How to become certified

The time it takes your school to become certified will depend on:

  • the extent to which your school has met the sixteen requirements specified by the Safe Schools Law, and
  • the degree to which you have been going beyond those basic requirements by utilizing best practices and implementing them with fidelity.

The program is provided to schools on a first come, first served basis. Once admitted into the program, the certification process will generally take about a year.  Here’s a breakdown of the process…It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3!

1)     Apply to the Program

  • To begin, your school should review the certification materials and consider if the time is right to pursue certification.  Part of being ready involves having already met the sixteen requirements that are outlined by the Safe Schools Law (see pages 4-5). Once you have clear evidence of complying with these legal requirements, your school will contact our staff to let them know you’re ready to begin the certification process.
  • Upon clear evidence of meeting basic legal requirements, certification staff will send the administrator a short and simple staff survey to determine their level of support for participation in this program.

Once your school meets the above requirements, you will be admitted into the program in the order that your request was received.

2)      Strive for Certification

Once accepted into the program, your school will collaborate with our staff to develop specific goals and a strategy to fulfill the eight elements necessary for certification.

  • Shortly after acceptance into the certification program, our staff will meet with the building administrator, students and other team members that will be assisting in the certification process. During the visit, the school team members will take an entrance assessment to identify the current reality of your school and the steps necessary to become certified.
  • Over the course of a year, certification staff will provide assistance to your school and conduct at least two on-site visits. The last visit will help determine if your school has met all the goals to become certified or needs additional time. Program staff, in cooperation with the Safe Schools Certification Team, will then review your school’s certification portfolio and determine if you have earned certification. In the event your school does not become certified after the first year, certification staff will continue to provide support until certification is earned

3)     Get Recognized for Your Work

  • All schools accepted into the program are invited to attend the Safe School Certification Awards Ceremony honoring those schools that earned certification. At the event, your school will be certified or, in the event you are still working toward certification, you will be recognized as a program participant that is well on its way to becoming certified.
  • Schools that become or are working to become Safe School Certified set the example for schools in Iowa and the nation. Schools that have gone through the program are encouraged to help it grow by sharing best practices and mentoring other schools that have not yet achieved certification.