Providing a safe and secure learning environment is essential to helping students and staff succeed. At Katy Independent School District, Officer Nicole Emidy, Assistant Emergency Management …
Providing a safe and secure learning environment is essential to helping students and staff succeed. At Katy Independent School District, Officer Nicole Emidy, Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator, has gone above and beyond her call of duty to ensure special needs students are safe during an emergency, by including emergency operations plans for this group of learners.
Because of her outstanding individual service, she was honored with the 2021 Fourth-Quarter Texas School Safety Center Spotlight Award in the Outstanding Individual Service category. She provided support to the Katy ISD Special Education Department to develop safety protocols for the district’s EOP, which includes a method to quickly identify classrooms occupied by students with special needs.
“It’s great to work at a school district that is supportive and prioritizes safety and inclusion for all students and staff,” said Officer Nicole Emidy, Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator with the Katy ISD Police Department Office of Emergency Management. “The implementation of the special needs annex to our emergency plan and the application of appropriate signage acknowledges and protects unique student needs as well as ensures the safety of learners, staff and first responders in the event of an emergency,” added Emidy.
As part of the collaborative efforts between officers and special needs employees, Emidy educated staff members on the role of emergency responders during a crisis incident, as well as gathered feedback from teachers on best practices when approaching special needs students. Across Katy ISD campuses, orange triangles can be seen on the doors of self-contained classrooms serving students with special needs. These symbols alert first responders that the students may need additional assistance during an emergency. In addition, she devised a way to repurpose strobes used for door-propped open alarms which would create a visual cue to assist hearing-impaired students in case of a school lockdown.
“Nicole’s overall versatility, commitment and tenacity to keep students and staff at Katy ISD safe and secure is truly extraordinary,” said Katy ISD Emergency Management Coordinator Ruben Martinez.
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