One Reason SROs are Important

The other day I listened to a school safety webinar. A lot of familiar information was covered, but one tidbit of information stood out, which I’m sharing here.

If you don’t follow my blog or School/Kids focused Facebook page, then let me state that SRO stands for School Resource Officers (SROs). While the webinar was ultimately trying to sell software to help with school safety, my takeaway was further confirmation that the use of SROs within schools is important. While there are many reasons for this (look at some of my old articles), the webinar pointed out one big reason which is summarized in the following picture:

If there is an incident at a school, such as a school shooting, then how fast can a police officer get to the school? When you weigh this against the data point that with a standard weapon, one shot can be fired every 4 to 15 seconds, you quickly realize that minutes matter – a single minute matters.

It was stated that it can take 4 to 9 minutes to make a call for help. In that time, you could have over 15 casualties. If an officer can respond in 3 minutes, then that could be an additional 12 casualties. If the officer that shows up is a marathon runner, then they might be able to get from their car and into the building in a single minute. That minute could be another 4. That puts the total at over 30 with the assumption of a shot every 15 seconds rather than 4 seconds.

In the webinar, it was indicated that the response time of police to aggravated assault ranges are generally five minutes or more. Only 21 percent of responses by police happen within 5 minutes. 33 percent are within 6 to 10 minutes and 36 percent are from 11 to 60 minutes. Roughly 10 percent are of an unknown length of time. At a five minute response time, that’s between 20 and 75 shots with standard weapons.

Having SROs in place would eliminate the response time from the equation as well as the need to do an initial all, which are the longest delays in the equation. That means lives potentially saved. That seems like one big reason to have them.

Of course, this value is only seen when there is security breach at a school. The impact on SROs goes way beyond just being available for emergencies, but that’s a different article!

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Safety in Fishers: A Failure to Learn From…

Larry Lannon reported on the nice crowd that attended the safety day at Fishers yesterday that occurred on the Eastern side of town. For anyone on the West side of Fishers on September 7th between 6:00 and 11:00pm, you have to wonder if safety had been considered.

With 11,000+ people merging into a two lane road with near non-existent traffic control, safety seemed to be lost. Fortunately, it didn’t seem that anything went wrong.

But what if something had happened?

Cars within the last couple of miles were reporting speeds of roughly an hour per mile to get into Conner Prairie. With cars being bumper-to-bumper, blocking intersections, and turning right from the left lanes it is easy to say that traffic was likely the worst Fishers has ever seen. Having gotten caught in the traffic, plus having lived across from Conner Prairie for over two decades, I can say it was the worst traffic I had ever seen for them.

What if a firetruck or rescue truck had needed to get to one of the houses across from Conner Prairie in several of the divisions whose only access is from Allisonville Road? What if a firetruck had needed to get to Conner Prairie. Could it have?

Last night’s event at Conner Prairie should be an eye opener for Fishers police, fire, and political parties as far as insuring the safety of Fishers residents and guests that come to our town. There are no plans in the Fishers 2040 plan to change the road in front of Conner Prairie from two lanes to four. There are no other major access roads other than going through an older neighborhood that is always blocked with parked cars to where a single car can barely get through, let along traffic going two directions or a fire engine.

While the neighborhoods around Conner Prairie deserve an apology, I believe the more important thing is that the city needs to make sure that if future crowds are going to converge on Conner Prairie – or any other location in Fishers – that it is done in a manner that allows for the safety of the residents to be kept at top priority. This includes making sure emergency vehicles have a way to get to any of the locations in or around the park.

On a related note…..

On a related note, there has been a trend for Fishers Police to shut down North bound Allisonville Road at 131st Street when they are letting out the traffic at Conner Prairie. For those people living off of Allisonville Road and south of 141st Street, this means you are redirected away from your home. This isn’t for an accident, but rather to make it easier to let the people at Conner Prairie leave at the expense of making it harder for residents of Fishers to get home.

Why?

Why is Conner Prairie get favoritism over tax paying residents of the city?

The irony of course, is that this traffic control happens after a concert; it doesn’t happen before when it is really needed more.

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Striving for Average – Administration Goals from the HSE School Board

At the August 28th, 2019 Hamilton Southeastern Schools board meeting, there was one topic that surprised me in that it didn’t get more attention by the school board. What surprised me even more was the willingness to set goals that strive to be average in a district that is rated as high performance and one of the best.

The school board presented three goal areas for the administration and district. The three areas that were presented are: The goals that were presented are:

  • 1A. The language arts academic achievement gap between the highest performing student group and the lowest performing student group will be reduced by 6% in this academic year without compromising the achievement gains of the highest performing group.
  • 1B. The math academic achievement gap between the highest performing student group and the lowest performing student group will be reduced by 8% in this academic year without compromising the achievement gains of the highest performing group.
  • 2A. The sense of belonging for HSE students in grades 3-12 will increase to a level consistent with districts of similar demographics.
  • 2B. Teachers’ perceptions of the overall school climate will increase to a level consistent with schools districts of similar demographics.
  • 3. HSE Schools will maximize the use of its current and potential facilities in order to provide excellent learning environments for all HSE students.

The wording of the last goal was reviewed and adjustments are being made to it. The other bullets, however, were close to what is likely to be final.

The first two bullets are about reducing the achievement gap. This is a good goal, although you would hope that they would also work to improve on the highest performing group and not just the lowest group. The achievement numbers for 1A and 1B are based on the iLearn scores. The 6% was based on what it was believed would be needed to make the gap more in line with other schools after 3 years of similar improvements.

It is bullets 2A and 2B, however, where concerns should be raised. It was stated that HSE school district is compared to other schools of similar size. In doing this, it was stated by Dr. Combs that HSE ranks around 30% and 40%. The goal is to get this to 50%. Said differently, HSE students are currently indicating that they feel they belong less than most schools – we are ranked below average. Similarly, our teachers perception of the overall climate is worse than a majority of the schools of similar size. The goal is set to get this to 50% or average. More schools below and above.

We are shooting to be average. Why wouldn’t we be shooting to be better than average. Even 51% would mean more of our students feel like they belong than the average school and more of our teachers have a good perception of our district’s climate than teachers at other schools have about their districts.

To mean it seems it seems like we currently have a grade of a D and F and are striving for a C. In a high performance school district, I would hope we could work to try to be at the top for giving our kids a sense of belonging as well as building a climate where all of our teachers feel a sense of belonging.

As the board revisits these goals, I hope they don’t accept average as acceptable. In fact, I hope they start asking questions as to why we are scoring below average now.

As the board revisits these goals, I hope they don’t accept average as acceptable. In fact, I hope they start asking questions as to why we are scoring below average now.

UPDATE: Changes were made to the goals so that it is no longer targeting average, but rather “average or better”.

Yowza Publishing’s Fourth Release: Spot the Difference in Fishers, Indiana

The release of Yowza Publishing’s fourth title is now complete. You can get Spot the Difference in Fishers, Indiana: City Parks Edition on Amazon today! This marks the fourth book published by Yowza Publishing and the first full-color book.

In Spot the Difference in Fishers, Indiana (Spot) you not only get to learn a little bit about the city parks that are within Fishers, Indiana, but you also get to also have a bit of fun. For each of the parks shown in the book, you are given two pictures that are very similar. The first picture is a real picture of the park. The second picture is the same picture; however, a few changes have been made and it is up to you to find those changes. Each park follows a similar layout, which includes a few extra pictures as well as an indicator for the number of differences you should be able to find:

Spot the Difference

Most cities have parks. These includes city parks as well as neighborhood and other private parks. Fishers, however, has a large number of city parks relative to the size of the city. There are two parks that include sledding hills. There are several parks that have fishing lakes as well as a couple of locations to fish in the White River. Several of the parks boast athletics including baseball diamonds, basketball courts, soccer fields, and football fields. There are also pickle ball courts as well as Frisbee/disk golf courses. One park has “off road” biking trails that wind through the woods as well as tree houses. There is a splash-pad in one park. There are docks and a public beach as well as a ton of playgrounds ranging from simple swings to complex contraptions such as those shown in the picture above.

There are two new parks being developed in Fishers. The irony is that both are easy to confuse with existing parks. One will be the Nickel Plate Trail linear park that will replace the existing Nickel Plate Railroad tracks. This is not to be confused with the existing Nickel Plate Trail that is a part of Cheeny Creak Nature Park. The other will be the Geist Waterfront park, not to be confused with the existing Geist Park that features trails, bird-watching, access to Fall Creak and Geist Reservoir.

If you are wanting to know what parks are around Fishers, this book will quickly give you a glimpse. As our newest book, we hope you enjoy it!

Buy the book now: Amazon

Mental Health Awareness in Fishers – An Update on Stigma Free Fishers

You Matter

As part of the Stigma Free Fishers initiative, data is now being collected so as to better understand what is happening in our community. Per the report, prior to 2016 there was not access to clean data that could be used in regard to behavioral health incidents. Since the start of the initiative in 2016, the Fishers Fire and Emergency Services Department and the Fishers Police Department have worked to ensure accurate data. In addition to the public service organizations, Hamilton Southeastern Schools have also been a part of the initiative as have businesses and other organizations.

The City of Fishers along with a number of organizations has taken on a mental health initiative. Back in May, they released a community report on the initiative.

From the data collected, it has been seen that there has been a decrease in disciplinary action in the schools as well as a decrease in the number of missed school days. Additionally, there has been an increase in the average GPA within the district.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the State of Indiana. The first year of tracking in 2016 saw 11 suicides in the area (Fishers). This increased to 14 in 2017, before decreasing to 10 in 2018. With more than 9 million people pondering the idea of suicide, it is core focus for mental health well-being.

Unfortunately, while 2017 saw a huge decrease in the need for immediate detentions dropping to 138 from 191 in 2016, in 2018 this went back up to 197.

Several initiatives have been happening to try to reduce the numbers even further. These initiatives include promoting the #StigmaFreeFishers through social media and other locations. An evidence-based suicide prevention lesson has been taught to over 1,757 eighth-grade students. Four student clubs have been created, which include the Bring Change to Mind at Fishers High School and Hamilton Southeastern High School. The Calm Squad was created at Fall Creek Elementary. These are in addition to other groups that already existed with a focus on acceptance and related topics. The schools are also providing mental health services when need, which have been used by nearly 100 students.

The following video summarizes a lot of the data and results from the initiative. This includes the HSE School results:

To stay informed on the Fishers Mental Health Initiatives, you can sign up on the Stigma Free Fishers site.

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