Fox Chapel Area earns $1 million to pay for security upgrades, wireless internet |
Valley News Dispatch

Fox Chapel Area earns $1 million to pay for security upgrades, wireless internet

Tawnya Panizzi
Fox Chapel Area High School

More than $1 million in grants will pay for sweeping security upgrades and wireless internet services at Fox Chapel Area School District, officials announced.

The district is set to receive $908,000 from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to pay for safety improvements implemented this year.

The money is part of $40 million in school safety grants to 234 schools announced by Gov. Tom Wolf on April 30.

The district received a separate $25,000 grant from the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency to pay for the Ruvna app, used to streamline communications during drills and in the event of an emergency.

It also will receive $150,000 in wireless internet services from Sprint during the coming school year for students who receive free and reduced lunches, officials said.

“These grants are the mechanism we need to create local strategies that will increase safety for our children and our teachers and prevent violence in classrooms and communities across the commonwealth,” Wolf wrote in a press release. “Schools should be safe, secure places for our children to focus on their education and on preparing themselves for a lifetime of success, not another place we need to worry about sending our children.”

Payments covered by the grants include school safety assessments, security-related technology and equipment, behavioral-health training, hazard plans, school resource officers and school psychologists.

At Fox Chapel, administrators outlined a plan last fall to hire four new school resource officers, implement a digital safety app and use the Raptor school visitor system in an effort to boost security across the six campuses. The district also hired a new safety and security coordinator who suggested better lighting, clear landscaping and additional cameras.

Megan Collett, the district’s executive director of instructional and innovative leadership, said the grant application was supported by letters from local law enforcement agencies.

“That transparent partnership and collaborative spirit went a long way in helping us to secure these funds,” she said.

Dan DiDesiderio, director of student achievement and instructional verification, and Kimberly Pawlishak, the district’s business manager, co-authored the grant with Collett.

“This money will significantly offset the cost of personnel and upgrades to the technology infrastructure, as well as pay for training for teachers in identifying and addressing student mental health issues,” Pawlishak said.

“We are so thankful,” Superintendent Gene Freeman said. “Although safety has always been paramount in the district, we have made great strides over the last year in reinforcing our safety and security measures.

“The grant from Sprint will help ensure that our high school students on free and reduced meals have access to the internet at home. These grants will truly make a difference for our students.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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