Chapter Three promises to teach us about “Quick and Painless Crisis Drills.”
Boyd describes the myriad problems that plagued her school’s crisis drills when she took over: teachers who didn’t know where to go, loud students, louder teachers, kids leaving one class to join another, etc. She realized that if any of these drills were going to be effective, they would have to adhere to one overarching principle: every student had to remain silent and listen for adult instructions.
Easier said than done, right? Here are her steps for making it happen:
- APs hold grade-level assemblies in the first week of each year to deliver the procedures and review expectations
- Teachers follow up with every class to make sure the class knows the procedures
- Admins make an all-school announcement prior to the first drill to prepare students
- Admins call the parents of any student who does not follow procedures
- In October, drills go “surprise-only” and anyone who violates the procedures serves in-school suspension
In-school suspension probably seems harsh for talking during a fire drill. She admits that over 40 student served ISS the first time they enforce the policy. But I guess when you want it done right, you’ve got to go big.
She ends with a four-step process for implementing and embedding school-wide procedures:
- Explain your reasons for the procedure
- Coach the procedure until you get close to complete compliance
- Enforce consequences for those who still do not comply
- Hold fast to the standard you envision; outlast the acting out
I’d have to think being able to execute perfect crisis drills would be a dream for any admin. But I do imagine tricky conversations in which you’d have to explain why a student was getting suspended for talking during a fire drill. I suppose whenever you’re dealing with safety issues, you have a bit of a trump card in your pocket for issues like this. Sounds like a trade-off that’s worth it if you really value being able to pull off these drills perfectly.