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In late March, hundreds of school safety professionals convened in Houston, Texas, to attend the inaugural National Summit on School Safety, a two-day conference co-hosted by Safe and Sound Schools and Region 4 Education Service Center. The conference focused on comprehensive school safety, providing attendees with opportunities to learn about topics ranging from threat assessment and emergency planning to mental health and school safety funding. With more than 30 presenters and panelists in attendance, attendees were able to listen to keynotes, attend workshops, and participate in a series of intimate roundtable discussions.

Read on for a detailed summary of the event. As you can imagine, with two jam-packed days, there’s a lot to cover.

After introductory remarks by Dr. Pam Wells and Chief Alan Bragg, Michele Gay and Alissa Parker led the first keynote of the conference. This was the first time in five years Michele and Alissa shared the stage. They shared memories of their daughters, Joey and Emily, before walking the audience through the tragic events at Sandy Hook. Their primary message for attendees: rethink school safety – together.

The day proceeded with an agenda full of workshops focusing on the six key components of comprehensive school safety: (1) physical environment (2) operations and emergency management (3) mental and behavioral health (4) health and wellness (5) culture, climate, and community (6) school law, policy and finance. Attendees were able to participate in three workshop sessions throughout the day before ending the day with small roundtable discussion sessions. Presenters included:

  • Dr. CJ Huff – Former Superintendent of Joplin Schools and child advocate
  • Susan Payne – Founder of Safe2Tell and 28-year law enforcement veteran
  • Lisa Hamp – Survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting and school safety advocate
  • Bernie James – Professor of Law Specializing in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, and Education Law
  • John-Michael Keyes – Founder and Executive Director of The “I Love U Guys” Foundation
  • Scarlett Lewis – Founder of Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement and social emotional learning advocate
  • Paul Timm – VP of Facility Engineering Associates, Physical Security Professional, Author

For the full list of workshop presenters, click here.

Safe and Sound Schools and Region 4 welcomed another full house on day two of the conference, starting the morning with the Beyond Columbine panel, featuring:

  • Jim Accomando, President of the National Parent Teacher Association
  • Dr. Melissa Reeves, Past President of the National Association of School Psychologists
  • Dr. CJ Huff, Former Superintendent of the Joplin, Missouri Schools
  • Mo Canady, Executive Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers
  • John-Michael Keyes, Father of Emily Keyes, Executive Director of the I Love U Guys Foundation
  • Natalie Hammond, Surviving Sandy Hook Teacher
  • Patrick Ireland, Surviving Columbine Student
  • Charlie Hobin, Student Leader, Bend, Oregon

Mo Canady focused the importance of school resource officers and building relationships while Natalie Hammond and Patrick Ireland shared the importance of support systems during recovery. John-Michael Keyes and Dr. Melissa Reeves echoed Natalie and Patrick’s thoughts and discussed trauma. Dr. Melissa emphasized that trauma is a life-long journey and advocated for life-long support post-tragedy. CJ Huff shared the importance of self-care after a tragedy while Jim Accomando urged parents to have a seat at the table. Charlie Hobin concluded the panel session with a message for students: get involved and spread kindness.

“My failure as a leader during the disaster was I did not take care of myself. Now I understand the need to be a role model of SELF CARE.” – Dr. CJ Huff

After another series of roundtable discussion sessions, the day continued with a second panel focused on tools and technology, featuring:

  • Anthony LaValle, Industry Expert & Founder, ReportIt
  • Titania Jordan, Industry Expert & Chief Parent Officer, Bark Technologies
  • Bruce Canal, Industry Expert & Director Industry Associations, Axis Communications
  • Rania Mankarious, Chief Executive Officer, Crime Stoppers of Houston
  • Dr. Catherine Finger, Industry Expert & Business Development Manager, NaviGate Prepared
  • Erin Wilson, Industry Expert and Door Security & Safety Foundation Ambassador

Panelists discussed available tools and technology for safer schools with panel moderator Paul Timm encouraging people not to give up on technology as part of a comprehensive safety plan. Panelists also emphasized the need for community like-mindedness, supporting school culture, building partnerships and remembering that although helpful, technology is not your only line of defense.

“It’s not always a technological solution…there’s security management, behavioral, leaning on your relationships, your friends… it’s important that you realize you have a world of knowledge.” – Bruce Canal, Industry Expert & Director Industry Associations, Axis Communications

Former Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis and Columbine survivor Patrick Ireland closed the summit with an inspiring, tear-jerking, and powerful keynote that brought the audience to a standing ovation. Frank DeAngelis walked the audience through the Columbine tragedy and illustrated the powerful and lasting relationships he built with his students throughout his career. As Patrick Ireland shared his experience and journey toward recovery, he left the audience with four key takeaways:

(1) People at generally good in nature. (2) With perseverance we can all achieve greatness. (3) We have a choice of being a victor or victim. (4) There is tremendous power in forgiveness.

This summit was made possible with the generous support of our partners and the collective effort between the Region 4 and Safe and Sound Schools team. Thank you to everyone that joined us in Houston!

VIEW SUMMIT PHOTOS

Safe and Sound Schools, in partnership with Region 4 Education Service Center, is proud to announce the inaugural National Summit on School Safety.

Join us March 28-30, 2019, in Houston, Texas, for an intensive and interactive, two-day conference focused on comprehensive school safety. The National Summit on School Safety is ideal for educators, administrators, safety and security professionals, mental and behavioral health practitioners, solution providers, community members, and leaders.

The National Summit on School Safety is designed to provide a hands-on learning experience and will feature national and regional experts such as:

  • CJ Huff, Former Superintendent of Joplin Schools and Special Advisor for Education and Community Leadership to Safe and Sound Schools
  • John Michael Keyes, Founder and Executive Director of I Love U Guys Foundation
  • Frank DeAngelis, Former Columbine Principal and Special Advisor for Education Leadership to Safe and Sound Schools
  • Michele Gay, Co-founder and Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools
  • Alissa Parker, Co-founder and Director of Safe and Sound Schools

With deep-dive breakout sessions, workshops, leadership round tables, inspirational keynotes, and dedicated networking, attendees will add to their school safety toolbox to better meet their community’s school safety needs. Conference sessions will cover the six key components of our Framework for Comprehensive School Safety Planning and Development:

  • Physical Environment
  • Operations and Emergency Management
  • Mental and Behavioral Health
  • Health and Wellness
  • Culture, Climate, and Community
  • School Law, Policy and Finance

Stay tuned for updates on more speakers, sponsors, and the summit agenda. To keep up with all things Safe and Sound, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And to keep up with Region 4 Education Service Center, like them on Facebook and follow them Twitter.

Sponsorship

Sponsorship opportunities are available at a variety of levels. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Rania Mankarious at raniamankarious@me.com.

Dates

  • Thursday, March 28, 2019 – 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Meet & Greet
  • Friday, March 29, 2019 – 7:30 am – 4:30 pm: Keynote Speakers & Breakout Session
  • Saturday, March 30, 2019 – 7:30 am – 2:30 pm: Leadership Forum & Closing

Location

Join us at the Region 4 Education Service Center: 7145 W Tidwell Rd, Houston, TX 77092

Registration

Early bird tickets are available through December 31, 2018. Register with our partner, Region 4 Education Service Center.


See you there!