A Safe Arrival Program, when run correctly, assists the school in accountability for attendance and gives parents the peace of mind that their child has arrived safely at school. It also ensures that if a child has not arrived safely at school, attention is paid to the absent child immediately.
Leticia Barr, educator and administrator who writes Tech Savvy Mama recently commented that “a good program that ensures safe arrivals requires constant communication between parents and the school and also among the staff within the building. As a parent, I’m accountable for notifying the school when my children are absent per our school system policy and trust that my school will uphold their policy of notifying me in a timely manner if my child is absent.”
Key elements of a Safe Arrival Program
- Your school will need:
- dedicated voicemail;
- calendar or journal to record messages as well as pre-planned absences;
- emergency contact information for each student, with a list of phone numbers of parents, guardians or caregivers, in order of emergency priority. Recommended: a file box with a file card for each child listing the emergency contact information.
- A dedicated voicemail is available at the school and parents and guardians are expected to report an absent student prior to the start of the school day;
- Voicemail is checked and absentee reports are recorded within 30 minutes of the beginning of the school day, at the same time that teachers are taking attendance in the classroom;
- Absentee records from the Safe Arrival voicemail are cross-checked with the classroom attendance forms. Should there be any discrepancies, they are quickly double checked with the classroom teachers;
- Phone calls should be made to any remaining students’ homes who are absent and who were not reported absent on the dedicated Safe Arrival voicemail line;
- Should a parent or guardian not be reached during the initial call, parents, guardians, caregivers or other individuals should be called, in order of priority, to notify of the absence. Calls should be placed until a responsible adult can speak for the absent child;
- Should the school not reach a responsible adult in a given amount of time (example, 2 hours) the principal will be notified and take the next safety steps as determined by the school system.
© 2011, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.