The Redwood Area School District has committed to making its environment as safe and secure as is possible for those who are there.
Leading that effort is Dana Woodford, school liaison officer, who talked with the Redwood Area Board of Education about crisis management during its meeting Monday night.
Woodford said the district continues to use the lockdown strategy as its option should there be some sort of crisis. However, she added efforts are being made that would move toward what she called an enhanced lockdown practice.
The district began discussing the idea of moving toward a different concept this past March, and in the meantime have heard presentations about different ideas that could be implemented. In addition, the district brought in the Minnesota School Safety Center, which conducted walk-throughs of both sites and determined, for the most part, that current practices were good. However, a few small changes could be made to enhance safety and security.
Woodford said the officials who visited the sites appreciated the controlled access at Reede Gray, adding that is something the school should consider at the Redwood Valley schools site.
Woodford said the district is going to put some new things in place, including changing the process from announcing a crisis or a drill as a “Code Red” to simply calling it a lockdown to avoid any potential confusion. The school conducts drills each year.
Any changes would also include training for the staff, added Woodford, who said moving the district away from a one-dimensional strategy can provide options, and good training can help those making decisions to do what is most practical and safe.
Options, such as a shelter in place method, could be added, said Woodford, which would just require students to stay wherever they are.
That, said Woodford could be used if someone is having a heart attack in the hallway or if the police have reported a criminal is being pursued in the community.
Tim Joyce, school board member, expressed his appreciation to Woodford for her efforts to keep students and staff safe in the school.
In other action during its meeting Monday, the school board:
• Elected Jim Buckley to serve as chair, Jim Boots to serve as clerk and Wayne Junker to serve as treasurer.
• Approved the implementation of a new program known as Project Lead the Way, which will include the addition of two new engineering classes for students at the high school.
The classes would be taught by new educator Amanda Boushek and would require additional training through the program, as well as the need to purchase equipment.
Students who take the class could qualify for college credit.
The cost for the district, including the training and equipment purchases is $49,701, with funds coming from the gifted and talented fund, and equipment purchased through capital outlay. Some of the equipment, including computers, could be used by other classes, as well.
• Heard an update of the technology program. Stephen Lien, technology director, talked with the board about plans to improve the internal speed and wireless performance on site.
• Approved the employment of Jan Raddatz as finance clerk at a rate of $18 per hour.
• Approved a request to put the Reede Gray Elementary School playground and Redwood Valley schools site improvements projects out for bids. The bids are scheduled to be opened Feb. 23.