Snow in my back yard. Pretty to look at, fun to sing about, but boy oh boy it’s a dirty word in the Superintendent’s circles.
It causes panic. It causes anger. It causes celebration. It causes most of us in this position a headache.
How could something like snow cause such grief? Simple. This is one of those situations where no matter what you do, or no matter what you don’t do, you’re doing it wrong in someone’s eyes.
There are so many angles that you need to think about when closing school. Above everything come safety. If the buses can’t roll, if the teachers can’t drive, and if the student’s can’t safely get here, it’s over. I think we can all agree on that. Other avenues you need to think about:
-The police reports and the overall safety of the town.
-The Department of Public Works and their progress on clearing roads.
– The overall locations of where teachers live and their commute.
– The building itself; are the boilers working? Are the walkways cleared out? Are all fire exits cleared?
– The state government status. If the Governor calls a ‘State of Emergency’, the decision has been made for me. You don’t necessarily have to abide by the recommendation though.
Superintendents often consult each other via conference call to get a feel for what everyone else is thinking. Again though, this is not necessary. Given where I work – the overall rurality – and that so many of us share different services – if one closes and one opens, it can cause a problem.
Typically, I go on a conference call to hear, but I’ll be honest, my mind is typically made up. When all the information you have leads to something bad happening, you go with it.
I’ve called the past two snow days way ahead of everyone else. And some of my colleagues don’t like that. And guess what ::drum roll:: ? I DON’T CARE!
I don’t care what other Superintendents think of me. I don’t care what other teachers from other towns think of me (there is a teacher in a neighboring district who likes to gripe about my every move on facebook, because, well, he’s a unique guy who enjoys looking a the glass half empty on everything). I don’t care what the media says.
I do care about my students and my staff. I’m here for them and will always be. Safety will always be my number one priority. I also enjoy giving my parents and staff both the peace of mind and ability to plan ahead when I can. So, making a call at 8:00 PM instead of 5:00 AM makes a world of difference.
Change is hard, and yea, I get the “that’s not how we do it here” still. After two years, don’t folks know yet that I don’t upset the applecart, I flip it over and kick it down the road? Sometimes that has to be done. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you or anything like that. It means I’m here to do a job, and I’m going to do it the best I can, serving the needs of my students, staff, and stakeholders.
Now, back to researching on what to do for tomorrow. Add meteorology to my resume.