Here are six ways we keep your child safe at Pinecrest. This list is not exhaustive, as there are other measures we follow regularly to keep your child safe while under our care.
1. Campus Facilities and Grounds are Designed for Child Safety
All rooms in all of our buildings have glass windows so that what takes place in the classrooms and offices can be seen from the outside. In the Middle and High Schools, there is an office at the end of each hallway on each level, designed so that a faculty member can see what is happening between classes.
The Lower School campus is protected by fencing and gates. All classrooms in the Lower, Middle and High School are protected by locked doors that may only be unlocked by faculty/staff throughout the school day. Upon entry to the Main Office, guests may not gain access to the Lower School classrooms, which are behind locked doors.
This year, visitors to campus are asked to sign in at the Main Office (in the Lower School building), obtain a guest badge, and record the duration and purpose of their visit in the guest book. Parents and families who have official business in their child’s school or need to drop off items for their student, may report directly to their child’s building and sign in at the front desk.
2. Faculty and Staff Are Background Checked, ID’d, and Safety Trained
Employees receive monthly training through the “Virtus Protecting God’s Children” program, created by the National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc., for the prevention of sexual abuse and other wrongdoing by those who interact with children. Employees participate in a Georgia Mandated Reporter Training program at the beginning of each year. This training helps those working with children recognize signs of child abuse and neglect.
The Lower School uses “Protecting God's Children,” a program developed by the Archdiocese of Atlanta, that gives children tools to protect themselves from those who might harm them.
All employees are identified by photo ID badges, and vehicles have ID cards, which hang from the rear view mirror. Upon employment, all employees must undergo a background check, done by Praesidium, an outside vendor. Additionally, every adult who works with our children - parents, volunteer coaches, outside vendors - must go through a background check.
3. Emergency Protocol includes Drills, an Emergency Notification System, and Collaboration with Local Authorities
Fire Drills, Lockdown Drills, and Tornado Drills are held regularly at all three schools on campus. Our Facilities Director works with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and other County officials to stay abreast of safety protocols for schools.
Members of the Security team patrol campus during the school day, as well as, after hours, when sports and extracurricular activities are taking place.
Pinecrest uses an emergency notification system called BrightArrow to broadcast messages via phone call, email, and text, when emergency situations arise. This system is supplemented by school generated emails, website updates, and social media posts.
4. IT Security Measures Keep Children Safe While Online On Campus
The Information Technology department has established built-in securities across our network. Deployed actively and passively, measures such as a commercial grade virus protection over our network, a state-of-the-art web filter, modulating multi-layered Wi-Fi network, and active and passive network scanners, are but some of the features of our infrastructure which can help parents rest assured that their children are navigating safely with technology while at school.
Enrolled students are assigned unique school email accounts and credentials to protect their personal information. As part of their formation in the Lower School, students are taught how to access and use them just for school. In the Middle School, learning how to communicate via email with teachers is taught, but student accounts are restricted to within the domain of the school. In the High School, communication outside of the domain is allowed, due to students’ need for college and work applications, but all student accounts are subject to our filtering and preventative protocols.
5. Strict Cell Phone Policies Protect Children and Keep Them Engaged in Learning
To ensure the safety of every child and to avoid distractions during the school day, Lower School students are not allowed to bring personal electronic devices (phone, iWatches, iPod, tablet, laptop, etc) to school.
The Middle School upholds a policy stating that electronic devices that can send, receive, or access digital data are to be off and in lockers during school hours. (Middle schoolers may access devices after school is dismissed.)
In the High School, electronic devices are to be off and stowed away in backpacks, lockers, or classroom caddies during school hours. Electronic devices should not be used to record, store, manipulate or transmit any type of image, sound, or video, except for approved projects.
6. Student Health Protocols are Enforced by Our School Nurse
Our school nurse follows numerous safety protocols to ensure the health and wellness of our students:
runs practice drills for emergencies;
conducts daily radio checks for key persons on campus;
alerts teachers of air quality, temperature extremes, pollen counts;
alerts facilities if there is a safety issue on campus (beehive, thistle, etc);
educates faculty/staff on student health concerns, like seizures;
works with counselors and administrators when students have concussions or injuries requiring accommodations;
alerts the community of medical product recalls.
Our nurse also offers CPR/AED certification, including use of EpiPens, for faculty, staff, and coaches, several times throughout the year. The Forsyth County Fire Department and EMS team holds “Stop the Bleed” training for faculty/staff each year.
Additionally, we maintain seven AEDs across campus and Epi Pens in the dining halls.
The Pinecrest Academy Security Team is always at the ready to protect our students and to put new safety protocols in place, as necessary. We are currently working to implement additional security enhancements for this school year.