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December 2023

“How our Cougar Values help to keep students, staff, parents and visitors safe”

by school parents Thom Hiatt and Linda Swann, 

parent representatives on the SCHS Safety Committee


Welcome to the first issue of Steele Canyon High School’s monthly newsletter “Take Care” — designed to keep you up-to-date on important safety-related information. It is written by parents, for parents & guardians. We’re excited to kick things off with timely information, plus a few inside scoops on what’s to come in the new year.


The newsletter name “Take Care” comes from the foundation of each element of our Cougar Values: 

  • Take care of yourself

  • Take care of each other

  • Take care of this place 


Taking care and staying safe is a two-way street. In other words, it’s important to look out for ourselves, while at the same time being genuinely concerned for others’ well being, and being good stewards of the learning environments that we all share.


Quite a bit has been happening at Steele Canyon High School. The administration has made some valuable safety improvements this semester:




SCHS has added two more positions to our Security Team, for a total of seven staff. Our safety team comprises Lead Campus Supervisor Peter Ruiz, who has been with SCHS for 20 years. He is joined by Eileen Schramm (17 year veteran), Phillip Givens (3 years), Patrick Arinze (3 years), and Elena Gonzalez (2 years). Darius Savage and Andrew Trammell joined our team this August. Our school resource officer, Deputy Asia McCoy of the San Diego Sheriff's department rounds out our team.



The school’s security camera system has been enhanced. Our school administrative and security teams collaborate closely with the Technology departments to keep our school security camera system up and running. The extra security measures around campus are all about making sure every student feels safe and cared for. By carefully putting these measures in place, we're actively fostering a safe space for learning, so students can concentrate on their education while feeling safe on campus.


These enhancements were not made in response to injury, harm or threats. In fact, SCHS is proud to have a great track record of safety on campus. All of these upgrades were made proactively, to help keep our students, staff, parents, and friends safe. 


There’s more on the horizon for the Winter/Spring 2024 semester:

Exciting developments are underway as we enhance the lighting infrastructure across our campus! The installation of new lighting is already making a positive impact, with additional projects in the pipeline to further elevate safety and aesthetics. Anticipate a significant upgrade in the next two years, as we focus on enhancing lighting not only around the campus but specifically on the ramp to the football field and the front of the school. Stay tuned for these transformative improvements, illuminating our surroundings for a brighter and more secure environment.


CPR training will equip the staff with lifesaving skills through professional courses. This will empower them to act fast in emergencies, potentially saving lives. Being CPR-ready builds trust and confidence, creating a safer space for students, staff, and visitors. Our Safety Committee representative from the San Miguel Fire Department is working closely with our school nurse, Chelsea Mottola to offer this important training for staff. Training will occur in January all day, so that teachers can attend during their planning periods.



Narcan is nasal spray medicine that acts as an emergency antidote, rapidly reversing opioid overdoses. Through professional training, staff will learn to spot signs like slowed breathing and blue lips, then confidently administer Narcan, potentially saving lives.


We are grateful that our Principal, Mr. Parr, his staff and the school board are taking these important steps and elevating safety. We also appreciate that the administration is open to input and feedback. It’s thanks to new perspectives, creative ideas, valuable dialog and thoughtful solutions that meaningful change can happen.


We invite you to send your safety-related comments and questions to — we may publish your question anonymously in our newsletter or on the Cougar website.


“Is there a correlation between extracurricular activities and students staying safe?”


Research indicates a positive correlation between students' involvement in extracurricular activities and their overall safety. Research studies have found that adolescents who participated in structured extracurricular activities exhibited lower engagement in risky behaviors (Fredricks and Eccles/ Mahoney and Stattin). Extracurricular activities not only offer a structured and supervised environment but also contribute to the development of positive social connections and a sense of belonging, which are associated with reduced involvement in unsafe behaviors. Students engaged in such activities tend to develop a stronger sense of purpose and connection to their school community, fostering a safer and more supportive environment. It’s also important to note that balance matters; overdoing activities can lead to burnout and stress which aren’t healthy or safe! So finding an equilibrium is key. From dance to drama, art, clubs, and sports, SCHS offers a massive variety of ways to get involved and enjoy the full experience of our Cougar community. Many clubs meet during lunch, so students can find ways to become involved in our school culture during the school day as well.” — EP Hernandez, Assistant Principal for Graduating Class of 2027, Title IX Officer, and Safety Coordinator


Thank you for reading our first issue. Please visit the “Take Care” section of our school website at to see all of our monthly safety articles, updates and parent questions.


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