The Northampton Public School district’s bullying/harassment policy, the district’s Bullying and Harassment Prevention and Intervention Plan, as well as the reporting form the district will be using for any and all incidents of bullying/harassment (which may be filled out by any staff member, parent or student), are all available for download below. Spanish and Urdu translations of these documents are also available.
There has been a lot in the media lately regarding school violence and the numbers of violent events that have occurred in our nation’s schools in recent years. The administrative, teaching and support staff understand that this can be very anxiety provoking for parents and you may have questions about how we keep your students safe in our schools.
These are some of the things we do as a staff to maintain the safest environment we can for our students:
1. Our district has a comprehensive Safe Schools Plan that covers as many events as we can anticipate, from extreme weather events, to school violence to pandemic disease. These plans are reviewed in depth every three years with fire, police and public health and annually within the school department. Updates are made whenever needed. These plans are not for public release so as to not compromise safety, but the Director of Health and Safety (413-587-1364) is happy to talk with any community member about our plans.
2. A plan is only as good as it is practiced. Over and over we have seen how people are kept from harm because they knew what to do in a crisis event. Northampton school staff practice our plans regularly through drills with fire and police, response team meetings and district-wide tabletop practice exercises. We recommend that families also have a plan and practice it. More information on how to do this is available in the “safety planning” section of the NPS Health Services website.
3. Communication is key. We will use a variety of means to communicate with families during a crisis event, including our reverse 911 call system, email, letters, our website and social media. We will always give you as much accurate information as we can and we hope that if families have information that could be helpful to us, they will likewise share it with the appropriate staff. In a crisis, it is understandable that parents and guardians will want timely and accurate information and we just ask that you not flood our phone lines, which may be needed to manage the crisis, but instead look to the other means mentioned here to get information.
4. Our fire, police, public health and administrative school staff maintain open lines of communication and meet regularly to discuss issues in our schools. We also attend trainings so as to stay up to date on the latest research on school safety and best practices. All administrative staff have obtained basic Incident Command Response certification from FEMA, which helps them know how to communicate and operate with our emergency responders during a crisis.
We hope this information has been helpful for you!
Social Skills and Violence Prevention Curricula
Below you can also download outlines (called “scope and sequence”) of much of our curricula that addresses social skill building and violence prevention. Second Step is used throughout our elementary schools and Steps to Respect has also been used in the upper elementary grades. These are taught by the elementary classroom staff.
You can also download an informational booklet on the “All-Stars” curriculum which is in place in 7th and 8th grades. All-Stars Jr. has also been used in our 5th grade. The All-Stars curriculum is a prevention curriculum that addresses a spectrum of risky behaviors, including substance use and bullying. All-Stars is taught during health classes at the middle school by the health and physical education staff.
Second Step (middle school version) and “Let’s Get Real”, have both been taught during study halls by the JFK guidance staff. A scope and sequence for Second Step (middle school version) and an informational sheet on “Let’s Get Real” may be downloaded below.