Risk management is a critical charge that school leaders must proactively address. From the Board to the Superintendent, to the central administration and campus leaders, we all play a part in effectively managing the risks at our schools.
What is Risk Management?
Risk Management is defined as the identification, assessment, control, and avoidance, minimization, or elimination of unacceptable risks, which can be anywhere from annoying to devastating. Risk addresses the possibility of a threat to the success and sustainability of our school, while management addresses the identification, assessment, ad action planning to minimize and mitigate risks. Hazards partnered with vulnerabilities result in risks.
Why Does Risk Management Matter?
Risk management is important because it keeps your students, faculty, and finances safe from any harm, while also protecting your financial assets and lowering your legal liability. Not only will developing a risk management plan for your school reduce the chances of risks, but it will also mitigate the effects of those risks if they should occur. Benefits of effective risk management include: protecting people from harm, limiting the possibility of a lawsuit, safeguarding your public reputation, reducing potential losses in revenue, and creating an environment that feels safe for students, teachers, and parents.
What are the Key Concepts for Risk Management in Schools?
- Engage Leadership – School leaders must take time to proactively prioritize the activities associated with healthy risk management.
- Identify Risks – What are the areas of threat to our schools? From facilities to finance to IT, risks are found in all operational aspects.
- Analyze Risks – What is the likelihood of each risk? How severe is the implication of the risk?
- Mitigate Risks – How do we reduce or eliminate the risk potential?
- Manage Risks – How do we handle the aftermath of risks coming to realization, and how do we ensure better protection going forward?
Best Practices for Risk Management
- Prioritize the discussion on risk functions: current, new and/or changed situations on a regular basis, at least annually.
- Read / watch the news – Use current events and real life scenarios as a tabletop discussion – how would we handle that?
- Solicit and share best practices for risk mitigation with the experts (Auditors, Police/Fire Department, Legal Counsel, Insurance Agents, etc.).
- Ensure policies and procedures are up to par with protocol that addresses risks mitigation.
- Secure insurance where applicable.
- Outsource functions when it makes sense.