There was a snow day for New York City schools this week. Everyone had something to say about whether or not schools should have stayed opened or closed. It was even the topic of the popular news program, "The Call."
Some felt the city was too darn soft. Some felt the city made the right call. It's a familiar refrain.
Unfortunately, regardless of the decision to keep schools open or closed no mayor, chancellor, or head of schools can ever make a judgement call that makes everyone happy.
Why must this decision rest on a judgement call?
Why not let the let data drive the decision? If the National Weather Service says this and/or this... then do that.
No one needs to be blamed when decisions are driven by data. When we get more, new, or different data, we can update decisions.
As long as we're talking about decisions, here's another plan that would help make this work better for everyone.
It is hard to get to school / work for some staff on snow days, but some live near schools, and it's not so hard. So, why not make a plan that includes that data?
Just have a smaller percentage of schools open on days when weather or other factors are an issue. In places like New York City we already have a similar type plan through the Office of Emergency Management to set up schools and other spaces should there be a hurricane. Something similar can be done for a snowstorm.
Have staff that is nearby schools come in. Let the families who need to send their kids to school, send them. Staff who can come in, are identified in advance. They get a day added on to their personal day bank. Families who need options have them.
Easy peasy, data driven, snow day plan.
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.