Teachers, administrators embrace safety features of new buildings

The Gresham-Barlow School Bond includes numerous investments to Increase safety and security at every school across the district. As school bond construction continues, District staff continue to work to ensure all of the new and renovated buildings are designed to maximize the safety and protection of students. 

New elementary schools at North Gresham and East Gresham were designed for faculty and staff to respond rapidly to any potential event. The central office of each new building now has controls that allow for the building to enter an immediate lockout or lockdown in the event of any incident. This technology is fully integrated into the newly installed intrusion alarms, access control improvements, and video surveillance systems. In addition, funds from the 2016 Gresham-Barlow School Bond are being used to implement this technology at every single school in the district. 

Before schools closed in March, Gresham-Barlow School District’s Director of Safety and Security Kevin Sutherland was working diligently to train school staff on how to use these new safety features. The goal is to make sure all faculty are fully educated about the new capabilities of these investments, from teachers to principals to the custodial staff.

Sutherland is proud of the district’s commitment to ensuring these new safety features are used properly. “I think these investments in training are taking our commitment to the next level. We’re making sure staff in each building know how to use it, now that we’ve built it.” 

“The bond has enabled us to integrate all of our security systems in a seamless way,” says John Koch, the District’s Executive Director of K-12 Education. “We’re now able to monitor and adjust in real time to situations as well as center our training around a logical, integrated system.” 

Sutherland has also been partnering with Gresham Police and the existing Student Resource Officers on site to insure collaboration between the agencies. He noted that Gresham HS Principal Drake Shelton has also spearheaded initiatives to engage student leadership on how they can uphold the district’s commitment to safety and security as well. 

Gresham-Barlow District Superintendent Dr. A. Katrise Perera noted that these investments make it easier for students to learn and succeed. “I strongly believe that safe and healthy schools contribute to the academic, mental, and physical development of students.  Students will thrive in safe and healthy school environments where they can build strong relationships, make connections, see the relevance, identify a purpose, have a sense of community, and feel physically and mentally safe.”

The District’s initiative to properly train administrators and faculty is just one of many underway to ensure that the investments of the Gresham-Barlow School Bond maximize the safety and security of our staff and students. Bond funding has been used to install internally-locking classroom doors at schools across the district, to upgrade emergency radio communications across numerous classrooms and offices, and to install updated school entrances that ensure each office can monitor who is entering the building. 

“The voters really stepped up to make sure our staff and buildings are more secure,” said Koch.