Head of School's Corner - October 2018

Dear Gulliver Community,

It has been great to see so many of you at recent events, and we look forward to coming together at upcoming ones, especially Raider Fest at Make a Splash on October 13. It promises to be a fun-filled day for our whole community, from games and activities for all ages, to the incorporation of the Holiday Marketplace, offering the chance to get ahead on shopping. It's hard to believe that we are already talking about the holidays!

I also want to provide an update about our work on security matters. As you recall, we commissioned Michael Dorn of Safe Havens International to complete a safety audit of our campus security, which was completed late this summer. The report indicated many strengths in our systems and protocols already. As stated by Mr. Dorn, "Gulliver is a unique and inspiring place of learning where we noted numerous impressive positive efforts to enhance safety and security."

The report also suggested a number ways we can work to enhance the safety and security of our community. The recommendations fall into a few main categories, including:

  • Culture and compliance, such ideas as having everyone need identification of some sort on campus at all times, whether to lock classroom doors at all times, and how we navigate drop-off and pick-up lines. A community-wide commitment to new behaviors will support these enhancements;
  • Technology and infrastructure, especially taking advantage of software tools to enhance communication, protocols and improved automation;
  • Training, which comprises the on-campus drills, situational training and discussion, and more specific training for different levels of school employees.

We have already begun responding to these recommendations in a number of areas since we received the report. Some of this work includes:

  • Active shooter training in August for our Security staff and our academic administrative team members
  • Renewed emphasis on a broad array of drills with our students
  • New badge systems for faculty, staff and visitors
  • The creation of Safety Teams at each campus to promote regular dialogue and proactive handling of security at all of our sites

The report indicated that making major advances in security is a long-term process, and that we will be best served by being strategic in our choices about security. Mr. Dorn also indicated that our community will get the best short-term results by efforts in two immediate areas, specifically by efforts to evolve our school culture (for example, wearing badges, being ready for the small inconveniences that are a part of heightened security), and work particularly on our after school pick-up procedures. We will be communicating soon about any new expectations for those processes and we will need full parent compliance to those procedures.

We continue to emphasize enhancing the safety of our entire school community, and we will inform you of any new developments or other ways we will need your support. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you at school soon, supporting our students and programs!

With Gulliver Pride,

Frank Steel
Head of School