When you’re preparing an RFP for your school security, there are many things to consider. You need something that provides total protection for your students and faculty, but all the “bells and whistles” of school hardening can be over the top, not to mention cost-prohibitive.
Ask yourself: Do you need to actually harden your school, or are there other ways to protect your school before incidents can even take place? For your school security RFP, are there issues you can address as you undergo the process of creating it?
Mistakes You Might Make When It’s Time to Write Your RFP
Mistake 1: Failing to Take Student Behaviors into Consideration
Always take students’ behaviors into consideration. Have you identified at-risk students for any specific red flags? If so, do you have behavioral and mental health services in place? If you’ve answered “no” to these questions, you need to find a solution that addresses disruptive and challenged students, including those who act out in the classroom, are behind in their work, or are consistently tardy, meaning missing three or more school days in the first 30 days of school. In addition, students can present with mental health problems, which must be taken into consideration by schools in terms of providing care for these students.
Mistake 2: Believing That School Hardening Is the Only Solution
School hardening is only one solution to handle school security, and it presents a set of challenges for students.
Former University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey International fellow Muhammad Shahzad Asif Khan, MD, believes that mock exercises to prepare kids as young as five and six years old have a psychological impact that may be hard to measure but is easy to see.
According to research conducted by University at Buffalo education professor Jeremy Finn and Canisius College psychology professor Tim Servoss, safety and security measures in high schools can hinder teaching and learning. Finn and Servoss used data collected from approximately 700 American high schools and three national surveys. They found that not only did safety and security measures in those high schools lead to results that hindered teaching and learning, but students also felt less safe when the level of security was high.
So, do you believe that armed guards—and in some instances, armed teachers—metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and bulletproof glass are the only answers?
Mistake 3: Believing That You Can’t Invest in Protecting Schools with a Limited Existing Budget
School security plays a critical role in supporting the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth of students. When there is a protected environment, students learn without fear of possible risks. That makes it vital for you when it comes to school security RFPs. The only problem is that you will face significant obstacles in your efforts to provide that safe learning environment. Limited funding always seems to present problems.
A new school security system doesn’t need to break the bank. There is an automated technology platform available that addresses the multiple safety and security challenges that your schools face.
Mistake 4: Thinking That a New System Will Be Difficult to Implement
The key to finding and trusting in an all-in-one security solution is to pursue a system that will always offer you and your staff measurable results. It’s essential that your potential technology vendor has an easy-to-use solution. You need technology that can be easily implemented—and not require a massive overhaul.
Mistake 5: Thinking That You Have No Ability to Set Priorities and Evaluation Criteria
School security RFPs are, naturally, serious business. You might think that you don’t have the ability to set priorities and evaluation criteria when it comes to deciding on features and benefits.
Ask yourself: What features and benefits must you have? What would you like to have? Then, do you want it or do you need it? When you’ve answered these questions, make sure that everyone on your RFP team is on the same page. Move forward, and determine which vendor offers the best package based on your budget.
Success in Your School Security RFPs: Investing in Technology That Prevents School Safety Incidents
You want to avoid the above common mistakes when it comes to school security RFPs. You need to determine which areas are important for your schools and invest accordingly.
ScholarChip provides an affordable automated platform that includes Alternative Behavior Education (ABE), smart ID cards, visitor management, secure door access, and mobile monitoring. Let’s take a look at each.
Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE)
The ScholarChip-ABE allows your school to perform early identification of at-risk students with early interventions at all grade levels before any behaviors can escalate. It uses evidenced-based, age-appropriate intervention videos and quizzes that help students learn appropriate behavior, and provides a rewards system for every successful behavior achieved. ABE helps students become successful during their academic careers and sets them up for success once their school careers are over. Referrals, notes, interventions, and behaviors are connected to each student into a web-based, automated system.
ABE also supplies a tight and seamless integration with PowerSchool® and adds additional tools with Infinite Campus, Skyward®, eSchoolPlus™, and other Student Information Systems (SIS).
Smart ID cards
Day-to-day operations are automated with ScholarChip’s ID smart cards. Student and staff whereabouts are known throughout the day, whether in classrooms, buildings, or buses or at non-scheduled locations, like trips to the guidance counselor, nurse’s office, main office, and food purchase areas. Smart ID cards are valuable in that they manage attendance and create responsibility for students. ID cards can also be issued to law enforcement and EMS.
Visitor management system
Schools need to monitor who is allowed through their doors throughout the day. This is where the visitor management system from ScholarChip comes in. There are streams of people—parents, volunteers, vendors, and delivery people—coming in and going out of a school all the time. It’s important to identify these people and process them through a single, automated system. With ScholarChip, you receive historical and real-time data. This provides clarity on the amount of traffic that the schools receive daily, the reason for visits, and peak visit times. The visitor management system also checks sex offender lists and provides a way to determine who certain authorized parents are. As a result, schools can make facility or operational adjustments and improve how schools react to an emergency. Visitor management enables schools to operate proactively instead of reactively.
Secure door access
Emergencies require rapid action. Controlling your door access is just one component of a safe school environment.
In understanding school security and its crucial needs, you need to control what doors are accessible and by whom, across various days and times. ScholarChip’s secure door access gives schools the ability to perform one-click lockdowns in the event of an emergency. Smart cards users are quickly added and in the event of a lost card, are canceled as required, all with a single click.
ScholarChip Mobile Apps provide attendance and hallway monitoring for most major mobile devices, like iPad® and Android® tablets. Schools can securely identify students, take attendance, collect discipline data, and issue summonses, all at the touch of a button. ScholarChip supports NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile devices. Mobile monitoring is easy for schools to take attendance or manage students in any environment, both inside and outside schools.
Avoid Those Common Mistakes, and Use an Affordable Safety and Security Technology Platform
When it comes to school security RFPs, common mistakes can be avoided in the first place. Knowing what to look for and what to do to prevent them is critical. Partnering with ScholarChip’s automated platform helps you prevent security issues and keep your schools safe.
To learn more about how to avoid the common mistakes in developing your RFP and get the best bang for your budget buck, schedule a 1-on-1 demo with one of our specialists today!