Let it…. NO!
I spied a snowflake on the Weather Channel forecast for Sunday, and the change of season prompts some important information for parents about school delay/cancellation communications, weather “make-up” day logistics, “home rule” decision-making, and more. Hundreds of new families are with us in ZCS this year, and this is all new to them. This is an important refresher for everyone as the seasons do their inevitable dance toward winter.
1. PARENTS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION-MAKERS! When the majority of our buses can traverse roads safely, we'll be in school. However, no central decision can anticipate every condition in all of the two townships of Boone County that ZCS covers. Thus, home rule at your front door is key. I/we respect it greatly.
2. FIRST DAY OFF—IS A DAY OFF! That is, if Mother Nature makes for a school cancellation, the first day we miss is just that, a day that students will make-up at the end of the year. Properly attired play in the snow is a healthy and important rite of childhood and we want children to enjoy that feeling of surprise and adventure.
If Mother Nature persists and we must cancel school for a second day or beyond, we’ll do make-up days in real time. All students will use Canvas for real time make-up days, and because we don’t have 1:1 computing at the elementary level, we'll allow afternoon and Saturday catch-up days with open computer labs if elementary kids don’t have computing power at home.
Make-Up Day and Calendar-- In the event of any district-wide school cancellation from now until the end of the school year, the first make-up day will be Friday, May 25, 2018. Other potential make-up days as shown on the adopted school calendar) may not be needed if electronic real-time make-up days are to be utilized (school principal and teacher instructions will follow if this is needed). REPEAT: The first district wide cancelled school day of the year, if necessary, will be made up on Friday, May 25, 2018.
3. ABOUT SAFETY, NOT MONEY! Common among misperceptions about school delays and cancellations is that ZCS gets funding based upon attendance. Not true. We have to be in school a certain number of days, by law, but if we have bus or facility concerns about safety, I’ll cancel school, period. Our safety nets for buses and facilities are strong, and we plan well, but Mother Nature is fickle and fast acting. My decision to delay, go on time, or to not go to school at all is based foremost on student and staff safety. If my inclement weather decision cannot work where your home is located due to the weather, see #1 above.
4. OUR COMMUNICATIONS! Text, voicemail, email, Twitter, Facebook, local television stations (though they don't always share the information timely), and our district webpage (http://www.zcs.k12.in.us/), are the avenues we will use to reach out when there is news that alters the school schedule in any way.
5. NOTE YOUR CHILD CARE OPTIONS! Please refer to communications from our GROW division regarding child care options in which you may be enrolled. Generally speaking, all Before and After Care (BAC) sites are open at the regular time on delay days. Eagle Recreation classes are cancelled (in the AM only) on delay days except for KDG Spanish classes which will start at 10:00 am on a two-hour delay. When school is cancelled, all BAC and pre-school sites consolidate at Pleasant View Elementary and Eagle Recreation is cancelled. IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL OF THESE SITES AND PROGRAMS ARE CLOSED IF BOONE COUNTY DECLARES A WEATHER EMERGENCY.
Winter weather is very inconvenient at times, but my/our decisions are about layers of considerations with student safety at the forefront. We do default to a “school is in session” mindset whenever possible. Our “morning eyes” team of professionals and our maintenance “snow plow crew” are always working with our amazing transportation staff to make this school in session mindset a reality.
Thank you for choosing the Zionsville Community Schools, and thanks for partnering with us to keep students safe no matter what Mother Nature has in store for us this school year.