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DESIGN for DISASTER CEO of CoSN, and Jim Flanagan, chief learning services officer for ISTE. "It is your people, not your technology, which will ultimately ensure that your plan works," Krueger says. "It's hard to think of some part of the country that doesn't include disasters, and when you think about terrorism, too, everybody needs to get serious about disaster recovery." Which codes to follow? Designing new buildings or retrofitting existing ones to meet standards is an especially complex challenge for school leaders. No single set of rules exists for buildings in every region, says Leslie Chapman-Henderson, CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes Inc., or FLASH, a nonprofit that advocates for consumer safety during and after disasters. "It is solely the judgment of state, county, city officials as to what they do with those codes," she says. But building to a more modern code makes a district eligible for more federal assistance, Chapman-Henderson says. Every three years, the nonprofit International Code Council releases comprehensive model construction codes. Last year the council recommended that school buildings in the highest-risk tornado-prone regions have safe rooms able to withstand 250-mph winds. The council also provides structural load-bearing thresholds to keep buildings standing during earthquakes. And in early 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will introduce new safety guidance for schools facing hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes and floods, says Michael Mahoney, senior geophysicist at FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration. The guidance-which replaces three outdated school safety documents-will focus on what to do before, during and after a calamity, Mahoney says. The new "Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety" will recommend, for instance, ways to cope with unrein38 August 2016 Concrete shelters: After a 2011 tornado killed students and a staff member at Joplin Public Schools, then-Superintendent C.J. Huff brought in 75 concrete bunkers from FEMA to serve as shelters and a safe place during dangerous storms. forced masonry school buildings, which can collapse in earthquakes, he says. Safe rooms and spaces While no national data exists on the number of student deaths from natural disasters, educators and experts cite recent tragedies-such as the tornado that killed 24, including seven students, in Moore, Oklahoma in May 2013-as a reason to over prepare. Thanks to a hazard mitigation grant from FEMA, the tiny Pringle-Morse Consolidated ISD in North Texas spent five years building its $526,000 safe room for its lone school building, says district business manager Paige Speck. Designed to withstand 250-mph winds, the above-ground, handicappedaccessible 2,600-square-foot safe room has walls more than a foot thick, Speck says. It can accommodate people in a way the school's "claustrophobic" basement with steep stairs could not. The room can now hold 327 people, including students, staff and community members. Even with $301,000 in FEMA funding, the expense and paperwork to justify it can be daunting, she says. The decision to build safe rooms varies, depending on a district's experience with tornadoes. In the Chicago suburbs, Western Springs District 101 favors "safe spaces" at its four schools, for protection during its average of two tornadoes per year. The district spent $2.5 million reinforcing walls and ceilings-whereas safe rooms would have cost 25 percent more, Superintendent Brian Barnhart says. In 2014, the district reinforced corridors at one elementary school and strengthened the walls of a computer lab and library at another. So far, the spaces have been only used for drills, Barnhart says. That same year, a basement was made safe for emergencies when a third elementary school was expanded. Some districts in dangerous zones like Tornado Alley learned long ago how important safe rooms can be. After a tornado in May 1999 devastated thousands of homes and killed more than 40 people in the Oklahoma City region, Newcastle Public Schools made safe rooms a priority, says Superintendent Tony O'Brien. All of the newest school buildings have safe rooms- high school, middle and elementary school buildings, plus at an early childhood learning center, he says. All but one double as classrooms and are located inside the buildings. They are windowless "concrete boxes" with walls District Administration

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration August 2016

District Administration August 2016 - Cover1
District Administration August 2016 - Cover2
District Administration August 2016 - 1
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