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Superintendent's Message 2018-08-16

Dear SLCSD Families and Community,

School starts on Monday, and I am so excited! I’ve had the wonderful opportunity over the past few days to speak to many of our district employees. I can sense their excitement as well. I have challenged all of them to discover their superpowers – because they truly are superheroes – and to use those powers to make a difference in the lives of our students. Whether their superpower is teaching, advocating, listening, or understanding, they all have the ability to help our students reach their highest potential and to ensure we follow our mission of Excellence and Equity: every student, every classroom, every day.

I cannot think about the start of school next week without recognizing the huge amount of work that has taken place over the summer to make sure our schools and employees are ready for the new year.

  • Our custodial teams have spent hundreds of hours deep cleaning our buildings and making sure they are safe and healthy learning environments.
  • Our grounds crews have meticulously mowed, trimmed, pruned, and weeded to make our school campuses beautiful.
  • Our technicians and IT employees have worked all summer making sure our computers, sound systems, and other classroom technology is working and ready.
  • Our teachers have spent countless hours attending trainings to improve their teaching skills and getting their classrooms ready.
  • Our principals, school secretaries, and school counselors have worked on master schedules and class lists to make sure each student takes the classes he or she needs to succeed.
  • And so much more!

Another major focus for SLCSD this year is school safety. Our Emergency Preparedness committee has spent the past two years reviewing and improving our district emergency plans.Starting this year, every elementary school and middle school in SLCSD will feature a security camera/doorbell at the front of each school. The doorbell/camera system will operate only during school hours, so parents will still be able to drop off/pick up their students as they normally would. If a parent or anyone else wants to come into the building during the school day, they’ll have to ring the doorbell and be buzzed in by the front office.

Every single person who works inside a school (administrators, teachers, custodial workers, child nutrition staff, paraprofessionals, etc.) will be trained on emergency protocols to make sure that, in the event of a true emergency, each person knows what he or she is supposed to do to help. We will continue these trainings throughout the fall, in addition to running regular safety drills with our students. 

In conjunction with the new protocol trainings, we will also be using technology to help both during drills and during real emergencies. We have a mobile app available to our schools that can be used to share information during an incident. This same system will also run on the desktop computer of every teacher. For example, if an emergency drill (such as a lockdown or lockout) is called through the app, every teacher will receive a notification on their computer or phone. During an emergency, teachers and staff can communicate via the app to indicate which sections of the school are safe, where in the school a threat is located, etc. Local law enforcement officers will also have access to this data, which will be crucial when taking control of a crisis or emergency. 

SLCSD is ready, and we hope you and your children are ready and excited, too. We can’t wait to see you!

Yours in education,
Lexi Cunningham
Superintendent
Salt Lake City School District

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