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Chester Community Charter School

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Making an Impact: Safe Corridors

As part of the ongoing effort to constantly improve climate, behavior and student safety at our Aston Campus, CCCS recently introduced the Safe Corridors Program.  Safe Corridors is an organization that was established in 2012 and incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2020.  The organization aims to foster safe communities and improve student learning by ensuring positive behavior climates in schools. Safe Corridors has developed several programs to support the emotional growth and positive relationships between its caring personnel and our students.

Safe Corridors was born out of violence that had reached an all-time high in the City of Chester.  Something needed to be done to protect the community’s most vulnerable members, the children. The community needed the presence of responsible adults just to safely escort children to and from school. A little over ten years ago, Jonathan King established Safe Corridors, a team of mentors and safety patrollers with the common shared goal of making a difference in the community.

King sought individuals with a passion for improving the lives of children. “We provide mentorship and the team acts as change agents for CCCS students,” King said.  The Safe Corridors team’s top priority is to provide a safe environment where students can learn and have fun. “It’s not just about catching kids who are doing something wrong or patrolling the halls,” King said. While discipline may sometimes be necessary, reinforcement of positive relationships with students is essential to the effort. King adds that Safe Schools team members feel “grateful to be operating at CCCS.”

George Mink, Safe Corridors Coordinator, who has worked on gun prevention efforts in Chester, detailed his involvement in the process and the changes Safe Corridors has brought to the Aston campus.

“The impact was immediate. Our presence has already made a strong mark on the culture,” Mink stated. Collaboratively, Mink and King developed safe school initiatives and de-escalation protocols to support established CCCS intervention systems. Safe Corridors advocates maintain meaningful relationships with the entire school community, including parents, to ensure an orderly environment. “The most important part of our job is showing up every day – being consistent. Unfortunately, our kids are accustomed to people leaving them, and they expect things to go wrong. We show them that we are genuine,” Mink explained.  As discussed in daily briefings, their objective is to serve as advisors, mentors and role models, instead of acting as security.  Safe Corridors mentoring doesn’t stop in the school building, either. It transcends students’ lives, continuing into their homes and community.

“We are actively working on a program to aid students facing challenges outside of school. These kids are taking on a lot, and we want to support them in any way that we can. Our approach may be considered unconventional but it works,” Mink concluded.

“Safe Corridors has demonstrated to our students that there are people in our community who care deeply for them, so deeply that that they want to come into the school and help them deal with their toughest challenges,” said Donyatta Tinson-Smith, 8th Grade Principal at the Aston Campus.  “They are setting an example of compassion and showing our students how to use positive energy to overcome obstacles, rather than resorting to anger and hostility.”

Dr. David Clark, CCCS’s CEO, added that, “Safe Corridors had an almost immediate impact.  I can see why because as an educator I have seen it before.  When a child knows that he or she is cared for, that child learns to care for others.  The folks from Safe Corridors are adding to the ranks of caring individuals dedicating their lives to these students.  It’s a great program.”

We’re happy to be partnering with Safe Corridors for the safety and well-being of our Aston students and look forward to having their presence on all campuses within the next school year.