TR school board could pivot on school resource officer position

Curriculum director presents on benchmark testing

THREE RIVERS — Three Rivers Community Schools could potentially rethink the proposed school resource officer (SRO) position currently listed in its strategic plan.

During discussion at the Monday, Oct. 17 TRCS Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Nikki Nash said the district could explore going for a Safe School Coordinator (SSC) position, rather than an SRO.

School resource officers were originally listed in the “safe and secure environment” goal of the district’s 2019 strategic plan, but Nash said the reason the district has held off on going for an SRO until now was because of grant funding. Nash mentioned the district was part of a group who submitted for a Michigan State Police grant the week prior to pay for the position.

However, that same week, Nash said she had conversations with the district’s administrative team, where the topic of an SRO was brought up. In it, the SSC position was brought to the forefront, with Nash saying it’s something the district may consider.

“There are some districts taking a bit of a turn between an SRO and a safe school coordinator,” Nash said. “The more we had conversation with the administrative team, we’re leaning more toward the safe school coordinator position as a person who helps with our emergency management.”

Nash said both the SRO and SSC positions have many of the same related activities to them related to security and safety, with the biggest one being emergency management and planning. The SSC position would also implement safety and security protocols, implement “best practices” to prevent violence in schools and coordinate with local law enforcement.

“This person would be not so much the officer-related position as it would be the coordinator of our emergency management,” Nash said. “It’s something we all talked about that we may be leaning towards that direction, because it helps more with the systems, and when you have systems in place, that usually will fall together down below. Whereas, an SRO, you have one for six buildings, are they going to be able to be at each building? If we have a coordinator, they can work with each of the principals and what we do at each of the buildings and help oversee that.”

Nash said the grant funding the district applied for does not cover both positions, saying it’s the “biggest hurdle” at this point. She said while the district has a “great” emergency operations plan, they were “missing that piece of making sure it’s all together.”

Board Secretary Ben Karle said he was appreciative of the administrative team for considering possible alternatives to an SRO.

“I know it’s such an important issue, as you’re the ones who deal with those issues every day. I’m glad to hear there are other options, and I think that could be a really good move for the district,” Karle said.

Nash said conversations will be continuing on the subject with the administrative team.

In other business…

  • Curriculum Director Jen Graber presented on the benchmark testing results for the fall semester, as well as scores from the 2022 spring MSTEP/PSAT tests. In the MSTEP/PSAT data, Graber said the COVID-19 pandemic was “not helpful” overall, ELA scores for seventh grade dropped “significantly”, while third, fourth and sixth grade improved their scores, and eighth grade improved by 10 percent. All grades improved in performance for math, except fourth and fifth grade, while in science – only tested on in fifth and eighth grade – both grades showed “significant” improvement.
    For the benchmark testing results, nearly all of the proficiency scores were close to expected or better, with focus areas moving forward of first and third grade reading and math, second and third grade language, seventh grade reading and math, eighth grade math, ninth grade reading and math, and 10th grade math. Some of the best proficiency scores came from fourth and fifth graders in reading, language and math, second grade math, sixth and eighth grade reading, 10th grade reading and language in all high school grades.
  • In her presentation, Graber discussed the state’s Loss of Learning Grant, which could give school districts in the state a minimum of $36.75 per pupil to fund programs to address learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. Her presentation focused on the district’s after-school learning programs.
  • The board heard a presentation from Facilities Director Brian Leonard on the school district’s recycling program and how the recycling process works.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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