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In This Issue
Risk Paradox and Renewal
Bullying Prevention
Auto Safety Tip
Prevention Points
Risk Mgt Education
Meeting Notes
NYSIR Single Sign-On
Columbine Rembered
NFIP Extended
Coverage and Safety
Education Presenters
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April  2010                                                             Issue 15                

Risk management is... a vital business process.
Business Officials Grapple with Paradox of Risk As Coverage Plans Come Up for Renewal

Various commentators have suggested that there is a paradox of risk or risk paradox.  They suggest that humans accept more risk when risk is apparently lower, become too familiar with risk and are blind to it, or become more confident about risk despite declining odds of success.   Evidence suggests that judgment may be impaired by safety devices, favorable past experiences and the comfort of insurance.   

Research also shows that there will be fewer accidents and injuries when an organization is attentive to loss exposure and not merely its own past experience. Risk amnesia and myopia or  near-sightedness to risk are frequently mentioned as elements in an organization's view of uncertainty.  

To sustain smooth operations and cash flow, school business officials must continue to anticipate adverse outcomes and come up with plans to transfer loss exposures. Understanding the paradox of risk can help school business officials work through their options to find the ones that best meet the needs of their district.

Budgeting and arranging for services that assume loss exposures is an essential risk management task in school districts. Commercial insurance plans are still used for certain advantages at different times in market cycles and to cover extraordinary exposures.  Increasingly however, school districts have turned to interlocal services created as nonprofit insurance trusts, joint powers authorities, self-insurance funds, insurance reciprocals and joint insurance funds. Many of these "risk groups" have developed comprehensive services, while others are restricted by state law to certain lines of coverage.

School business leaders across the country appreciate today's landscape of changing risk exposures and service provider options.   Getting to the top in educational leadership can be easier with the help of a risk group and renewed commitment to injury prevention. 

Stopping Bullying, Transforming Safety Culture
School leaders work at many levels and across their organizations to protect  students from physical assault and mental torment from bullies, while also preventing employee injuries that seem to mount as the school year begins to wind down.

An article in the April 19 edition of Business Insurance magazine included opinions from a variety of sources that all seemed to confirm the need for renewed sense of urgency about the injuries and emotional trauma inflicted by bullying.

Anti-bullying initiatives are not new.  State legislatures have been considering changes to reporting and discipline statutes, along with mandates for school board policies.   State laws vary and definitions of bullying differ.  Cyberbullying has gained greater emphasis.

A comprehensive approach includes school board policies and administrative procedures combined with training for staff, parents and students.  An approach to control bullying on a systemic basis combines effective intervention with programs that empower students to diffuse peer aggression.

Broward County Schools FL has been cited as a model for comprehensive bullying prevention initiatives in a large district. 

A recent presentation titled,"Bullying: A Decade After Columbine, What has Changed?" includes views of several experts in bullying prevention assembled by American School Board Journal, American School Counselor Association and Solution Tree.   Here are five key points gleaned from the presentation:
  1. Acknowledge that peer aggression is a systems issue; at the system's center are 3 key relational sets: student/student, staff/student, and staff/staff. 
  2. Recognize that peer aggression is a relational issue that requires relational solutions. Peers are central to the solutions and must be included in the process of creating them. The focus is on changing peer norms and behavior using peer produced data and student lead initiatives to change school culture. (social norms interventions) At the heart of the work is climate and culture change informed by research from education, the social sciences and neurology. 
  3. Use brain research on stress and its effects on learning and memory to get buy-in from staff and create effective interventions.
  4. Identify local biases that contribute to the marginalization of certain groups or individuals - these biases create local norms that make acceptable, aggression toward certain individuals based on social status or class, looks, personality, and personal traits (weight, height, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap,etc.).  Use surveys (students, parents, teachers) to identify which biases need attention.
  5. Uphold these four fundamental guiding principles: 
a)     Respect for all.
b)    Protect targeted youth.
c)     Empower students to take positive social action.
d)    Restore and maintain a sense of community by intentionally building and improving relationships through a restorative approach.

The following recommendations were included in a report by United Educators Insurance, May 2008: 
  1. Adopt and enforce antibullying policy
  2. Address cyberbullying
  3. Monitor bullying "hot spots."
  4. Understand children's roles in bullying prevention
  5. Intervene in bullying situations
  6. Investigate all threats of violence
  7. Consider the needs of students with disabilities
The list of people and organizations working to prevent bullying is very long and continues to grow. Numerous consultants and trainers with special emphasis on bullying prevention, with strong credentials and track records are available to help school administrators from coast to coast.  Some are well known with documented results, while others may be new and only have experience in a small region. Even though a complete registry of programs and training does not exist, there are several sources that can be used to identify successful culture change programs. 

Employees Nurture Networks and Model Actively Caring Behavior to Transform Culture

Safety leaders throughout the school district can nurture a network to transform culture by: 
  1. Showing and telling colleagues what needs to be done, not what to do.
  2. Encouraging opinion makers to participate.
  3. Anointing the process and modeling the behavior.
  4. Letting colleagues know the goals and their respective roles. Help them see what needs to be done.
  5. Reaching the group leaders in all departments and operating units to gain their active role in the network.
  6. Draw out questions and answers and become a catalyst both within and outside the networks to get them going.
  7. Providing the resources in a "seeding platform," translating what others say and making it concrete and usable.
Effective facilitation skills can make a big difference in the current environment.   Programs that promote employee wellness may also be helpful in bringing about change in student behavior. 
Suggestion for Auto Safety Leadership 
At least one leading safety educator has been challenging his audience members to take the lead in completely putting away their cell phones while driving - urging them to discontinue even what some might consider safe "hands free" calling. 
Prevention Points and Priorities
Denver Public Schools has again demonstrated its leadership in addressing a common safety concern.  The risk management department led by Stephen Finley, risk manager,  and Debbie Beck, project manager,  produced a new series of high quality videos for use in preventing school traffic injuries.   The series has four segments, Getting To School Safely - intended for parents, Be Smart About Safety - for students grades ECE-2, Be Serious About Safety - for students grades 3-5, and Getting to School Safety - created for Principals.

Ideas for student safety range from healthier,  more nutrious lunches to banning the three point stance for offensive linemen.   There are numerous approaches suggested to reduce slip, trips and falls in schools.  Federal legislation is pending to control the use of restraints and seclusion in special education, expand the reach of OSHA and more.  Recently adopted and proposed state legislative measures continue to raise the awareness of hundreds of exposures facing schools.   Risk mapping and other techniques for setting priorities can help districts move from risk identification to appropriate risk treatment. 

The Institute can provide more information on the Denver program and many others that districts and school risk groups have created for effective loss prevention.
Business Officials  Learn from Wide Variety of Risk Management Educators 

Tracking recent events from New York to California
Risk management education has been taking place from coast to coast in the past few months.  Sessions at school business official conferences, webinars, small group meetings and programs sponsored by risk groups have covered a wide range of topics and issues.

The February 15-19 Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) event in Ft. Worth included about 25 sessions on safe schools, occupational safety and risk financing topics.

The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research has held 32 sessions for its Certified School Risk Manager (CSRM)  in 2010. 

Dr. Scott Geller, professor at Virginia Tech University and founder of Safety Performance Solutions, who along with his colleague Steve Roberts, spent most of the afternoon on April 9 with safety and risk management officers from three of North Carolina's largest school districts. The group learned about bullying prevention efforts that Virginia Tech  has undertaken in Blacksburg area public schools.  Dr. Geller was the featured speaker for the Charlotte Regional Safety & Health Conference and presented his latest book, When No One's Watching: Living and Leading Self-Motivation.

Business officials who gathered in Sacramento April 16-19 for the Annual Conference of the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) were offered 18 sessions on a variety of  safety and risk management topics. 

Scott Wightman of Arthur J. Gallagher conducted a national webinar for public school districts on April 19 titled, "The Insurance Market: Why Does It Have to Be So Crazy?"

Colorado Association of School Business Officials held its annual conference April 14-16 with the theme "Transparent Uncertainty."  Cheryle Mangels, Executive Director of Colorado School Districts Self-Insurance Fund and Karen Graham of Arthur J. Gallagher were featured presenters for a session titled, "Risk Management Tactics." 

The Southeastern Association of School Business Officials meeting in Little Rock Arkansas April 18-21  included sessions titled,"Is it Your Dream Not to Have Fraud at Your School?" featuring Steve Bateson, Chesterfield County Schools, VA  and "Protecting the Diamonds: Insurance Issues in Today's Market," presented by Nancy Sylvester, CPCU, Arthur J.Gallagher Risk Management Services.  Agent Pierre of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) presented a session on Electronic Fraud.

Agents of the FBI  have also been the featured presenters on cyber crime prevention in several workshops conducted in April by New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal.

The names of presenters who gave of their time for the TASBO and CASBO programs are listed at the end of this newsletter.

The Institute will try to include brief highlights of other events in future editions.  Presentation materials may be obtained on request or found in the Institute Reference Library or in the Community Resources of Risk Central.  
Meeting Notes held its annual School Dude University, March 21-23.  Over 600 attendees took part from districts across the US. The event featured hands-on software training and 200 sessions for facility, IT, events and transportation officials and a dinner to celebrate the company's 10th anniversary. 

The Risk & Insurance Management Society met in Boston April 22-26.   Scott Clarke, risk manager for Miami-Dade Schools and Dave George, risk manager for San Francisco Schools were among those attending.
New York Schools Get Single Sign-On to Institute

More than 350 districts that belong to the New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) are now able to go directly from the "members  only" area of the  NYSIR website to the "members only" area of Institute website.  Special software coding was completed in early April. Additional linking projects are anticipated with other risk groups and nonprofit affiliates.
Columbine Anniversary Passes Quietly
The tragic K-12 school shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 has not been forgotten.  This year's anniversary apparently passed without any copycat incident or significant media attention.
To view National School Boards Association (NSBA)  resources from the webinar titled, "What's Changed Since Columbine go to:
National Flood Insurance Plan Extended

President Obama has signed legislation that extends the National Flood Insurance Program through May 31. The extension, which is part of a comprehensive measure that temporarily extends a variety of federal programs, allows the NFIP to again issue new policies. The program had lapsed March 28.
Districts Seek Coverage That Also Makes Schools  ane Employees Safer 
Compass The paradox of risk has additional implications for those districts that are both more vulnerable to loss and also less exposed to frequency of losses.  Most people agree that it is important to view risk with both a historical perspective and a future-oriented outlook.  Experienced managers have learned that your own loss experience does not tell you all you need to know.  

Business officials have the added challenge now of identifying service gaps from coverage providers at the same time that their own staff resources are being stretched thin.  

"Rent-a-risk manager" and other creative consulting programs offered by some risk groups can help enhance on-site training and provide the support needed for coordination and progress on critical prevention activities.  
Texas Association of School Business Officials Annual Conference - Risk Management Session Presenters:
Helen O'Neal, Leander ISD
Wil Turner, Dallas ISD
Kimi Tate, Dallas ISD
Alan Smith, Garland ISD
Mark Booker, Garland ISD
Judyann Robinson, Irving ISD
Michelle Faust, Round Rock ISD
Russ Edwards, Kite Services
Doris McIntosh, San Angelo ISD
Larry Pfeifer, Sheldon ISD
Denise Chuick, Spring ISD
John Trevino, North East ISD
James Carrillo, Region IV ESC
Ray Weaver, Plano ISD
Cecile Russell, Russell Consulting
Sam Russell, Lewisville ISD
A. J. Turner, San Angelo ISD
Darla Humes, Leander ISD
Laura Santo-Farry, Leanes ISD
Tim Sanz, Frisco ISD
Bill Stone, Edwards Risk Management
John Gann, Keller ISD
Tommy Lane, Keller ISD
Richard Middleton, North East ISD
Dan Villarreal, North East ISD
Rod Williams, Omni Group
Dan Roberts, Round Rock ISD
Ed Salyers, IRS
Pat Lamb, Irving ISD
James Terry, North East ISD
Thomas Ramos, North East ISD
Margarita Pizano-Flores, Brownsville ISD
Tom Canby, TASBO
Amanda Goodwin, TASB
Gerald Lamping, North East ISD
Ron Clary, North East ISD
George Scherer, TASB
Alyssa Martin, Weaver & Tidwell
Neal Welch, Willis Insurance
Rick Tisch, Willis Insurance

California Association of School Business Officials Annual Conference - Risk Management Session Presenters:
Jody Gray, Southern CA Risk Management Associates
Robin Flint, Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Purchasing
Terri Pritchard, Merced County Schools Insurance Group
Vern Sanborn, Santa Barbara County SIPE
Garth Maijala, San Luis Obispo-SIPE
Doug Carson, Tuolumne JPA
Aida Santillana, Santa Clara Schools Insurance Group
Art Pedroza, ESM Solutions
Lisa Konarski, Schools Insurance Authority
Michele Mariscal, Schools Insurance Authority
Mutjaba Datoo, AON Global Risk Consulting
Medy Beauchane, Grancell, Lebovits, Stander, Reubens & Thompson
Julie Smith, Schools Insurance Authority
Marcia Whiting, Schools Insurance Authority
Jeffrey Malek, Malek & Malek
David Soldani, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo
Linda Davis-Alldritt, CA Dept of Education
Jeannie Goobanoff, Goobanoff & Associates
Erin Tarkhanian, Redwood Empire Schools Insurance Group

Thanks to all of these individuals and their organizations to their commitment.    In future editions, we will try to recognize other presenters and include highlights of educational events.
Public School Risk Institute
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 website resources. 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