Hardened schools and US federal administrations

Whatever the outcome is in November 2020, educating our children in a hardened and safe school should be at the forefront of any administration’s agenda.

Not following up with your prospects is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain.”

This quote from Michelle Moore’s book, Selling Simplified, highlights why it is important to know and understand the current political climate.

The United States General Election will be held on November 3, 2020. The victor, Republican or Democrat, will shape how schools apply for and are awarded grants.

Some questions to ask yourself; Will Betsy DeVos still serve as Secretary of Education? Will Betsy DeVos still be influential? Will Betsy DeVos be a lame duck Secretary? Only a parlor psychic such as Oda Mae Brown, played by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie, Ghost, could answer these questions.

Whatever the outcome is in November 2020, educating our children in a hardened and safe school should be at the forefront of any administration’s agenda.

The names of the school safety grants might change, but the process is etched in stone. Here are some tips to fund hardened schools through school safety grants:

  • As with any grant preparation, always review and read the grant request for applications (RFA). Almost weekly, I encounter executive directors, school superintendents and other senior leaders who never read the RFA. Likewise, they are uninformed and ill prepared for even the simplest of grants. If the leader is too busy to read a 100-page RFA, have them review the frequently asked questions.
  • School safety planning is of utmost importance, it is time consuming, and it drives this grant forward. To begin, applicants must have internal risk assessments completed on all schools, bus routes, and personnel (students, teachers and staff) prior to applying. Risk assessments can take months to complete, so advance planning is a must. Risk assessments examine who and how people might be harmed, identify existing precautions and list actions to eliminate the hazards. Once a hazard is identified, a solution eliminates the hazard.
  • The funding request and integration are the solutions that eliminate the hazard. The funding request must be derived from evidence-based research. Once completed, match the research and solutions with the allowable cost list.
  • The management and implementation plan is the oversight for school safety grants and occurs post award. To ensure grant success with limited bumps in the road, assign a skilled program overseer. Oversight includes purchasing, receiving, installing and maintenance.
  • To bolster the sustainability plan, the program manager should make a continuity binder containing security related items; this will include new and past efforts. This continuity binder will allow for seamless transition when new staff arrive and when older staff leave.
  • The budget description should be straight forward. Describe and link each purchased item to the safety grant.

In 2011, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, opined, In America, education is still the great equalizer.” Secretary Duncan’s words conjoined with your school safety grant will ensure every child is educated in a safe and secure school. This will allow our children to succeed in school and excel in life.