At Charlottesville City Schools, our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. Experts from the fields of school security, mental health, and public safety agree that the foundation of school safety is a commitment to wellness and a positive school culture.
Through a committee and community engagement process, in 2021 the Board approved a new safety plan focusing on:
Overview of Proposed Model for School Safety in Charlottesville City Schools (March 2021)
What data does show is effective are many areas that Charlottesville has already committed to, such as:
The Safety Plan for Charlottesville Schools
So the big ideas are —
Read below to learn more about specific ways we work to promote the safety and wellbeing of our school communities.
Charlottesville City Schools recognizes the strong link between a child’s social, emotional, and physical health and their ability to learn. Schools also play an important role in teaching children about wellness.
In 2016, our school division won a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award in recognition of our policies in place to promote healthy choices for our students and staff. We have also won national recognition for our attention to mental wellness through social and emotional learning programs and our systems of positive supports.
Our 2017-23 Strategic Plan places a strong emphasis on “Safe and Supportive Schools,” with specific goals for social, emotional, and physical wellness. One outcome of this plan was to double the number of mental health practioners in our schools to meet our students’ needs in 2021.
The School Health Advisory Board—made up of health professionals, community agencies, parents, educators and students—advises the School Board in the development and evaluation of our state-recognized Wellness Policy and programs that support the health and well-being of students, families, and school staff.
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Sample Partners and Related Programs:
One of the goals for Charlottesville City Schools is to promote a positive and inclusive culture in our learning communities. Relationships are at the heart of a thriving community and are also key to promoting safety. We strive to encourage strong relationships among and between staff, students, and families through mentoring and other initiatives.
School leaders work throughout the year evaluating security measures and planning for crises and emergencies. Safety is our top priority. We work with local first-responders, develop building-specific security procedures, and participate in emergency management training and activities.
Our plans include:
There are concrete steps you can do now to make sure you stay informed and to help create a positive community.
In the fall of 2020, then-superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins appointed a number of superintendent committees to provide recommendations in three areas (COVID-19, school names, and school safety). The committee for school safety/security resources was prompted in part by the schools and the Charlottesville Police Department jointly ending our 2016 Memorandum of Understanding for School Resource Officers (SRO’s). The committee’s goal was to recommend the best path forward.
Thanks to our community members and all those who shared your feedback. You can still find the committee’s materials on this page.
The final recommendation was to establish a team of care and safety assistants (CSAs) with deep relationships in the community to be an extra set of hands in the hallways and oversee safety practices. The CSAs are trained in areas such as de-escalation, teen mental health first aide, safety procedures, and more. The plan also places more mental health professionals in our schools. And finally, the plan relies on community partnership, including situations when police will still come to schools to promote safety. Find our CCS/Charlottesville Police Department Protocols – MOU (2021).