At St. Catherine of Siena School, student safety is high priority and something we continuously review and improve upon in order to create the most secure environment possible for your children. We approach safety from several aspects: planning, training of staff and students, secure facilities, and partnership with local law enforcement.
An emergency operations plan was formulated following a 2017 school security assessment by the State of New Hampshire Department of Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. This plan is reviewed and updated yearly with input from Manchester Police Department to reflect best practices, and forms the basis for all emergency management decisions in our school.
Every member of our faculty and staff is required to participate yearly in active shooter training, provided by Manchester Police Department. This training gives our teachers and staff the most updated recommendations of law enforcement in handling emergencies. Our faculty and students take part in monthly lockdown and shelter in place drills during the school year; we ensure these drills take place at differing times of the day with students in varied locations. Law enforcement is typically on site during these drills to provide feedback on how we can improve in our response. We believe that the more frequently we practice reacting to different scenarios, the better equipped we are to handle them should they arise.
In recent years, we have installed additional safety features throughout the building. The Nightlock device, installed on all interior doors in 2018, was recommended to us by Manchester Police Department as an upgrade to our existing security plan, and we have worked closely with Manchester police and fire to ensure proper installation and use of this product. All faculty and staff have been trained in the use of the locks, and our emergency response plan now includes Nightlock as part of our safety procedures. While Nightlock is gaining popularity in schools across the country, St. Catherine’s remains the only school in the state to receive approval for and install this product.
Additionally, lockdown shades on windows of all interior doors and exterior windows have been installed. We have installed security cameras around the perimeter of the building which store data for six months and allows us to monitor outside activity from the inside of the school. Our public address system has been expanded to include outdoor speakers so school personnel on our two playgrounds may be aware of any emergency being announced and respond accordingly.
We are grateful to local law enforcement for their guidance and support in all security undertakings. While we do not like to consider the possibility of an emergency situation occurring in our school, the safety of all children in the building is paramount and we are committed to having the best equipped building and trained staff in the event of an emergency.