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  • 16 Sep 2019 by Lori Kowit

    Dear Friends,

    As I sat down to write my article for this month, I wanted to write about the new school year, providing words of wisdom to help everyone start off the year on a positive foot. But I keep thinking about a question many of you may be getting from parents. I can’t get it out of my mind. While my mind says to write about the new school year, my heart says to write about this topic.

    Your parents may want to know if they should buy a bulletproof backpack…really. How scary is this? It makes me so sad. On the other hand, I understand why. 

    A bullet-proof backpack manufacturer was on CNBC recently. He said that while they have been marketing their backpacks since 2007 (following the Virginia Tech campus shooting), there has been a 200 percent increase in sales over the past year.

    Please know these bulletproof backpacks only protect against handguns; they are not rifle-proof. The material used to make the bags is considered a soft body armor, which is not resistant to all bullets.

    Keeping children safe is about more than buying expensive gear that may not be effective against an active shooter. Children (everyone) need to pay attention to their surroundings, trust their instincts, and learn the school’s emergency procedures.

    This year my own school opened up with a full team of armed security guards. These guards are in our school during our hours of operation. Many schools practice active shooter training so the staff and children are fully aware of how to respond. In our school we announce to the children, “There is an uninvited guest in the school” and our staff participates in annual ALICE (Alert, Lock-down, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) training.  

    It is so difficult for me to get my head around this, but this is the world we live in today and this is what needs to be done.

    I wish you all a happy, smooth and safe start of your school year.


  • 16 Sep 2019 by Tricia Ginis

    Being supported in the work we do as early childhood professionals can come in many forms.

    Members constantly gush about the value of networking and community support that ECE-RJ provides.

    Sharing ideas;  supporting each other; responding to each other’s questions;  and being there for one another is part of what makes ECE-RJ who we are.

    The conversations in emails, during MeetUps and at conferences and kallot are enlightening, innovative and inspiring. Keeping track of what we hear and learn is another story. 

    The solution to this challenge has arrived in the form of Forums on the ECE-RJ website.  The three NEW Forums (one each for directors, assistant directors, teachers) are private communication tools that allow for the same type of support and “dialogue” as our emails (Listserv) with the added feature of archiving and searching.

    All documents, conversations, images, and videos are saved directly to the website, and members can search within each “lounge” (Director Lounge, Assistant Director Lounge and Teacher Lounge) to find what they need. No more digging up old emails.  No more cringing as you hit send when you know that you are asking a question that was asked before.  We now have one place to keep track of all of the conversations, all of the ideas, and all of the support and encouragement.  We even get email notifications when there is a new comment, so we will not miss a thing.   

    Come check it out the forum for your membership category. Please know the Director Listserv is still up and running as we transition over to the new Forums.