Preparing for NWI Winters-Including Virtually!

It’s that time of year again when we have to think about the inevitable change to come in our weather!  It’s been a great fall with warm temperatures and while I like to think that perhaps our winter will be warm, too, I know that is not likely to happen!  Here are some helpful tips to consider this winter:

  1. We have been approved by the Indiana Department of Education (along with schools across the state of Indiana) to utilize Virtual Inclement Weather Days.  That means that if the roads are too dangerous to come to school or the temperature is too cold, we can still have school–virtually.  Student work will be posted by 9am and teachers will be available during the school day to assist students.  We believe that we live in a day and age where weather should not cause an interruption in our instruction.  Providing virtual instruction will allow students to continue to receive the instruction they need–just through a different medium.  This is similar to what we have been doing for years at BGHS and BGMS with our 7 online instruction days.  Students and teachers have been working together utilizing our Learning Management System, Schoology, to make sure everyone is ready and able to access their learning targets for the day.  If you have any questions on this, do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher.  You may wonder why we still have Snow Day Make-Up days built into our calendar if we plan to do them virtually.  This is because not every inclement weather day may be ideal for a virtual inclement weather day.  If there is an ice storm that shuts down power, a virtual day would not be feasible. We have left these make-up days in our calendar for use in the event of an inclement weather day in which we decide not to use a virtual inclement weather day.
  2. What is your child going to wear to school?  Layers are often a good idea as weather can be unpredictable and we never know when a building may be outside for a fire drill.  Shorts and a t-shirt are seldom a great idea in the winter.
  3. Don’t know if there will be recess?  Send the snow pants, hats, gloves, boots, coats, and scarves just in case (and all labeled with your child’s name).
  4. Make sure your child’s school office has your most up-to-date cell phone number.  Our calling system pulls numbers from the student information system when mass calling for delays or cancelations.  Having your number correct is how you can get those calls.
  5. PTSC works with the Meteorology Department at Valparaiso University to get weather reports the night before school and the morning of school.  This information is utilized in addition to weather.com, weather bug, weather underground, and other weather websites that report Boone Grove data.  It does seem that often times there will be a wide range of expected weather predictions depending on which website is consulted.  This is also why it is good to have access to the VU Department of Meteorology to help us sort through the data.  On top of that, the superintendents in the area are in constant communication sharing the information they have learned.
  6. Do you wonder how snow delays and closing decisions are made?  There is no formula for this.  Typically I talk to my parking lot plow crew between 4-4:30 am to get my first look at conditions.  Sometimes they tell me not to go out on the roads, that we need a delay.  Most of the time I set out driving the roads myself.  I’m considering bus traffic, how much the county has already plowed, blowing and drifting, ice, and snow that continues to fall.  *It is important to note that I expect roads in NWI to be snow-packed and slippery–this is just part of where we live.  I’m looking for roads with large drifts that a car or bus could not drive through safely covering the entire road.  If there is a delay, I am then back out on the roads driving to see if conditions have improved so that we can open school.  I usually go back first to the areas that were particularly bad on my drive earlier in the morning.
  7. Do you wonder how wind chill delays and closing decisions are made?  There is also no formula for this.  It is a combination of many things.  How hard is the wind blowing?  How cold is the air temperature?  What are the expected wind chills?  Are my buses starting and staying running?  Additionally we have to look to see if the cold will break making a two-hour delay effective.  It is not a black and white decision–there are many factors to consider.  A change in a degree or two or the wind speed can be the difference between a regular day of school and a closing.
  8. I try to make a call for a delay or closing by 5:30 am.  Our buses are already warming at that time.  Our first routes will start soon after that.  While it is nice to know the night before, that is not always the best decision.  If I think there is a chance that we will be able to open on time or not have to close school I will always wait.  My goal is to keep students safe, but also to keep students on the regular school calendar with school in session if at all possible.  That will mean many times that the decision must be made in the morning.

This year is like the others for me–I sure hope for a mild winter!

PTSC Standouts:

 

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Congratulations to Austin Rocha and Courtney Casbon who recently graduated from South Shore Leadership.  We look forward to watching your bright futures continue to unfold!

Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us.

Important Dates:

  • December 21-January 1:  No School, Winter Break
  • January 15:  End of 2nd Quarter/1st Semester
  • January 27:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • February 12:  Snow Day Make-Up Day or Break Day
  • February 15:  President’s Day–No School
  • February 17:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • March 16:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • March 17:  End of Third Quarter
  • March 21-25:  Spring Break Week–No School

Things to Know/Do:

  • Have you had the chance to watch this video put out by the Porter County Sheriff’s Department?  This is a powerful look at the growing problem in Porter County–and is something that every parent should watch.  It is even more powerful to watch it with your child.  Take the time to watch it today!

  • Now hiring substitute teachers! Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in substitute teaching and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications.
  • Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates? Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!
  • Every Wednesday is a 30-minute delayed start. If we have a 2-hour delay, students will arrive at school 2 hours after the regular start time for the building.
  • We are also looking for bus drivers to drive our extra-curricular runs. If you are interested, please apply online. It’s a great way to earn some money and attend extra-curricular events!
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