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K-12Lead of the Week (1)

Evaluating School District Capacity for Emergency Response

From the November 26 issue of K-12Leads And Youth Service Markets Report.

Announcement: Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools REMS Grant Independent Evaluator Due November 30, Deer Valley USD, Arizona

Their Description: The purpose of this Request for Quotation (RFQ) is to solicit responses from consultants who have knowledge and experience in K-12 school district emergency response and crisis management and evaluation in Arizona which in turn qualify them to conduct an implementation evaluation of a Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grant. The vision of REMS is to provide an evaluation of emergency response and crisis management plans, conducted throughout the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) in levels of training and planning. The overarching goal is to use the four areas of crisis planning: prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, in order to assess gaps/weaknesses in services, infrastructure and opportunities that need to be addressed in DVUSD....REMS is funded by the US Department of Education – Safe and Drug-Free Schools in 2007 for an eighteen month period... through March 2009....

Performance Indicators

1. By March 2009, 100% of the district’s 44 facilities (39 schools/program sites, District Office, Support Services Center, Transportation... and Administrative Services) will complete emergency response plans that address an increased number of hazards as compared to their baseline plan identified in November 2007. Plans will include all four phases of crisis planning, assessment of unique site characteristics and populations and address the needs of special populations including individuals with disabilities and limited English proficiency.

2. By March 2009, at least 75% of district facilities will show improved reaction time and quality of response as compared to 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.

3. By March 2009, DVUSD and community partners... will participate in partnership agreements that commit resources to the sustainability and constant improvement of school and district emergency response plans.

The evaluation team will work collaboratively with the Project Director, Safe Schools Task Force and District Reunification Team to implement the evaluation plan.... The formative and summative evaluations will compare the objectives of the initiative to the actual program implementation... The evaluation will include, but not be limited to, survey data, interviews, activity data, and recommendations as well as commendations....

The evaluator will be required to produce interim and final reports summarizing their findings. These reports should indicate how well DVUSD is meeting its fundamental purpose of providing emergency response and crisis management to all schools and district sites. Results, recommendations, and/or conclusions should be stated in a manner that is easily understood by the general public. Additionally, the evaluator will work collaboratively with district writer in preparing a final report suitable for media release....

Quotation pricing should include a response not to exceed $18,000. The pricing response must include an itemized list of services/deliverables. Responses will be evaluated based on the quality of services offered and the lowest competitive cost....

My Thoughts: This project is priced far below the cost of a credible evaluation. Nevertheless, with a growing appreciation of school violence and disasters, emergency planning will only become more important. Eventually every district and school will have some kind of plan requiring some kind of review. The evaluation process is highly scalable. Federal funding will assure some level of work, and the business is literally just beginning. For evaluation firm that can afford to invest in a new line of business, this kind of RFP should be examined.

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