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Thank you to the Anchorage Police Department -- A Partnership for Safety

Honored Staff at Denali Montessori during the incident on October 3, 2018

Denali Montessori Staff, Followed ASD drill protocols for Active Intruder and for Stay Put with precision and first focus toward safety for children.  They are responsible for maintaining the safety of our children throughout the incident.

Ruth Dene, Denali Montessori Principal. Arrived about 15 minutes after the shooting. Once on site, Ms. Dene went around the entire school to update staff and students on what had occurred, and also ensured that all the physical and emotional needs of everyone were being addressed.   Ms. Dene supported the front office staff and the various Security teams, and was busy answering numerous questions that were coming from concerned parents and local news outlets. Ms. Dene was extremely proud of the way Denali responded during this crisis, and she says it’s due to the all the crisis training that ASD has provided to all our schools.

Alcira Espininoza-Vargas, Kindergarten Teacher Assistant.  Ms. Alcira from her car, saw the altercation in our parking lot and immediately called 911.  She was the first person to call 911.  Her prompt action helped APD get to our school in 90 seconds.

Melissa Naszkiewicz, School Psychologist.  Ms. Melissa heard the gunshot from her front office and immediately went out to the front office to report and assist. Her swift response to the sound helped get the school locked down swiftly.

Alicia Woods, Administrative Assistant.  Ms. Woods acted on Ms. Melissa’s report and immediately pressed the Red Locking Button behind her desk.  Her immediate response kept the building safe within seconds.  She also called a lockdown to the school and set in place the Active Intruder response.  With the inter-com open, teachers could hear that the altercation was outside.  She also called 911 after securing the building.

Helen O’Harra, Teacher-In-Charge.  Ms. O’Harra upon hearing that the altercation was outside, took on the role of TIC.  She implemented the first checks in the classroom for safety.  Six minutes after the lockdown was called, Ms. O’Harra moved it to a Stay Put, announcing to the school that learning could resume.  A Stay Put indicates that there is not present danger on campus. She continued supporting the school throughout the day.

Felicia Woods, School Secretary.  Ms. Felicia answered the phones tirelessly throughout the day reassuring families and parents and offering support as needed. Her positive and calm manner helped our families know that their children were safe.

Jennifer Hazen, PTSA president. Ms. Hazen upon hearing about the incident from the APD report, came to the school to help answer phones and reassure families. She stayed throughout the day helping our school.

Anchorage Police Department. The Anchorage Police Department responded in 90 seconds. Many officers coming off shift arrived in the parking lot to assist. Their quick response contained the altercation and helped keep it outside and our school safe. Their presence remained through much of the day.  They also returned Friday to interact with the children and families as they were dismissed. Their peaceful conversations and friendly presence helped reassure parents who expressed their appreciation for them also.

Office Ben Yoon. School Resource Officer. Officer Yoon’s efficient monitoring of the cameras and the event helped everyone know very quickly that the incident was confined to the outside.  This was exceptionally comforting to our community.  Officer Yoon remained at the school throughout the day helping to debrief with the staff after school.

Anchorage School District Crisis Team. Our district team of school psychologists were at Denali Montessori within a half hour and went into classrooms helping teachers and students.  They were invaluable in helping ease the tension and anxiety for our children.  Parents were most appreciative of all their efforts that continued through Friday.

Anchorage School District Security Department. Our district security department was here within a half hour helping liaison between APD and the school. They assisted parent entry from the playground. They also assisted the front office with the increased traffic. Mr. Stephen Brown followed up the following week to help debrief our systems to improve our practice.

Dr. Bishop, Superintendent. Dr. Bishop arrived during the afternoon.  She helped with dismissal interacting with families and children.  She also stayed to debrief along with Marcus Wilson, Elementary Director, and Officer Yoon for Denali Montessori staff after school and answer immediate questions.  This was extremely beneficial in settling the day by increasing the staff’s understanding of the circumstances.