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School Environment - Making School Safe for Students (Academic Credit)

Course Summary

Course Description: School Safety is a very important aspect of operating a school. This course concentrates on keeping the students safe in the physical plant and playground.  It does not cover keeping the students safe from outside intruders or infectious diseases. There are other courses that are available for that. This course is a practical course in that during the class you will be inspecting your school for safety hazards. 

Is your school coming up for accreditation?  This course would help your school get the physical plant ready. 

Course Structure: 
The class has readings, research papers, reflection on practice, and putting theory into practice. It is estimated that doing the assignments will take you approximately 60 hours to earn one graduate credit. 

What do I need to know?

You need to be currently working in a school. You will need to have your administrators permission for the course as you will be needing to access every part of the school in order to complete the course. You, with administration's permission, will need to contact the fire and police departments of your area. 

What will I learn in this course?

This course is offered in a self-paced format. 

Academic Credit through Andrews University: 
1 graduate academic credit is available through Andrews University for an additional $150, paid to Andrews University. . To receive academic credit, the form must be sent in before you finish the class.  After registration for the course, you have 180 days to complete if you want to receive academic credit. The student needs to know the fundamentals of teaching.  The class is designed as professional development for certified teachers.


The Learning Objectives for the course are below. They are written in the Gronlund style where there is a General Objective followed by Specific Objectives that tell how you will show that you meet the General Objectives. 

School Safety

1. Understand the importance of a safety culture in a school. 
       A. Describe what is meant by a safety culture
       B. Develop a statement that describes the ideal safety culture
       C. Create a statement that could be put in a school handbook describing safety practices for your school.

2. Understand what it takes to make a safe playground based on the Consumer Product Safety Council standards.
        A. Be able to describe the most important elements of a safe playground plan. 
        B. Inspect your playground and make a list of potential problems based on the standards. 
        C. Create a plan to remediate safety concerns discovered in inspection. 

3.  Know the elements in a gym that could be a safety hazard. 
        A. Create a list of potential problems in a gym. (Hard surfaces, projections into play area, etc. )
        B. Inspect your gym (if you have one, otherwise any indoor area where students move quickly) for hazards.
        C. Create a plan to minimize hazards by changing features or behaviors.

4.  Understand the hazards of electricity to both the building and its occupants. 
        A.Research and describe electrical standards for the electrical (breaker) boxes in a school. 
        B. Research and describe where modern electrical code calls for Ground Fault receptacles and tamper resistant receptacles.
        C. Inspect all areas of your school for electrical devices that might not meet safety standards. 
        D. Research and describe how extension cords should be used. 
        E. Inspect your building for improperly used extension cords. 

5.  Understand common hazards in a school kitchen.
        A. Create a list covering fire, electrical, gas appliance and other hazards that might be in a kitchen. 
        B. Create a safety inspection list for everything you have discovered except food safety. 
        C. Inspect your school kitchen using the safety inspection list that you have created. 

6. Understand the dangers related to chemicals that may be stored or used at your school. 
        A. Inspect your school for all chemicals used or stored at your school and create a list of them and how they are currently stored. (Cleaning, lawn care, science, and other chemicals you may find) 
        B. Research how each type of chemical should be stored in a school. 
        C. Create a plan for the safe storage and use of all chemicals in your school. 

7.  Understand the most common hazards in a school that may lead to fire. 
        A. Research and describe the requirements for fire suppression in your school. (State fire code related to schools)
        B. Describe the areas of a school that are most likely to have fire hazards.
        C. Discuss fire safety for your school with your local fire department and create a plan in cooperation to make your school as safe as possible related to fire safety. 
        D. Create and implements a  plan for fire-drills that includes blocked exits. (Move from planned to unannounced fire drills)

8. Understand the situations that might require quick interaction with your local law enforcement/quick response department.
        A. Create a list of situations based on where your school is located and its surroundings that constitute a hazard for your students.         

       B. Discuss with your local law enforcement the plans that they would recommend for your school to avoid and respond to emergency situations and create such a plan.
        C. Create a map of your school and grounds. Consider labeling all outside doors and windows with the room number. (This allows quick response teams to quickly find a room that may be having a problem.)
        D. Consider having a law enforcement official speaking at an assembly telling the students how to avoid dangerous situations both in and out of school. 
        E. Create a plan for ingress/egress security. (Security cameras, remotely locking/unlocking entrances, etc)

9. Understand what makes a healthy school environment. 
        A. Describe the elements of a healthy environment.
        B. Create a checklist based on the elements of a healthy environment.
        C. Create a report on the school environment and how it could be improved. 

10. Understand the importance of an up-to-date plan for keeping the students and faculty in your school safe. 
        A. Create a booklet that includes safety checklists for each of the areas covered in the class.
        B. Do a thorough inspection based on your checklists. 
        C. Create a recommended plan to present to administration showing deficiencies found and possible remediations for each deficiency. 

Extra -11. Understand the dangers of unsupervised use by students of internet resources.
        A. Research and create a list of issues and the ways to avoid them.
        B. Write a preliminary outline for discussion at a faculty meeting on the issues and how to minimize them. 

About the Instructor

Lee Davidson, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Andrews University has been involved in Adventist education for almost 50 years from middle school teaching and principal through university level. He retired from the Department of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum after 17 years in the department, 11 of which he was chair although he has continued to teach some classes. He was involved in many areas but one which he enjoyed the most was the supervision of student teachers.

In the last few years he became very interested in questioning techniques. He discovered the materials put out by the Right Questions Institute and this led to more in-depth study of the area and several presentations on the topic.
He has been involved in online education since the first class he taught in the 1990s, a HS Biology course.


2 months ago
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This course is really practical if you are in a position of administration, school leadership, or supervision. I learned a lot of meaningful topics that surround the safety of the school in terms of the physical environment (Chemicals, gymnasium, playgrou... Read More

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Self-paced course
Eligible for academic credit
School Environment Teacher Standards
School Improvement Teacher Standards
This course needs to be completed in 180 days.