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THE CHANGING FACE OF COMPLIANCE

For many administrators, the word “compliance” fills them with a sense of dread. They imagine regulators coming into their schools to find infractions, write up reports and threaten them with building closures.


From its infancy, the West40 compliance department set out to be different. Their goal is to work with schools as a trusted partner—not an enforcer—to create the safest school environments for students, teachers and staff.




It was that mindset that the West40 team carried with them to Lincoln Elementary School as they gathered with a handful of local administrators in late fall. Led by Steve Bogren, West40 director of compliance, the meeting kicked off in the early morning at the nearby district office, long before the school bell would ring.


“WHEN I WAS A PRINCIPAL, ALL I SAW WAS THE KIDS. NOW

IN THIS ROLE, MY FOCUS IS DIRECTLY ON THE SAFETY OF

EACH SCHOOL, HELPING THEM ACHIEVE THAT AS QUICKLY

AS POSSIBLE.”


This meeting served as a kickoff to the compliance process, in which all 152 schools under West40’s jurisdiction must submit paperwork about their operations and facilities. Throughout the year, each school will be visited, inspected and analyzed, with Bogren and his team evaluating each and every building and classroom on 384 specific points of compliance. At just Lincoln Elementary School, for example, the West40 team and the building custodian inspected over 40 rooms that serve more than 530 students per school day.




Bogren knows the stress that administrators feel about compliance—he was a longtime principal himself—and so he goes to great lengths to work with schools and help them resolve any compliance issues.




“WE MAKE IT CLEAR FROM THE BEGINNING THAT ALONG WITH EVERY PROBLEM, WE HELP IDENTIFY A SOLUTION.”




As you watch Bogren walk into a classroom, it’s clear that he’s a man on a mission. His eyes go instantly to the windows, doors and desks within a room. He does a thorough check of the ceilings, ventilation and fire extinguishers. Once he and his team make it through all of the classrooms and common areas of Lincoln Elementary School, Bogren sits down with the administrators to share his findings and develop an action plan.


“That’s the big moment that makes administrators uneasy, hearing what’s wrong and what they need to fix. But we make it clear from the beginning that along with every problem, we help identify a solution,” said Bogren.




The team at Lincoln Elementary School is relieved; West40 has identified a few issues but they’re easily fixable. As they address the issues, Bogren and his team will stay in contact throughout the year and help the school continually improve.


“OUR RELATIONSHIP MAY START WITH A MANDATED VISIT, BUT IT GROWS INTO SOMETHING MORE. OUR SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS KNOW THAT NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, WE HAVE THEIR BACK.”

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