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Safety and Security Updates

December 7, 2022

As security is a top priority for Fremont School District 79, it is regular practice for the District to contract with an outside vendor to audit our District’s safety and security efforts. In September, the District engaged with Facility Engineering Associates to conduct a security audit of the District’s buildings and behaviors. The administration has reviewed the findings and are working with staff and contractors to implement the recommendations outlined in the reports. Safety and security is a continuous operation and the District is constantly evaluating ways to improve.

On Friday, December 2, 2022, the District met with representatives from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Regional Office of Education. We are working with these agencies to create a template crisis plan for Lake County. We are excited to partner with them to continue to keep our schools safe and secure.


November 22, 2022

Fremont School District 79 is dedicated to the safe transport of our students to and from school. Each route is inclusive of a thorough safety process. Please see below for some frequently asked questions in regard to the FSD79 Transportation Department.

My student didn’t get off the bus, what do I do now?

  • Call the Transportation Department at 847-566-0305 and press “0”. The Transportation Department is staffed until 5:00 p.m.

  • In the rare event you can’t reach anyone at the Transportation Department, call the District Office at 847-566-0169. The District Office is staffed until 4:30 p.m.

  • NEW THIS YEAR! When calling Transportation after 4:30 p.m., there is an option to be transferred to an emergency line.

What happens when Transportation is notified that a student didn’t get off the bus?

  • School administration is notified.

  • Dispatch will call the student's assigned bus. The bus pulls over to account for all the students.

  • If the student is not on the assigned bus, dispatch will contact each bus individually to pull over and check their bus.

  • Once the student is located, the administration will contact the parent to confirm their correct bus stop and will drop the student off at their assigned bus stop or the school where the parent can meet the bus to pick them up.

What other safety measures does the Transportation Department follow?

  • All students in Pre-K through 5th grade are assigned bus tags with routing information.

  • School personnel carefully monitor and sort students to their correct bus in the afternoon.

  • Buses are arranged in the same spot every day to maintain a routine for our students.

  • Drivers are expected to learn their student's names.

  • Substitute bus drivers are expected to check bus tags as students enter the bus.

  • Students are not allowed to ride home the bus with friends.

What can parents do to support their child during the transport of their student?

  • Ensure your student knows what bus they ride.

  • Let your student know that if they are on the wrong bus for any reason that they will be safe and will not be in trouble. Also, they need to tell the bus driver ASAP.

  • Check your student’s backpacks often to ensure that they have a bus tag and that the information is correct.

  • Let Transportation know immediately if your student is missing a bus tag.

Thank you for your assistance in the safe transport of our students. Any questions or concerns may be directed to Kate Ison, Director of Transportation.


October 19, 2022

October 17-21 is National School Bus Safety Week. Please familiarize yourself with some helpful tips for keeping everyone safe when in the presence of a school bus. Thank you for your cooperation, and thank you to all of our amazing bus drivers for all they do on a daily basis in order to keep everyone safe.

Motorist Danger Zone Flier (PDF)


September 21, 2022

Dear Fremont Staff, Parents, & Community,

Our community’s responsibility to safeguard our children is one of great importance. Collaboratively, school leaders and law enforcement design thorough and thoughtful plans to both prevent and respond to emergencies. We have worked diligently over the years to enact advanced security measures, while continually making adjustments to our crisis plans, incorporating the most up-to-date practices.

FSD79 utilizes the “ALICE” protocol to enhance preparedness in the event of a crisis situation. Under ALICE, students and staff are empowered to take the steps necessary to increase safety. ALICE means:

A = Alert: Staff is notified that a threat is present, and that defensive action is to be taken;

L = Lockdown: As a first defense, students are ushered out of sight and protected behind locked doors;

I = Inform: Staff is notified of the nature and location of the threat to build situational awareness;

C = Counter: As a last resort, staff and students may work to either physically avoid or engage the threat; and

E = Evacuate: As a preferred action, staff and students will move rapidly away from the threat.

This school year, we will continue to train students and staff in the ALICE protocol inclusive of the following exercises:

During the week of September 26, the Elementary, Intermediate, and Middle Schools are scheduled to hold a “rally point” exercise, where children will be evacuated from their buildings, and directed toward safe, pre-designated assembly sites.

During the week of October 24, the Elementary, Intermediate, and Middle Schools are scheduled to hold an intruder drill, where both staff and students will be expected to apply ALICE procedures.

These exercises are a collaboration between the school district and Lake County Sheriff’s Office. We also work closely with the Countryside Fire Protection District. Throughout the process, we remain focused on ensuring developmentally appropriate practices are in place for our students. Our goal is to reinforce preparedness and empower our staff and students in the event of a crisis situation. If you have any specific questions, please contact your child’s principal. Thank you for your continued collaboration in ensuring safety within our schools.

Sincerely,

Dr. Trisha Kocanda
Superintendent of Schools

Lt. Michael Keller
Lake County Sheriff’s Office


August 12, 2022

Dear Fremont Community,

We are eager to welcome our students and staff back to campus next week. Creating a culture of safety is a top priority and requires a strong partnership between home and school. Our schools are an extension of our great community, and we join you in an unwavering commitment to uphold high-quality safety and security standards for our students and staff. Every year, we make revisions and improvements to our safety procedures based on current best practices. These improvements are embedded into our training with our law enforcement partners. We also work with national school safety experts, mental health professionals, and various Lake County agencies dedicated to working with schools.

As we launch a new school year, it is important to share an overview of our efforts with our families. Please visit the “Safety & Security” webpage on our District website to learn more.

Training & Drills

All staff and students receive annual training on our school safety practices and procedures at our four schools. The Lake County Sheriff Office, Mundelein Police Department, and Countryside Fire Protection District lead various drills each fall. Per state requirements, principals proactively communicate intruder drills with students and families.

Security Audits

The District partners with national school security experts to audit and recommend improvements to operations and facilities. Our next audit is scheduled for this September so we can embed the recommendations in our capital improvement planning.  We also conduct regular internal audits, such as daily perimeter checks and two-way radio testing.

Communication

The District uses Blackboard as the emergency communication platform. Blackboard is able to call, text, and email emergency contacts with important information. We will run a test of our Blackboard system on September 1 to ensure families and staff have accurate contact information in our database. 

Social and Emotional Health & Well-Being

The social and emotional health and well-being of our students and staff is deeply rooted in our safety and security plans. We recognize that as individuals, we all go through difficult and challenging times in our lives, and we encourage anyone in need of assistance to take advantage of our dedicated staff of social workers and psychologists. Help is always available for those who are struggling.

It is equally important that our students have an adult they can turn to if they are concerned about a loved one or peer. We connect students with needed resources and actively assess concerns and/or threats. In addition to our own internal reporting methods, we are adding the Text-A-Tip service to our list of resources for our middle school students this year. 

Throughout the coming weeks and months, we are committed to regularly keeping our families up-to-date on the topic of school safety and security. Upcoming communications will focus around the District’s Crisis Plan, as well as age-appropriate safety drills.

Creating a culture of safety in our schools and our community is a comprehensive effort. Please reach out to a District staff member or the local authorities if you become aware of something that you find troubling or worrisome. Together, we can make a difference. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Trisha Kocanda
Superintendent of Schools