If you have gone shopping at a department store in late summer, you have seen them.
The checklists: sheets of recommended necessities by grade, the latest and greatest items school-age children need before returning to the classroom. These checklists are designed to make the back-to-school process easier for parents and students. Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) wants to make back-to-school preparations a little easier for you, the teacher and school administrator.
Checklist Items for Staff
Be Alert to the Signs of Bullying - Bullying is a persistent and significant issue that, when present, will prevent the students at your school from being able to learn at their full potential. Bullying can present in many forms, including physical, verbal, social, and cyber. Train your staff on how to recognize the signs of bullying and respond to it using The Cycle of Prevention.
ARM addresses this area of risk in more detail in our webinar, How to Prevent Bullying in Your Ministry.
- Training Kids for Bullying Prevention - StopBullying.gov reports that in more than 50 percent of cases when a bystander intervenes bullying ceases within 10 seconds. Prepare your staff to teach students how to recognize and address bullying using the following steps:
- Identify – recognize bullying when it is taking place, as actions or behaviors that hurt someone.
- Stop – if you can do so safely, intervene and stop the bullying from taking place by confidently stepping up, supporting the person being hurt, and telling the bully that their behavior is not acceptable.
- Alert – report the incident to a teacher at the school who will follow up according to school policy.
Additional Resources on Bullying Prevention
- The Power of the Bystander – Bullying Prevention
- How to Talk to Kids About Safety
- Violence and Abuse Amongst Teens - Recognizing and Preventing Teen Dating Violence
- Good Touch and Bad Touch – Teaching Appropriate Touch to Staff and Children
Checklist Items for Parents
- Allergy Risks - Many children are at risk of serious and sometimes life-threatening attacks from items other children consume all the time with no ill effect. Talk to parents about the dangers of allergies and how to prevent allergy-triggering substances from entering your school.
- Permission Slips and Waivers - Permission slips are essential for letting parents know the activities the school has planned for their children. Waivers inform parents/legal guardians what risks are involved. Review the planned events, trips, and permission slip/waiver requirements for the year with parents, so they know what to expect. Parents/legal guardians can then prepare their children ahead of time and be ready to sign the required documents when the time comes.
- Reviewing Pick-Up/Drop-Off Policies - One of the most vulnerable times for the school children in your care is while entering or leaving school supervision. Unsupervised children are at risk for harm from vehicles, other people, and themselves. Talk to parents about the dangers involved when dropping their children off and picking them up. Review your pick-up/drop-off procedure and enlist the help of parents to follow this procedure with their own children and watch out for all children during these times.
Checklist Items for School Grounds
- School Self-Inspection - Schedule a school building and grounds self-inspection well before the school year begins. A self-inspection allows you to find any broken or dangerous items and repair them before students arrive. Use the ARM School Self-Inspection Guide to complete your school self-inspection.
- Replace Broken Equipment and Conduct Repairs - Once you have used the self-inspection to identify any hazards, it’s time to fix them. Replace any broken equipment, whether outside on the playground or indoors in the computer lab and repair any damaged items that would otherwise put your students at risk for harm.
- Ensure the Grounds are Safe for Children - An area that may be easy to overlook is the grounds beside your immediate buildings and playground area. Evaluate all property, parking lots, and driveways for damage, wear and tear, and natural hazards. Check parking lots and driveways for cracks, potholes, crumbling edges, and proper lighting. Inspect grounds for tripping hazards such as holes or hills, appropriate foliage management, and any unsafe animals that may have taken up residence.
The back-to-school season is one of the most exciting times of the year for school-age children. As the school administrator, use this checklist to help make your job a little easier, so you have time for excitement too.
Find more safety resource just for your ministry here.