WILMINGTON — It’s a sign of the times when a facilities report given to the school board centers on security and safety measures.
In that facilities update, Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Director of Operations Curt Bone noted that the administrative offices for both of the district’s elementary schools, Holmes and Denver Place, are currently in the middle of those buildings “which may have been a great design in the 1950s, but not really advantageous for today’s climate.”
District officials have started exploring how best to do a remodel and relocate those office operations to the buildings’ main entrances, Bone reported at this week’s board meeting.
In the meeting’s agenda action items, school board members approved hiring three additional campus monitors for the campus where the high school and middle school are both located.
According to the board of education’s informational packet, these campus monitors will work closely with building administrators and the school resource officer to monitor hallways and a new electronic hall pass system, and also monitor the parking lots, assemblies, cafeterias, and other common areas used by students “in order to maintain a safe, orderly, and productive learning environment.”
They also will respond to alerts from vape detectors that are being installed throughout the district, and assist with dress code enforcement. These new positions will be paid for with ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds that have already been awarded.
The board also approved adding two dean of students positions, one each at the middle and high schools. The deans will work collaboratively with the administrators, as well as the campus climate and security teams, to provide support with student discipline, PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), crisis intervention, and attendance monitoring.
The deans also will reinforce a positive school culture and foster a safe learning environment for students and staff, stated WCS Superintendent Jim Brady.
These positions will be paid for with ESSER money, too.
The various entrances at each building will be numbered for purposes of identification to help first responders.
The district is also looking at classroom-locking mechanisms to assist in securing rooms during a lockdown.
Security “film” — window tinting — will be affixed to glass at the main entrances of each school. With security film, you can’t actually see inside the building from the outside, “but once in the building you can pretty much see out of it,” Bone said.
Plans are being put together to provide entrance upgrades similar to the upgrade that was installed at the high school office, according to Brady.
And several external doors in need of significant repair will be replaced.
In terms of safety as contrasted with security, all AED (Automated External Defibrillator) medical devices will be replaced. An AED can be used to try to help somebody experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
Brady said, “We continue to adapt and secure older school buildings, that were built decades ago, with more modern safety and security features.”
External cameras will be added to WCS buses to help law enforcement identify vehicles that pass the buses when they’re stopped with lights on and stop signs out.
Bone reported, “We have a lot of people running our red lights [that are] on buses — middle of town or out in the country. We probably average anywhere from 30 to 50 a year, and that’s not acceptable.”
Brady added, “This is certainly an area of significant concern.”
The new bus cameras will fit into the camera system the buses already have, said Bone.
In other board meeting news:
• The board approved a service agreement with Brown County Educational Service Center to provide administrative support as requested including, but not limited to, administrative investigations, employee / staff training, school safety plans and safety report, and attendance services.
• The board meeting was held in Holmes Elementary School where PAX second-grade leaders were recognized. PAX techniques are designed to get children in the elementary grades to help themselves self-regulate their emotions and their behavior while in school settings.
• WCS accepted a $2,500 Walmart grant for the boys basketball program.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.