Weekly Message

an Update from Dr. Barbara A. Russell 12/7/21

Greetings PV Families,

The recent school shooting in Michigan leaves us with a heavy heart and many questions. My thoughts are with the families affected.


We shared information with families at the High School and Middle School West regarding incidents that recently occured within those schools. I am aware that the communication, at least for some families, left parents with questions about their child’s safety attending school. The purpose of this message is to share more explicit information about how the District responds to threats or discussions on the part of students that raise questions/concerns about school safety.


The first incident occurred at the high school last Friday and involved a student referencing a weapon in discussion with a peer. There was no threat made in this case, but when any student references a weapon in any type of concerning manner, it raises questions. The second case involves a Middle School West student who made a verbal threat in the presence of others, although it is important to note that this individual did not possess any type of weapon at the time of the threat. In both cases, fellow students reported the discussion and threat to administration. We are very appreciative of our students stepping up in these types of situations and reporting the information. We want our students to feel trusting of the adults leading them and to feel comfortable reporting such incidents. Given recent events, this is an opportune time to remind our students about the importance of reporting suspicious or potentially threatening conversations or activities.


To assist you in better understanding our procedures, I'd like to share the steps followed in response to any threat. When learning of a threat or potential threat, school administration begins an investigation and local law enforcement is contacted as is our District Safety Supervisor, Mr. Dean Miller. Mr. Miller moves into position and partners with the respective building principal to conduct an investigation. He and the principal also connect families with appropriate community resources available to them and their child. In addition to the Lower Frederick or State Police, these resources include Montgomery County Mobile Crisis, Creative Health Services (in conjunction with our Student Assistance Programs [SAP]), and providers of the inpatient counseling services in our buildings, i.e., Child Family Focus at both the High School and West. Parents are contacted and interviewed by representatives of the school and police. The police will often visit the home and conduct a safety check, inquiring about weapons in the home and access on the part of the student in question.


Our top priority is to provide the safest learning environment possible for all students and staff members. Any threats of violence, even if eventually deemed not credible, are taken very seriously. The procedures followed during any type of alarming or emergency situation depend a great deal on the specifics of the incident but without exception, threats to the safety of our students and staff are addressed promptly. While we strive for transparency, we are not always in a position to share details for a variety of reasons. Our communication efforts are to inform the community about what occurred and the steps taken by the school in response. The identity of the student as well as what occurs in terms of a consequence are information that cannot be shared. I realize this is frustrating. However, it is important to understand standard operating procedures dictate that a student is not permitted to return to school until a safety assessment has been completed by a licensed provider or agency indicating the child is not a threat to self or others. Upon return, daily safety checks are typically conducted through the counseling or principal’s office.


Each of our secondary schools has security personnel onsite daily. At the elementary level, security makes visits during the week on a regular basis. All schools also possess one or more panic buttons located in the main office and/or cafeteria and/or security welcome desk, and/or gymnasium. If and when pressed, a message is sent directly to local law enforcement.


I wish to emphasize that ANY incident that raises questions about the safety of our students and staff is thoroughly investigated and responded to according to our policies and the law. In the event the safety of our students and staff remains in question by local and/or school authorities, school can and will be canceled.


Thank you for communicating your questions and concerns as we work together to provide the safest possible school environment. Conversations about school safety are ongoing. When and where appropriate we incorporate updated information and/or approaches. We are appreciative of the cooperation and assistance of our first responders, community resources, staff, and students in our efforts to maintain safe and supportive schools, districtwide.


Sincerely,

Dr. Barbara A. Russell

Superintendent

Safe2Say

As a note, in addition to sharing information with a trusted adult, our students can submit an anonymous tip through the Safe2Say Program. Tips are typically related to a variety of challenges our students experience or witness, such as bullying, harassment, disrespectful language, safety concerns, etc. When a tip is received, the State (who runs Safe2Say) immediately follows up with the respective building administrator.

Board Reorganization

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We are pleased to welcome four new members to our board of directors: Jason Saylor, Dr. Tammy Campli, Don Fountain, and Rowan Keenan. Congratulations on your appointment! New members will join current seated Board members Matt Dorr, Sarah Evans-Brockett, Reena Kolar, Kim Mares, and Laura White. To learn more about the School Board including member bios, contact information, and meeting agendas/minutes, visit School Board.

Tribute - We Remember

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the raid on Pearl Harbor. This event launched the US into World War II and the date is often seen as a symbol of American grit and resilience.


We honor and pay tribute to all that serve or have served in the US armed forces. Please enjoy a video showcasing PV High School student Evan Romano who was invited to play Taps during the Bells of Peace Ceremony in Washington DC on Veterans Day: Bell Ringing Ceremony.

Winter Concerts - Save the Date!

  • MS West Winter Concert: Thursday, December 9th at MS West, Grade 6 @ 6:30pm; Grade 7-8 @ 7:45pm
  • MS East Winter Concert: Thursday, December 9th at MS East, Grade 7-8 @ 7:30pm*
  • HS Winter Concert: Thursday, December 16th at MS East @ 7:30pm


*MS East 6th grade concert will occur in January.

Holiday Dinner Drive

On December 18th, PV will host a Holiday Dinner Drive where families can receive a complete holiday dinner (for a family of six). The family meal boxes will be available for pick up at the PV High School from 12:00 - 5:00PM.

Special thank you to PV Alum Zenon Janicki for coordinating this opportunity for our community. Interested families may sign up using this form.

Call for Guest Teachers!

We are in need of substitute teachers in all schools across the District. Do you have a four year degree? Do you have time and interest to serve as a substitute? If so, please visit our Human Resources page for additional information.

Save the Dates!

Consult the District calendar for details regarding these upcoming activities.
  • Monday, December 13: Elementary Report Cards Available on ParentVUE
  • Monday, December 13: School Board Business Meeting @ 7pm
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Having Tech Issues? See Below for Details

Here are a few friendly reminders from the Technology Department about where to go if you are having issues with any of the following:

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