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School Safety Subcabinet

Meeting Minutes

August 19, 2019

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

100 Community Place, Side A Crownsville, MD 21032


Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools and Subcabinet Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m., provided opening comments and noted that a quorum was present.

The following Subcabinet members were in attendance:

  • Mr. William Fields, Assistant Attorney General – Attorney General’s designee
  • Ms. Carol A. Beatty, Secretary, Maryland Department of Disabilities
  • Mr. Robert Neall, Secretary, Maryland Department of Health
  • Mr. Robert Gorrell, Executive Director, interagency Committee on School Construction

The following Maryland Center for School Safety (MCSS) members were in attendance:

  • Ms. Kate Hession, Executive Director, MCSS
  • Mr. Joseph D. Pignataro, Deputy Director, MCSS
  • Ms. Dawn P. O’Croinin, Assistant Attorney General, MCSS

Other meeting attendees

Representatives of State agencies, the Governor’s Office, and additional staff from the Maryland Center for School Safety were in attendance.

No one within the Subcabinet had any additions to the agenda.

Approval of Prior Meeting Minutes

A motion was made by Mr. Fields to approve the meeting minutes from the May 20, 2019 meeting. Secretary Neall seconded the motion. The minutes were unanimously approved.

Maryland Center for School Safety Updates:

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the Center had created and provided a map of the various locations throughout the state where staff members are located.

Dr. Salmon thanked Ms. Hession for the information as stated that it was very helpful.

Ms. Hession stated that all of the school systems are limited on space but have offered space to our staff if they are there for the day.

Ms. Hession discussed the 2019 School Safety Conference that was held August 5th and 6th and that it had been very successful. Ms. Hession referred to the Agendas provided to all Subcabinet members as a reference. Ms. Hession pointed out that the agenda included all of the Center’s keynote speakers and breakout sessions topics. Ms. Hession noted that the Center received a lot of compliments on this year’s conference for both the format and the presenters.

Ms. Hession stated that this year the team decided to allow for paths that people could follow to include Mental Health Coordinators path, a Law Enforcement/School Resource Officer path and a School Safety Coordinator path.

Ms. Hession stated that the speaker that received the most compliments was Mr. Bernie James from Pepperdine. His presentation on local, state and Federal school law and that the Center has been asked to bring him back next year for a longer session.

Ms. Hession opened the floor to any questions.

Ms. Hession stated that the conference had about 300 attendees and that next year the Center is looking to expand the conference and has received requests to allow school administrators if we can and local school system personnel and local school attorneys if possible.

Ms. Hession stated that the goal for next year’s conference is at least 500 participants.

Beatty stated that she attended the conference the first day and that she thought the information and the video were very lovely. Beatty also complimented the staff for doing a great job and stated that she intended to be at the conference for just the morning but she was fascinated with the breakouts that she attended and wanted to attend another. She said she wished she could have attended for both days and that she thought it was very well done.

Dr. Salmon stated that it is an important conference and she was disappointed that she had to miss it. Dr. Salmon mentioned that this type of production, even the agenda brochure, was a huge initiative and that the Center had really stepped up the game. She felt the Governor would be happy with how we have progressed and what the Center is doing and that our efforts will keep more kids safe in the future, which is our goal.

Dr. Salmon also thanked Secretary Beatty for her comments on the conference and video.

Ms. Hession explained the conference handouts, which were provided to the Subcabinet for reference, for School Bus Stop Arm Violation and the Safe Schools Maryland tip line information cards.

Ms. Hession also stated that in regards to school bus safety, some additional marketing that the Center is going to try out this year will be at the start of the school year, right after Labor Day, as well as school bus safety week, which is October 21 – 27.

Ms. Hession stated that some other marketing the Center will be doing will be about the Tip-line. Ms. Hession stated that some of our partners have been asking for information on what is the tip-line, is there an easy way to visualize the tip-line and how it works, so Emily did a fantastic job putting together both the information cards that have been very well received by our school system partners, as well as our private schools and special education partners.

Dr. Salmon questioned where these marketing cards are being placed.

Ms. Hession stated that they are being placed in schools, first and that the Center gives them out at various conferences we attend as well as being given to the regional staff to distribute when they are at schools.

Dr. Salmon stated that she thought it would be a neat idea to have these items when you go into a local district office or school building to have them on the counter for people to pick up and that you never know what may come of that.

Ms. Hession agreed and stated that the regional staff has quite a few out and we will get more.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that the second day of the conference was National Night Out and that Ms. Allen had given her a stack of the school bus safety cards to take for her table and that they were extremely popular, and that she had one woman come over that was a parent and an insurance agent that said she was going to “like” the agencies Facebook page so that she could repost things that the agency puts out on school bus safety and transportation.

Ms. O’Croinin further stated that parents really loved the back of the card and how to report and that they were commenting on how huge of a problem this was and that they were happy to see that the state was doing something about it.

Mr. Fields stated that this was type of thing that we could share, with this being a public health issue and a drivers issue that maybe we could share it at the MVA.

Ms. Hession stated that the Center already had plans for this in additional to our regular marketing and social media outlets that the Center will have a video playing at the MVA offices at beginning of the school year.

Secretary Neal stated that was a good idea and would give people something do at the MVA while they wait to get their Real IDs.

Dr. Salmon requested a stack of the Bus Stop Arm Violation information cards be provided to Gabe in their transportation unit and he could distribute them at the transportation offices.

Ms. Hession moved onto the tip-line and referred to the tip-line summary document provided to the Subcabinet to reference. Ms. Hession stated that the tip-line had 431 tips as of August. Ms. Hession further stated that while the number was low it was higher that other states their first year of launching a tip-line.

Ms. Hession asked the Subcabinet what type of information they would like to see in a report on the tip-line. Ms. Hession also reminded the Subcabinet that we have to be careful what type of information is reported and that it must be aggregate data.

Ms. Hession informed the board that in May of this year the Center for School Safety applied to participate in the National governor’s Association (NGA) Coveninging and was accepted.

Ms. Hession stated that the NGA convened in July and that there were fourteen (14) states in attendance and that Maryland was recognized multiple times for its efforts and a number of states requested information from the Center.

Ms. Hession stated that the purpose of the meeting was for all states to develop statewide school safety strategic plans.

Ms. Hession stated that in May of next year we hope to hold a state level convening for all state partners to cover any nexus that touches students.

Ms. Hession stated that the Center is trying to figure out who should attend and how much it will cost to host the meeting.

Dr. Salmon asked how much the Center would need/ how many would be attending.

Ms. Hession stated that she was not sure at this time.

Secretary Neall asked how much money was needed for the strategic plan to be successful

Ms. Hession stated that she thought about $25,000 to hire a contractor and that she would have to draft a sole source document.

Secretary Neall stated that since it wasn’t in the budget that maybe Health could partner with the Center to get this done and that money shouldn’t be a deterrent from doing this.

Secretary Neall further stated that health could access funds or possibly pay for it all.

Ms. Hession thanked Secretary Neall and suggested that they discuss this further at a later time.

Ms. Hession moved on to discuss the Center’s Data Visualization efforts and referred to the handout provided to the Subcabinet as a reference of the dashboard that is currently being worked on.

Ms. Hession stated that this is where the Center was headed and that the Center wanted the Subcabinet’s feedback as to what information they would like to see on the dashboard.

Ms. Hession pointed out that the dashboard will also include non-public schools and that the Safe to Learn Act data will updated as mandated change. Ms. Hession also stated that right now the grant is just in dollars for right now and will update according.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the SRO data will be reported and is anticipated to be updated at the end of the year.

Ms. Hession asked the Subcabinet if there is information that they thought should be included or excluded that the Center was open to comments.

Ms. Hession also informed the Subcabinet that the Center was in conversations with MSDE about other data being collected, such as bullying and transportation related data, that could be include in the dashboard.

Dr. Salmon stated that she thought the dashboard looked good and asked if there was any reason that it was black and that she found it hard to read in that color.

Ms. Hession stated that the printout was much more difficult to read and that it shows a lot better visually on screen vs. a printout.

Dr. Salmon asked when the Center thought this would be up and running.

Ms. Hession stated that it is currently live, just not available on the website as of yet and that it would be presented to the Advisory Board in September to see if they had any additional data they would like to see. Ms. Hession further stated that the hope is to have pieces of it up by October.

Dr. Salmon stated that Ms. Hession presents to the state board on the 27th.

Dr. Salmon suggested that the Center present the dashboards at back to school nights and that she could send a memo to the superintendents making them aware of it when it is ready.

Mr. Pignataro reported on the SRO training, referring to the master Facilitation Schedule provided to the Subcabinet for their reference.

Mr. Pignataro stated that approximately 780 individual had been through the training to date and that there were approximately another 240 being trained the next three weeks.

Dr. Salmon stated that 40 hours was a lot of material and that she attended the next to last day of one of the trainings and that the people seemed to really participate.

Mr. Pignataro stated that the Center had asked for feedback on what they liked and didn’t like about the class as well what additional training courses they would like.

Mr. Pignataro stated that Youth Mental Health and First Aid were among those requested.

Ms. Hession stated that she and Dr. Salmon would put their heads together on this and that the overall frustration expressed was that the SROs felt the administrators didn’t understand and know their role as SROs.

Mr. Pignataro stated that the Center is currently working on a 3 – 4 hour overview class as the annual.

Dr. Salmon stated that an overview would be great and that it should include school administrators.

Ms. O’Croinin stated that this is a request that comes up every class.

Mr. Pignataro opened the floor up for any questions.

Ms. Hession referred the Subcabinet to the chart provided to reference those classes that were complete and still remaining.

Dr. Salmon stated that she thought it would be great if we could reach 1,000 people through the training.

Ms. Hession stated that if we count the pre-deployment classes for instructors that had to be trained we should be around 1,009 people trained overall.

Mr. Pignataro stated that a lot of the jurisdictions planned a head and had sent people to be trained in advance of being assigned as an SRO.

Mr. Pignataro reported on the Local School System Mandated Deliverables and informed the Subcabinet that the chart provided was out of date as of the weekend as more had been submitted and that he would start making calls to the jurisdictions this week to find out why they missed the deadlines and update the statuses.

Mr. Pignataro asked if there were any questions on the mandated deliverables.

There were no questions.

Dr. Salmon asked that Ms. Hession move onto the grants update.

Ms. Hession referred the Subcabinet to the Fiscal year 2019 and 2020 School Safety Grants Summary document provided for review.

Ms. Hession stated that the Center will be offering four (4) grants this year and that the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for those grants went life July 1st.

Ms. Hession informed the Subcabinet that the Center will provide an update during the meetings. Ms. Hession reminded the Subcabinet that the Safe Schools Fund Grant was extended until June 30, 2020 to give recipients a chance to spend the funds because the grants were awarded so late.

Ms. Hession stated that the Hate Bias Crimes grant had one applicant to date and that the deadline was September 6th.

Ms. Hession stated that there had been no awards as of yet of any of the 2020 grants.

MS. Hession asked the Subcabinet to let the Center know if there was any additional information they would like to have included in the summary reports provided.

Dr. Salmon asked if the grants information will be include on the website.

Ms. Hession stated that it will be.

Secretary Neall questioned how the Center will track the grant awards for two different years in one year and ensure that the recipient isn’t double counting.

Ms. Hession stated that it will be the responsibility of the Center to ensure that the fund are applied for each year and that there is no overlap between the two years.

Ms. Hession further stated that any modifications 25% or more of the initial award would be bought before the Subcabinet for approval and that all of the administrative burden would be on the Center to ensure the Subcabinet is aware of all statuses and that grants are administered properly.

Ms. Hession asked the Subcabinet to let the Center know if there is any additional information they would like to see included with the grants.

Secretary Neall sated that the grants will need to ready to brief to the legislature when asked.

Ms. Hession asked that the Subcabinet identify the 2020 meeting dates.

Subcabinet meetings have typically been the 3rd Monday of the month; however, those were holidays in January and February.

Dr. Salmon stated the scheduled 2020 dates as follows: January 13, February 10, March 16, April 20, May 18 with no meetings in June or July and the remaining dates would be determined in April or May.

Secretary Neall asked to be reminded of the remaining 2019 meeting dates.

Ms. Hession stated the remaining 2019 dates were September 16th in the Governor’s Reception Room, October 21st in Crownsville, November 18th in Crownsville, and December 16th in Crownsville.

Dr. Salmon asked if there was any other business to be discussed.

There was none.

Dr. Salmon asked for a motion to be bought to adjourn the meeting.

Mr. Fields bought a motion to adjourn the meeting.

Secretary Neall seconded the motion.

The meeting adjourned at 10:40 AM.