Milton Academy is the first K–12 institution in New England (second in the country) to be recognized by the National Weather Service and U.S. Department of Commerce as StormReady, joining the ranks of local schools and communities including Harvard University, Tufts University and the City of Boston.
The designation officially recognizes communities that are prepared for significant weather events, with the communication and response tools aimed at keeping people and property safe in the case of a weather emergency. The StormReady program encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving hazardous weather operations and awareness.
Milton met much of the program’s criteria prior to the assessment team’s visit, prepared in areas including weather monitoring and information systems, communication and warning dissemination, public awareness and protocols, and administrative resources. Officer Ron Dardano managed the application and evaluation process with assistance from Supervisor Katie Williams. Milton’s Campus Safety department sought the designation on the heels of their award from the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, since the criteria are all considered best practice in safety management.
In an on-campus ceremony on December 6, representatives from the National Weather Service, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency presented members of Milton’s Campus Safety team with the certificate of recognition and signage commemorating the achievement.
As winter approaches, remember that you can learn of School cancellations or delays on the Milton website, through broadcast alerts—via email, phone and text—and on several Boston-based television networks or radio stations.
Jay Hackett, Milton’s director of campus safety and risk management, has achieved the “gold standard” in addressing safety and security issues at sporting events, according to a national organization recognizing Jay’s leadership. Jay is included among professionals from Major League Baseball, the National Football Association, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation receiving Professional of the Year Awards from the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Milton’s campus as a whole was nominated for the National Sport Safety and Security Facility of Merit award. “Receiving the professional award was a big honor, but the one I really wanted to win was the facility award, because we truly are a team here,” says Jay. “Between the campus safety employees, facilities department, athletics, trainers, the Milton Police and Fire Departments and the Fallon Ambulance Service, everybody is part of keeping things running smoothly.”
The award honors those who go above and beyond the basic requirements of safety and security, says NCS4 director Dr. Lou Marciani. “The reason for the Professional of the Year Award is to allow professional leagues, NCAA member institutions, and marathon and endurance organizations to honor outstanding individuals in the field of sports safety and security, for their contributions and leadership,” Dr. Marciani said in a press release. The NCS4 Gold Standard is an industry benchmark that considers safety and security while balancing costs, operational efficiencies and staff engagement, all while enhancing the fan experience. In his 30 years of campus safety experience, Jay says practices in emergency preparedness and safety training have improved immensely.
NCS4 visited Milton last summer, along with safety professionals from several other schools across New England, and the organization provided some guidance for after-school campus safety, beyond athletics. “We have students using the Art and Media Center, students doing dance, using the science labs,” Jay says. “The entire campus is active during that 3 p.m.-to-dinner timeframe, and we need to make sure we’re covered.”
Jay’s team has met the challenges of handling event crowds head-on. With graduation ceremonies coming up this weekend, and Reunion Weekend following, the team will work with departments across campus and beyond to execute an operational plan—which includes traffic management—to make sure everyone is safe and has a great time. “Everything is a team effort,” Jay says.
NCS4’s Seventh Annual Conference and Exhibition, where the awards will be distributed, will be held in July in Phoenix, Arizona.
Congratulations to Campus Safety Officers Dan Ford and Marty Prendergast on their completion of the National Association of School Resources Officers’ Basic Training Program. The five day (40 hour) course was sponsored by the Worcester Police and Worcester School Department. The NASRO Basic School Resource Officer Course is designed for law enforcement officers and school safety professionals working in an educational environment. The course provides tools for officers to build positive relationships work both students and staff.