In our third, and final, blog on the new Florida Threat Management Model, we thought it was important to hear directly from someone in the field who is actively implementing this new model. For that, I sat down with Russell “Rusty” Gould who serves as the Coordinator of Safety, Security, & Emergency Management for the School District of Osceola County. Russell is also the District Threat Management Coordinator and has not only been implementing the new Florida Threat Management model across 80+ schools in the district but has also been instrumental in supporting Navigate360 in the build out of this model in our Case Manager Platform. Below are excerpts from my conversation with Russell.
Joe: Tell me how you have prepared for the new FL Threat Management Model as a district?
Rusty: The biggest thing for us in Osceola County was the commitment to training all our teams in this new model. We were lucky to have five trainers to support our district’s efforts, who ended up training more than 750 individuals. Now, we had to stagger these trainings over several months to ensure that individuals who needed to be trained could continue their other duties but also be trained in this new model in time for the January 1st release. I also felt it was critical for me to be at every training as the District’s Threat Management Coordinator. I wanted to ensure the training provided a consistent message and was of the highest quality.
We also focused a lot of attention on our transition from the CSTAG model to the new Florida Threat Management model in the Navigate360 Case Manager Platform. I worked closely with Navigate360 staff to give input and feedback as they built this new model out in their software. I appreciated always being heard and listened to during the development phase, which I think has given us a strong management platform to facilitate the new Florida model in our district. What has been even more encouraging is in these first three weeks, Navigate360 staff have continued to have open dialogue with myself and others to see what enhancements can still be made. I think we share the same goal of trying to produce a system that can best support all schools and kids throughout Florida.
Joe: Now that we are about a month into the new model, how has it gone?
Rusty: Overall, considering the complexity of the new model, it has gone well. As you would expect, with anything new there is a learning curve. Change is hard for people, but there are some similarities to the old model and obviously the functionality of the software is similar. My focus has been trying to make sure people are counting on learning and are on the same page with how the process works. It has been great when specific team members will call me when they are stuck and have a question. I not only get to support them, but I learn about how they might be looking at a piece of the process from their perspective. All in all, change will take time and our teams will continue to refine their knowledge of the new model and become more efficient.
As we continue implementing this new model, we are also looking at technical enhancements we can make to support our teams. As I mentioned, we have already been meeting with Navigate360 to make enhancements that we have identified which will further enhance their Case Manager Platform. In many ways, these are not items we could have imagined the need for until we got into the new model and started to work through some cases. It is great to know that Navigate360 has dedicated resources to making these enhancements to support Florida districts.
We are also looking to continue to support our teams by developing resources they can refer to if they have a question. Team members have lots of other responsibilities in addition to serving on the threat management team, so we want to make it as easy as possible for them, while maintaining fidelity with the new model. We plan to hold a walkthrough session of the new model in Case Manager and add additional instructions and guidance throughout the platform to assist users. We also know that it is likely that the State will continue to make clarifications and provide additional guidance on the model itself, so we are prepared to make updates as needed. Given that Navigate360’s tool is built as a custom process within their Case Manager platform, these additions and changes are easy to make.
Joe: Going forward, what are some of the areas you will focus on as you continue to roll out the new Threat Management model?
Rusty: We are going to continue to focus on training as it relates to this new Threat Management Model. As we have staff turnover and mobility between positions, it will be a challenge to make sure we have ways to train new team members. For now, we are going to be hosting a training course every 30 days to ensure that all new team members are trained as quickly as possible. Related to this, we are stressing to our campus teams that it’s imperative they keep their team rosters up to date in the Navigate360 Case Manager Platform because those rosters also need to be kept up to date in the state Smartsheet system. Ensuring we have well-trained, multidisciplinary teams on each campus is critically important to this new model.
The other area we will continue to work on is the fidelity and accuracy of monthly meetings. With roughly 80 schools, it will be critical that we keep up with all teams to make sure they are meeting and that those meetings are productive. It is so important that teams review SSMPs in accordance with the established timelines. Undoubtably, technology can help with this, and some of the current functions in the Navigate360 Case Manager Platform support this, but we also want our teams to understand the importance of this. The new Florida Model eliminates any grey areas and adds this level of accountability by requiring monthly meetings and timelines to review SSMPs. Long term, as all districts work this process out, it will create an unprecedented amount of consistency and coordination across districts in the state to support the needs of all students.
Joe: Generally, what are some of the benefits you see this new model providing for the district and the work you do?
Rusty: As I have mentioned, perhaps the most promising aspect of this new Florida Threat Management model is the goal of having one consistent and uniform process across the state. Now this will take some time for the hurdles and challenges to be worked out, but the vision and potential are there. Once we reach that point, we will have a system to support all kids in the ways that they need so that they can be successful in school. It is the goal we all have.
Navigate360: Your Partner in Building a Layered, Holistic Approach
For those districts that we currently partner with, we are here to continue to support your journey in implementing this new model. Remember, if you find yourself needing to make changes or additions to the workflow and content in our Case Manager system, our platform is completely modular and customizable.
For those districts who we have not had the opportunity to partner with yet, which are perhaps feeling some of the struggles of implementing such a detailed and complex model, we are still here to support you on this journey, as well. Contact us today to learn more.
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Ensuring the safety and well-being of your school community is a top priority for all school leaders. In an ever-changing environment with continually emerging threats and hazards, however, simply responding after a critical incident takes place isn’t enough.
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