October 18, 2022

BBB Safe Schools Week

BBB Safe Schools Week

Dear Berkley Building Blocks families,

Today we participated in the district wide Shelter in Place drill.  Before I go into the logistics of that drill, I’d like to cover some of the updated safety measures taken at Building Blocks.

Over the past few months, Building Blocks has updated our school safety practices to include:

  • Installed NightLock door security systems on every room.  These provide an extra layer of security in the event that a door needs to be barricaded.

  • Equipped each classroom with a Go-Bucket.  These buckets contain various useful materials in the event of a longer term lockdown in a classroom.

  • Tested all Emergency Call Buttons in every classroom.  These are a direct line from every classroom to the front office.

  • Visited our school reunification site,  Congregation Beth Shalom, and formalized a procedure for pickup in the event of an emergency evacuation.

  • Held yearly ALICE refreshers with all staff members. 

  • Increased collaboration with Oak Park Public Safety via walkthroughs, training, new officer introductions and regular meetings. 

  • Formed a School Safety Advisory Committee that is composed of various stakeholders (administration, paras, secretaries and teachers). 

  • Require all staff and visitors to wear ID badges at all times in District buildings. 

  • Established quarterly meetings with each of the local public safety departments (Berkley Public Safety, Huntington Woods Public Safety & Oak Park Public Safety). 

  • Universal emergency bags in every classroom. 

  • Updated school trauma kits and expanded the training of staff members in CPR, Narcan and Stop-the-Bleed. 

Today, we practiced a Shelter In Place drill with the Berkley School District. During a Shelter In Place drill, our normal day continues, but no one is able to enter or exit the building or go onto the playground.  During our drill, students continued with their regular routine.  Our drill today lasted six minutes.

This week we also practiced a fire drill as part of our safe schools week.  As part of licensing and accreditation, we hold monthly fire drills and quarterly tornado drills.  Our drills are held at various times throughout the day so that all staff and students know what to do, including what to do if we are on the playground, in the gym, or in the restroom.

Additionally, all classroom adults reviewed ALICE  (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) procedures and what to do in the event of an emergency.  As a classroom staff, they determined how they would work together during an emergency in their classroom, as well as how they would evacuate children from the classroom.  Back in August, during our professional learning, we as a building staff practiced what we would do if we ever had to evacuate the building.  

We do not plan to practice an evacuation and  reunification drill with our children.  But we have practiced as adults so that we know what to do in the event of an emergency.  We have walked the site of Congregation Beth Shalom and discussed the best ways to get out of our building and across Lincoln.  Following our visit to Congregation Beth Shalom, we met as a staff to solve issues that arose during our trip and to answer any questions that staff members had about our visit.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Take care,

Katie Fotiu

Supervisor of Early Childhood