California AB 3205: Changes to School Safety Modernization Projects

Prior to the Safe Schools for Safe Learning Act of 2013 existed, the California Assembly Bill (AB) 3205 legislation—one of the most impactful legislation—passed without a single rejection, constraint, or pushback.

“Every teacher should be able to lock their doors from the inside, in an emergency,” is the targeted goal through the California AB 3205—for older schools.

While lawmakers take an eagle-eye look at school safety modernization projects and technological advancements made since the California AB 3205 was passed several years ago, school administrators of both older and newer campuses are asking the question:

“Will my school safety plan meet these new legislation amendments—and how?”

What to Expect from California AB 3205 Amendments

“As a parent, a teacher, and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I believe that allowing teachers to lock a classroom door from the inside can save lives,” states Patrick O’Donnell, 70th District assembly member. “Technology will play an important role in these modernization projects.”

As students are marching and organizing walkouts in a fight for campus safety and modernization projects are on the rise, lawmakers and school administrators are recognizing their joint responsibility to protect both older and newer schools.

Consequently, those same unanimous lawmakers from the past are revisiting the California AB 3205, which specifically addresses older schools that plan to renovate. School construction and school safety modernization projects must now include plans for door locks that allow classroom doors to be locked from the inside, excluding doors that are locked at all times and student restrooms.

Learning how new amendments impact your school security plan will be key to meeting these modernization requirements and your campus’ overall safety.

How Your Campus Safety Plan Will Be Impacted

The fear of school shootings is real, with a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll indicating that 73 percent of adults and 82 percent of public school parents saying they are “somewhat” to “very concerned” about school shootings. In situations where there’s an active shooter on campus, teachers can lock classroom doors to prevent attacks and keep students safe.

However, this is not sufficient.

Therefore, both California lawmakers and school districts are rethinking the overall approach to include:

  • Preventing school violence through technology;
  • Early intervention strategies by focusing on student well-being;
  • Mitigating ineffective school security plans and how they impact the learning environment;
  • Funding benefits related to the modernization of social-emotional behavioral strategies in connection to school security plans.

Fortunately, your campus can modernize its school safety plan and physical security through an all-in-one solution that easily trains your staff and provides behavior education for prevention and intervention support.

Knowing Your Population = Knowledge to Power

Being able to streamline a procedure across your school campuses in lockdown situations is your only strategy in fulfilling the California AB 3205 modernization project.

Analyzing Student Behavior

Placing your campus in a favorable position to monitor and manage behavior students are held accountable for is vital, specifically their attendance and general behavior at school. Smart card systems provide more in-depth insight into student behavior and aid in the prevention and intervention of behavior-related incidents (an essential part of an effective school security plan).

A modernized all-in-one solution should include ABE (Alternative Behavior Educator), which teaches better behavior and monitors the progress of each student throughout their academic career. Simultaneously, your administrators and teachers gain deeper insight through powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and support decision-making tasks.

As an additional preventative measure against school violence and incidents, your staff will be able to use ABE to:

  • Measure and monitor behavioral activity while sending immediate referrals to relevant staff and school psychologists;
  • Boost accountability and increase a positive learning environment.

Such data-driven reports are proven to help school administrators and their staff members to prevent and intervene in social-emotional issues.

ABE Technology Leads to Positive Campus Climates

Many successful school districts nationwide have adopted smart card systems and ID programs and have leveraged an understanding of their school population, student behavior metrics, and met state-required mandates—in return, creating a positive learning environment that increased attendance and decreased the occurrences social-emotional related school violence.

New York City’s Westbury Public School District needed to improve its attendance reporting. “What’s unusual about this district is its high mobility rate, in which 20 to 25 percent of students leave school for weeks or even months at a time,” the school explains. The district was mandated by the State to improve attendance rates and track seat time for all students as part of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) for teachers. The review uses a seat time mandate to calculate each teacher’s responsibility for a student’s performance.

As a strategic response, Westbury Public Schools decided to adopt contactless Smart ID cards and smart software data tracking to collect attendance data. Students simply tap their cards onto portable kiosks, providing real-time, automatic attendance data to both school staff and parents.

California school districts, too, can collect data from smart technology and the ABE system and use patterns discovered to make recommendations to improve attendance and manage social-emotional issues. When implementing ScholarChip’s all-in-one Smart ID solution, students cutting class dropped by 80%, and class attendance improved across multiple school campuses.

An All-in-one Solution Up-to-Date with California Legislations

Such attendance and accountability benefits are compelling a myriad of California school districts to adopt smart card systems and ID programs to understand their student behavior metrics.

Smart card systems maximize the measurability of next year’s school security plans and will always align with any new California school safety legislation updates.

Arming Staff with Innovative Tools for Prevention and Intervention

The California AB 3205 legislation is a great benefit for teachers, having to no longer lock the classroom from the outside during an active lockdown event.

Nonetheless, there remain two significant challenges that California lawmakers and administrators are highlighting: modernization and identifying the accurate location of each person in on your campus.

Students’ attendance and whereabouts must be monitored in the event of an emergency, whether it is a potential incident of violence or an active threat. If your school is unable to report on your students’ attendance or absence, the entire district may face severe consequences in an emergency—and towards meeting California AB 3205 amendments.

Modernization projects will soon include both older and new schools having a real-time attendance and visitor management plan in place, as a part of the revised legislation. Through the technological advancement of real-time reports and immediate access control, smart card systems are the ultimate solution for school administrators to get in-depth knowledge and control of their district-wide population.

Smart card systems are a measurable approach for accurate results in emergency situations. Undoubtedly, smart card systems safely and accurately enable an advanced collection of data from staff, students, and visitors.

“How do we implement this technology?” school administrators ask.

Fortunately, ScholarChip’s all-in-one solution offers proven ways to implement smart technology as a safety strategy without obstructing the actionable goals of your district.

Smart card reader technology transcends beyond the California AB 3205 building and door access security requirements. Smart card system benefits include:

  • Ease-of-use for helping your staff and administration implement the smart ID care system;
  • Back-end cloud-based server that maintains detailed and sensitive information, making the smart ID card more secure;
  • Smart ID Cards are almost impossible to replicate.

Access rights are guaranteed to be accurate and immediate with an all-in-one smart card reader solution. Appropriate cardholders are added and removed quickly–when a student transfers or a staff member is no longer affiliated with a district. Knowledge certainly is power!

Providing Both Staff and Law Enforcement with Real-time Knowledge

Holistically, you can immediately equip both your school staff behind secured doors and local law enforcement with an advanced tool to gain deeper insight into each person that enters and exits every building, bus, and even school events.

Repositioning Your School for Better Funding Opportunities

Legislation is Being Revisited—Now is The Time

According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Department of General Services estimates that California AB 3205 could result in cost pressure on future bond funds that range from approximately $1.2 million to up to $13.1 million each year.

“These costs could be higher or lower depending on the exact number of modernization projects that are funded,” Track Bill reports. This estimate assumes that approximately 10% of the projects would qualify for financial hardship and receive full funding from the State, while the remaining 90% of projects would receive the traditional 60/40 state match.

As noted in the recent California AB 3205 Amendments, the State requires the governing board of a school district seeking state school facilities bond funds to— as part of a modernization project—renovate the interior of its campus with proper locks and technology that meets the specifications outlined by the California Code of Regulations Title 24.

With the ScholarChip all-in-one solution, the school safety technology system meets and exceeds state codes and regulations, in addition to supporting your district’s need to:

  • Leverage a tool that fortifies a more holistic approach to school safety through Smart Card ID technology, ScholarChip ABE, and Visitor Management solutions;
  • Easily implement the on-boarding and training of staff with ScholarChip’s innovative system;
  • Procure real-time reports that boost the accuracy of data;
  • Reposition your school reputation, positive ecosystems, and optimize district-wide funding possibilities.Demonstrating these modernization project features in your school’s security plan will boost the opportunity for funding and optimize the safety outlook for your entire district in the years to come.

As a school administrator, you can easily help your campus—and entire school district—holistically gain deeper insight into each person that enters and exits each door, as necessary through the California AB 3205 revision. You are positioning your campus for school safety modernization that extends to buses and real-time school event security, continuously placing you ahead of any other future California legislation amendments—and more importantly—your school safety concerns.

Are you ready to launch your campus’ safety modernization project while meeting the California Assembly Bills and exceeding your community’s safety goals? We invite you to contact one of our specialists to learn how to enhance a positive, safer school climate today!