What's Next?

Preventing Future Tragedies
Addressing the physical security aspect 
within the built environment.
By John k. Ramsey, CAE

Normally as a new year approaches, we at CEFPI have a list of industry trends that grabs the majority of our focus after carefully analyzing the current climate of the school environment industry. The beginning of 2013, however, will be different. The tragic events that unfolded in Newtown, Conn., at the very time this article was being written, have changed nearly everything about the immediate and long-term components of planning, designing and building the physical school environment. The members, board and staff of CEFPI join the rest of the world in expressing our sympathy and condolences to those that lost loved ones and to the entire community of Newtown. It is impossible to comprehend what that town is experiencing, and even harder to imagine what our colleagues in the education community in Newtown must be going through.

As with all tragedies, there will be questions and countless efforts to seek solutions to prevent something like this from happening again. The professionals in the educational facilities industry will undoubtedly rise to the occasion to make contributions to these discussions from a physical security aspect within the built environment. There will be demands at all levels to make our schools safer, but they will not end with new or enhanced operational protocols. The physical aspect of security will become a bigger issue and a major part of the discussion. Within hours after receiving this horrific news, CEFPI members and leaders were sending messages asking, “What can we do as an organization/industry to help?” You will undoubtedly see many technical articles related to physical security in the coming year, and CEFPI members will be a major contributor to those. In addition to those, CEFPI is preparing to launch several initiatives in the immediate term to address this issue.

First, we will be making the case on Capitol Hill and anywhere else we need to be, for our industry representatives to be at the table when solution discussions begin. CEFPI will work to ensure that our national, state/provincial and local leaders know the importance the built environment plays, and that it must work hand-in-hand with operational protocols (i.e. lock-down drills, procedures, etc.) and other protective measures. Second, CEFPI will launch an initiative to ensure all professionals in the school facility industry have access to the latest cutting edge knowledge and ideas for incorporating safety in all planning, design and construction projects. We will offer free or inexpensive webinars and seminars to reach as many professionals as we can, to spread this content. Third, we, as an organization, will be the resource for lawmakers, policy makers, funding sources and others that need our expertise in this area, and hopefully work together with all of the partners to ensure all schools are as safe as they can be.

Our brief annual contribution to this “Trends for 2013” article is normally intended to address the multitude of issues on the horizon for the educational environment. It is intended to provide a snapshot of the state of the industry and help define our priorities as an association. Right now, that snapshot paints a horrible picture that we may never understand. We can, however, do our very best to use the expertise, knowledge, skills and abilities to help prevent future tragedies. If you would like to get involved, please visit us at www.cefpi.org

John K. Ramsey, CAE, is executive director/CEO of CEFPI.

Missing the Forest for the Trees
Buildings don’t operate themselves — people do!
By Larry Schoff

On Dec. 11, 2012, the USA Today headline was “Green Schools? Long on Promise, Short on Delivery.” This article was a review of existing data and information on the correlation between environmentally friendly (green) buildings, energy use and learning. This headline and article adds backing to this statement “Buildings don’t operate themselves — people do!” People (occupants) include school administrators, instructors, support and maintenance personnel and, most importantly, the students.

The importance of energy efficiency in schools spiked in the ’70s with two OPEC oil embargo that raised the average price of crude from $4.75/barrel (’75) to more than $25/barrel (’79). The average annual price in 2012 dollars peaked in 1980 at $104/barrel; the highest to date. This impacted the price of all energy sources used, and the budgets. These events resulted in actions to improve energy efficiency: increased insulation, increase/decrease in temperatures, reduced window areas, weather stripping, design and construction of reduced window area or windowless schools.

Energy cost fluctuated wildly in the ’80s and ’90s, but the “Energy Efficiency Genie” was out of the bottle. The U.S. Green Building Council was formed in the early ’90s, setting a goal to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and reducing energy consumption. LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) 1.0 pilot began in 1998 with LEED for Schools first released in 2007; 1998 saw the U.S. Department of Energy initiative known as “EnergySmart Schools” begin, resulting in High Performance Design Guidelines (HPDG) for K-12 Schools. In 1999, in California, the Collaborative for High Performance schools (CHPS) was launched, and over the next decade-plus, was adopted in 12 states, from Hawaii to Massachusetts.

The author was involved with the development and writing both LEED for Schools and HPDG — K-12 documents. These guidelines/standards can be used for both new construction and upgrading of existing schools. Why then is it, when using these guidelines, the energy savings calculated/promised are not being achieved? The answer is simple — people/occupants. Their impact is missing when calculating energy savings.

What causes promised/calculated energy savings to not occur? Here are some examples.
  • Buildings opened early in the morning and unneeded lighting is turned on before any staff or students arrive;
  • after students are dismissed hallway and classroom lighting remain on until area is cleaned or the entire building is cleaned;
  • kitchen staff comes in early in the morning and turns on equipment not needed immediately;
  • a teacher arrives to prepare for the day but turns on all the lights in the room;
  • after students are dismissed for the day, a teacher leaves on all the classroom lights, not what is needed;
  • classroom windows face the north yet all shades/blinds are closed and lights are on (north facing windows provide the best quality of light for learning);
  • teachers turn on electronic teaching devices in the classroom hours before needed and, after dismissal, do not turn off all elements of the educational tool — CPU, monitor, printers, etc.;
  • equipment like TVs, LCD projectors, Smart boards, DVD/DVRs and the like are not disconnect from the power when not in use or schools closed (being turned “off” does not mean energy is not being consumed — phantom/vampire loads);
  • windows and exterior doors opened when AC or heating are operating;
  • building staff overrides energy management system to allow equipment to run when needed, but forget to reset;
  • staff overrides classroom thermostats and other control devices;
  • computers left on at night/all week due to need to update; the list goes on and on.

What can correct these and other energy efficiency caused by the way the systems or building elements are used or operated? The solution is simple: energy education/energy awareness training.

Energy education/energy awareness training should be included in a district energy policy approved by the school board. Education/training should include, but not limited to the following:
  • Students should have energy efficiency (EE) topics integrated into all instructional programs — it is a needed lifelong skill — level dependent on grade and subject,
  • instructional staff energy awareness training,
  • at least 30 minutes twice a year,
  • that includes how to operate key classroom systems and their limitations,
  • how much energy systems use to operate,
  • impact of their actions on school budgets,
  • weekly EE announcements,
  • inclusion of EE tips in newsletter, website/pages and public documents, and
  • public awareness of district actions and results (have students involved in presentation to public).

During the author’s tenure with the EnergySmart Schools, it was determined EE, if properly provided to school district personnel and students, could result in a minimum energy savings of 10 to 15 percent. Remember, it does not cost a dime. It only takes time.

The only true energy efficient building does not include occupants. With no occupants, systems can operate as designed and manage energy use. But there would be no need for an educational building with no students or teachers. Therefore, the impact of the occupants and energy education and awareness training must be considered in determining the energy savings to be achieved by the building.

Achievement of a high-performance/green school lies in these words — “Buildings don’t operate themselves — people do!” 

Larry Schoff has morethan 48 years of background in facilities management — over 28 years withK-12 schools. He is currently assisting schools with energy efficiency evaluations. He has assisted with writing the LEED for Schools document, ASHREA’s Advanced Energy Design Guide for Schools and the California GridNeutral document.

When the Unthinkable Happens

Implementing practical school safety measures 
in a reasonable period of time.
By Mo Canady

On Dec. 14, an unthinkable act occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. This tragedy will certainly have a significant impact on school safety trends for years to come. While the debate has begun over gun control and mental health issues, it is important that we also look at practical school safety strategies that can be implemented in a reasonable period of time.

The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) has been sought out by a number of media outlets, school districts and law enforcement agencies inquiring about the proper role of school resource officers (SROs) or school-based police officers. The recent statement from the National Rifle Association led to even more calls and questions about armed guards in schools.

It is important that we are clear concerning two issues.

First, placing an officer in a school is not the only solution to safety and security. A safe school is the result of a collaborative effort between multiple agencies and individuals. Every school should have a well-written and well-practiced plan that involves school administration, teachers, staff, parents, students, counselors, school nurses, law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel, just to name a few.

Secondly, NASRO does not advocate for simply placing an armed guard in a school, nor do we agree with the general idea of arming teachers. We do, however, recognize the benefit of a properly trained and well-selected school-based police officer. This officer must be the right person for the job, and it is critical that they are trained in the way to properly function in a school environment.

The presence of school resource officers in schools has become an important part of the duty to protect children on campus. Parents and local officials in communities around the world enjoy an effective relationship with local police as part of a school safety plan.

Statistically speaking, the effectiveness of school resource officers is firmly established. For example, in America, school crime is down — incidences of school-associated deaths, violence, nonfatal victimizations and theft have all diminished since local police began partnering with school officials. Once schools are made safe, the campuses tend to stay safe. Even juvenile arrests go down, falling nearly 50 percent during the period of expansion of SRO programs.

Speaking as a practical matter, the presence of local police on campus is essential. The specialized knowledge of the law, local and national crime trends and safety threats, people and places in the community, and the local juvenile-justice system, combine to make police critical members of schools’ policy-making teams, when it comes to environmental safety planning and facilities management, school-safety policy and emergency response preparedness.

In order to fully realize the benefits of the presence of local police, the officers must be trained properly. Officers’ law-enforcement knowledge and skill combine with specialized SRO training for their duties in the education setting. This training focuses on the special nature of school campuses, student needs and characteristics, and the educational and custodial interests of school personnel. SROs, as a result, possess a skill set unique to both law enforcement and education personnel, which enables SROs to protect the community and the campus while supporting the educational mission. In addition to traditional law-enforcement tasks, such as searching a student suspected of carrying a weapon or investigating whether drugs have been brought onto campus, SROs’ daily activities can include a wide range of supportive activities and programs depending upon the type of school to which an SRO is assigned.

Trained and committed police officers are well suited to effectively protect and serve the school community. These school resource officers contribute to the safe-schools team by ensuring a safe and secure campus, educating students about law-related topics and mentoring students as counselors and role models. Over the last 23 years, the National Association of School Resource Officers has become the world leader in school-based policing. They have trained thousands of officers based on the Triad model of school-based policing. 

Mo Canady is the executive director of NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers). He can be reached at [email protected].

The Many Things Left Undone
Addressing our fiscal problems and a glimpse of what is in store for 2013.
By Fritz Edelstein

One should begin with Happy New Year and best wishes for a great 2013.
But look what the 112th Congress left undone. It left some holding their breath, others in disbelief and others flabbergasted at its inability to get things done. The worst performing Congress ever!

As a nation we are left with a series of questions, and the hope that the 113th Congress that begins with a very hefty agenda will do its job. The questions include: What do we do? What comes next? Who will show some leadership and some guts? Can a new Congress really compromise and address the left over issues and problems of 2012 and those they will confront in 2013-2014?

Pre-setting the agenda for the 113th Congress
The fiscal cliff legislation passed on Jan. 1, 2013 does not address the debt ceiling, the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution, budget cuts or sequestration. The 113th Congress must address each one over the next three months.

First in the month of February, the debt ceiling must be extended or this nation goes into default. Second, what program budgets must be cut and when will have to be addressed in March or sequestration takes place. Also, in March, Congress must do something about the expiring Continuing Resolution for the FY 2013 program budgets. If nothing is done, there would be a government shutdown. These will be the first true tests as to how the 113th Congress is willing to work together or be ideologically partisan.

After the State of the Union speech in late January or early February, President Obama must issue his proposed FY 2014 budget. Then, Congress begins its review the proposed budget to determine program budget ceilings and appropriations. Will the Senate be able to pass a budget this time around?

Other salient issues to be raised in the earliest days of the 113th Congress and legislation drafted include gun control as a result of the Newtown tragedy, immigration reform, farm bill, workforce investment and several education bills.

It should be a very busy and interesting first session.

What is on the horizon in education?
A possible positive note, there is a new Congress (at least some new members in the House and Senate) and maybe a fresh approach to address issues and problems. Maybe they can make some progress and get moving to some education issues such as Pell Grant shortfall, increasing interest rate on student loans and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as well as the Workforce Investment Act.

The education agenda will include legislation to reauthorize the higher education act, career and technical education, workforce investment, and individuals with disabilities, and hopefully the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind). Not withstanding these, there is also much needed discussion and work on early childhood education, extended learning time, teacher preparation and induction, classroom and school quality, school construction and renovation, MOOCs and other technologies to improve and expand teaching and learning, transfer credits and record transparency for students, and safety in all educational institutions and places of learning.

Changes in congressional and agency lineups
One big change in Congress is the new chair for the Senate Appropriations Committee. It is to be Barbara Mikulski (Md.). While the committee has lost some of its importance and influence during the last several years, Senator Mikulski is determined to bring back its critical role in determining the funding programs. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will continue to be chaired by Tom Harkin (Iowa), but the ranking Republican will be Lamar Alexander (Tenn.). This change will include some key changes in staff, especially on the minority side of the committee. On the House side, there are no surprising committee leadership changes. Neither the Senate nor the House has finalized committee assignments. There are several openings to be filled in the House Education and Workforce Committee for both Democrats and Republicans. One interesting note is that Paul Ryan (Wis.) continues to chair the House Budget Committee as a result of receiving a waiver from Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) since Ryan has chaired the committee for six years.

At the U.S. Department of Education, there are some openings to be filled, but in general the team remains the same with Secretary Arne Duncan at the helm. There are questions as to whether Deputy Secretary Tony Miller will stay for the second term. Under Secretary Martha Kanter has announced she is staying, as is Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement. Also, staying are Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle, and Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier. Key positions top be filled include the Assistant Secretaries for Postsecondary Education, Civil Rights, and Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and the General Counsel. Other vacancies include the Director of Education Technology and Senior Advisor on Early Childhood Education. One new addition to the team will be Jonathan Schorr, who will join the Communications office. He is coming from the New School Venture Fund. No other major jobs have openings at the present time.

All in all, this will be a very busy several months. Policy and political agendas will be shaped; the legislative plate if very full and active; and a president begins his second and last term in office. 

Fritz Edelstein is a principal in Public Private Action, a consulting group. His work focuses on strategic government and constituent relations, business development strategy, advocacy research and policy analysis, strategic planning and resource development, and advocacy, outreach and public engagement. This work includes producing Fritzwire, the education Internet newsletter providing timely information on education and related issues. To subscribe write: [email protected].

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