What we offer

The Pennsylvania School Safety Institute (PennSSI) provides experiences designed to address emerging security threats that may occur in school buildings, on district property or at other locations where students and staff may be present.

PennSSI’s state-of-the-art facility allows participants to practice responses to a variety of scenarios catered to their profession, whether they are district leaders, professional and support staff, security personnel, or law enforcement officials.

The 5,000-square-foot training center is equipped with audio visual capabilities that allow teams to review their actions and discuss alternative approaches as they navigate the interactive scenarios projected on the 360 degree smart screens or in the multiroom simulated school building. While PennSSI primarily serves those with connections to a school community, the institute is also available for use by nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

360 degree smart screens

The use of five interactive screens creates a truly immersive experience with scenarios that react to a participant’s live movements. The modular design of the smart screens allows for multiple layouts to meet different scenario objectives. Whether using the screens to project 360 degrees of a single location or reconfigured to show multiple rooms, participants are forced to move and interact exactly as they would in a real-world situation. Participants are required to keep their head on a swivel to account for movements in all the peripherals as the variety of outcomes for any scenario are endless.

Multiroom simulated school building

This completely modular and mobile structure can be designed in a variety of layouts. There are many separate surfaces used to project in-depth scenarios with a single storyline that evolves and changes as participants move through the simulated school. The multiroom experience adds real life value as participants are required to navigate the actions and responses to opening doors, rounding corners and maneuvering from one area to the next.

Classroom training options

PennSSI provides participants with a robust experience by supplementing interactive scenario options listed above with classroom instruction. Below is a sampling of our classroom trainings:

Overview of School Safety & Security Requirements for School Entities

This session provides a comprehensive overview of the main requirements under law and regulations for school safety and security programs in Pennsylvania schools. Areas addressed will include the role and responsibilities of the School Safety and Security Coordinator, grant considerations, requirements for staff training, school safety and security personnel types, requirements for drills and reporting, working with law enforcement, and an overview of threat assessment requirements.

School Safety and Security Personnel Types & Considerations

This session addresses the differences between a school police officer, School Resource Officer and school security guard based on PA laws and regulations, including what qualifications and training are needed. It includes a discussion of the pros and cons of employing versus contracting for personnel, and considerations for how each type of school security personnel may fit within a school’s overall school safety and student support programs.

School Safety and Security – Policy, Procedure & Documentation

This session focuses on the importance of creating and maintaining up-to-date policies, procedures and documentation related to school safety and security, including emergency preparedness planning, materials for an incident command post, threat assessment records, and other documents that are critical to maintaining safety and addressing liability concerns. Information on required policies and documents will be covered, as well as recommended practices for maintaining confidentiality, records retention and records management.

Introduction to Trauma-Informed Approach for School Safety & Security Teams

This session provides an introduction to understanding trauma and its impact on student development and student behavior in the school setting, as well as ways that school entities can mitigate the effects of trauma. Information will focus on the role of staff implementing school safety and security initiatives, and how those processes can overlap with a trauma-informed approach and other student services and supports.

The Step-by-Step Process for Communicating During a Crisis

A crisis is defined as any incident that interrupts learning, presents a risk to students or staff, or requires urgent communication. These incidents can occur at any time and your district must be prepared to respond. This classroom-based training provides a step-by-step process for communicating with your school community during a crisis that can occur in your district and helpful tips for the preparation and handling of these situations as they unfold.

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