Ready or not, winter is here. Each year at this time, everyone is preparing for all of the issues that winter can bring. Living in central Illinois, we all know that winter brings a fair amount of uncertainty where the weather is concerned.
I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone about a few keys issues that will help make this winter easier on everyone when it comes to school. First, please make sure your child(ren) are dressed appropriately for the weather. Students at Parkside will go outside on days that weather isn’t too extreme. Fresh air and a chance to run around are an important part of the student’s day, but they need to be dress appropriately. Remember too, that the doors at each building don’t open until 7:30, so please do not drop your child(ren) off any earlier than necessary.
If we get ice and/or snow this winter, please use extra caution around students walking to school, bus stops, and the school building. Our custodians do a great job in clearing parking lots and sidewalks, but please give them extra room to do their job.
If you haven’t signed up for the texting service offered by Sweet T’s and sponsored by our local businesses, I strongly encourage you to do so. You can contact your child’s school to find out how to get connected so that you are aware of all the important school announcements. This system, along with WAKO Radio, will be utilized to announce any early dismissal days, cancellation of events, and if needed, snow days.
During bad weather days, I ask that you listen for announcements on the radio or wait for the text message rather than calling the school to ask if there will be an early dismissal. The office secretaries are often busy trying to contact parents to make arrangements for students. If people are calling to inquire about school dismissal times, the lines are tied up and we can’t make the needed arrangements for our students. Also, I can assure you that calling the school’s office to complain about school not being dismissed will not be beneficial to anyone.
Snow day cancellations are often a topic of much debate. The decision to have school or to cancel school is not something that any superintendent takes lightly. Prior to any winter storm reaching the area, I am busy looking at weather forecasts and gathering important information from as many trusted sources as possible. I am in contact with other area superintendents discussing the weather often late into the night and early in the mornings once the snow and/or ice arrives. I am also in contact with individuals throughout the district checking on their road conditions, as well as driving the roads myself to assess their condition.
I fully understand that when the decision to not have school can be made the night before, it is easier on everyone---students, parents, teachers, cooks, bus drivers, etc. However, there are times that this decision can’t be made until the early morning hours. The decision to have school is NEVER decided the night before. Even with the best weather technology available, no one can always know what will happen over night with the temperature, snow, ice, or wind. Once the decision is made to cancel school, I will notify Bill Powell’s texting service, WAKO Radio, and WTHI. If you see any school announcements regarding snow days or early dismissals on Facebook, please make sure they are coming from a reliable source.
The decision to cancel or to be in session is not an easy one. It is an important part of my job and one I take very seriously. If you have questions or concerns, I invite you to contact me through email or call the Unit Office to discuss the issue.