In a continuous effort to improve its safety and security measures, the Waxahachie Independent School District is set to roll out a sophisticated digital student safety system.
Valued at $35,000, the software — Impero EdAware— allows staff to record and analyze multiple types of student safety and wellness information from a remote digital location.
It was awarded by Impero Solutions Limited, a school network management software developer. The company announced its Texas School Safety Grant in August in response to Senate Bill 11 – a sweeping school-safety measure signed by Gov. Abott in June. The bill directs school districts and charter schools to implement a series of security measures.
“WISD identified the grant, demoed the software, then completed a comprehensive grant application,” District Public Relations Director Jenny Bridges said. “Waxahachie ISD continuously searches for procedures to ensure student safety. WISD identified the Impero grant as an opportunity to improve how we identify students with serious concerns relating to child protection, behavioral concerns, or mental health needs.”
The student safety information stored in the system will allow schools to “employ data-driven decisions for interventions, follow-ups and preventative measures,” said the district in a Sept. 17 press release.
“It’s an honor to be chosen and we hope this system will provide a central digital location for storing student background information relating to counseling, behavior, mental health, medical needs and other critical data,” said District Director of Educational Support and Counseling Services Ginger Robinson in the release.
SB 11 came on the heels of the Sante Fe High School mass shooting in May. Ten people were killed – eight students and two teachers. Thirteen others were left wounded.
Among the requirements outlined by the bill, school districts and charter schools must implement emergency operation plans, curriculums should include classes on mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention, and all employees, including substitute teachers, must undergo emergency response training. Additionally, all classrooms should be equipped with phones.
Earlier this month, Waxahachie ISD launched tip411, a mobile application that allows students and staff, and the wider community, to anonymously report any issue of concern.
“When a tip comes in, it will go to the campus administrator, our district head of security, our superintendent and the executive director of secondary or elementary learning, depending on if the tip is for an elementary or secondary campus,” Bridges told the Daily Light.
Bridges said the application costs the district about $5000 a year, “and is funded by federal title funds.”