Tuesday, January 17, 2012

For Those Who Work When Most Enjoy a Snow Day

Snow scenes at Camp Waskowitz

When I was a child, the only thing I knew about superintendents is that they decided if there would be a snow day. But behind the superintendent, there is a team of staff working day and night to make things go smoothly and keep our children safe.

In this post I want to highlight the many Highline staff members who are working behind the scenes when there is a threat of inclement weather to keep students and staff safe, make sure our facilities are in working order, and help me out with the "snow day" decision that gets all the attention.

When snow is falling overnight, three members of our district transportation staff get in their cars at 3:00 a.m. and drive the roads in the north, central, and south parts of the district to monitor conditions. They also call surrounding area districts to ensure that our staff will be able to arrive safely for the opening of school. Thanks to these folks, this morning we hit the media with our decision to delay school at 4:34 A.M., plenty of time for staff and students to change their plans accordingly.

Long before dawn, district custodians and facilities staff are out checking the condition of buildings, clearing sidewalks, and ensuring the heat is on. On a snowy morning, I'll listen to Tom, our central office custodian, over meteorologist Jeff Renner anytime! Even if school is cancelled, these hard working souls are on the job, making sure old roofs can hold the weight of the snow and protecting community patrons by clearing any hazards.

Other staff that pitch in include our communications team and technology staff who get the word out through TV, radio, Facebook, Twitter, our Highline district website, the School Report website, and automated phone calls. Our security staff help transportation spot dangerous road conditions, and our cooks and kitchen staff are on the job preparing meals before most people are out their warm beds. And finally, don't forget our principals and office staff, who often must come in to communicate with families even if school is cancelled.

In the coming weeks, I will visit the work sites of these staff members to thank them personally. And I'll share more about their dedicated work right here on the blog.

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