NHA’s safety program is ever evolving but does not operate out of fear or in reaction to other schools’ incidents. As part of NHA’s visitor management system, school doors are locked during the day, all visitors must check in at the office, and all staff members have submitted to background checks.
NHA schools participate in Safe Schools Week each year in October in an effort to reiterate to scholars, staff, and the community the importance of safety. While the fundamentals of safety operations are always stressed, this past year schools took a more holistic approach with the theme Safety Starts With Minds & Hearts. Activities included learning about internet safety, hearing from firefighters, poster contests, and safety drills.
“NHA is committed to providing a safe environment for students, staff, and visitors,” Director of Safety and Health Brian Gard said. “A culture of safety starts with school leadership understanding safety expectations and keeping safety visible throughout the year. However, school leadership is not solely responsible. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Staff, students, visitors, and vendors are responsible for complying with and supporting the school safety plan.”
This mentality is reinforced throughout the school year through new activities such as reunification drills, in which students go through the process of reuniting with their families after being evacuated during or after a crisis. NHA’s top schools are recognized for their efforts with annual awards.
“The Safety Eagle Award is a great achievement for those who have earned it,” Gard said. “It shows they have committed to safety each day at their school and have the evidence to support their program.”
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Sky Ranch Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Watkins, Colorado, serving students in kindergarten through seventh grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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