Winter and the Challenge of School Transportation and Forecasting/Predictions in Regards to School Delays or Cancellations
Annually, school districts enter the stage of preparing for the many challenges of transporting students safely and carefully throughout the winter in most of our Pennsylvania communities. Last week, the School District, members of the Smith Bus Team, and representatives of Center Township met to coordinate and review winter transportation procedures.
During extreme weather, the safety and welfare of the students remains the top priority. Often, area Superintendents discuss and/or confer regarding the weather reports as the potential extreme weather event nears. Accurate weather reports are shared from the office of the Warning Coordination Meteorologist, from the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh. This is one item in making the decision of a delayed schedule or a cancellation due to snow/cold. There may be times when a decision is made the evening before the main weather event. Most often, early in the morning Superintendents will communicate and gather the most up to date information regarding their school districts, the transportation situation, temperature, road conditions and possible accumulation. One informative item gathered will be information disseminated from regional Penn DOT offices. This information is used in conjunction with the knowledge shared by the local township supervisors and their actual road report gathered while on duty, along with the projected schedule of road treatment to occur prior to any student buses beginning their schedule. In most cases, a delay or cancellation decision will be made prior to 6:00 AM. Delays or cancellations due to extreme cold and wind chills usually are triggered when temperatures decrease to negative 15 degrees or worse.
Once a decision has been made, based upon all gathered information available at the time, the distribution and sharing of that decision begins. In the school districts of ARIN IU 28, School Cast is notified. School Cast posts almost in real time the decision of the school district. Internal communication occurs to share the weather related decision with the bus company, employees of the school district and then the media outlets. Homer-Center normally places public notification of the weather related decision on the District and school web pages, with local radio stations, and the television stations in Pittsburgh, Johnstown and Altoona, in addition to ARIN IU 28 School Cast.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has developed a website to solicit feedback from the public on the eligible content in English language arts and mathematics in grades three through eight, and Algebra I and Literature at the secondary level.
Pennsylvania’s eligible content statements are a straightforward set of what we want students to know and do at each grade level, and serve as the blueprint for the state assessments.
This website was designed to promote public awareness and understanding of the eligible content and obtain feedback from Pennsylvania educators, parents and the general public on the eligible content statements, their purpose, and value.
If after gathering feedback we conclude that significant changes are needed, we will engage in a revision process via statewide public hearings.
The website is currently populated with eligible content for grade three English language arts and mathematics and is available for public review.
By mid-November, the website will be expanded to encompass the eligible content for grades three through eight and Algebra I and Literature.
Please share this information with educators, parents, community members, and other interested parties and encourage them to visit http://paacademicreview.org and review the content. The feedback we receive will be invaluable as we evaluate and refine our career and postsecondary expectations for our students.
Dear Parents, Community, and Staff,
The new security procedures are now in place and will become our new operational habit and we expect that all will follow accordingly for the process to assist in keeping our schools as safe as possible. Again I mention that we are fortunate that the Board of School Directors approved this new technology which increases security for our students and staff. The protection of our entire community, the students and staff, is something we prioritize at Homer-Center. So, while the learning curve for the new system may seem like an inconvenience at first, we also know everyone benefits from upgraded comprehensive security measures now in place and will be our new normal operating procedure.
Here are highlights for school visitors regarding the changes:
If you have any questions regarding this procedural change for access to the schools, feel free to contact this office. Again, thank you to all for your anticipated cooperation in this process.
Dr. Koren, Superintendent