Indian Creek School (ICS) schedules several Professional Development days to enable all teachers to come together each year. Most of these days are reserved for teachers to collaborate on curriculum work, or for workshops or on-campus speakers for our faculty and staff. Recent highlights include the on-site OESIS conference, and seminars by Glenn Whitman from the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at St. Andrews Episcopal School, and Dr. Mariale Hardiman, author of Brain Targeted Teaching. The School understands that scheduling days when students do not attend school is not easy for our families, and so we make sure that these days are spent on important work that has a positive impact on our students school-wide.
This Monday's scheduled Professional Development Day will differ from past agendas, but it is an important endeavor towards our commitment to keeping students safe. On Monday, October 9, all Indian Creek School faculty and staff members will undergo training by the ALICE Training Institute, to learn Intruder Response Protocols which will help prepare us to best ensure the safety of our students.
ALICE is a program that teaches a pro-active option-based response to an event: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. During Monday's workshop, ICS faculty and staff members will learn ALICE strategies - and then have the opportunity to practice how to act and respond in these situations. Federal and local law enforcement agencies are encouraging proactive, option-based responses beyond the traditional passive lockdown protocols which currently exist in schools.
Indian Creek first began exploring the ALICE program last school year after inviting local police to visit both campuses to make recommendations for the School's emergency plans. Law enforcement officers recommended the ALICE system to Indian Creek. To learn more about the program, Indian Creek sent five representatives from different areas of the school to a regional two-day ALICE workshop to explore this protocol. Director of Facilities and Sustainability Diana Ortiz, Head of Upper School Gerard Connolly, Associate Head of Upper School Matt McCormick, Head of Lower School Amy Benson, and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Kelly Bryant travelled to attend an ALICE workshop, where they learned about and practiced live-shooter scenarios. The ICS team found the day to be quite worthwhile, and they immediately felt that this training should be provided for our whole school. Mr. McCormick shared, "The best part for me is it gives everyone who works at the school a common language and a known action plan. Everyone will be on the same page in a crisis event."
ALICE training has two parts: an online course and on-site practice of response scenarios. Every Indian Creek faculty and staff member will complete an online training course from the ALICE Training Institute prior to Monday's workshop. Part two is on-site practice of response scenarios. Monday morning, faculty and staff will gather together for an ALICE overview, and then break into smaller groups for an intense response scenario practice. The goal for the day is to build knowledge and to practice ways to keep ourselves and our students safe. Since training alone is not adequate to help teachers understand how they would react to a highly charged situation, repeated practice of ALICE techniques will help best prepare faculty and staff to deal with this type of event.
Indian Creek School's first priority is to ensure the safety of our students. Monday's faculty Professional Development day will provide an important step in being prepared for any situation. From here, through engagement with faculty, staff, and the greater community, ICS will create an implementation strategy that best fits our school and culture.