WILMINGTON, DE (Mar. 15, 2018) – A diverse group of parents, educators, emergency preparedness and industry groups released the following statement on today’s passage of H.R. 4909, the “STOP School Violence Act of 2018,” by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“We applaud Congress’ efforts to address the important issue of school and student safety. The House’s passage of the ‘STOP School Violence Act’ is one of many steps to fund school security improvements and invest in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens.

“The bill’s passage is encouraging and we are optimistic it will create the momentum and political urgency to deliver a final bill to President Trump.

“We urge the Senate to move swiftly and pass its version of legislation, S. 2495, to clear the way for enactment of a final bill. School districts and states should have maximum flexibility to meet the most critical needs of their schools including facility security. House and Senate leaders should work to achieve an equitable grant distribution that ensures schools can choose options under the bill that meet local needs, and limited funds first go to public schools.

“Educators and communities across the country are moving forward to address security deficiencies in their schools. Funding from Congress will help close those gaps faster.”

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Supporters:
Safe and Sound Schools, National School Boards Association (NSBA), National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), National Council on School Facilities (NCSF), Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), Secure Schools Alliance (the Alliance), Security Industry Association (SIA), National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA), DHI Door Security + Safety Professionals (DHI), Door Safety and Security Foundation (DSSF), 21st Century School Fund (21CSF)

Media Contact:
Dan Nelson
Secure Schools Alliance
dnelson392000@yahoo.com

Working with Secure Schools Alliance on shaping school safety recommendations

 

NEWTOWN, Conn. – March 5, 2018Safe and Sound Schools, a non-profit organization that delivers crisis-prevention, response, and recovery programs for schools to ensure safety, today announced its strong support for the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018, introduced in the Senate on March 5, 2018. Safe and Sound Schools has been working with the Secure Schools Alliance to shape the school safety recommendations for this important legislation.

“Our focus has always been —and will remain— on school safety, and from our work throughout the country, we know schools desperately need the funding and attention to safety afforded by this bill,” said Michele Gay, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Safe and Sound Schools, and member of the board of directors of the Secure Schools Alliance. “Although school safety is a growing concern, our schools lack the resources and support to implement effective measures. While federal assistance alone could never fully address these needs, we feel this bill could make a major impact, and it’s an important first step in ensuring the safety of our nation’s school communities.”

The STOP Act answers a long overdue and nationwide need for school safety funding to provide critical infrastructure improvements, evidence-based education, training, and support, and modern-day security tools and technology that support comprehensive school safety. By reviving and significantly expanding grants through the U.S. Department of Justice, the STOP Act will greatly help schools struggling to implement critical safety programs and security measures, authorizing $100 million in funding per year through 2028. The bill also updates the program to help schools utilize the most effective technology, equipment, training programs and technical assistance that align with the unique needs of each school community.

Despite a critical lack of funding for and attention to school safety in recent years, Safe and Sound Schools has been working tirelessly and persistently in schools and professional communities across the nation to provide free tools, resources, education and training on crisis prevention, response and recovery. Safe and Sound Schools has joined with national experts, practitioners, survivors, and victims of school-based tragedies to offer programs and resources to enable every school and every community to develop its own solutions for comprehensive school safety. In less than five years, Safe and Sound Schools has reached every state in the nation and 13 countries. The organization understands it will take a truly layered approach to return our schools to safety, and the STOP Act is a critical step in that process.

For more information about Safe and Sound Schools, including its crisis-prevention, response, and recovery programs and resources for schools, visit safeandsoundschools.org.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Founded in 2013, Safe and Sound Schools works with school communities and mental health, law enforcement, and safety professionals to create and ensure the safest possible learning environment for all youth. The non-profit organization, started by parents who lost their children in the tragedy at Sandy Hook, delivers crisis-prevention, response, and recovery programs, tools, and resources, backed by national experts, to educate all members of the school community, from students and parents, to teachers and administrators, to law enforcement and local leaders. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools continues to answer the growing needs of school communities with custom programs, assessments, and training, reaching schools in nearly every state in the country. For more information, visit safeandsoundschools.org.

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[button link=”https://safeandsoundschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/STOP-School-Violence-Act-of-2018.pdf” color=”silver” newwindow=”yes”] Download the PDF[/button]

 

 

 

Pledges to raise money to continue mission of empowering communities to improve school safety

 

NEWTOWN, Conn. – Nov. 20, 2017  – Safe and Sound Schools has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 28, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the US) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

Safe and Sounds Schools together with the #GivingTuesday movement empowers people to raise money to help them improve school safety nationwide. On November 28, individuals, communities, and organizations can celebrate worldwide generosity by donating to Safe and Sound Schools through their website or by check at P.O. Box 173, Newtown, CT 06470.

School safety is everyone’s responsibility, and we need all hands on deck to work together to make a difference,” said Michele Gay, co-founder and executive director of Safe and Sound Schools. “Giving Tuesday is an ideal time to take notice of our own role, whether as a parent, teacher, student, administrator, first responder, or community member, in keeping our schools safe. A little bit of support can go a long way toward making a difference.”

92Y − a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around its core values of community service and giving back − conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2016, the fifth year of #GivingTuesday, millions of people in 98 countries came together to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $177 million was raised online to bene t a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.

“We have been incredibly inspired by the generosity in time, efforts and ideas that have brought our concept for a worldwide movement into reality,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and executive director of 92Y. “As we embark on our sixth year of #GivingTuesday, we are encouraged by the early response from partners eager to continue making an impact in this global conversation.”

Those who are interested in joining Safe and Sound Schools’ #GivingTuesday initiative can visit the Safe and Sound Schools website to learn about Safe and Sound Schools’ story and mission. For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website, Facebook page or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media.

About Safe and Sound Schools
Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit safeandsoundschools.org.

About #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 28. #GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together.

Unique student-driven program to leverage the power of today’s youth to address school safety

NEWTOWN, Conn. – Sept. 13, 2017 – Safe and Sound Schools, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety, is launching the Safe and Sound Youth Council. This chapter-based, student leadership group harnesses the power of today’s teens in tackling the broad and difficult challenge of securing our nation’s schools.  

Students in the Safe and Sound Youth Council will lend their creativity, leadership, and critical thinking to improve school safety through in-school and community service projects. By providing their unique perspectives through collaboration and sharing of ideas, students will develop real-world skills, foster life-long safety skills, and grow a nation of leaders and advocates for a safer tomorrow. In addition, they will be working with administrators and teachers, who will provide oversight and an important link to the broader community.

“Traditionally, students have been excluded from the safety conversation.” said Michele Gay, co-founder and executive director of Safe and Sound Schools. “This is a missed opportunity because the students are walking their halls, seeing the ins and outs of their buildings, and have the network to bring about real change. The goal of the Safe and Sound Youth Council is to give students a seat at the table and bring them into the national conversation so that they can make a difference.”

“It’s not enough for me to be told that there’s a plan,” said Olivia G., a high-school student in Maryland. “I want to know it and be a part of it.”

The Need For Student-Driven School Safety Programs  

The changing landscape of safety in American schools presents challenges never-before-faced in our schools.Today’s schools face a wide array of serious safety issues such as crime, drug abuse, mental health, violence, human trafficking, gang activity, workplace violence, suicide, and cyber-safety issues, on top of longstanding safety issues like weather, fire safety, and natural disasters. Protecting the safety of school communities is far too great of a responsibility to rest on the shoulders of administrators or police alone, as in past times.

Safe and Sound Schools advocates for a collaborative approach to school safety and believes this is the most impactful way to change the safety of America’s school communities. Although school safety is often a collaborative effort between safety experts and administrators, students are continually under utilized. Today’s school safety landscape requires cross collaboration. Students can play a powerful role in the safety of their communities. The Safe and Sound Youth Council harnesses the power of the student voice, setting itself apart from other traditional safety programs.

The Safe and Sound Student Council is available to every high school in America, free of charge, and will provide students with critical preparedness and safety education and leadership skills. Those interested in starting a Safe and Sound Youth Council chapter can download the program guide by visiting the Safe and Sound Schools website.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit safeandsoundschools.org.

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Sandy Hook parent, Michele Gay, to share lessons learned from tragedy 

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The Security Industry Association (SIA), in cooperation with the Congressional School Safety Caucus, will host an important panel discussion on “Securing America’s K-12 Schools.” Safe and Sound Schools’ executive director and co-founder Michele Gay will be among the expert panelists discussing how communities can come together after a tragic loss and improve school safety. Gay will share her personal experience of losing her daughter, Josephine Gay. As a former teacher and involved parent, Gay will share the lessons learned from Sandy Hook, focusing on how it has positioned her to help school communities prevent and better prepare for school safety issues.

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WHO

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Michele Gay is joined by three other panelists: Guy Grace, Director of Public Safety for the Littleton, Colorado, school district, Robert Quinn of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and David Woodward of the Indiana Department of Education.

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U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
HVC-201
East Capitol St. and 1st St.
NEWashington DC

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 12 p.m. ET during the SIA GovSummit public policy conference.

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INTERVIEW & PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

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Michele Gay is available for interviews and photos. Please contact Martha Gonzalez Corona at mgonzalezcorona@safeandsoundschools.org to coordinate a time.

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To attend as registered press, contact Mickey McCarter, SIA communications manager, at mmccarter@securityindustry.org or 301-804-4704. Lunch is provided.

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About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by the parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit safeandsoundschools.org.

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MEDIA ADVISORY


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Sandy Hook parent, Michele Gay, shares lessons learned from tragedy

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WHAT:

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Safe and Sound Schools’ executive director and co-founder Michele Gay will present at the 33rd Annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference and Exposition. Gay will share her personal experience of losing her daughter, Josephine Gay. As a teacher and involved parent, Gay will share the lessons learned from Sandy Hook and how it has positioned her to help school communities prevent and better prepare for school safety issues.

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WHO:

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Over 200 safety Kentucky professionals, non-profit organizations, and government officials will attend this conference to learn solutions to address safety and health issues in Kentucky.

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WHERE:

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Northern Kentucky Convention
1 W Rivercenter Blvd
Covington, KY 41011

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WHEN:

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

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PHOTO/INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Michele’s is the first keynote speaker and will speak from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

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About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by the parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit safeandsoundschools.org.

 

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[button link=”https://safeandsoundschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Media-Release-Kentucky-Firefighter’s-Association-Conference.pdf” color=”silver” newwindow=”yes”] View PDF[/button]

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Focus on Preparation, Prevention and Moving Beyond Tragedy to Recovery

 (ANNAPOLIS, MD) –The Maryland Center for School Safety in partnership with Safe and Sound Schools will host a series of school safety trainings featuring presentations from a mother who lost her child in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, a law enforcement expert who will review that shooting and the lessons learned, a school mental health expert who will discuss recovery and how to build resiliency following a school tragedy, and a panel discussion focused on moving beyond school tragedies.

Speakers will be available for interviews following their presentations. School administrators, school-based mental health staff, school security staff, and school resource officers from across the state will be attending the trainings.

The Maryland Center for School Safety, created by the General Assembly in 2013, continues to focus on school safety and emergency preparedness so schools across Maryland can maintain a safe and supportive learning environment for students, staff, and parents. The Center works with all public school and law enforcement stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach to school safety, including disseminating information on best practices, providing training and technical assistance, and gathering meaningful data on school safety issues to ensure our schools are a safe and supportive environment. Additionally, a Center Governing Board was established to develop an implementation plan to phase in establishment and operation of the Center; provide general oversight and direction to the Center; and approve the annual budget for the Center. The State Superintendent of Schools serves as the Governing Board Chair. A representative of the local Superintendents of Schools and Maryland Association of Boards of Education also serve on the Governing Board.

For more details on when, where, and who you can contact, click here.

Two BU COM organizations compete against each other to raise money for safer schools

BOSTON, Nov. 15, 2016 – Boston University’s PRLab and AdLab joined the Safe and Sound Schools “Change for School Safety” initiative. The two Boston University College of Communication (COM) student-run agencies will compete against each other to raise money that will help to provide resources to communities and schools to better their safety measures.

On Nov. 7, 2016, PRLab Account Executives – Maria Guimaraes, Yunong Song, and Xiangyi Zhao – challenged AdLab to see which COM agency would raise more money for the cause. Both agencies agreed to participate. Two custom-made jars are placed in the PRLab and AdLab rooms to collect donations. The winner of the challenge will receive a pizza party.

Safe and Sound Schools is a returning client of PRLab. Last year, PRLab helped Safe and Sound Schools collaborate with BUPD to hold a school safety panel discussion, “From Tragedy To A Safer Tomorrow.” The event garnered the attention of Governor Charlie Baker’s staff and other local Bostonians who wanted to make sure that what happened at Sandy Hook did not happen in their communities.

This year, the PRLab students are excited to join a new campaign and spread the word about school safety by getting AdLab involved. PRLab would like all college students to get involved in the school safety conversation on-campus.  “School safety should be on everyone’s mind,” said Risha Tyagi, a director for PRLab. “I believe small changes can make a big difference.” AdLab shared similar sentiments. “The group is happy to participate,” said Davis Mastin, President of AdLab, when he formally accepted the challenge on behalf of AdLab.

On Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, PRLab and AdLab will count their change to make a donation to Safe and Sound Schools.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by the parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit safeandsoundschools.org.

About PRLab

PRLab is the nation’s longest-operating student-run public relations agency.  Founded in 1978, the award-winning agency gives Boston University students a hands-on PR experience, while still delivering the benefits of learning in a classroom setting. Students work with companies and nonprofits by applying what they learn in their classes to real-world situations. For more information, visit: http://www.bu.edu/prlab/

About AdLab

Established in 1975 by four audacious Boston University students, AdLab is the country’s largest full-service, student-run ad agency. It has grown to an agency of over 100 students, led by a hand-picked executive board and two industry veterans for advisors. AdLab provides BU students the opportunity to create real work for real clients and guarantees clients cutting-edge creative, effective advertising work. For more information, visit: http://buadlab.com/

Pledges to raise money to provide school safety outreach and resources to schools in need

BOSTON, MA, Oct. 28, 2016 – Safe and Sound Schools has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. With its new initiative called Change for School Safety, Safe and Sound Schools encourages everyone to collect change to donate towards school safety. Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday kicks-off the holiday giving season and inspires people to collaborate in improving their local communities by encouraging them to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.   

Safe and Sounds Schools together with the #GivingTuesday movement and its own Change for School Safety initiative empowers people to raise money to help them improve school safety nationwide. Change for School Safety encourages families to create their own school safety donation jar. From now until #GivingTuesday, people will collect change and donate it to Safe and Sound Schools on #GivingTuesday. On November 29 individuals, communities and organizations can celebrate worldwide generosity by donating to Safe and Sound Schools through Rally.org,  Spotfund, or by check at P.O. Box 173 · Newtown, CT 06470.

“We cannot do this work alone,” said Michele Gay, co-founder and executive director of Safe and Sound Schools. “We need all hands on deck to help us create change for school safety. Donations collected from Change for School Safety will help us create resources and reach more schools, so we urge everyone to join us in making change.

“We have been incredibly inspired by the generosity in time, efforts and ideas that have brought our concept for a worldwide movement into reality,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday. “As we embark on our fifth year of #GivingTuesday, we are encouraged by the early response from partners eager to continue making an impact in this global conversation.”   

Those who are interested in joining Safe and Sound Schools’ #GivingTuesday and Change for School Safety initiative, can visit the Change for School Safety website. For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website.

About Safe and Sound Schools

Safe and Sound Schools is a non-profit organization founded by Sandy Hook parents who lost their children during the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools is dedicated to empowering communities to improve school safety through discussion, collaboration, planning, and sharing of information, tools, and resources. To get involved, visit safeandsoundschools.org.

About #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give—the 2016 iteration will be held on November 29, 2016. This effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners—nonprofits, businesses and corporations as well as families and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they celebrate and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to create a global moment dedicated to giving around the world. To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit:http://www.givingtuesday.org.

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OhioAug. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — In preparation for the 2016-17 school year and with a concern for safety few schools can imagine, the Newtown Public School District in Newtown, CT has implemented a cloud-based school safety system that directly connects first responders with a school’s critical safety information.

The system – known as NaviGate Prepared® – stores important school safety plans and associated information, such as call lists, personnel photos, building maps, detailed floor plans, 360-degree photographs of key building areas, including life-safety and shut-off valve locations and more, in a secure cloud environment. It offers authorized users and first responders, including 911 dispatchers, immediate, real-time access to this information – from any Web-authorized device. No matter the severity of the situation, NaviGate Prepared ensures necessary safety information is accessible, even if a building is not.

 

Sandy Hook Elementary

The NaviGate Prepared school safety technology has been implemented throughout the Newtown Public School District, including the newly rebuilt Sandy Hook Elementary School. Photo credit: Town of Newtown.

“Newtown, like all districts across the country, works diligently with safety officials to provide an optimal environment for teaching and learning,” said Superintendent Joseph Erardi. “The launch of NaviGate Prepared in all of our schools represents state-of-the-art proactive technology that fits deeply into our district’s safety plan.”

Michele Gay, mother of 7-year-old Sandy Hook victim, Josephine, past teacher, and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, A Sandy Hook Initiative was instrumental in bringing NaviGate Prepared and Newtown Schools together. Gay travels the nation speaking to groups and organizations, offering resources and recommendations on processes, protocols, technologies and more to help schools better prepare and respond in the event of an emergency.

The components of NaviGate Prepared address a variety of school safety needs including safety plan creation, organization and dissemination of safety documents and providing access to interactive floor plans and site plans to local first responders. Apps within the program put emergency procedures in the hands of teachers and staff for immediate access to step-by-step directions and enable them to account for students, by name, during drills and emergencies.

“NaviGate Prepared brings great value at a minimal cost and school officials throughout the nation are quickly recognizing the benefits it delivers to the protection of our most valuable assets – our kids,” said Thom Jones, director of sales for NaviGate Prepared with 15 years’ experience as a school principal. “We are humbled to be such an important part of the Newtown Public School District’s safety regimen. As we continue to improve and advance our solutions, the lessons learned at Newtown will play a pivotal role in the ongoing development of NaviGate Prepared.”

About NaviGate Prepared®
NaviGate Prepared® is a proven school safety emergency response system designed to assist and prepare school officials and first responders for emergency situations. The secure, cloud-based platform offers 911 dispatch centers and emergency personnel real-time Internet access of a school’s facility and safety information before, during and after a crisis. NaviGate Prepared is SAFETY Act Designated as an anti-terrorism-level technology by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and has been awarded the Campus Safety BEST Award in 2015 and 2016. For more information, visit www.NaviGatePrepared.com or call 866-861-7400.