It is the place we send our young people to learn.
But in an instant, the focus shifts from getting students to achieve more in school to how can we keep our kids safer.
Hearing about the Connecticut school massacre brought REALMS Charter School teacher Quinn Daily back to a familiar place -- to a story he'd hope to never hear again.
"I lived kind of close to Columbine, where the Columbine (High School) shooting happened," Daily said. " I lived in Boulder, Colorado for a period of time. It kind of brought me back to that, and I was just very saddened -- it kinda just broke my heart."
Daily teaches science and computers at the school, and he was home sick on the day of the shooting in Connecticut. He said coming back to school Monday was emotional.
"It was a somber day yesterday back in the classroom. I just felt really a little bit distracted from my teaching," Daily said.
It's a tragedy for everyone, but for teachers, the feelings of sadness can also come with guilt.
"When it came down to that situation happening, it makes you think, are we doing everything we can to protect those kids?" Daily said.
Daily and Principal Roger White are working to make sure that answer is yes.
"There's going to be some things were doing to improve our communication system between classrooms in emergency situations," White said.
"Just a broader communication system between the three buildings we have and practicing drills with the kids," Daily added.
Staff members also say they're concerned with how kids are handling the news. Daily says he's open to discussing it with students.
"These instances, they're very rare," he said. "And that they are safe at our school and we're here for them, and you can definitely talk about doubts or fears that you might have, but you can counter those doubts or fears with something positive."
It's a message of reassurance he believes both he and his students need.