Superintendent Message - March 2015

Posted by Robin Smith on 3/5/2015

March 2015
Superintendent Message

Anatomy of a Snow Day

Dr. Delay, Dr. Snowdea, No Delay Gildea….funny.  I have enjoyed all of the e-mails, texts, wise comments (from adults and kids, even my own…daily).  No one is looking forward to spring more than I.  So, you ask, what exactly goes into a weather decision?  Yes, it does involve more than me looking out my bedroom window, making a phone call and going back to bed.  Here is a typical morning.

Monday, March 2, 2015

4:00 a.m. – Awaken to alarm.  I purposely set the alarm an hour early because I had been told the night before during a 20 minute bombardment of text messages from the other Blair County supers that we would be talking at 5; well, all but Altoona since they already announced their delay.

4:15 a.m. – With coffee in hand, I hit the road.  I start in Frankstown Township.  Roads are bare for the most part, good shape.  The snow ended last night by 8:00 p.m.  I expected them to be clear and in Frankstown, they were.  I travel through Loop Station past the car shops into Gaysport.  Roads here are not quite as good.  Looks like they were plowed at some point Sunday, but need hit again.  I then turn to head into Penn Farms.  BAD!  The roads haven’t been touched.  Even Newry Lane, the main road is still snow covered.

4:30 a.m. - I travel down Forsht Drive.  Duncansville is better, but still snow on the roads.  I travel through Duncansville and into Maple Hollow and Carson Valley.  Allegheny Township roads are typically in the best shape of all.  They look good with only some minor drifting.  I return to Hollidaysburg to see the Borough has multiple trucks out plowing. Ever since I called the mayor last week to grumble about the crews not getting out early enough they have been great. 

4:50 a.m. - A brief stop to talk with maintenance Chris (or was it Kenny) as he plows the junior high lot (compliment him on another great job) and I head back home.  I’m prepared to go either way with this decision (delay or no delay).  Some roads were in good shape, some were just getting plowed now. 

5:00 a.m.  I await the barrage of text messages from the other supers.  While waiting, I call the director of the bus garage.  She feels we should go on time.  First text… Bellwood, roads are bad…thinking of a delay.  And so it begins.  5 minutes of texting madness.  I usually sit back and enjoy the entries as the supers report their opinions and what their township supervisors and transportation directors are advising them to do, throwing in my two cents worth here and there.  I tend to be on the more liberal end of the group, preferring to send on time and not delay/cancel.  We try to come to a group consensus, but because of different terrain and location, conditions from district to district vary.  One thing I have learned, if all other Blair County schools decide a certain way, regardless of the conditions in your district, don’t do the opposite! 

5:15 a.m. – The decision is made.  Surprisingly, the group agrees to go to school on time.  I call the transportation director and text Dwight and the principals.  We are on time!

6:50 a.m. – After a shower, breakfast and quick drive through Penn Farms (still not plowed), I arrive at work.  As I sit down to respond to the two (yes, only two today) e-mails from angry parents living in, you guessed it, Penn Farms, a co-worker (who shall remain nameless) arrives and asks if I have seen the forecast for tomorrow.  ICE!  I love this job!!!