Social Media to Communicate Winter Weather Information

open1The unseasonably cold weather this week has certainly presented numerous challenges for everyone in our area. I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank everyone who made it possible for us to educate students this week. First of all, thank you to our parents who bundled-up our youngsters as they made their way to school. It isn’t easy preparing children for below zero temperatures; thank you for getting your students to our schools so we can continue their education.

Thank you to our bus drivers, mechanics and maintenance teams for having buses warm and ready to go, our sidewalks and drives cleared and our buildings warm when the children arrived. It’s been a long week for our support staff with many very early mornings… Thank you!

Thank you to our teachers, support staff and administrators; there have been many questions and concerns this week. Our Hilliard Family has done an exceptional job answering questions and easing concerns. Finally, thank you to our students. It isn’t fun going out in the cold – either on a bus, in a car or on foot – to get to school. Our students are amazing, resilient and dedicated – thank you for coming to school ready to learn, think and challenge us.

What’s He Thinking?

As many of you know, I have an active Twitter feed @drjcm. Many of you, especially students, posed some interesting comments and questions on Twitter this week. While I can’t possibly answer every Tweet, here are a couple answers to commonly asked questions.

You mentioned two-hour delays in a recent post? Why haven’t we used them this week?

We would use two-hour delays if it would make a difference in road conditions. If we had a significant snowfall over night and two additional hours would allow road crews and our maintenance teams to get snow cleared, then a delay would make sense. This week a delay would have had a negligible impact in the temperature. Also, our busses would encounter different traffic patterns on a delay. We couldn’t risk having late busses with the temperature being so cold. Our normal schedule was the best way to ensure everyone was picked-up on time.

Are we in school because we are saving our snow days?

We hold classes, whenever it is possible, because we love to educate young people. We don’t look for reasons to cancel school; we search all possibilities to keep our doors open. Our mission is to educate students and prepare them for tomorrow. If we can get our students in our warm, safe and inviting classrooms – with our amazing and talented teachers and staff – we are going to meet our mission of ensuring every student is Ready for Tomorrow.

When do you make the decision? Why are you waiting?

Generally speaking, a decision about school is made by either 10 p.m. the night before or by 5:30 a.m. in the morning. Our transportation staff needs time to get our bus fleet up and running. If you don’t hear anything by 5:45 a.m. chances are we are running on time. If you don’t hear anything from us by 10 p.m… go to sleep and get ready for the next day. I get a lot of tweets after 10 p.m. asking about school or wondering if students need to do homework. Yes, do your homework and get some shuteye if you haven’t heard from us by 10 p.m.

Do you have notifications turned on for your Twitter account?

No, I had to turn off my notifications when I was mentioned. I do read every Tweet sent my way. I also sometimes will check the Twitter page of the individual sending the Tweet. Honestly, some Twitter pages are a little disturbing. Mom and Dad – please check your student’s pages. Students – you are creating a digital footprint that may follow you. Humor is one thing; crudeness is something else! Be smart about what you Tweet.

Have a great weekend! Again, thank you to everyone who made educating our students possible this week. It looks like extreme cold may be the “new normal” for the coming week. Stay tuned… next week could be fun too!