From the Desk: process of canceling school

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“Are we having school tomorrow?”  I can still remember asking my parents that same question and the anticipation of a magical gift of a day off as a student with snow and ice on the ground.  I always got so frustrated because they never announced school would be closed until the morning.  Of course this was long before the instant communication days we have now.  If it didn’t get on the 10 o’clock news, we knew we would have to listen to the radio in the morning.  I still remember tuning in to the radio and was so disappointed when the announcer would say we were going to school.  I can also remember being frustrated because it always seemed we went to school when we should have been closed and then we would close when the weather was better and the snow had melted.

Guthrie Superintendent Mike Simpson

Guthrie Superintendent Mike Simpson

I thought I would tell you what goes into the decision making process on whether or not to have school when the weather makes travel hazardous.  There are a minimum of four members of our administrative team including myself that drive our roads when a decision has to be made.  We drive in specially identified trouble areas for busses.  These areas are known to be some of the most susceptible areas in our district for challenging travel in marginal weather.  This occurs the night before (prior to the 10 o’clock news) and if necessary beginning at 4:00 a.m.  By 5:15 a.m. a final decision must be made in order to begin bus routes and preparing breakfast.  I would always prefer to issue a final decision before 10:00 p.m. but sometimes that isn’t possible.

We often get calls during the day when the weather has deteriorated asking if we plan to release students early.  Only in absolutely extreme situations would we consider this option since many of our students might not have a parent or guardian at home and possibly not have the means to enter their house.

Closing school during inclement weather is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make.  Other items given consideration in formulating a decision include the condition of our parking lots and sidewalks as well as power throughout the district.  Seldom does our decision meet with 100% approval but I want to assure you it is an informed decision that is not made lightly.

Congratulations to High School History and Government teacher Kim Barrett, our “Teacher of the Year” for Guthrie Public Schools.  She is a dedicated professional that we are proud to say will represent our community at the state competition.  I would like to give a special thank you to the following merchants who donated gifts to our winner this year:  Lamar and Kay Wade, Gage’s Steakhouse, Vance Auto Group, Dr. Dawn’s Chiropractic, Interbank, Love is Carriages, Furrow Flowers and Gifts and Friend’s Market Boutique

I’m hopeful that we can expand the community support of the Teacher of the Year in the future.  This is a great way for our merchants to show their support of the school system and our hard working teachers.


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