In Nevada County, keeping students and schools safe is a top priority for every school administrator, law enforcement agency and local fire departments. As we return for another school year, families are asking about planning and preparedness for school emergencies, as well as prevention efforts. Local educational agencies, together with the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office, have developed strong partnerships between schools, law enforcement, fire services, and school community partners to improve campus and community safety.
Within Nevada County there are nine school districts that oversee multiple schools, as well as several charter and private schools. We are fortunate to have the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Grass Valley Police Department, Nevada City Police Department, and local California Highway Patrol serve and protect our community and schools. As well, multiple local and state fire agencies make up the response team in Nevada County.
With guidance and technical assistance from law enforcement and fire service partners, and the Readiness Emergency Management for School Technical Assistance Center, the public and charter schools in Nevada County have developed school safety plans that are regularly reviewed and updated. Plans include procedures for lockdowns, evacuations, active shooter, wildland fires, earthquakes and more. Each campus maintains plans that are tailored to their site and address critical, incident-specific, site-specific needs for that campus. Safety plans include communications protocols for connecting with law enforcement and messaging to families. Plans are formally reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that current safety requirements are met and best practices are implemented.
Fire and lockdown drills are scheduled throughout the school year to ensure students and staff are familiar with what is expected of them in the event of an emergency. Law enforcement and other public agencies have held active shooter drills on several school campuses to familiarize themselves with campus layouts and school safety plans. Agencies work collaboratively to develop relationships with the county office of education, school districts and charter school sites.
All schools strive to create a healthy school climate where students feel welcomed and connected. Collaboration with Nevada County Behavioral Health and other community partners works to provide resources available to students and families.
Students and families play an important role in the safety of our school campuses. They may be among the first to recognize warning signs of someone at-risk of hurting themselves or others. We encourage students and families to speak to a teacher, counselor, School Resource Officer, or another trusted adult to get help or report concerns.
Nevada County Superintendent of Schools has partnered with Nevada Joint Union High School District to host a Safety Summit for the Nevada County community. Local law enforcement officials, fire service, and Office of Emergency Services personnel will present a Safety Summit at the Bear River High School Theater on Monday, September 12, 2022 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and at Nevada Union High School, Don Baggett Theater on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. There will be resource tables available at each event with additional agencies represented. Please help spread the word.
In conclusion, we would like to assure the community that we have protective systems in place, we are prepared to respond, and we will continue to be proactive in our prevention efforts to keep our schools safe and secure.
Scott W. Lay, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools
Chris Espedal, Director of School Safety (NCSOS)
Jonathan Molnar, Bitney Prep High School
Katie Kohler, Chicago Park Elementary School
Carolyn Cramer, Clear Creek Elementary School
Peter Sagebiel, Forest Charter School
Andrew Withers, Grass Valley School District
John Baggett, Nevada City School District
Holly Pettitt, Nevada City School of the Arts
Dan Frisella, Nevada Joint Union High School District
Melissa Conley, Penn Valley Union Elementary School District
Rusty Clark, Pleasant Ridge Union School District
Richard Young, Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning
Scott Mikal-Heine, Twin Ridges Elementary School District
Jennifer Dearduff, Twin Ridges Home Study Charter
Andy Parsons, Union Hill School District
Denis Hill, Yuba River Charter