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Using The District Guide
Connecting the School Guide and the District Guide
The School Guide contains information and resources on topics that may help districts support individual schools in their EOP planning and development. This District Guide provides references to specific sections and pages of the earlier guide that are particularly relevant for district-level work. However, the School Guide does not discuss some of these topics at length or in a context that is most useful for district-level educators; this District Guide fills in needed information and serves as a companion to the School Guide.
Additionally, the six steps described in this guide, as well as the principles underlying these six steps, are the same for both school-level and district-level planning teams.
An Overview of the Six-Step Planning Process
These six steps were originally developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and today are used by emergency management professionals throughout the country. Beginning with the School Guide, this process has been customized to educational entities for use with their community partners.
The six steps serve multiple purposes, which include guiding the creation of new EOPs as well as supporting continual maintenance, expansion, and improvement of existing EOPs. The process may be used to develop a plan, perform a comprehensive review of a plan, and conduct periodic and incremental reviews of a plan’s components. The six-step planning process is flexible and can be adapted to accommodate the unique characteristics and situation of a school or school district.
Steps in the Planning Process
- Form a Collaborative Planning Team
- Understand the Situation
- Determine Goals and Objectives
- Plan Development (Identifying Courses of Action)
- Plan Preparation, Review, and Approval
- Plan Implementation and Maintenance
Using the six-step planning process from the School Guide as a framework, this District Guide recommends actions that districts can take to develop districtwide policies and procedures to guide schools in developing their individual EOPs. The district’s work regulates the schools’ planning activities and helps schools develop customized plans by providing each of them with a master list of threats, hazards, functions, goals, and objectives.
Ideally, the district would complete its work before its schools begin their planning, but, whether or not this is the case, districts should develop policies and procedures for use by the schools. A district plan conveys to schools the vital importance of planning activities — for example, forming a district core planning team and guiding schools to complete their own planning can be conveyed as an expectation through district policy.
An Overview of Planning Principles
In addition to describing the six-step planning process, the School Guide presents planning principles, which are key to developing a comprehensive school EOP that addresses a range of threats and hazards. It is important that schools and districts alike keep these planning principles in mind as they proceed through the planning:
- Planning must be supported by leadership.
- Planning uses assessments to customize plans to the building level.
- Planning considers all threats and hazards.
- Planning provides for the access and functional needs of the whole school community.
- Planning considers all settings and all times.
- Creating and revising a model EOP is done by following a collaborative process.
School districts have a role in implementing these principles at the district level by
- Establishing policies and procedures;
- Providing training and technical assistance related to these principles; and
- Assisting schools in applying these principles within each building.