As the new school year begins, the Palmyra-Macedon Central School District is continuing its commitment to constantly seek new opportunities to enhance district safety procedures and streamline emergency protocols.
As such, the district has invested in NaviGate Prepared, a virtual emergency preparedness solution uniquely designed for K-12 schools. The cutting-edge software allows the district to execute effective safety programs to prepare staff and students to confidently respond in emergencies.
NaviGate Prepared will allow the district to house district safety procedures and building-related information electronically, a shift from using flip charts and traditional paper methods. When a situation arises, information including class rosters and visitor logs will be easily accessible on electronic devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Through the newly implemented safety software, first responders will have access to the information which school personnel are able to view. One key feature for first responders is the ability to access digital maps of all districts sites. This feature will provide improved understanding of building configurations therefore reducing response times.
For example, if there is a gas leak in a building, first responders and other personnel will be able to view a 360 degree image of the suspected location of the problem prior to arriving on site. The resources available via NaviGate Prepared will also help improve evacuation times in the event that process must be initiated.
State and federally mandated drills and plans will be accessible and tracked with the software which has a feature allowing administrators to monitor the progress of drills to ensure all requirements are met, and plans are properly in place in accordance with laws and regulations.
"Proper planning and preparations are essential to school safety,” said Director or School Safety John Colella. “NaviGate Prepared provides one platform to plan, prepare and implement our safety plans and programs.”
One safety program continuing this year is Tyler Drive, a GPS and student accountability system implemented in early 2019. The program, which is used in grades preK-5, empowers students to be accountable for their onboarding and exiting process while providing drivers easy-to-read maps and information on tablets mounted on the bus. Turn-by-turn instructions allow substitute bus drivers to be more confident and to safely navigate routes without having to use a binder of papers to follow routes and determine stops. The new system also allows the Transportation Department to follow bus location at the transportation office with GPS tracking.
For the student accountability portion of the program, each Pal-Mac student in grades preK-5 has been given an ID badge to scan as they get on and off the bus. If a student is getting off at the wrong stop, or a student is boarding the wrong bus, the tablet screen will turn red and alert the bus driver.
District staff provide the bus passes as well as instructions on scanning them. No student information is stored on the bus pass, which simply holds a random number that can only be recognized by Pal-Mac’s secure Tyler Drive system. If a student forgets or loses their bus pass, the bus driver is able to register it manually on the tablet.
Since its implementation, the new program has increased safety, efficiency and accountability throughout the district.
In addition to safety programs implemented at Pal-Mac, now is a great time to remember to drive with care in school zones and always obey posted speed limits. When traveling in the vicinity of school buses, please always use caution as frequents stops occur will for student loading and unloading. Always obey the flashing red stop sign when it is activated on the bus and never pass a bus with its stop sign and lights activated.
“The safety of our students and staff is paramount,” said Pal-Mac Superintendent Dr. Bob Ike. “Incorporating programs such as NaviGate Prepared furthers our goal to be the safest district possible, and we will continue examining ways to make our district safer and more welcoming for all.”