New York City is the City that never sleeps and if you can make it here you'll make it anywhere. We have a reputation to live up to. Perhaps this is why the snow day thing is so difficult for our mayor and chancellor to call.
No matter what they decide, some people will be mad. We all know for the most part teachers and students celebrate snow days. But for others it's a headache!
Childcare and Meals
In NYC, as in other places, a layer of difficulty is that parents depend on schools for childcare and meals for their children. Taking off of work for some parents is not really an option because they might not get paid for that day, or worse. They could get fired.
So what is a chancellor, mayor, or in other districts a principal or superintendent to do?
Have a plan. It goes like this...
Have fewer schools open because there will be fewer staff and fewer students so you only need fewer schools and fewer meals.
The schools are the same schools used as emergency shelters. Teachers and students are pre-assigned to their emergency shelter school. They also can indicate if they are likely to come in or not should various scenarios present themselves i.e. snow day, hurricane.
It's not that hard
If you are thinking this would be too hard to figure out, just stop.
This is the 21st century and we live in a city where we have Computer Science for All. An algorithm makes this elementary.
The result is this:
Students who need a place to go have one.
Teachers who are in danger commuting don't have to come in. Teachers who are not, come in. Those teachers who come in receive comp time in the form of a few extra prep periods. Good principals know how to do that at no expense to the school i.e. field trip, assembly, etc. etc. There are lots of other cost neutral options as well, but that is fodder for another post.
This shouldn't be that hard. In fact it should be a formula based on predictions by the National Weather Service by noon the day prior. If it's wrong, it's wrong. That's how forecasts are today, but still, a plan is in place and everybody wins.
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.