New security measures to be in place when Kyrene students go back to school Aug. 4


By Diana Whittle

Newly remodeled lobbies in seven Kyrene District schools will be ready when classes resume Aug. 4. This according to Eric Nethercutt, director of transportation and facilities.

The schools include Brisas, Manitas, Mirada, Niños, Norte, Lomas and Akimel A-al, according to Nethercutt, who has served on the district’s Safety and Security Team over the last several years.

But, he emphasized, the changes were made to improve safety and security of school campuses, not to create an imposing environment.

Additionally, a new procedure will be in place when school starts which involves buzzing visitors through the lobby door into the school. This is just one of the safety modifications that were put in place as the result of recommendations by law enforcement and Homeland Security experts, Nethercutt said.

In addition, visitors will be separated from staff by a large countertop of about 20 feet and a wall with five panels of glass. There will be top- and bottom- openings to allow for deliveries, the passage of packages or backpacks.

Students will enter through a separate lobby door, which will allow them direct access to the principal and secretary, and to the health office.

In 2005, voters approved capital bonds that provided the funding to develop a plan for student safety and security, including the following:
• Portable buildings were removed from all schools;
• Corridors were built so all classrooms that opened to the outside now open into a corridor;
• Fencing at some schools was changed; and
• An integrated security system has been installed to include intrusion alarms, access control and video surveillance cameras.

The remaining 18 schools and the district office should be completed by the end of Summer 2015, Nethercut said.

The Safety and Security Team is working with the principal and office staff of each school to customize it for individual needs, as much as possible, while staying within the district standards.

Another improvement is a new roof for the adjacent Waggoner Elementary and Kyrene Middle schools, expected to be completed by November.

Date for teacher meet & greet announced — Families will be able to meet their child’s teacher for the upcoming year on the following days:

Middle School: Wednesday, July 30 from 5-7 p.m.; Elementary: Thursday, July 31 from 5:30-7 p.m.

This is also the evening when families can purchase PTO items, place money in the child’s lunch account, drop off school supplies, etc.

Community Education information will be on display concerning new and existing programs for before and after-school times.

Kyrene Foundation needs donations for opening day on July 24 — For most families, back-to-school time means shopping for new clothes, shoes and school supplies.

However, some families in the Kyrene district need a helping hand to get necessary items for their students and turn to the Kyrene Family Resource Center, 1330 W. Dava Drive.

The opening date of the KFRC is Thursday, July 24, between 2 and 6 p.m., and staff is asking residents who can donate to please bring the following items to the center on Tuesday, July 22, and Thursday, July 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

New school supplies; gently used clothing, shoes and socks; staple food items, including peanut butter and jelly, pasta and sauce, dried beans and rice.

In addition, the resource center also distributes hygiene kits that include personal items such as soap, shampoo and conditioner, diapers and baby wipes. There is an on-going need for these items as they are distributed all year long.





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