From the Desk of the Head of School- January 25, 2019
I have already begun to hear about the prospects of winter weather beginning Monday evening. Last week, we tested our emergency alert system knowing that one day this winter, we would need to alert families of our plans for either a late start or snow day. The prospect of winter weather (however slight) brings me back to when I was on campus interviewing for the Head of School position and makes me smile.
The interview process was a two-day marathon of interviews and meet-and-greets and tours. The culmination of these two days was a full faculty meeting in the library, where I was to stand in the middle of the room and answer everyone’s questions. I had prepared myself for complex questions around pedagogy and curriculum development, admissions and advancement, school finances and marketing. I was ready with strengths and weaknesses, examples of working with fellow faculty to impact student learning - I was ready for anything.
After what I considered a thoughtful and concise introduction, I steeled myself for a grueling set of questions. And then Catie Caldwell, 1st Grade Reading and Math Specialist, asked me the one question that would expose the inner workings of my brain to all in the room: “What is your position on snow days?” She might as well have asked me to extrapolate on the tree falling in the woods with no one around….To this day, I’ve blacked out my answer. I have no idea what I said. What a curveball!
But what I have learned since that day is that no weather event is ever the same. We consider a lot of variables when we make this decision. We monitor winter weather events closely, especially during the 48 hours preceding a decision. We are out on roads from 4:00-4:30 AM to drive routes and see for ourselves what conditions may hold for our faculty and families getting out of their neighborhoods - both on the side streets and the main streets. I am in touch with other schools where our graduate siblings attend to make sure that as much as is possible, we are aligned in our decisions. Finally, we marshall the collective wisdom/experience/predictive power of a variety of weather forecasters to try and match our hook-up or pick up etc. with the timing of the worst/best conditions to be travelling.
While I know your children will be putting white crayons in the freezer or wearing PJs inside out or developing synchronized snow dances, we will be on top of and communicative around our “position on snow days” during this upcoming week. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend!