Hello, Noah

I realize that this reference to a classic Bill Cosby routine makes me one big, giant fossil, but I can’t resist making a connection after this week.

Six foot fence near back door.

First of all, is should we all be building arks here in New England? Around my house we have 7 foot snowbanks created after the nonstop deluge of snow “events” which began in mid-January.  There seems to be no end in sight. Today, forecasters are calling for rain and possibly a finish of snow.  Once this stuff begins to melt, we’ll be floating.

I thought of this routine again yesterday when we were having our Morning Meeting.  One of my students, who has pretty much perfect attendance, did not come to school Thursday — we had snow cancellations on Tuesday and Wednesday. As he is a bus student, when he didn’t come to school Thursday, I didn’t think it was too remarkable.  The school buses that day were late – some by hours – city streets are clogged with snow and no place to put it.

However, this student expressed surprise that we had school on Thursday. He claimed to have gotten the robo call from the school-wide information system canceling school. This led to quite a discussion from my students; some get the calls and others do not, usually because they have no working phone number or because the phone number that was shared earlier has been changed (and changed, and changed).

But what really made me laugh was the insistence of one of my students that God called her house to cancel school. In actuality, our Assistant Superintendent for Business initiates the call.

And while he does have a deep voice, I’m sure he’s located in Lowell not in some more heavenly environ.


Snow Days # 6 and #7

I may have been born in Buffalo, but I hate snow. Hate it and despise it. Since January 3 when we resumed school after the holiday break, we have had 7 snow days. On January 3, our end of school date was June 10. As of this morning, it is June 21.

I don’t fault the Superintendent one bit for calling this many snow days. The City of Lowell has been pushed to the edge this winter. Streets are narrowed by the banks of snow, sidewalks are only a suggestion; it is extremely hazardous for kids who walk to school. And in this City where some children cross the neighborhoods to attend school (10 plus year old court ordered desegregation), I would never want to be a bus driver responsible for safely depositing students at school and home.

Many of my students are ill-prepared for winter weather despite coats distributed through the generosity of local businesses. My mother makes mittens — kids vie for a pair of “Grandma Sarah’s” hand-knit mittens in my class — I give away scarves. We do what we can to keep these children dressed appropriately for New England winter. It is a never-ending battle. Most of my students don’t seem to have boots. A few years ago, I had to convince one student that wearing flip-flops and socks was not a good idea in January and February.

Some of the suburban schools around Lowell call school delays or early dismissals. Lowell has tried the school delays but it resulted in lots of kiddos left standing at bus stops, having gone out at their usual pick up time. There was some speculation that parents didn’t understand the mechanics of a delay (or dismissal), but my theory is that it has more to do with the economics of blue collar, hourly workers. People have to be at work at a certain time whether school is delayed or not. They could be fired. And so the kids have to fend for themselves. I wonder what happens on a snow day? My guess is that many are left home alone.

So far, this has been a very difficult winter. The learning time has been chopped up by the never-ending onslaught of storms. Area town and city budgets are pushed to the edge of disaster.

Please make it stop.