Schools make additions to award-winning InBox program

Documents include new emergency guide, wellness brochure

In what has become an annual tradition, several workers gathered last week to “stuff” the InBoxes for students of the St. Charles Parish public school district.

For the last two years, the schools’ InBox program, which makes sure that parents and students get all the necessary information they need on the first day of class, has won an Award of Excellence from the National School Public Relations Association’s Publication and Electronic Media Contest.

It’s the highest award in publications that a school can receive.

And while this year’s InBoxes will be loaded with the usual fare, such as the student code of conduct handbook and school calendar, there are also three new additions.

This year, parents will get a new emergency guide, which resulted out of the Feb. 12 tornado warning last year. When the school system had a safe schools audit done, it showed that they needed a way to better inform parents about what they should and shouldn’t do in the case of an emergency.

“Based on what parents and teachers felt most important, we identified those particular scenarios and showed what we, as a school district, do and then what you, as a parent, would do,” Rochelle Cancienne-Touchard, the schools director of public information, said. “There are two guides in each InBox, so the parents can keep one at home and one at work.”

The emergency guide has specific instructions for situations that range from an armed intruder to missing children. For example, if an armed intruder is found carrying a weapon on campus, the school will notify the school office, contact 9-1-1, notify staff of an emergency situation and implement a pre-rehearsed lockdown procedure. The school will also follow the directives of law enforcement personnel, send out Connect-ED messages to inform parents and guardians, and assess the counseling needs of students and staff.

The parents are encouraged not to go to the school, but to instead stand-by for a Connect-ED message and make arrangements for early release.

The guide is also separated into easy to find tabs that can be flicked to quickly. A magnet also makes it possible to secure the guide somewhere that is safe and visible.

Another new addition is a fold-out brochure for the schools’ wellness program called ‘Get a Life!  Live Smart Wellness for all Ages.’ Inside the brochure, there are snack and beverage guidelines that encourage parents and guardians to purchase products that meet specific calorie, sugar and fat levels. Plus, there is also a healthy bag and box lunch checklist that shows what should be included in each child’s meal.

Lastly, high school and middle school students will also get information from Crimestoppers.

The InBox program first began three years ago, when Cancienne-Touchard thought that there had to be a better way to get parents and students essential information.

“As a parent, I used to get an abundance of documents that you have to fill out along with other publications and it all came in a gallon zip lock bag,” Cancienne-Touchard said. “It was very impersonal and not something I could keep. Parents like to keep information for their kids, and the InBox is a great way to do that.

“Everything that is important throughout the year, such as honor roll certificates, report cards and other documents, are all in the InBox.”

The InBox was able to be implemented three years ago with the help of Shell Chemicals, who is one of the school systems’ partners in education. Every year, Shell donates $10,000 to help pay for the Inbox. Almost 10,000 Inboxes are sent home to students each year.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply