Welcome to the first superintendent’s post from, me, Dr. Perry. The purpose of this site is to enhance communication and more effectively reach out to the community about school-related issues and the numerous educational challenges in today’s economical and political climate. These issues and challenges can take many forms such as imposed State Mandates, School Funding Formulas, Tax Levies, Budget Process, Curricular Initiatives, Advanced Technology Based Programs, Professional Development, Capital Projects, College-University Partnerships, Instructional Initiatives, etc.
When I was thinking about what topic to discuss first, I was in the middle of deciding on one of my multiple snow calls that I had to call so far this school year.
“To call off school or not to call off school, that is the question- Whether tis Nobler to have a late arrival or early dismissal… or take Arms against a Sea of make up days…” Well, you get the idea, and yes, I like Shakespeare.
With remnants of Shakespearean Pentameter verses swirling like crystalized images of the next big storm, I thought about how snow calls and predicting weather are a lot like Shakespearean plays- They are often hard to understand or follow, they bring about emotional responses, and afterwards, everyone is a critic.
“Methinks thou dost protest too much,” Hamlet- Act III, Scene II.
So, to make clear all the work that goes into making a snow call, I thought I would share the decision making process with you. When making a snow call, there are many factors and variables that lead toward making a decision. Components of this decision include, communicating throughout the night and early morning hours with area superintendents, building and grounds personnel, Borough and OEM (Office of Emergency Management) officials, and school administration- with timing being everything.
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” The Merry Wives of Windsor- Act II, Scene II.
The type of storm, however, determines the decision and when this call is made. For example, if we are informed that we are going to get up to 10-12 inches of snow the following day it’s easy to call off school the night before (which everyone likes because they can plan better). However, if the weathercast calls for possibly blizzard like conditions from 2 to 7 a.m., we want to see if first, the storm actually comes (with all due respect to the weather casters) and secondly, if it comes, can our building and grounds crew clear the snow so that we can have school. In this case, we have to make this kind of call in the early hours of the morning.
Our building and grounds personnel come into the school district beginning at 2 am to clear sidewalks and parking lots so that school can open. They also work with Borough personnel on crosswalks and school routes. They inform me about 4:30 am about the possibilities of on-time or late arrival for students.
We understand that the faster we are able to inform community members, the better, and we have put a lot of effort into our emergency text system, e-blasts, postings on our websites, communication with news media, communication with social media and the like- we’ve come a long way from the old days of only announcing closings via radio. However, safety is our first priority. We want to make the best call and safest call given the information that we have at the moment we have to make the call.
Safety is Always Our Top Priority.
As we move through the rest of this winter, through February, one epic snow- storm looms from years ago, back in the early nineties when we received over three feet of snow in one of the biggest snowstorms of the 20th Century…
“Beware the Ides of March…” Julius Caesar- Act III, Scene I.