According to famed psychologist Abraham Maslow, food and shelter are every human’s first and most basic needs. Second to that is safety. In Aurora Public Schools, we know that students cannot learn if they do not feel safe at school. This includes students feeling physically safe, as well as feeling safe enough to seek mental health support.
“Data has shown a correlation between safe and secure learning environments and an increase in student achievement,” notes Aurora Public Schools Security Director Greg Cazzell. “We want our students to know that there are trusted adults in every school to support them if they are being bullied, just need someone to talk to and more.”
The well-being of our students, families and staff is a top priority for our district. We take a serious approach to health and safety called APS CARES, which stands for:
- Communication: We utilize multiple channels to communicate with our community and encourage students to report safety concerns.
- Awareness: Our staff members participate in functional drills with first responders and make sure students practice emergency drills.
- Relationships: We maintain strong partnerships with the City of Aurora’s police and fire departments as well as local mental health, social service and crisis organizations.
- Engagement: Our teachers, counselors, psychologists and social workers build trusting relationships with students so they feel comfortable to report concerns.
- Security: We have a team of highly-trained staff members who work together when a potential threat is identified.
“We all have stress and illness in our lives, some more than others, and it affects our ability to learn or utilize what we learned,” said Aurora Public Schools Mental Health and Counseling Director Jessica O’Muireadhaigh. This is why mental health and wellness is so important to everyone.”
Thanks to Aurora voters who continue to support our bond measures, we are able to hire and retain high-quality mental health professionals to support students. These funds also allow us to have more secure school entrances, updated security cameras and announcement systems at every school.
“APS has an extraordinary group of talented, compassionate and dedicated staff in all departments of the organization,” Cazzell said. “Safety and security is a 24/7 responsibility and our team is always on the job.”O’Muireadhaigh is equally confident in the district. “Our team of amazing mental health professionals helps our students' ability to be regulated and ready for learning so they can Power their Potential,” said O’Muireadhaigh. “When we help students regulate, they are able to learn, create, connect, invent, dream and achieve.”
We look forward to a safe and secure school year. You can learn more about how APS CARES works at aurorak12.org/about-aps/school-safety.
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