Dear SPS Family and Friends:
I hope that each of you had a fun, relaxing Spring Break, and that you are ready for the home stretch of the 2017-2018 school year. It is hard to believe that the fourth quarter has arrived.
I want to take this opportunity to connect with you on the important issue of school safety – a topic that is part of many conversations around the dinner table and across our city, state and nation. It is a complex issue and something that we must take seriously.
Since the most recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, we have heard from many concerned students, parents, SPS staff members and others in the community. Throughout these conversations, a common message has emerged: we all care about our children and we want the best for their futures. We are committed to doing what it takes to ensure that the learning environment is safe and welcoming to all.
I want to reiterate that this commitment is of the utmost importance to our SPS leadership team. Most recently, we have engaged with students, parents and staff in discussions about school safety. We are incorporating the feedback shared during those conversations into ongoing efforts to further refine and enhance our safety policies and procedures.
Our focus on safety is multi-faceted by necessity and design. Springfield Public Schools benefits from the service of school police officers who work closely with other local law enforcement, including the Springfield Police Department and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. This well-coordinated collaboration serves the students and staff of our district especially well. We believe that this ongoing security, combined with our facility improvements and safety protocols, provide the strong support we need.
These efforts are further enhanced by the training we provide our staff and students, the drills that are part of our routine, our commitment to providing support for mental health, and our focus on relationship building and open communication. The emphasis on relationships and communication begins at the classroom level between the teacher and student and extends to counselors, administrators and school police officers. As parents and adult leaders, your role is critically important to the success of a community-wide effort to surround our students with wisdom, guidance, support and protection.
Student voices are especially important throughout this process. In order to share their views, student leaders at one of our high schools have planned a Town Hall Forum later this week. Others may choose to participate in student-led movements designed to highlight their perspective. All of these types of events are not required for students and are not sponsored by the district, but the district does have an obligation to ensure that those events are supervised for safety.
If you or your student ever have a concern about school safety, I invite you to contact our SPS Police via our 24/7 dispatch hotline: 417-523-2911. Anonymous tips may also be made to 417-869-8477 via Crime Stoppers. We are here to listen, evaluate and respond accordingly.
We are honored to serve our 25,000 students, 4,000 staff and their families. Thank you for the support you demonstrate for our students, staff, schools and community. We appreciate the thoughtful ways that you have reached out to us, directly, with questions and concerns regarding safety. Please continue to do so.
Together, we are working to make our number one priority a reality – an engaging, relevant and personal experience, underscored by safety, for every learner, every day.
In Service & With Respect,
Dr. John Jungmann, Superintendent of Schools
Springfield Public Schools