The Multigrade Classroom
The Adventist multigrade curriculum enables learners to develop a life of faith in God, and use their knowledge, skills, and understandings to serve God and humanity.
A well-planned behavior management and organization system is key to creating a classroom conducive to learning, while establishing norms of behavior that help each child feel safe and protected.
Ongoing learning opportunities for teachers, staff, and administrators are provided by professional development products and experiences.
Being a Seventh-day Adventist teaching-principal is an awesome opportunity and responsibility to serve God, change lives, and further the mission of the world church.
“Emergencies bring out the true metal of character.”
—E. G. White, Review and Herald, September 17, 1895
The sole purpose of an emergency drill is to teach the procedures to be followed in case of an actual emergency. Therefore, it is important to treat every drill as if it were a real event.
Be aware of the types of disasters most likely to occur in your area so that you can be prepared in case of an emergency. Your school should have an emergency alert system in place to warn you if there is an impending emergency during school hours (i.e, town sirens, emergency alert radio, automatic phone calls from the police department).
Each school needs to have an Emergency Preparedness Plan that outlines, in detail, a plan of action for each potential emergency your school may face. You may find if helpful to review an Emergency Procedures Manual as you develop your own Emergency Preparedness Plan. The board should approve the school’s Emergency Preparedness Plan. All teachers and support staff need to know the contents of the school’s plan and should teach the emergency procedures to the students.
Remember to do the following:
Planning and conducting fire drills is important. Identify and post two escape routes (primary and secondary) for each room in the school. Students should form a line for exiting the school in an orderly, quiet fashion to facilitate movement to a designated safe area. Call 911 from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone once everyone has been evacuated.
The peak tornado season varies from region to region. However, tornadoes occur most frequently during the spring and fall. Be aware of the difference between a watch and warning. A tornado watch indicates that conditions are favorable for a tornado. A tornado warning indicates that a tornado has actually been spotted or indicated on radar. Take cover immediately!
Students should exit the classroom in an orderly manner to a designated safe place (interior room on the lowest floor; away from glass). Crouch down and make as small a “target” as possible. Cover your head with an appropriate object (i.e., book, hands).
Things to consider when a hurricane threatens:
Be aware of the differences between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch indicates the possibility that hurricane conditions could be experienced within 36 hours. A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours. Determine the safest location to be during the storm. Heed local authorities, including evacuation if so directed.
Earthquakes happen with no advanced warning. Therefore, action must be taken at the first indication.
Regular earthquake drills should occur apart from, but as frequently as, fire drills. The following procedures are recommended:
Contact and work closely with your local safety officer in advance of an emergency. Part of your school’s Emergency Preparedness Plan should address what to do when there is an intruder.
The school board should review school security related to access control, perimeter visibility, and communication abilities (i.e., cell phones, buzzers).
Conduct Lockdown drills (i.e. Internal Intruder, External Intruder). Communicate openly and honestly with students. Discuss and prepare for a possible intruder in a balanced and reasonable way that is age and developmentally appropriate for students. Make sure the discussion is in context and does not unduly scare students.
If there is an intruder in the building you will need to make a professional decision on what the best course of action is. It would be valuable to consider the following:
You should be prepared when there is an accident or emergency on the school premises.
You should have access to a basic, up-to-date first aid kit that includes supplies such as:
Also be aware of state/provincial requirements.
Check with your Conference superintendent for what is required in your state/province.
Bloodborne pathogens are infectious materials in blood that can cause disease in humans. Individuals exposed to bloodborne pathogens risk serious illness or death. Each school is to have an Exposure Control Plan for bloodborne pathogens. This plan provides direction for dealing with any situation in which blood is present. Be sure to follow the plan every time there is an exposure.
One part of the plan will include having a bloodborne pathogen kit at the school. This kit is to be used when disposing of body fluids. The kit should include:
Medications should not be administered without proper authorization. It is important to check state/provincial governmental regulations and Local Conference Office of Education guidelines or policies regarding the administration of medications. Many areas do not allow teachers (or anyone other than a school nurse) to dispense over-the-counter medications.
The board should approve a procedure for the dispensing of prescription medications that includes guidelines such as:
Prior to the beginning of the school year, establish a plan for caring for a student who is ill. The following guidelines may be used:
Influenza-related illnesses can result in widespread illness for your entire school. Check the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) or listen to media outlets for notifications of pandemic situations.
If you have widespread illness at your school contact your Local Conference superintendent for information on when it would be appropriate to close your school down for one or more days.
Schools are required to carry student accident insurance. This insurance is usually provided through the Local Conference Office of Education. Conference personnel can also provide informational brochures, prepared by the insurance company, that you can distribute to parents.
The following information should be accurate and up-to-date:
When a student has a minor accident that involves superficial cuts or abrasions, first aid should be administered at the school. The use of disinfectants, ointments, or medications is not recommended and may be prohibited by state/provincial governmental regulations. Use the following procedure:
Extreme caution should be exercised in the initial handling of a student who has sustained an injury. Each injury should be considered serious until it is determined that it is only a superficial abrasion, cut, or bruise.
If it is suspected that a student has sustained a serious injury of any type, implement the following procedure:
Immediately after the incident is over and the student has received any required first aid or medical attention, complete a written report of the accident. Contact the Local Conference Office of Education to see if there is a required or recommended Incident Report form available.
The documentation should include:
Follow Local Conference Office of Education guidelines. Generally, the and Incident Report form is to be completed with a copy placed in the student’s health folder and a copy sent to the Local Conference Office of Education. The teacher may also want a copy for his/her anecdotal records.
Teachers are required by law to immediately report knowledge or suspicion of abuse or neglect. It is not the teacher’s responsibility to conduct an investigation to confirm suspicions. It is the teacher’s responsibility only to report knowledge or suspicion; the local or state/provincial governmental agency decides whether or not to investigate the report.
When you arrive at a new school, contact the local authorities and the Local Conference Office of Education to determine the procedure to use in your area for reporting abuse/neglect.
If you suspect abuse or neglect:
The following signs* may signal child abuse or neglect:
The parent and child:
*Information from The Child Welfare Informa3tion Gateway Factsheet. June 2007.
There will be times when you must close your school unexpectedly. The reasons for closing school vary but are most often related to one of the following: extreme weather, utility failure, building safety concerns, vandalism, and student illness (pandemic).
Teacher illness may also make closing school necessary since many small schools experience difficulty finding substitute teachers.
It is important that you are prepared for situations when conditions make it necessary for you to close school. Develop an action plan that will allow you to quickly communicate with each school family.
Possible options include:
Develop an action plan and make sure that each school family understands what procedures will be followed when school is canceled. Even when you are prepared ahead of time, don’t assume everyone has been contacted. A personal phone call or calling tree may be necessary to communicate quickly with your school families.
OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (United States)
CCOHS: The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Government of Canada Chemicals Management Plan: Official Canadian Government site with a section specific to asbestos.
These government agencies have the mission to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and occupational fatality by issuing and enforcing standards for workplace safety in the public and private sectors.
The requirements of OSHA or CCOHS can be challenging for a small school to administer. Your Local Conference will be able to provide guidance in maintaining compliance in the following areas:
Failure to meet OSHA or CCOHS standards can result in significant fines and/or the closure of your school.
* Material Safety Data Sheet: a technical document which provides detailed and comprehensive information on a controlled product related to health effects of exposure to the product, hazard evaluation related to the product’s handling/storage/use, measure to protect workers at risk of exposure, and emergency procedures.
The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada’s hazard communication standard. The key elements of the system are cautionary labeling of containers of WHMIS “controlled products,” the provision of material safety data sheets (MSDS), and worker education and training programs. Contact your Local Conference Office of Education for guidelines in meeting WHMIS standards at your school.
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