EDWARDSVILLE - During the regular Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, Superintendent Dr. Patrick Shelton shared information from recent conversations about school safety and culture.

Shelton explained that the ECUSD7 community was invited to meetings where they could discuss the district’s policies and practices with Board of Education members. For those who were unable to attend, the district sent out “Thought Exchanges,” a program that encourages community members to answer questions and share feedback.

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“There were three questions that we really wanted the community to engage in the conversation,” Shelton said.

The first question asked community members what physical features they believe create “a secure and safe school environment.” Parents, teachers and community members all responded to the question and brought up cameras, IDs, metal detectors, security personnel and double locked doors as some of the main features they want to see at ECUSD7 schools.

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The second question asked, “How do we foster an equitable, safe and inclusive school environment for all members of our school community?” Participants brought up zero-tolerance policies, consequences for bullying and clear expectations for students and staff members.

“The idea was the first [question] had to do with the physical structure of our schools, but the second one has to do with more of the culture and the inclusivity level of our schools,” Shelton explained.

The third question asked participants what they want to see from ECUSD7 so it can be a successful district in the next five years. Parents, teachers and community members responded with thoughts about accountability, consistent expectations and consequences, increased teacher support, transparency between administrators and the community, and a no-cell-phone policy.

“We are taking that information now and we’ll be using that in our District #7 teams to look at action steps,” Shelton said.

He added that there will be more opportunities to complete surveys and submit feedback throughout the summer.

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