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Nebelsick busy with ESL, security issues

Posted: Thursday, Jan 31st, 2013

HURON — Huron Public School District Superintendent Terry Nebelsick continues a very busy week with a meeting of large school superintendents today and then testifies before the legislature about English as a Second Language issues Thursday morning.

“This is a big week in our school system,” said Nebelsick.

He and business manager Kelly Christopherson will go before the Legislature.

“I want to thank Kelly as my partner for doing whatever has been asked as far as preparation of accurate data,” said Nebelsick. “We met a week ago yesterday with all three of our representatives for a good part of two hours to go through information.”

Nebelsick also said that the pulse of the state on this issue seems to have support throughout the state.

“I am really pleased that at this point it appears that we have genuine interest and understanding in all different parts of the state — and certainly bipartisan and certainly large school/small school,” Nebelsick.

The major factor for the support is the potential that any district could face an influx of families that have ESL needs.

“It could happen to anyone,” said Nebelsick. “This is a big moment as we take the last step to tying the prosperity of economic development to the sharing that prosperity as far as taking care of services of citizen that come with the new jobs.”

He went on to say that the district has a good relationship with the department of education and the governor’s office but the importance of the work to be done this week has not been lost on Nebelsick.

“If I seem a little nervous, this is a big week and I am looking forward to that,” said Nebelsick.

Nebelsick also took time to discuss about security issues in the district.

“We’ve had what needs to be an annual review of the Crisis Response Plan by a crisis response team that involves counselors, law enforcement, administrators, ministers from the ministerial associations, and community counselors,” said Nebelsick.

He said that document is just about ready to send to the response team for all to validate before sending it on to the board.

Similarly the district has received a document from the law enforcement described as a Critical Incident Plan.

“It is a building specific plan of what happens, who goes where depending on the emergency,” said Nebelsick. “It is a plan that is not released to us because part of a Critical Incident Plan being successful is that law enforcement is aware what to do, and we’re aware of how to cooperate without releasing it and having the wrong people study it.”

A much longer process and more delicate matter is handling and knowing who is on school premises at all times.

Officer Cory Borg, the district’s school resource officer, has provided Nebelsick with literature that the district really needs to step up it’s identification process.

“Identifying anyone and everyone who’s in the buildings, including those who are in the building everyday,” said Nebelsick. “Starting with all staff and all building much like a hospital center or a security center so that people can easily recognize that the right people are in the building.”

He said the process is delicate in that district wants to be responsive but also respectful of parents.

Two goals are being aimed at, first, to protect children by identifying everyone, and second, that the district does not create a process that disrupts the community’s relationship with the school.

He said that could be strained if one the 22 straight days of picking up items for a student the person is asked each day to present the identification repeatedly.

“We are still quite a way apart on the different people looking at that because there is real discussion about just because you know one parent, how do you not know the other parent,” said Nebelsick. “I am trying to look at things in a way that one, keeps children safe, two, keeps us from being financially liable for negligence, and, three, is responsive and respectful of our small city and community where we deal with a lot of the same parents day to day to day.”

Other things that he mentioned during his report to the board included what may be the beginning of a flu outbreak at the middle school as 13 were out of school on Monday.

He wanted to remind students, staff and families of the importance of hand washing and covering of coughs to limit exposure and the spreading of germs.

For the complete article see the 01-30-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-30-2013 paper.

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