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From the Editor

Staying Informed and Alert


The Katonah-Lewisboro (N.Y.) School District's new emergency telephone notification system was activated during the winter of 2005-2006, but I didn't know it. On the first potential snow day that December, I expected as usual to dial in to the district office and then, while drinking my coffee, to hit redial until a line opened up. Instead, the superintendent gave us a call. It was one of those warm and fuzzy moments when I loved our life, our community, winters in the Northeast-it was all good. With holiday music playing in the background, he let us know, as well as everyone else in the entire district who was listening to the same recorded message, that schools were closed and that perhaps it would be a good day to read a book with your child.

Fast forward to March 2008. The Meramec River in Missouri had swollen with rainwater and was threatening surrounding communities. Even with schools closed for spring break, administrators in the Valley Park School District used their emergency notifi cation system to contact school families and ask that they help fill sandbags. In this issue's "The Evolution of Emergency Notification Systems" we explain that mass notification systems have evolved tremendously to meet the challenges of inclement weather, school violence, and other emergency situations. This technology has become more capable, varied in its delivery, and affordable. If yours is a district considering such a system or looking for an upgrade, we've also highlighted the most popular systems available. In "Do You Know the Drill?" Senior Features Editor Angela Pascopella writes about the emergency drills more states are mandating each year. According to Ken Trump, president and CEO of National School Safety and Security Services, the best line of defense-even more important than having a well-fortified bulding-is a well trained, highly alert and informed staff and student body." These two features focus on communicating safety information and staying safe within school buildings. These are two topics that we cover on a regular basis in DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION, along with technology, administration and finance, standards and assessment, facilities and construction, curriculum, special ed and English Language Learners.

With holiday music playing, he let us know that schools were closed.

But how can districts perform as they need to without fairly compensated administrators? Our eighth annual salary survey will let you know how you and your staff fare on a nationwide basis.

I hope that you will enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Let me know which articles you find most interesting and what you think may be missing from the mix. In addition to preparing for the new school year, I hope you are taking some time for yourself and your family.


Judy Faust Hartnett, Editor