By Jarred Meeks
As Zionsville Community Schools prepares for rising enrollment in the next few years, enhanching safety is a top priority for school leaders.
“We know the research. Brain research, in particular, tells us that if students are not happy and feel safe at school, they actually cannot learn,” Zionsville Community Schools Chief Academic Officer Kris Devereaux said.
At the Sept. 17 State of the Schools address, school leaders outlined how they have adapted the school district’s approach to safety.
Officials addressed the schools’ partnerships with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, Zionsville Police Dept., Zionsville Fire Dept., Boone County services and school safety specialists to maintain protocols and implement procedural safeguards to ensure the physical and emotional safety of students and staff, including bus drivers.
“Our partnerships in Boone County are what make school safety great, and safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Chief Operations Officer Rebecca Coffman said.
ZCS also has multiple certified school safety specialists at each school, although the district is only legally required to have one.
ZCS Safety Director Chad Smith said he wants students to feel more connected each day throughout the school year. He compared school safety efforts to an iceberg, saying most of the works is unseen, and hat the most fundamental aspect is prevention.
“The old rule of thumb (is), if you can go away from danger, you go away from danger,” Smith said.