2021-2022 School Year
Dear Parents and Guardians:
As we begin to shift our attention from COVID (hopefully), we are returning to other health and safety priorities in our schools. As you may know, Haverhill Public Schools adopted A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate), a nationally recognized program, in 2017. A.L.I.C.E. is a proactive set of responses to an active school intruder event that empowers individuals in crises to be prepared to consider all options. Since 2017, we have informed, educated, and drilled our students, staff, and interested families. The U.S. Department of Education, International Association of Chiefs of Police, F.E.M.A., and the F.B.I. all recommend having active plans that include decision making and options rather than traditional school lockdown in the unlikely event of a school intruder.
At the beginning of each year, all staff complete online training by A.L.I.C.E. During March, we will offer expanded training to new staff. We will be implementing developmentally appropriate lessons for students on how to respond to a variety of emergency situations. As we move further into spring, we will be conducting drills at each school. During the month of May 2022, in conjunction with our community safety agencies, we will be conducting A.L.I.C.E. drills in each of our schools. From the children’s perspective, these will seem like fire drills. Like fire drills, due to the nature of these drills, we will not be able to share with you the exact date of each drill in advance, however, your building principal will inform families following each drill.
Please understand that the successful implementation of A.L.I.C.E. throughout our school community is essential for the safety and well-being of our students and staff. For more information about A.L.I.C.E., please read the Frequently Asked Question below. Further information is available at: https://www.alicetraining.com/ and on our website at https://www.haverhill-ps.org/haverhill-public-schools-alice-information/ .
Margaret Marotta, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools
A.L.I.C.E. Frequently Asked Questions
What is A.L.I.C.E.
A.L.I.C.E. is a school safety program created in 2000 to offer additional options to students and staff in dealing with an armed intruder situation. Two individuals who founded and developed the program are long-term law enforcement professionals. A 30-year educational professional is a member of the team and works to ensure that A.L.I.C.E. teaching/training materials are age-appropriate, psychologically sound, and address the issues of individuals with special needs.
What do the letters stand for in the name A.L.I.C.E.?
A.L.I.C.E. is an acronym that stands for:
ALERT: Get the word out that a threat exists
LOCKDOWN: Secure a place to stay as a starting point to buy time.
INFORM: Give constant, real-time information throughout the building using all available technology. ‘
COUNTER: This is the last resort. Individuals are unable to escape. Countering may be as simple as creating a distraction to allow opportunities to run.
EVACUATE: The goal is to move students out of the danger zone. It’s essential to be prepared to escape.
Why do we need to add anything more? Isn’t it enough to lock the building and keep students inside if someone threatens them?
Traditionally, schools have used a procedure known as “lockdown,” which essentially means locking the school building and classrooms and having students and teachers take shelter in their classrooms. We believe that offering additional age-appropriate options will allow our students and teachers to be better prepared if a crisis occurs. Providing a constant flow of information to everyone inside the building can help in safely evacuating the building. Rescue by the police can take some time. An essential goal of the A.L.I.C.E. program is to evacuate as many people as possible to a safe place.
How much time will the training take away from learning?
The length of the training time for students may range from 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the age of the students.
How will students be trained?
Training will be age-appropriate and occur in grade level meetings, with school administration leading the discussion, while counselors and teachers support the conversation. . Discussions with younger students will extend “stranger danger” discussions and focus on listening carefully to the teacher in case of an emergency and following directions promptly. These lessons are built upon with drills that include our public safety partners.
How many organizations are currently using A.L.I.C.E. as part of their safety protocols?
Nearly 2 million students have been trained or exposed to this program. Although A.L.I.C.E. was started in a kindergarten through grade 12 school setting, the program is now being used in universities, colleges, churches, corporations, and government offices. Haverhill area police departments, school districts, and other organizations are adopting this program to enhance their current safety protocols.