April 25, 2019

You may recall the power outage on February 14 of this year when we asked you to pick up your students, then reversed that decision when the lights came back on. In the aftermath of that event, we gathered reams of feedback from emails, a survey, and focus groups, and district staff met to consider the input and develop improvements to the system. While very sorry for the disruption caused by the way that day rolled out, we felt fortunate to have had a learning opportunity to get better at disaster preparedness.

Everyone who prepares for emergencies in schools knows that the process by which students are released to whoever is picking them up is going to be where the rubber hits the road. Since February 14, a Kentfield teacher and parent have given this nexus a great deal of thought and came to the district with a better mousetrap for getting students connected with their family members or approved friends and out the door quickly. They have worked with administration at Bacich and Kent and will be piloting their system before the school year is out and making adjustments in anticipation of being fully functional for the start of school in September.

There will be much more to share in this column about how the system works and the part parents will play in it in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you receive a request to participate in a simulation, please consider saying yes. The more fine tuning that can be done, the better the result will be when we have to put the system to the test in a real disaster.

Thank you to Annalyn Chargualaf-Peluso and Farah Maisonneuve for the hours of work they have put into this project on behalf of all students in the district.

Liz Schott