OSPI January 2020 School Safety Blog

Mike Donlin | OSPI School Safety Center
Jan 01, 2021
Safety blog


Happy New Year! We have been waiting for 2021 for a long, long time now. Let’s kick off this new year school safety blog by considering something you might not expect. Consider this:

We all teach reading.

For those of you who have known me for a while, you may know that I was an English teacher for years – both English Language Arts and English As a Second Language. I have taught every grade level from K thru graduate level courses. Mainly in secondary classrooms in different places around the country – the world, even. So what? How does that apply to school safety?

Language Arts teachers teach reading. Reading skills apply across all curriculum areas. Math teachers, science teachers, Social Studies teachers, PE teachers, music teachers – all of us – also teach reading by taking basic reading skills and adapting them to specific content areas. Vocabulary. Structures. Rules. We all use them. We build on them. We deepen, sharpen and focus them to meet the needs of each specific subject.

So again…. How does that apply to school safety?

Just as reading lays the groundwork to better access other areas of study, comprehensive school safety planning lays the groundwork to better address all kinds of threats and hazards. And those threats and hazards impact the physical, emotional, psychological, and educational safety and well-being of our students and staff.

We are coming out of one of the most challenging times in our history. We have adapted, sharpened, modified, and focused our work to that environment for the better part of a full year now. We have also worked hard at keeping ourselves, our staffs and our students healthy and safe.

In terms of prevention, mitigation, protection, response and recovery, we are hopefully approaching recovery. Let’s adapt what we have experienced and learned to the next stages of school safety. Your comprehensive school safety plan is your umbrella for covering all the bases, teaching skills, coordinating, collaborating, and adapting to new situations – even new threats and hazards.

You are the “reading teacher” for your comprehensive school safety plan. Revisit your school safety plan. How current is it today? How can we adapt, build on, improve, and strengthen our pre-pandemic plans? What updates are needed for the coming newer normal? What new requirements do we have to meet? What skills do we need to practice, to build on? What else do we need to consider? Who might we have forgotten to include in the process? Are we ready for the next big thing?

Please feel free to let me know what help you need to do this. What issues would you like to see covered in these school safety blogs this year?

We are all in this together.

We all teach reading.


  • school safety
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