The Fund’s strength is built on members’ dedication to managing risk. Our Excellence Award program recognizes school districts, community colleges, and education service centers that implement exemplary solutions to common and emerging risk management challenges. Winners receive a plaque and a monetary award. The Fund’s board of directors, management, and staff congratulate the 2020 Excellence Award recipients and thank them for sharing our commitment to protecting their resources.
Heat Illness and Injury Prevention Program
Heat-related illness is an ongoing concern among Arlington ISD maintenance, operations, and construction staff. The district’s safety committee responded with a heat illness and injury prevention plan. The plan included a written safety program, equipment and materials such as canopies and hats, training for supervisors and employees. The district will review the plan annually to ensure it continues to address employees’ needs.
Barbers Hill ISD
Safety Assessment Monitors
Senate Bill 11 requires multi-hazard emergency operations plans to include training for substitute teachers. Barbers Hill ISD shares emergency procedures such as evacuations and lockdowns during its substitute orientation training. The district went a step further and implemented a new program: Safety Assessment Monitors (SAMs).
Every campus chooses teachers to act as the SAM of each hallway or department. The role of the SAM is to check in with substitute teachers in their area, review emergency procedures, and answer questions regarding drills, safety processes, and other protocols. SAMs have signs by their doors, and they wear a different colored lanyard and badge than other staff members to be easily identified.
Social-Emotional Wellness for Staff
In response to an increase in staff issues related to mental health and well-being, Coppell ISD launched a social-emotional conference last summer. Staff learned how to support students through difficulties, as well as take care of their own well-being. In addition, administrators scheduled a professional learning day that provides mental, emotional, and life-work balance sessions for staff. The district offers additional help through employee benefits and crisis counseling.
Harts Bluff ISD
Harts Bluff ISD has a badge system that regulates entry into all campus buildings, but staff needed keys to enter their classrooms. The system created two problems: Teachers had to keep up with their badge and a key, and substitutes could not unlock or lock and re-enter classrooms. The district installed a keyless entry system on each of its early learning center classroom doors. Keyless doors allow teachers to use their badges to enter buildings and their classrooms. The district can issue substitutes a badge for the day that can be activated and deactivated remotely.
Emergency Protocol Lanyard Cards
Itasca ISD recognized a need for clear emergency response-related communication and procedures. A district elementary school principal developed a card that attaches to teachers’ and paraprofessionals’ key lanyards and displays standard response protocol procedures. The quick-access guide is especially helpful to substitutes who are unfamiliar with district protocol.
Student Safety Council
The Kaufman ISD assistant superintendent of operations and chief of police worked together to introduce a student safety council. Teachers and administrators select elementary and secondary students to serve on the council. By involving students in campus security, the council allows staff to assess kids’ knowledge of emergency procedures and address their safety concerns. Examples of targeted areas include recognizing potential danger; reporting concerns; eliminating the stigma of “snitching;” addressing social media threats and rumors; participating in emergency drills; and preparing for potential emergencies.
Workers' Compensation Process Improvement
The Lamar CISD benefits department collaborated with the technology department to transform the district’s cumbersome, manual workers’ compensation maintenance process into an automated gathering, tracking, and alert system. The new system helps the district remain compliant with Texas Department of Insurance deadlines, reduces the time spent gathering data, and enables more efficient claims management for employees.
Los Fresnos CISD
Wellness for Life - School Bus Drivers
The Los Fresnos transportation department teams up with Texas A&M Extension Service (TAMU-ES) to provide a free nutrition, exercise, and health education program for bus drivers. To further promote wellness, TAMU-ES presented the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. As part of the program, transportation staff participated in an eight-week course, as well as refresher training, on exercise and healthy eating. The district also leverages no-cost training resources available to Fund members, including their risk solutions consultant and our online courses. Staff has shown significant, long-lasting improvement in eating behaviors and exercise, which are proven through pre- and post-training questionnaires.
The "Big 4" Safety and Security Program
Lovejoy ISD is on a mission to become Texas’ premier district when it comes to safety and security. The district’s "Big 4" are personal locator devices, window perf, barricade lock devices, and trauma bags/epi pens. These components equip staff and students with easy-to-use emergency communication, lockdown, and medical response capabilities for a variety of incidents, regardless of scale.
Leading the Way to a Safer District
Thrall ISD staff participated in Stop the Bleed training, where they learned first aid methods designed to reduce loss of life from traumatic wounds. In addition, all district staff were certified in CPR during the 2019 back-to-school training. To supplement the Stop the Bleed program, the district placed trauma kits in all classrooms, athletic departments, buses, and next to every automated external defibrillator across the district. Students, staff, community volunteers, and student health advisory council members also assembled 100 Jacob Kits, updating the kits to include chest seals, permanent markers, and wrap material.