Welcome to the latest Superintendent Snapshot. To submit a question or suggestion for a snapshot, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the latest Superintendent Snapshot. To submit a question, send an email to email@example.com.
Here is the latest superintendent snapshot recognizing the great efforts of local local enforcement in providing our students with wonderful crossing guards. The board will be formally recognizing crossing guards at the March board meeting. Please watch the video here.
I’ve had conversations with lots of you, and have heard from many more. I want to start by thanking our transportation folks, our custodians and maintenance folks, and everyone else who has pitched in to help with snow (teachers, secretaries, parents, volunteers, and on and on). I am struck again and again by what a powerful and amazing group of folks you are!
Many have asked what in the world I am thinking by not closing schools – I want to answer that question.
I came in from shoveling last night at about 11:00. I went out again this morning around 5:00. There on my driveway was my newspaper. My “newspaper boy” isn’t a kid on a bike or with the bag slung over his shoulders, it’s a guy who drives through the neighborhood delivering the papers. I wondered for a moment why he didn’t take the day off, but I know the answer – he knows we count on him.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we are newspaper carriers (although many of us have been!), but we are counted on at least as much as they are. There are some 68,000 students and more than twice that many parents, guardians and other interested folks, who count on us to be there – the same as we all count on mail carriers, police departments, municipal and county offices to do their parts. Not many years ago, we did cancel schools for snow. Perhaps you remember the backlash from those from all corners of the district whose children were left home without supervision (and for many in our district, breakfast and lunch). The backlash started up all over again a few months later when we reminded everyone in the spring that a make-up day would be held. I have reflected on that, and countless emails and telephone conversations the last couple of weeks – with many perspectives both critical and supportive. In that light, I’d like to share our protocol:
We receive reports both late and early about road conditions, transportation capability, and the status of our buildings. If the reports indicate that we can transport children safely, and our buildings can be opened and operated safely, then the public ought to be able to count on us. If reports are to the contrary, then we evaluate whether a late start would resolve the situation. If the answer is still no, then we will close the affected schools.
We clearly don’t control snow removal and road conditions in the neighborhoods our schools serve. Therefore we need to have (and we express) full confidence in parents to make the call whether conditions are such that their children can safely get to school through their neighborhoods, on sidewalks and across safe walking routes. I see this as quite similar to a parent deciding whether a child is too sick to attend school. We defer to their judgment. Consequently, if a parent believes conditions are not safe, then parents should not send their children at that time – and it is my expectation that schools will be understanding regarding tardiness and absences.
Some might say that a day with lots of snow, when many parents keep students home, will not be a very productive school day. I respectfully suggest from our experience that a make-up day in April will be neither particularly well attended nor educationally productive.
Again, I thank all of you for being who you are, and more specifically, for your amazing work and commitment to kids.
Question – What is the policy of cell phone use while driving a vehicle during working hours. If we don’t have one, Why not?
Response – In addition to a state law that prevents this, we also have district policy and practice which indicates (from the bus driver manual), “A driver shall not use a cell phone, talking or texting, while operating a school bus, unless the bus has been pulled over safely and stopped. Drivers may never use a blue tooth or any form of earphones. Improper use of cell phones will result in at least a written warning, whether talking or texting.” We also comply with a state office of education memo which indicates the same restrictions as our own policy.
If you see district employees violating this policy, we would appreciate notification directly to the Transportation Department at (385) 646-4280.
Thanks to our Transportation Department for their assistance in responding to this question.