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Inclement Weather Survey

posted Mar 4, 2015, 6:45 PM by Norman PTA Council

Here goes my first attempt at a blog post.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Matt Esker and I am currently serving as the Secretary for the Norman PTA Council.  I have a son in the third grade at Lincoln Elementary and a son in the 7th grade at Irving Middle School.

In my day job, I run the Sooner Flight Academy, a K12 STEM outreach program in the Aviation Department at OU.

For my first blog post, I wanted to share with you some of my concerns about inclement weather days.

Last week, the district twice sent out notifications after school had started that the weather was deteriorating and that parents could come early to check their children out of school and that the absence would be excused.  My concerns fall into three categories.

1.     Safety – If this decision was made for safety concerns, I worry that the children whose parents are unable to come to school in the middle of the day or who need to ride the bus home are put in a position of reduced safety.   Additionally, when parents attempt to check out students during the day en masse, they must park and enter the school, creating extra safety concerns in the parking lot.

2.     Emotional – The children who must remain at school may feel some level of emotional discomfort or exclusion having to spend the day listening to the office staff announce the names of other students being checked out.  I also worry that NPS staff members are not given the opportunity to check their own children out of school and that the elementary CASP programs are closing at 4pm, before middle school and high school staff are released from duty.

3.     Academic – When the district makes this announcement and parents arrive to check their children out, schools appear to be following normal check out procedures, which were not designed for mass checkouts.  I worry that the near constant disruption of calling students to the office for the remainder of the day makes any further instruction impossible.  I am also concerned that even excused absences count against the school for its attendance reporting as it pertains to school report cards.

I would very much like to know what you think of this notification policy.  I created a short climate survey to help gather information from across the district.  Please consider taking a few minutes to fill it out.

http://goo.gl/forms/mVIm0msIID

Stay tuned for ideas to improve this policy.

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