New additions to the front of the school will help with safety and security.
School security is very important and it is the school’s job to make sure that students are safe every day. The new security desk is TJ’s newest resource for safety. As students, parents, and visitors enter through the front entrance, they now walk past the security desk. It includes a small office for Melanie Scism, the new office support member of the TJ staff. She was previously the lunchroom manager but has since been promoted. Additionally, the school needed a bilingual individual for this new position, so Scism was perfect for the job.
Jon Poole, a current administrator at TJ, described the new position: “We actually needed and wanted a bilingual office support. She applied for that, and we were ecstatic that she did, because she was already part of the school. People really knew her, she knew the culture, all that kind of stuff. She speaks Spanish which is a great resource for our families when they come in.” Overall, Scism was the most equipped candidate for the position and, therefore she will maximize the new addition. Scism is a great resource for all people coming in and out of the school because she does a number of things including checking individuals into the school, scanning drivers licenses, printing different badges, and making sure that visitors are safe and able to enter the school. Scism explained, “The doors are locked and people are not able to come in and out…the food drivers, also people coming in for the clinic, they are just here for the clinic they don’t have students who go here. It keeps them from just walking in the building as well.” The new addition is a way for the school to monitor who is entering the building all in order to keep the students safe. It is a way that Thomas Jefferson is able to take other safety precautions that other DPS schools have already.
The school is very safe in general because of the strong sense of community, fostered by the student and staff. If there were to be some sort of intruder or unknown individual in the school, someone in the strong community would most definitely be aware. TJ’s physical safety features at the school are impressive including multiple security guards as well as the new security desk. The little things, like IDs, are the last step to making TJ as safe as it can be. IDs are a simple, safe, and effective way for the staff and students at TJ to really know that everyone who is in the building should be. Even though it is not necessarily popular among students, they are instrumental in making TJ the safest school. Students need to know that IDs are important even if they may seem like a chore. Major companies and businesses use them as well. So, they are not only making the school safer, they are actually creating habits that will help students later on in life.
The renovations began in the summer of 2019, and are still awaiting completion. The security desk is a main part in the renovation and is complete, but there is still more to go. Poole explains: “We have some work that is going to be done over spring break, and then over the summer they are going to redo the entire floor. It is a much larger project than initially anticipated. Some of the tests they did early on came back incorrect, so they have had to make adjustments. Additionally, we are still waiting on the data to be hooked up for the new concession stand. There are a few little minor things they have to do in the front there as well to get it done. We have some TJ groups that want to do the beautification … some students want to do that to get us to 100 percent.” Overall, there is still a good amount of work that needs to be done for the completion of the renovation. In the end, the renovations have made the school much safer, but when completed, will also enhance the school environment and even include some things for the entertainment of families and individuals watching sports.