One major challenge that principals face when creating a solid school safety plan is balancing campus security with a positive school climate while leveraging the right school safety vendor. It requires valuable research time and expanded knowledge on what technology your campus needs, as well as clearly defining which vendor. The process of learning how to write a school safety RFP (request for proposal) can actually help streamline those school safety technology strategies even more and boost opportunities to gain greater insights into what your current safety initiatives may be missing.
There are several school safety RFP templates and blueprints available for a focused school leader to follow. Before your RFP journey begins, take the time to understand the best practices for school safety RFPs and how simplified this task has become with the evolution of school safety technology. Fortunately, the leading experts in school safety technology have made it simple!
As the visionary leader for your campus, you are privy to the evolutions in school safety technology and their impact on school climate and SEL. This streamlined resource guide is designed to help you harness such knowledge and further support writing a powerful RFP. The following four tips will optimize every school leader’s ability to:
- Clarify their objectives in procuring the right vendor
- Define the scope of school safety technology services being sought
- Demonstrate the format that the school admin is seeking from the vendor (capabilities, cost, and expectations)
- Evaluate each vendor
Four Tips for Writing a Powerful School Safety RFP
Creating your general invitation, RFP schedule, overview/background, RFP requirements, and exhibits has become increasingly easier with the variety of templates available to school leaders. However, there are four best practices that often get overlooked when learning to write a school safety RFP that targets vendors that focus on the prevention and intervention of school violence and student success.
1. Make Your Vision Plain: Provide a Clear Overview about Your School
Every school leader is tasked with the goal to raise and maintain school admissions—and a positive community rapport. A vital part of that success revolves around your ability to translate your school’s mission or vision. The same rule applies to your school safety RFP.
Defining your school’s education, safety direction, and positive climate outlook is just as important when it comes to shortlisting school safety vendors. Attracting vendor responses that are the best fit for your particular campus and school safety plan is crucial.
Always remember to underscore your education and safety mission or vision within the overview section of your school safety RFP, along with your expectations to help redefine school safety on your campus.
2. Evaluate Your School Safety Vendor—Before You Ever Receive a Single Proposal
Many successful school principals have reported one commonality in their achievement in time-saving RFP strategies: the evaluation process actually starts before any RFP responses are received.
Always do the research before sending invitations to multiple school safety vendors. The evaluation process begins when you decide exactly who will be invited as a prospect.
The Price Is Not Always Right
While many school safety vendors have a price that meets your school safety plan budget, never choose one based on price alone. After you read the RFP responses, narrow the list down to the best experts and schedule interviews only with those that fit your school safety plans and overview.
3. Know What Qualifications to Request
When social-emotional learning (SEL), student well-being, positive school climate, and modernized school safety technologies are at the forefront of your school’s vision and overview, attracting the responses of expert school safety vendors must be your focus when writing the qualifications section of your school safety RFP.
To procure a dynamic group of proposal responses that meet your school safety technology goals toward student success, consider seeking (and requesting) targeted qualifications or abilities in your RFP, such as:
- Specific authorized hardware or services
- Ordering and configurations through an internet portal
- Configure-to-order as an option with customizable components
- Brand names
Essential Qualifications to Request
Within the qualification section, outline the essential qualifications that your school safety plan requires. Clearly express the need for school safety proposers to list their use of third-party vendors, certifications, assurances, seller profiles, and prior contract performance.
You may want to also provide the percentage of experience that your school safety plan is seeking from the vendors, such as the number of education sector customers they have serviced. These aspects help you narrow down viable school safety experts.
Education Sector Experience and the Importance of Hardware/Software Requirements
There is a definite advantage of requesting school safety vendors that are eligible for participation in federal programs. Getting responses from vendors that comply with state and federal law programs positions your school for possible grants or reimbursements. Moreover, you are further building a positive school climate and community confidence in the school safety plan you are implementing through the vendor’s services and products or software.
Aside from sales experience in the education market space, it is equally important that the vendors provide an all-in-one platform and scalable components in school safety that focus on:
- Behavior management
- Secure door access / access control
- Visitor management
- SIS (Student Information Software) integrations
Writing a school safety RFP with a well-defined qualifications section is sure to solicit the most adept expert responses from vendors with the proven platforms to meet and exceed your school’s myriad needs for creating a safe and supportive school climate.
Remember, a school safety vendor’s workflow, services, and products are a critical foundation for the long-term safety plan of your school.
Get to Know the Proposer’s Workflow
Include the service product requirements that are essential to your RFP goal. Here are a few examples:
- Minimum product sales volume (for educational customers)
- Account representative to coordinate support and services for the contract
- Toll-free access or voicemail options for the account representative
- Technical support capabilities
- Turnaround time frames
- Documentation for operational and instructional manuals
- Promotional materials (specification sheets) and vendor product catalogs
Proposers should have a full understanding of the aspects you require. In return, you can learn more about their workflow and how this can integrate with the systems that your school safety plan already has in place and boost your staff work productivity.
4. Showcase Your Contract and Proposal Forms—and Always Include Your Exhibits
The best practices for a school safety RFP contract and proposal form template should include exhibits, such as checklists that demonstrate:
- Proposer’s school safety solutions
- School safety proposal form for the proposer
- Appendix sections
Including these items at the end of the RFP helps ensure that your responders have thoroughly read the general invitation, RFP schedule, overview/background, requirements, and qualifications sections.
Defining Your Exhibits, Attachment Requirements, and School Safety Solutions Checklist
Define your exhibits with concise titles and notes, including what the proposer must demonstrate and offer toward school safety solutions. As you create an outline for your requirements, consider including the following.
- Contracts for the purchase of hardware or services between your school and the proposer: outline the purchases and sales of goods and services, performance of work, terms of the contract, and solutions.
- Standard terms and conditions of the purchase contract: provide definitions, price and payment, delivery obligations, inspection, warranty, infringement, compliance with laws, changes, data ownership, privacy and publicity, and additional terms and conditions.
- Proposal form: this should have your contract administrator’s information, key agreements, and signatures from the corporation and any partnerships or joint venture entities (as examples).
- School safety solutions checklist: this is a list of items that must be available to support your final decision in making the best choice in school safety leadership.
Keep Student Data and Emergency Plan Management in Mind
Most importantly, when writing a school safety RFP, remember your responsibility to protect your students’ data and the need for a real-time service and product that enables your SIS to integrate easily and accurately.
Examples of solutions to include in your RFP form:
- Integration with SIS to automatically update classroom roster (district wide)
- Mobile application functionality
- Role-based access control
- Contact management efficiencies in emergencies
- Training management capability
- Hosting off-premises
- Building plan emergency management
Within your school safety solutions checklist, provide a space where the proposer can briefly explain more about their services and product that meets each solution.
The Best School Safety RFP = The Best School Safety Contract!
As school leaders become more empowered to choose the right school safety vendor, the more that school safety contracts can further outline a positive school climate and protect both your school’s overall interests and those of your vendor.
Your ability to write a school safety RFP and recognize these best practices will gain the best vendor response to help form the framework of your contract. In an effort to save time and research, it is highly recommended to only invite and interview vendors that specialize in school safety solutions—for the ultimate long-term safety and well-being of your students.
The best RFP comes from school administrators having the right tools and knowledge about the evolution of school safety technology. Thankfully, ScholarChip’s school safety RFP resources help school leaders target the right vendor—and the best automated, integrated school safety technology.
We invite you to contact our expert account representatives today to learn more about school safety technology and how to gain solid advice from the experts in automated, integrated school safety solutions that work from the inside out.
ScholarChip offers a solution called Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE). This innovative program enables school administrators and counselors to identify, monitor, and improve student behavior throughout a student’s career, while giving them powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and help them identify school safety risks before incidents.
To learn how ScholarChip can help make schools safer or get free recommendations, feel free to chat with one of our specialists today!