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From the Principal: Safety Letter

From the Principal: Safety Letter
Posted on 02/21/2018

Dear Hilltop Families -

I know the shooting in Parkland, Florida has stirred a national discussion and strong emotional response from individuals in all areas of our community. I’d like to provide information and respond to questions with the hope they provide some level of assurance that the Edmonds School District is working to the best of its abilities to address safety protocols and measures that can best be put into place.

At Hilltop, we are diligent about making sure all visitors sign in and have a sticker to identify they should be on campus.  Please help us by NOT going into the building without checking in and getting identification in the office.  We have all of the back doors near the field locked. We have the two Kindergarten classrooms in front of the school as well as the outside doors to the gym, locked at all times. We have lockdown devices on all of the classroom doors allowing them to be locked quickly.

However, the entrances to the classrooms in Building A, and Building B both north and south and the kitchen/gym area are kept unlocked after 8:30 a.m. and until 3:30 p.m. We have students and parent volunteers going in and out those doors all day and I don't see how we can effectively keep them locked without someone nearby to let people in. We recently had a camera installed in the front of our building, overlooking the front parking lot. The District does plan to install additional cameras as well as provide keyless entries to the main doors. That is underway on several other campuses and Hilltop will be scheduled for installation of these as well.

We practice all safety drills regularly and will conduct an ALICE drill in the next month or so. This drill, which is being more commonly called in the national media as an active shooter drill, does cover ways for students and staff to respond whether the intruder is in the classroom or another area of the campus. A sample ALICE powerpoint is linked below. The drill is designed to be age appropriate. At the primary grades, it is a scripted conversation. At the Intermediate ages, the conversation is accompanied by a Powerpoint. Layne Erdman, the School District Safety administrator will be available to discuss ALICE or any other safety questions at the PTSA meeting next week on Thursday, March 1st at 6:30 PM in the Hilltop Library.

I truly appreciate the calm, but certainly heightened concern and questions about safety at our school. It requires our joint efforts as a community to prepare for, and respond as necessary for situations that we cannot fathom happening in our own community. However, the reality is we need to be prepared and responsive to the best of our abilities.

I am glad and reassured with the work we have done with staff and students and thankful that we have a District that is putting these needs and concerns at the forefront.


Janie O’Brien

Hilltop Elementary Principal

You will find a sample ALICE PowerPoint on the District's Emergency Preparedness website

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