Like so many of you, I have spent the week stranded in one location. For myself it was my office, having been unable to leave early Tuesday morning once I closed school. The week was a very busy one and I had the great fortune of benefiting from the kindness of others. Pat Boyle walked through the blizzard to bring me to his home where he and his wife Becky fed me a warm meal, gave me a toothbrush, and a comfortable bed to sleep in. Mike Anzalone snow-shoed across 6 foot deep snow over to my office one evening and threw snowballs at my window to get my attention. He had a warm dish of pasta that his wife had made for me. At the local 7-11 two clerks, Jennifer and Sherry, gave me coffee and a warm smile everyday even though they too had been stuck there. A young man named Aaron dug out my truck and helped me get it into the FEC parking lot. Walking back to my office from the Boyles I met three FHS boys who were checking on the elderly and digging out people.
I bet many of you have similar stories of kindness and benevolence. I am proud of our community and proud of our school district. We have a lot of business to attend to, but before I get into it, I would ask you all to consider the following.
If you are a teacher, when you first get back together with your students, please take time to reflect with your students any acts of kindness or benevolence that they experienced during this storm. Please consider celebrating these acts with your students. They will probably never have the learning opportunity they presently have to learn the value of charity, service, resiliency, citizenship, and community. In my short time here I know these are some of the core values of our community and this lesson will last them a lifetime. These are the lessons that truly will help them be successful in life.
If you are not a teacher, check on your colleagues. How have their families fared? Are they able to get to work? Is there anything they need?
Our grounds crew have had an unbelievable time of it during this storm.....let them know you appreciate their efforts.
.....Now to the business of returning to school......
It is absolutely paramount to me that everyone has a safe return to school. I have spent many hours with our Board, administrators, program leaders, union leaders and municipal leaders on formulating a plan to safely return to school.
1. Unsafe Roofs
NO ONE can go into our buildings until I give the ok. The district architect and their structural engineers have advised that our roofs are all dangerous. They are holding more weight than designed. We have a plan to address this problem, but NO ONE is to go into any district building until I give the ok. The forecast of rain is only going to make this situation more dangerous.
2. Building Environmentals
The energy management system has been down all week and we have no idea about the environmentals of the buildings. We hope that the heat stayed on and pipes did not burst, but we will not know until we can get in the buildings. We know there are potential issues related to leaking, storm drain flooding, and sewage backup in some of the buildings.
3. Snow Removal
The snow is so deep and heavy that our equipment is unable to move it. We have 2 backhoes with small buckets. We are working with our municipal leaders who will help, but they cannot do so until the streets are made safe for the public. I have also been advised that once the roads have been made passable there will be a period of several days whereby heavy equipment, front loaders and dump trucks, will be brought in to remove the snow. This period will be too dangerous to have buses and students in the streets. When our crews start removing snow they will be doing it one building at a time.
4. First Day of School
Whenever school is open, the first day will be for all staff ONLY. This first day will only occur after it has been determined that roofs are safe, building environmentals are working, and it is safe to travel. The building administrators will organize and plan this day around ensuring the buildings are "student ready". The custodial crews will work with the head custodian and food service staff with their cooks. This day will look on the media as "Frontier Closed-Staff Report". Building administrators and department leaders will communicate with their respective staff the details on this day. Remember with the ROBO-CALL system down people should watch the local media and/or check our homepage.
The ROBO-CALL system is down and my email has been down a lot. I will be using the Frontier Home Page http://www.frontier.wnyric.org as the main district communication center for staff, students, and the community. We will be updating this page daily until school starts up again. I am holding daily meetings with the administrative cabinet and will share out key points on this web page. While this is the PRIMARY communication page I also use Twitter @frontiersupt and my blog at www.allstudentscanlearn.com to share anecdotes.
6. School Calender
The impact on our school calendar will be assessed AFTER the return to school. At which time I will work with the Board of Education to pull together district stakeholders for such an assessment. I spoke with NYSED officials and contrary to popular thought, the Commissioner will only grant variances to the minimum number of days required for school to be in session once ALL vacation days have been used up.
Payday is Wednesday, but in order for everyone to get paid the payroll staff have to be able to get here safely and work in a safe environment on Monday. Payday will be Friday if they cannot get in here till Tuesday.
Many thanks for all that you do for the kids of our community~Bret
Omni Group is a 2012 initiative designed to distinguish 403(b) Service Providers which met certain criteria deemed to be highly desirable by an independent committee of School Business Officials, including the ability to assume costs of plan administration on the district’s behalf.
New York State Retirement System
1:30 PM PE - Turkey Trot