Dear GISC Community,
We are now getting into the routine of the 2023-2024 school year and would like to ask you to take the time to review the following important safety information. Please also take the time to talk with your child/ren about general safety protocols as well as GISC safety measures.
If you need to enter the school between official school hours after 8:20 am, please make sure that you check in at the Front Office. Beginning at 8:20 am, all exterior GISC doors will be locked, and all personnel and visitors must be visibly identified with a school identity badge.
Please read below about our safety and security protocols at GISC as compiled by our Director of Building Operations, Stephen Waguespack.
As we shared in the Elternbrief last week, even in our neighborhood, public safety incidents still occur. When we become aware of situations like this, we are in contact with the police and/or local officials and will share with you the information we have at the time.
During the busy times of pick-up and drop-off and no matter how you get to school, please remember that living in a large metropolitan area like Chicago requires us all to be careful and stay attentive. The Chicago Police Department provides multiple categories of safety tips
including robbery prevention tips
CAMPUS SECURITY AND SAFETY PROCEDURES
Arrival and Dismissal Safety
To maintain safety for students, staff and neighbors, cars should not stop in the middle of the street on Berteau Avenue, nor double park to drop off students. Please go around the block to find a safe drop-off or pick-up location for students.
Crosswalks should not be blocked, and do not obstruct the views of pedestrians (do not park on the corner even if you remain in your car).
Please dismount from your bike on the sidewalk to avoid collisions with pedestrians.
Please do not leave your car idling and check your surroundings when you exit and enter your vehicle.
When students are dropped off at school, K-8 students should come into the building through the main entrance and preschool students through the playground gate on Berteau Avenue.
K-8 students are dismissed in the parking lot with each class and the supervising teacher. Preschool students are dismissed on the playground with supervising teachers. Middle School students who have permission to leave campus without a parent or guardian will leave the campus through the parking lot.
School and Classroom Security
Exterior doors remain closed and locked at all times with the exception of morning student arrival when employees of GISC monitor the main entrance door and the playground gate. All visitors (parents and/or guests, contractors, vendors, volunteers, etc.) are checked in at the main office with a GISC employee and given an ID badge.
Parents, students or other visitors may not open the door for other visitors without permission from the main office. All persons shall abide by the regulatory signs posted on school property (no trespassing, keep doors closed, etc.). Any persons violating the provisions of the school’s policy with respect to visitor registration will be asked to leave the school premises. The school utilizes security cameras and periodically monitors the public areas of the campus.
GISC will use emergency text communications and send an email to all parents/guardians in the event of an emergency. Each year, a test communication will be sent to all families by October 15 to ensure proper contact information.
Campus Evacuation Plan
In the event of an emergency that causes the need to evacuate the GISC campus, students, staff, and guests will go to the nearby Chicago Montessori school at 1713 W Cullom Ave.
Fire, severe weather, and school lockdown drills are held annually. Fire drills are unannounced and performed with the Chicago Fire Department. Severe weather drills are conducted at least once per year.
Lockdown drills are conducted at least three times a school year and the first drill must be completed within 90 days from the first day of the school year. At least during one of these drills, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) will conduct the drill, which is a school shooting incident drill. There will be no simulations. GISC will provide sufficient information and notification to parents and guardians in advance of any walk-through lockdown drill that involves the participation of students. GISC will provide parents and guardians an opportunity to exempt their child for any reason from participating in the walk-through lockdown drill.
Since 2021, GISC implemented five (5) alert scenarios based on the Standard Response Protocol, developed by I Love U Guys (https://iloveuguys.org
) and part of Safe and Sound Schools Toolkits. Safe and Sound Schools (https://safeandsoundschools.org
) was founded by parents who lost children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the organization is a national non-profit school safety advocacy and resource center that provides research-based tools and support for crisis prevention, response, and recovery. Safe and Sound Schools is committed to protecting every school and every student, every day.
A one-page information guide for parents is provided here:
For preschool students, we try to conduct the drill when they are on the playground or a field trip, but preschool teachers still explain safety situations under the five (5) alert scenarios (Hold, Secure, Lockdown, Evacuate, Shelter).
Homeroom teachers speak to their class about lockdown drills and procedures before the first drill with sensitivity and care, and talk them through the drill afterwards to make sure all questions (if any) are answered. The discussions with students will vary by age group (preschool, elementary school, and middle school).
In emergency circumstances, students will not be dismissed from school until circumstances allow for a safe dismissal, and unless parents are able to collect them personally.
Emergency Closing Policy
The safety and welfare of our students and staff are our priority. Therefore, during periods of inclement weather or emergency situations, the school may be closed for situations that create unsafe conditions. School closure decisions during forecast inclement weather will normally be made before 6:00 am the day of school closure. If a school closing occurs during the day due to unforeseen circumstances, GISC’s safe place is Chicago Montessori.
Crisis Management Plan
GISC maintains a detailed Crisis Management Plan that provides guidance for all employees for various crisis situations and practice drills. These plans are readily accessible to employees and include school and bus evacuations, fire emergencies, severe weather, and incidents around campus or on campus with intruders or public safety threats. There are five alert scenarios: three levels of lockdown procedures (clear hallways due to a medical emergency that is not a threat to anyone else; shelter due to an off-campus threat in proximity to the school; and cope with an imminent threat to safety inside the building or anywhere on campus); hostage events; bomb threats; campus evacuations (leaving campus to remain safe); reverse campus evacuations (returning to campus to remain safe); medical emergencies; and severe allergic reactions.