safety and Security Summit. Then it was off to the Campus Safety East Conference where co-founder Michele Gay presented alongside Lisa Hamp, Virginia Tech survivor and Safe and Sound contributor. Following this conference, Michele headed to Massachusetts to present to the Massachusetts Association of Superintendents in Cape Cod, reconnecting with many of our Massachusetts school communities and meeting many more. On the same day, speaker Frank DeAngelis presented on leadership lessons in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The end of the month took Michele back to the the National Heritage Academies’ School Safety Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As the end of the month approached, Michele and Safe and Sound Speaker Lisa Hamp joined NASRO and attended the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. where Michele was honored to read the names of fallen school officers at the National Law Enforcement Memorial. It was a truly beautiful ceremony with many of our SRO friends from across the country in attendance. July travels concluded in California where Michele Gay, Kristina Anderson of the Koshka Foundation, and Safe and Sound board member Bob Martin spoke and networked with school safety leaders on the west coast.

In August, co-founder Alissa Parker attended the 2017 School Administrators Emergency Training Summit in where she presented and visited local leadership. Michele headed back to Massachusetts to present for the Westerly Public School staff and safety leadership.  

Community visits picked back up in September with Michele presenting at the IMF Women’s Security Awareness Training in Washington, D.C. She then traveled to Illinois to speak to Illinois Fire Service Administrative Professionals. Soon after, Safe and Sound speaker Frank DeAngelis traveled west to Sierra Vista High School in California to speak to school staff about his personal story and leadership lessons learned. In the east, Alissa traveled Massachusetts to share her story of faith, hope, and healing. She then traveled to Springfield, Illinois  to attend the Illinois Association of School Administrators Conference to speak on school safety. Meanwhile, Michele headed to Canada to attend the Ottawa Area Safe Schools Network Summit. September community visits concluded with a trip back to Illinois where Michele Gay presented for the Valley View School District School Safety Conference.

Although September was an exciting month due to all the community visits, perhaps one of the biggest highlights of September was the launch of the Safe and Sound Youth Council. In only a few short months, we are proud to report that this program has been delivered to more than 23 states. Our students are stepping up for the safety of their schools and communities. To learn more about the Safe and Sound Youth Council program, click here.

In October, Alissa hit the road again, traveling to Wyoming with Safe and Sound Advisor, Paul Timm, PSP for the Wyoming School Safety Summit. Sandy Hook survivor, Natalie Hammond traveled to Missouri for Safe and Sound to keynote and lead a workshop on school safety team building for the Missouri Center for Education Safety. Her presentations were very well received by all in attendance!  

Later in the month, Alissa traveled to Pennsylvania to present at the Delaware County Safe Schools Summit. Her visit was so successful that we are already planning a follow up workshop in the near future. Soon after, with sponsorship from Status Solutions, Safe and Sound Schools was able to attend the 2017 National Resilience Institute Summit in Chicago where Michele presented a keynote and participated in a panel discussion with national leaders in resilience. A couple days afterwards, Michele presented for the Axis School Safety Symposium in Minnesota with Safe and Sound Advisor and Contributor, Paul Timm, PSP.  Michele then headed to Plymouth to speak at Wyzata High School for a Security Symposium. Alissa completed October travels with a visit to Houston to attend the Crime Stoppers Gala, presenting alongside Bob Woodruff of the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

In November, Safe and Sound Schools participated in several webinars. Michele kicked off November with a webinar in partnership with Raptor Technologies. She discussed the ways in which school leaders can galvanize their local community to improve school safety. In mid November, Michele was joined by Safe and Sound speaker Dr. CJ Huff to present on how schools can harness the power of the community to keep schools safe. This webinar was sponsored by Safe and Sound sponsor Status Solutions and was hosted by Campus Safety Magazine.

In early November, Michele and speaker/advisor Dr. Melissa Reeves presented a full day workshop on Reunification of the School Community for the Colorado Society of School Psychologists in Vail, Colorado. Soon after, Michele traveled to New York to present for the New York State Association of School Nurses, followed by Alissa’s presentation for the ScanSource corporate conference on November 15th.  

Community visits slowed in December, as 2017 marked the five year anniversary of Sandy Hook. Michele and Alissa used this as a time to draw close to their immediate and Sandy Hook families. To learn more about Sandy Hook’s legacy and how some families are choosing to honor their loved ones, read some of the news stories below:

To catch up on blogs you may have missed during the second half of the year, visit our Blog.

Many thanks to our nationwide community of supporters and school communities for joining and supporting us in our work to bring safety to every community, every school, and every child.

Now that we are well into the second half of the year, it’s time for a second quarter update, covering the months of April, May, and June. Feeding off the momentum we gained during our first quarter, we continued our efforts of empowering communities to improve school safety.  

April was a particularly meaningful month with the release of co-founder Alissa Parker’s book, An Unseen Angel: A Mother’s Story of Faith, Hope, and Healing After Sandy Hook. With an emphasis on Alissa’s faith and spirituality, the book chronicles Alissa’s journey of finding peace and forgiveness after losing her daughter, Emilie Parker, during the Sandy Hook tragedy. An Unseen Angel introduces readers to a caring, wise, and emotionally sensitive little girl whose colorful spirit continues empower her family and many others.

While Alissa promoted her book in April, co-founder Michele Gay was joined by Safe and Sound Speaker, Frank DeAngelis in San Francisco, California. Michele and Frank presented on community collaboration for safer schools at the Sonitrol Gold Standard Safety Symposium.

In May, the Safe and Sound Schools Board of Directors convened in Boston, Massachusetts, to discuss strategy and upcoming projects. Community visits continued throughout May, with Alissa presenting in front of the Northwest Superintendent Organization in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Soon after, Mo Canady, Safe and Sound Advisor and Executive Director of NASRO, attended the Police Week Candlelight Vigil in Washington DC. Around the same time, Michele presented on reunifying the school community and shared her post-tragedy perspective at the 2017 Governor’s Safety and Health Conference Exposition in Kentucky. Soon after, Michele was joined by Safe and Sound Speaker, CJ Huff in Indiana. During their trip to the Indiana School Safety Specialists Academy, CJ and Michele presented to over 900 educators and law enforcement officials, focusing their keynote on community recovery and engagement. In Oklahoma, new Safe and Sound Speaker, Lisa Hamp, attended Moore High School’s Prep Rally. Later in May, Michele resumed travels and was joined by Natalie Hammond and Dan Jewiss in Massachusetts to present for MASBO/CASBO on improving school community preparedness, response, and recovery. May travels came to an end with a trip to the Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts 20th Annual Training Conference and a trip to a School Safety Conference in Mt Vernon, Virginia.

Although May was a very busy month, community visits continued in June. ​Frank DeAngelis presented at the Oklahoma School Security Conference and discussed school safety leadership. Soon after, Frank traveled to Wisconsin to present at a School Resource Officer Conference. Frank continued his presentations in New York for the New York City Public Schools. This time, he was joined by Michele Gay and John-Michael Keyes of the “I Love U Guys” Foundation. Soon after, Michele and Frank traveled to Iowa to present on their Sandy Hook and Columbine experiences for the Iowa School Resource Officers. June travels concluded in Washington DC where Michele presented at the GovSummit Public Policy Conference, an event hosted by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in cooperation with the Congressional School Safety Caucus.

While our team traveled from state-to-state, our online efforts focused on topics like sexual assault, summer camp safety, online safety, EMS, and celebrating America’s teachers. In June we launched our #100DaysOfSafety campaign for the second year in a row. You can follow the hashtag on our social media channels to receive daily safety tips all summer long.

As we continue to visit communities in the months to come and you prepare for back-to-school, there’s a new resource available for the students in your community: Safe and Sound Youth Council. This complete program for high school students allows them to join the conversation, and more importantly, take action toward creating safer schools. We hope you will share this new program with your students and encourage them to take part.

To keep up with Safe and Sound Schools on daily basis, connect with us on social media.