School District 197 Superintendent Blog
Welcome to my blog! The purpose of the blog is to provide an avenue for communication with parents and community members. I will be sharing our progress in implementing the District Strategic Framework. Periodically I will also post photos and share news of special events that I attend in our schools.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Gotta love those Minnesota Winters!

Dear Friends and Families of School District 197,

I wish to thank you for your patience this past week when the cold weather challenged even the most hearty of Minnesotans, including me.  Our temperatures were reportedly colder than Antarctica!  While I enjoyed seeing Minnesota in the national spotlight, I wished the news coverage hadn't reinforced our cold-weather image quite so much.  There are those who think we are crazy for living here.  Not me.  I love Minnesota, including our winters!

What I don't love is having to close school for any reason.  We know a change in the school calendar or the daily schedule causes significant disruption and difficulty for families.  Thus we are always reluctant to close under any circumstances, but sometimes it cannot be avoided.

Topping our list of reasons is student safety.  This can never be compromised.  We have students who walk, as well as students who drive to school, so when it is cold we are especially mindful of hazardous conditions. Our diesel-engine buses also must be considered in cold weather.  Below a certain temperature, like our cars, mechanical issues can increase.

While I hope this is the last of our emergencies for the year, just in case it is not, here are some suggestions you may find helpful:

One, when the weather is extremely cold or snowy, parents are the ultimate decision makers as to whether or not you feel you should send your children to school.  Please use your own judgement.

Two, please be sure your children are dressed for the weather.  Cars and buses can and do stall in Minnesota.  It is best when children leave the house wearing proper winter clothing.  Hats and mittens are a must, even for older students, who should at least have them in their pocket or backpack in case of an emergency.

Three, have a contingency plan in place before an emergency.  Reach out to neighbors and classmates' families. If possible, set up a plan to take turns caring for children if a school closure or delay occurs.

And four, keep in touch.  We strive to send timely information in multiple formats to keep you informed.  We are partners in this endeavor, and we want to do all we can to help you pivot when plans on the home front need to be changed. Always make sure your contact information is up-to-date with your school office.

Fortunately, warmer weather is on the horizon, and by the weekend we will be back to doing what Minnesotans do so well - sledding, skiing, ice fishing, skating, playing hockey, playing broomball, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and when the weather is just right, making snowmen...What's not to love?

Stay warm!

Nancy Allen-Mastro