Eastwood Elementary School in the Decatur City School System and Challenger Middle School in the Huntsville City School System both earned prestigious recognition from Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange this fall: The Alabama Safe Schools Initiative Award of Excellence. The award recognizes the school’s commitment to safety with a special emphasis placed on the use of technology to ensure that schools are safe.
“Ensuring safe schools for our students has never been more important, and this program will help us identify the best practices that schools should be using,” said Attorney General Strange. “I look forward to sharing these best practices with other schools.”
An independent panel of judges decided which schools would be selected for the award after nominations were submitted earlier this year. In addition to reviewing each school’s safety plan, the judges also based final scores on six criteria and put an emphasis on schools that use technology to promote safety.
Challenger Middle (Huntsville)
“We are honored and excited to accept this award for District 8 and Huntsville City Schools. The faculty and staff of Challenger Middle School are committed to providing our students with an excellent academic experience which includes a safe environment in which to learn,” said Challenger Middle School Principal Dr. Dianne L. Hasty. “It is because our parents and community have placed their trust in us, that we are both humbled and obligated to provide an atmosphere where students feel safe and secure.”
“We rely on SchoolCast as one of our primary avenues of communication with our parents,” said Principal Hasty. “At Challenger Middle School we communicate delayed openings, closures or early dismissals via SchoolCast as does Huntsville City Schools. SchoolCast allows us to make sure our parents are notified of important events, news and alerts. We also send text messages and emails to be sure that parents receive communications in multiple forms of media.”
Eastwood Elementary (Decatur)
“I am excited that Eastwood was selected to receive the Attorney General’s Safe School Initiative Award of Excellence. Our faculty and staff work diligently each day to ensure the safety of our students,” said Eastwood Elementary Principal Margaret Greer. “Eastwood has tremendous support from all of our community agencies. Mr. Dwight Satterfield, our safety supervisor, is a valued resource to us. Through community resources, our faculty and staff, and the Decatur City School’s central office personnel, the Eastwood stakeholders can be assured that our school is a safe environment for their children.”
Eastwood Elementary School specifically mentioned SchoolCast in the judging criteria submitted under the Crisis Management Preparation/Training section. Eastwood scored 14 out of a possible 15 points in that section. It stated: “We use a rapid alert and notification system, SchoolCast, to send out information to our parents, students, and faculty. This program allows us to send out emails, text messages, and voice messages.”
Attorney General Strange is personally presenting the awards for the 2013 Awards of Excellence winners at school assemblies this fall.
SchoolCast and the SchoolCast for Me parent app were developed by Birmingham, Alabama-based High Ground Solutions, Inc., which creates leading edge communication and learning products for schools, churches and other organizations and businesses. SchoolCast is the leading rapid alert and notification system provider in Alabama. More than half of all the state’s public K-12 school systems use SchoolCast each day to deliver attendance calls, lunch balance notices, reminders, updates, and a variety of non-emergency and emergency messages to help increase parental involvement and student achievement. http://www.schoolcast.com/