|SchoolRisk News |
Other districts that are direct or associate members now number more than 1,300 .
City of Atlanta, GA
City of Chicago, IL
Clark County, NV
City of Cleveland, OH
Dekalb County, GA
Fairfax County, VA
Francis Howell, MO
Fulton County, GA
San Francisco USD, CA
Wake County, NC
To find out how to join, click here!
School leaders who are members can search the directory and find districts with similar risk management interests
If you are a member of PSRI,
remember to use the Institute's
for access to top risk management professionals. Reports are compiled, distributed and archived to save time and money.
Risk management is... a vital business process.
|Risk Central: The New Interactive Community and Knowledge Center for School Risk Management
| The launch of Risk Central, linked to the Institute's Home Page, has opened up several avenues for school administrators and others, allowing them to create and sustain interest communities to help control the cost of risk for school districts. The Institute envisions Risk Central as a convenient forum for exchange of information among all the stakeholders in school risk management, while other services remain exclusively for member districts and risk groups. Easy to use software applications will improve transfer of ideas and solutions. The addition of this no-cost platform means that the Institute can have a wider and deeper impact with fewer barriers.
The first Featured Contributors on the new platform were two veterans of the school risk management community and the CEO of Target Safety. They have been followed by a veteran school risk group executive, a school risk manager who serves in a district with nearly 60,000 students, and the business development director for an online safety training product. "Thought leaders" are being asked to provide regular articles -- generally about 250 words. At the same time, the Institute welcomes single submissions of essays and short articles on timely issues and topics deserving attention of school officials. A short bio and photo are desired. Please contact the Executive Director to discuss your interest.
The News and Events sections of Risk Central expand the amount of coverage possible for stories from all parts of the country. Events includes a convenient access point to register for online sessions and webinars hosted by the Institute.
Community Resources is an open library that allows any registered member of the community to upload documents and videos from any location. Each contributor assigns search topics and tags that will help others find the resource quickly. Commentary is highly desired and will help increase the value to others who visit.
Featured Resources are short online programs and selected materials that highlight the capabilities of the internet to deliver and monitor loss prevention activities and assignments. Many of the selected contributions will demonstrate the work of Target Safety. This firm was generous in providing all of the in-kind support needed to create Risk Central. Suggestions for expanding featured contributions are welcome. The Institute will continue to promote a wide variety of available training alternatives and provide opportunities for collaborative demonstration and development.
Easy connectivity, collaboration, valuable commentary, news,
events and other benefits are now available through Risk Central. The Institute is grateful to Target Safety for making this possible and appreciates each contributor and commentator.
Go to SchoolRisk.org then click on JOIN NOW to register and and encourage others. If you need any personal assistance with registration, uploading files or navigation, contact the Executive Director anytime.
|Institute Board Sets Course for Growth and Development
|"More school CFOs across the country should be contacted and invited to join as soon as possible. The benefit to them and their district will be substantial."
That was a key message that the Institute board of directors conveyed to staff at their annual gathering, held in St. Louis November 16-17. The board also suggested surveying large school districts to find out how risk management is actually handled and and in what manner.
The Executive Director's presentation to the board included highlights of the first 16 months of activity and a detailed look at the four major initiatives that serve as the framework for all projects and programs. Central Region Schools Insurance Group (CA) and Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust, the two newest risk group members were welcomed. Board members embraced their assignments for committees and project oversight, gave their support for the Continuous Improvement Model for School Risk Management and encouraged efforts to develop a professional development program with basic, advanced and "hot topic" components. They also backed the idea of working with ASBO state affiliates and other associations to offer on-site and live broadcast clinics and workshops.
The value of Risk Central was discussed and board members took note of the new opportunities for school districts to conveniently find views, ideas and solutions from a wide variety of contributors and commentators. Staff introduced the need for a "dynamo" to cultivate ongoing commitments and possibly a community ombudsman.
Internal administration and finance issues were also handled during the meeting. The Board agreed to modify the Code of Conduct so that possible conflicts of interest reports could be received without first review by the outside ethics officer. Ideas for a late spring meeting and the date for the next conference call were also discussed.
Fast Answer Network Ready for Use
|Would you like to know how leading school risk managers have responded to a problem you're facing? Try the Fast
The Institute has "rapid responders" who can provide
qualified opinions about many issues. One risk manager from a very large
district recently commented about the report he received saying, "This
morning I got a chance to take a look at the document and found the shared
opinions excellent and a good start to the new institute! This is exactly what
I envisioned from my first discussion with you on the forming of the
To try this service, you can enter your request right from the Institute website or contact the Executive Director.
|Training Table Update
|Members of the Institute can find reliable information needed for evaluation and implementation of effective training programs for risk control and safety. Below are some notes on new courses, events, and vendors of interest: |
We welcome new safety related training program announcements and will publish bulletins similar to these above as space permits.
- Community Matters was featured in a presentation given by Barrow County Schools to attendees at the GA School Board/GA School Supt Annual Conference, December 4. Safe School Ambassadors is a curriculum that the Santa Rosa, CA based nonprofit has developed over the past ten years. To learn more about what this program can offer at Community Matters or call 707 823-6159.
- Ethics Ed continued to make the case for a focused approach to keeping students safe from sexual abuse by school employees. Their online course titled "Preventing Educator Sexual Misconduct and Abuse in Schools" is available for preview and is an effective, low cost intervention tool. Chuck Origer is the primary contact in Austin, TX for the course. Visit Ethics Edor call 512 794-8440.
- School Bus Safety Company continues to pick up support for the Driver Training Course, the first recommended product of the NAPT. Ted Finlayson-Schueler, the founder and former Executive Director of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, has written a letter of recommendation for the course. Visit School Bus Safety Company or call 800 728-2827 to speak to Jeff Cassell about the course.
Former School Business Official Reflects on Value of Risk Management
Things I Wish I Had Known
By Michael Hay
As a recovering school business manager, I wish I had known
about the risk management process and how to apply it to the school business
environment. Going back to the time that I was a school business official
(mid-80's), I recall that there wasn't a risk management profession as we now
know it. I also remember that many of my job responsibilities involved
risk management as we now recognize it as enterprise risk management!
Knowing how to identify potential losses before they
occurred would have saved me and others a lot of time and effort and would have
provided a proactive means to protect my district from unplanned financial losses. Knowing how to use patterns
of frequency and severity (risk mapping) to determine risk mitigation
strategies would also have been of great assistance. Of course, understanding risk financing options would
have been an invaluable tool for planning and budgeting.
As I recall, I engaged in elements of the risk management
process as a matter of survival. I did so instinctively and,
unfortunately, sometimes ineffectively. If I had better understood how to identify, analyze,
control, finance and administer risks in my district I would have added more
value and been a better business manager.
[Editor's Note: Mr. Hay is currently the Director of Risk Management Programs for the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research, Austin. In addition to his experience as a public school business officer, Mike served with the Texas State Office of Risk Management.]
| Putting Together the Whole Puzzle with the Continuous Improvement Model
Several school risk managers and risk group executives have created scorecards and assessment tools to help track progress of employee safety programs and other initiatives. The Institute
is working on the development process and funding plan to finish a continuous improvement
model for school risk management. The model will include guidelines ["best
practices"] based on consensus of experienced professionals. It
will provide a roadmap for risk management program development. In
simple terms, the model is a pattern for building a system and guiding the
actions of school district leaders. The model provides guidance to reduce
development costs, save time and raise the level of critical thinking about
risk priorities and responses. It will make process benchmarking
possible on a more advanced basis.
version of the model includes fourteen primary categories and more than 100
sub-elements. The design includes a simple scoring system
that can be used by the district to track progress over time. The scoring
system can also be used for comparison with a peer or peer group.
The system uses color-coding to help illustrate four levels of achievement and
labels to suggest position along a continuum. Careful interpretation of scores
is needed since comparisons between categories in the model can be
misleading. This scoring system is likely to change as users
gain experience and introduce additional concepts, categories, techniques, best
practices and metrics. For anyone trying to be effective in managing
the complex risks of a school district, the continuous improvement model will
show how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
For more information, including a copy of the current version of the model and supporting documentation, please contact the Executive Director.
North Carolina School Risk Management Academy Under Discussion
Eleven North Carolina school districts took part in a conference call in early November to share ideas about creating a special interest group of the Institute. Leading the way were representatives of Wake, Durham and Charlotte-Mecklenberg school districts. Plans are being made to convene a larger group in January and create a working agenda to make new resources and information available.
|Federal Scrutiny: GAO Reports Contain Valuable Information for Risk Managers
In the past six months, the General Accounting Office of the US Government has issued two separate reports regarding school safety. The reports include valuable, independent information for risk group safety advisers and risk managers who may be responsible for district wide consultation. Visit the GAO website for the featured reports.
In its report titled, "Seclusions and Restraints," GAO examined cases and allegations about injuries to disabled students and stated, "We were able to obtain data showing that
thousands of public and private school students were restrained or secluded
during the last academic year. This data does not show the inappropriate use of
restraints and seclusions, but rather the number of times the techniques were
used during an academic year." The GAO report documents a disparity among various state laws and regulations that may apply. The report states, "For
example, nineteen states have no laws or regulations related to the use of
seclusions or restraints in schools. Overall, we found no federal
regulations related to seclusions and restraints in public and private schools
and widely divergent laws at the state level." The report also concluded that, "Although we could not determine whether allegations of death
and abuse were widespread, we did discover hundreds of such allegations at
public and private schools across the nation between the years 1990 and 2009. Almost
all of the allegations we identified involved children with disabilities."
More information is available on this subject from the Council for Exceptional Children, the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders and the Council for Administrators or Special Education. In the report issued in August titled, "Changes to Federal Agencies' Procedures Could Reduce Risk of School Children Consuming Recalled Food," GAO stated, "Despite its efforts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which oversees federal school meals programs, did not always ensure that states and schools received timely and complete notification about suspect food products provided to schools through the federal commodity program. FNS provided instructions for disposal and reimbursement of recalled products to states who, in turn, provided instructions to schools but, nonetheless, some schools experienced problems. Some schools reported to GAO problems in finding landfills that would accept large quantities of recalled products. Some schools also reported that reimbursement instructions were not clear, reimbursement was delayed for months, and that all of their expenses related to the recalls were not reimbursed. Although both USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the FDA procedures direct them to conduct recall quality checks, neither included thousands of schools that had received recalled USDA-commodities products for the beef and peanut recalls because they thought FNS conducted these checks."
Simple Idea Turned into Great Boost for Employees
Schools Insurance Authority, Sacramento, has developed an "interactive, fun-filled program to inspire employees to appreciate the
commonly unnoticed and overlooked aspects of their job and life." It
was inspired by Ilan Shamir and his poem,"A Thousand Things Went Right Today."
SIA's website says, "The program provides a unique opportunity to step
into the shoes of a child and see what is in front of us, not what is missing.
Do you have "moments of wonder" and appreciate the miracles of life
as a child does? When is the last time you cut open an apple (horizontally
instead of vertically) and marveled at the beauty of the shape made by the
seeds in the core? We create our life and our world with our words. This simple
expression of saying what went right can facilitate our own ability to create our
life and our worksite as one of gratefulness and appreciation."
SIA's program can be used intermittently or for an extended period of time and
is easy to put into place. It encourages participation and allows each person
to express themselves. Files and directions are included. You can learn more by
calling SIA and asking for Lisa Konarski or Michele Mariscal at
H.S. Boys May Not Check Women's Hockey Team
Changing Rules to Reduce Risk
The Minnesota Star Tribune reported on December 5 that the U.S. women's Olympic
hockey team was scheduled to play the Hopkins High School boys' varsity team at the school's hockey facility. The game was to be the first in a three-game series the U.S.
women's team will play against Minnesota boys' high school teams as they prepare
for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver in February. The report says the games will be played according to
women's rules, meaning no checking will be allowed.
Safety is Our #1 Priority and An Enduring Value
|There are countless efforts being made across the country to make school safety both a top priority and an enduring value. The Public School Risk Institute salutes everyone who is engaged in school safety, health and wellness. |
Please call or send us a note with your comments and
suggestions about this newsletter and any projects you would like to see us
undertake. We also want to receive school contact names, contacts with
organizations you believe may want to be involved, and material for the new
We hope you find the Institute's newly updated website useful. Please visit regularly and let us know how we can support your efforts to advance risk management. Your input and feedback is greatly desired and appreciated.
Lee Gaby, Executive Director
Public School Risk Institute
NEW Phone (706) 715-3381 Ext. 701