Science and safety at KUSD

By Ashley Loza
Kern Valley Sun

Photo by Ashley Loza / Kern Valley Sun
Board Member Allison Bogart listens attentively as 5th grader Miliani Barraza describes her science fair experiment at the KUSD board meeting held on Tuesday, February 12.

Kernville Union School District held their monthly board meeting on Tuesday, February 12.

Many of the board’s discussions involved the district’s attention to improving safety on its campuses this year.

Issues of unauthorized adults on campus were brought to the board in November, when Kernville Union School Teachers Association (KUSTA) raised concerns that parents were entering campus and interrupting instructional time, expecting unscheduled conferences, and behaving inappropriately towards students.

Since then, the district has made an attempt to instill stricter check-in and check-out processes to enhance safety.

In the interest of streamlining these processes, the board discussed the implementation of a new system called “Raptor,” which was also recently adopted by Kern Valley High School.

Network and Computer Technician Tisha Acosta gave the board an overview of the Raptor system, which she said was the most user friendly system tested, if not the lowest price point.

The system requires visitors to scan a driver license or state ID, and information is matched with sex offender registries across all 50 states, in addition to a custom district database. The system would keep track of who has entered, and in the case of emergency, staff would know who needs to be accounted for.

“We would know who is on our campus at all times,” said Acosta.

When permitted to enter, the system prints a visitor badge with the visitor’s driver license or ID photo on it to ensure that staff can recognize that they have been cleared for entry.
Acosta noted that staff were still looking into details of using the system, such as how to handle high and low traffic time periods and how to prevent users from signing in as someone else if the kiosk is unattended.

Presumably, she said, office staff would be able to keep track during low traffic periods, as the visitor’s information would be made available to them at check-in as well. During high traffic periods, a staff member would be present strictly to handle check-ins.

“It is so easy to do. It’s so fast,” said Board Member Allison Bogart, who noted that she had used the system at other campuses.

The district plans to pilot the system at Wallace, moving it to Kernville Elementary later on.

In other safety topics, the board also approved the 2018-2019 Comprehensive Safe School Plan, which Superintendent Robin Shive noted will no longer be made a public attachment so that anyone with harmful intent does not know the school’s safety procedures.

Outside of safety concerns, the board also took some time to recognize the winners of the Science Fair who will be headed to the countywide science fair on Tuesday, March 12.

Winners who showed their projects to the board included Grace Ryan (4th grade), Kyla Hacker (4th grade), Ella Mauer (5th grade), Jeff Tarcena (7th grade), Trevor Stanton (6th grade), and Miliani Barraza (5th grade.)

The board will hold another special board meeting next week to address agenda items that must be approved before the next scheduled meeting.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 12, at 5 p.m. in the Wallace cafetorium.