Gridley's elementary schools were busy last Friday afternoon as McKinley Primary celebrated their 80th birthday with ice cream sandwiches for all of the children and Wilson Elementary had a very different kind of event.

The addition of the Catapult system brings a very impressive brand of safety for the 600 students who filed out very orderly and quietly following an announcement from their Principal Darcy Pollak. Staff was instructed to refer to their Catapults for safety lockdown procedures.

Once the Code Yellow announcement went out to the staff, students and staff  were instructed to lock doors, turn off lights, and be in “Shelter in Place” mode. This mode allows classes to continue with their daily routine, but stay inside with locked doors until further notice. The training drill was then elevated to a Code Red, where the intensity heightened and students were to gather in a safe area in their classroom away from doors and windows to ensure their safety as if this were a real situation. An after school program employee was surprised to be detained by Gridley-Biggs Police as he reported to work as the lockdown drill went into play. As the drill proceeded Pollak showed the list of students absent and accounted for the day immediately. Teachers and staff checked in with the Catapult system to ensure they were safe and in a secure place. Staff also have the option to send messages through Catapult to communicate in a safe and efficient manner to the site Safety Team if a crisis occurs. Once the Code Red was completed, Catapult provided a detailed report of teachers and students who were accounted for.

 The fire drill was enacted following the practice lockdown drill which also activated Catapult. Each classroom had been taught to line up at the back fence corresponding with their classroom number and each teacher held up a green sheet of paper meaning all of their students were accounted for. Pollak and police could look out at the lines of classrooms and see all green sheets of paper facing them. A red sheet of paper would mean a classroom has a student missing and needed to be accounted for.

Pollak told the teachers she was happy with their performance on this first drill and Pollak and staff felt it was a very successful drill with students doing very well.

Once the Fire/Evacuation drill was concluded and all students and staff were accounted for,  maintenance employees went to each classroom to give the "all clear" which showed up on each of the teacher's phones through the Catapult system.