Safety and Wellness
Our Community Culture
At NMH, the emotional and physical health and safety of students is our top priority. Our faculty and staff work hard to guide and serve students and to create a campus environment rooted in respect, compassion, and support. They guide and mentor students all day, every day. In the classroom, in the dorm, in sports practices and performing arts rehearsals, in the dining hall, in study hall, remotely or on campus—adults are trained to protect students and to notice changes in their routines and demeanor. They aim to strike a balance: checking in, encouraging, and guiding as needed without hovering. Our goal, always, is to get to know our students well and to meet the ever-changing needs of students in an ever-changing world.
To learn more about specific areas referenced here, please contact the offices of the Dean of Students, Dean of Student Life Programs, Dean of Faculty or the Dean of Equity and Social Justice.
GENERAL CAMPUS SAFETY
Our Campus Safety Office provides 24/7 coverage for all NMH buildings and grounds. This includes a “welcome house” at the campus entrance, a campus alert system (Connect-Ed), a warning siren system, and video cameras at the entrance onto campus. Officers conduct patrols and building checks, give students rides as needed, and operate the school’s landline switchboard. They maintain a close working relationship with local police and fire officials, who regularly help the school conduct emergency response training for staff and students.
Each dorm is accessible by keycard only to faculty/staff and to current students who live in or are affiliated with (in the case of day students) that dorm. Each dorm is supervised by a dorm head who is also a faculty member living in the dorm. While it depends upon dormitory size, typically several faculty members live in each dorm. Resident or adjunct faculty members, as well as student Resident Leaders, are “on duty” each night in every dorm and are available to students throughout the day. Many faculty and staff are trained in first aid and CPR.
Communication and Drills
NMH has in place a school-wide siren system, as well as a school-wide communication system (Connect-Ed) to alert community members — via text message, voicemail, and/or email — to emergencies that require immediate action, such as a shelter-in-place scenario. The school conducts shelter-in-place drills every year, as well as classroom and dorm fire drills each term. All student rooms are inspected each term by local fire officials and associate deans to ensure they adhere to state fire codes.
All guests are required to check in first at the main entrance and then with their NMH host when they arrive on campus. Guests who are not family members are not permitted to interact with students unless they are accompanied by an NMH employee.
Campus Safety Office
Experienced uniformed campus safety officers are on duty at all times, keeping school residents and facilities secure. Exterior dormitory doors are always locked, requiring those entering to have a keycard that is individually programmed to permit officers entrance into specified buildings. Safety officers, as well as health center staff, are equipped and trained to deal with first aid, CPR, and the use of an AED. Safety officers also respond to any other type of emergency and coordinate with local fire and police departments as necessary.
O’Connor Health and Wellness Center
Medical and counseling staff provide students with integrated care 24 hours a day. They treat students holistically, emphasizing wellness, self-care, and making healthy choices.
The Partnership of 12
Each student has their own network of adults who provide individualized support. The dorm-based advisor is the point person; they work with a student’s teachers, coaches, work supervisors, and academic coaches, and others. Together, they keep their eyes on students throughout the day without interfering with the necessary work of building independence. A student’s Partnership of 12 naturally evolves over the course of the student’s experience at NMH.
The dorm-based advisor works with a small group of students each academic year. The advisor is the point person for each student. They are the first point of contact for parents who have questions or concerns about their student’s life at NMH. Significant time for advising is built into the weekly schedule ensuring frequent touchpoints between advisor and advisee beyond those that naturally happen in the dorm, dining hall and in passing throughout each day on campus.
Student Life Seminars (SLS)
Students meet regularly with their SLS advisor(s) for group conversations about non-academic issues that are relevant in teens’ lives. They are designed to help students become more responsible, thoughtful, and compassionate. Topics include diversity and social justice, self-care, healthy relationships and boundaries, teen sexuality, and consent, among others.
All ninth graders are required to take a one-term health and wellness class. They meet twice a week, considering topics such as campus resources, the teenage brain, reproductive anatomy, nutrition, substance use, gender and sexuality, healthy relationships, and sexual decision making. NMH works with Dr. Suniya Luther, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University (formerly of Columbia University and Yale University), on tracking NMH student behavior around sexuality, gender, substance use, and a range of other wellness issues, with the goal of developing new programs and updating existing ones to better support students.
Peer educators are student leaders who are committed to wellness in their own lives and who act as role models for their peers. These students learn about healthy lifestyles and share information with peers through dorm-based and school-wide programs. They also work with the dean of Student Life Programs, dorm heads, coaches, and other community members to identify community needs.
Associate deans work directly with students and adults connected to specific dormitories on campus. They get to know and advise students, coordinate students’ comings and goings, track attendance, and manage student-focused policies and protocols and the discipline system. Deans and a small group of administrators rotate as the “dean-on-duty,” making themselves accessible and present every day whenever students are on campus.
Resident Leaders (RLs) serve in the dorms as mentors, role models, and organizers. These leadership positions for juniors and seniors are filled after an interview process with the dorm staff. RLs serve as a link between faculty, staff, and students, and are expected to live up to community standards at all times and address students who don’t.
GEO Office and Global Ambassadors
Global Ambassadors are student leaders who support international students and the school’s commitment to a globalized community and curriculum. A new group of students is chosen each spring to be Global Ambassadors. They collaborate with GEO staff in programming, raising awareness about international issues, and increasing global understanding. GAs work directly with new and returning international students and their families, and help dorm staff and other campus offices, departments, and programs.
Multicultural Affairs Office and Student Diversity Committee
Being inclusive is one of Northfield Mount Hermon’s founding principles. Women, people of color, and international students were among the school’s earliest graduates. NMH teaches students how to navigate differences — and similarities — to encourage collaboration, deepen understanding, and generate innovation. Our emphasis on multiculturalism and commitment to equity is evident not only in our diverse community but also in our curriculum. We seek to ensure that all our students see themselves reflected in the school’s curriculum even as they learn about others. We aim to value the authenticity of each NMH student via programming, the Diversity and Social Justice course, and events and workshops organized by the Student Diversity Committee.
Rules and Policies Student Handbook
This resource spells out the school’s major school rules and community standards as well as the anti-hazing and anti-bullying policies. It emphasizes the necessity of acting with honesty and integrity, treating others with dignity and respect, maintaining a safe environment for oneself and others, and being a positive and cooperative member of the community. The handbook is accessible for students and parents in NMH Connect.
FACULTY and STAFF
NMH employs approximately 300 adults. Every new employee undergoes a Massachusetts CORI check (Criminal Offender Record Information) and a federal finger-printing screening. All faculty and staff participate in professional development sessions that include:
- Annual boundary training with the law firm Schwartz Hannum to address the balance between staying closely involved in the lives of students while also maintaining appropriate levels of privacy and separation.
- Anti-discrimination and anti-sexual harassment training
- Gender inclusion and gender equity awareness
- New faculty members meet regularly with deans during their first semester on campus to discuss challenging student-life scenarios and develop strategies for managing them. New faculty also undergo a week of training before the school year begins, working with deans and health center staff to cover issues of student safety, security, and emotional well-being; concussion treatment; emergency response procedures; and basic CPR.
If an adult in the community feels harassed, discriminated against, or bullied, they work directly with the Office of Human Resources or the dean of faculty, both of which will bring in other administrative offices as necessary to conduct an investigation.
Working at Northfield Mount Hermon is NMH’s employee handbook; it spells out detailed policies and expectations on workplace conduct and ethics within a range of areas. It is reviewed every year by the dean of faculty and human resources staff and updated as necessary.
The Rules and Policies Student Handbook does the same for students, emphasizing the necessity of acting with honesty and integrity, treating others with dignity and respect, maintaining a safe environment for oneself and others, and being a positive and cooperative member of the community.
NMH strives to support a safe, secure, and ethical workplace. Every person, regardless of position, shares the responsibility of promoting a positive environment. Employees are encouraged to bring concerns, questions, and suggestions to their department chair, manager, human resources representatives, or a member of senior staff. Whenever a face-to-face meeting is not possible,we have partnered with EthicsPoint (used by more than 2,000 organizations) to provide an alternative path to communicate concerns and to remain anonymous. EthicsPoint has gone to great lengths to ensure that reports entered in the system are completely confidential.
Parents and families are our partners in educating students. It’s crucial to keep them connected to what is happening on campus. The school offers several ways for parents to stay involved with their child’s experience at NMH and with the school community.
Each year, a representative group of 20 current NMH parents volunteer to serve as members of the Parents Council. They convene officially several times each year to learn of school updates and serve as a sounding board for NMH administrators.
This digital newsletter is sent to all families every week during the school year. It includes small stories about campus happenings and links to weekly announcements and logistical information about student life.
NMH Connect is our Student Information System where families can access school calendars, student grades, event information, directories, and the student handbook, among other pieces of information. NMH Connect is accessible to families 24/7.
Emergency Management Team
The NMH Emergency Management Team is a group of administrators and program directors who maintain NMH’s emergency plan and coordinate safety drills and practice sessions. The team supports, reviews, and manages all aspects of campus safety.
Mandated Reporting, Additional Safety Policies and Procedures, Reporting Concerns
The school is committed to the highest standards of care for students, which includes protecting them from inappropriate or hurtful actions by adults responsible for their care. In accordance with Massachusetts law, the school is required to report to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) suspected abuse or neglect of children under the age of 18. School employees receive training each year in mandated reporting.
In the student handbook, NMH also outlines several significant policies and procedures that further support the safety and well being of our students, including:
- Digital safety policy
- Health Services practices
- Bullying, harassment, discimination, hazing, sexual assault, and sexual harassment policies
In recent years, NMH has communicated with alumni on several occasions about reports of sexual misconduct or abuse — seeking information and outlining the investigatory process. Please direct any questions, concerns or reports on student safety to Head of School Brian Hargrove at email@example.com or 413-498-3233.