Last June, the Mamaroneck School District committed to improving its communication protocols in times of real or perceived safety threats and measuring parent and staff satisfaction for these efforts. This commitment (and how the schools communicate with parents) is separate from the District’s ongoing safety plan that has been in place and continues to be operational at all school buildings.
The School District, in conjunction with an independent communications professional who has worked on crisis communications with hundreds of school districts in the tri-state area, organized and implemented a process over the summer for obtaining community feedback that included an online survey, dialogue with school and parent leaders and review of previous emergency communications.
On September 17 at the evening’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaps discussed specific outcomes/next steps identified as a result of this work.
The Outcomes/Next Steps included: The Superintendent will be the voice parents hear from in an emergency; New protocols have been established and aim to provide consistent messaging and improve clarity in times of heightened alert or crisis; Over the next couple months, the District will share its plan for future emergency communications and begin educating parents on the protocols that have been put in place. This will include information such as Terms Parents Need to Know (lockout, lockdown, shelter-in-place), sample messages parents will receive as an incident is unfolding and methods for communication both initially during an event and afterwards when more detailed information becomes available.
In collaboration with the PTAs and school building administrators, the District will launch an “Expect the Unexpected” education campaign, including an infographic and other materials, which will become part of the annual District communications in order to reach parents new to the District each year.