Let it snow, let it snow let it snow!
The above are great lyrics for a song, but it is not music to a superintendent’s ears!
One of the biggest challenges for a superintendent is to determine whether to delay school, close school or remain open. There is a process that we follow to ensure that we make the best possible decision based on the circumstances. Even when we do that there is still a margin of error. I would like to share the process we follow in an effort for everyone to know exactly how I make this decision and what it is based on.
Every night in the winter I look at the weather report and forecast on weather.com and accuweather.com to determine if there will be any concerning weather overnight.
If there is any indication that we may have snow or freezing rain, I set me alarm for 4:45 AM.
The following is the list of things I do in the order I do them:
1) Call all four town road managers; Northfield, Bernardston, Leyden, and Warwick.
2) Those who are available give me information about the road conditions and their ability to get the roads safe for us to open schools. They also make recommendations as to delays, closing or staying open.
3) I contact the area superintendents via a test message chain that we have set up for this purpose. Each of us put all the information that we have from numerous sources to determine if we should open schools, delay or close. This process goes on until about 5:15 AM when we need to make a decision. Each of us make our own decision as each of our towns are different.
4) The bus company send me a text message as to what they think we should do and lets me know if there will be any problems for the buses.
5) Sometimes the town road managers call me back with information if they missed my call.
6) I call the State Police in Sherburne Falls to find out if there have been any accidents or road problems that they know about.
7) I look one last time at the weather reports and make a decision.
If we delay or close schools I do the following:
1) Send out an automated call to everyone in the district letting them know if we are delayed or closed.
2) My technology coordinator puts a post on Facebook.
3) I contact Channel 3, Fox 6, 22 & 40, radio stations and bus companies.
All of this has to be done prior to 5:30 so that the high school students and families will get the information. I know that this is not a perfect science, but over the past 8 years of making these decisions most of the time things go well. I do want you to know that as parents you can make the decision to not put your student on the bus or not drive them to school and keep them home.
Thank you for all of the support over the past years as I learn about Pioneer. I am hopeful that this process will ensure that my decisions are in the best interest of students.
Ruth Miller, Superintendent