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Readiness and Emergency Management for School (REMS) Technical Assistance Center

U.S. Department of Education/Office of Safe and Healthy Students

America's K-12 schools and institutions of higher education (IHEs) face day-to-day challenges in achieving their core educational mission while effectively managing issues related to student attendance, discipline and pressures of meeting academic performance standards. These schools and IHEs must also be ready to cope with a wide variety of emergencies and their after-effects on the student, staff and community populations. While school administrators and managers understand the need for adequate emergency and disaster planning, they often lack the resources needed to meet this challenge. The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center (see: REMS.ed.gov) is a critical component of the ED Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) school safety and emergency management initiative.

ED selected Synergy Enterprises, Inc. (SEI) to revamp the REMS Center to ensure that it provides the expertise needed to help REMS and Emergency Management for Higher Education grantees, public and private K-12 schools and IHEs prepare for and effectively deal with emergencies that have local, regional and national impacts. It will focus on providing training, technical assistance (TA), publications, and Web-housed electronic resources that are state-of the-art, objective, cross- cutting, integrated, and aligned. SEI will expand the Center's services through creative and innovative strategies to reach a broad segment of stakeholders and assist them in development and implementation of programs that represent an all-hazards approach to: (1) preventing or mitigating emergencies, (2) preparing for their impact, (3) enabling them to respond quickly and appropriately and (4) allowing for full physical and emotional recovery. The Center will help schools establish and maintain critical collaboration with first responders and community partners and build the capacity to not only survive, but function smoothly in the aftermath of an emergency. SEI' scope of work on this project will include improved capacity for providing

  • Basic and advanced training in emergency management planning, including in-depth treatment of unique issues, such as emergency management planning for special needs individuals, coping with youth suicides or using technology to enhance communication during a crisis.
  • Workshops and webinars that focus on school safety topics such as threat assessment, infectious diseases and lockdown and evacuation procedures.
  • Ongoing attention to research on issues related to special populations and communities, cultural competence and emerging issues.
  • New emphasis on a comprehensive, national marketing strategy and dissemination plan for the Center and its products and services to K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, along with community partners and other stakeholders involved in school emergency management efforts.
  • Services that are accessible through multiple access points: mobile devices, phone, e-mail and Internet as well as in-person training and TA by request.
  • Outreach that is intensive, comprehensive, culturally competent and nationwide to K-12 public schools; non-public, charter and private schools; IHEs; and other educational entities.
  • Outreach to unique collaborative partners in school emergency management, such as students, parents, local recreational or community centers, non-profits or churches.
  • A cadre of expert consultants with experience in cross-cutting topics of education and emergency management planning, including work in both K-12 and IHE settings, live and distance training and TA and research.