Snow Days and the Swine Flu.


Both of these are colossal pains in my… neck.

When you think about it, they are quite similar (besides being a pain in my… fine we’ll stick with neck).This Isn't Enought Snow to Cancel School.

Don’t believe me?

Both give you the chance to stay in bed and watch the Price is Right (no offense Mr. Carey, but I miss Bob Barker).

Granted one may cause you to stare into the bottom of the toilet bowl; but other than that, they have a lot in common.

Both may provoke the closing of schools this winter.

Both are covered on the local news in a way that makes you think the world is coming to an end.

I could go on and on, but that’s all I’ve got.

The Crisis of 2009 is the Swine Flu.  Of course it’s only “The Crisis” until something more exciting happens.  After all you can’t expect CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News to cover happy uplifting stories.

I really believe when something more “entertaining” (sadly, it will likely be horrific or involve rich people stealing our money…) comes along, we will have heard the last of the Swine Flu.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think this is the crisis to end all crises.

There’s no way it’s bigger than Y2K.

Okay, bad example.

Humans like to be scared.  We love rumors.  We thrive on drama. 

Most of all, we fear the unknown.

The Swine Flu is all of these wrapped up into one mysterious disease.

As an added bonus, pigs are gross.  Who wants to get sick from something that started with dirty farm animals (I’m hesitant to speak for the group… but not me)?

Long story short, the Swine Flu has caught America’s attention.  At least for now.

Who cares that the southern hemisphere is just coming out of their winter (and flu) season and they found the Swine Flu to be less of a big of deal than predicted.

We’re Americans.

And if we say the Swine Flu is going to be huge, it’s going to be HUGE.

At least until something else comes along.

It reminds me of Snow Days (without the shots of course).

Each year, parents and students focus on whether school will be dismissed because of snow.  The excitement continues to build as rumors of an impending storm spread like wildfire. 

The news media (i.e. those weather people who are almost always wrong) like nothing more than to fan the flames.

For a school administrator the first snow of the year is always the worst.

An inch can cause people to go completely ballistic.

The phone rings off the hook at school just as soon as the first snowflake hits the ground (sometimes days in advance… and I’m not kidding).

Winter Weather Crises come in 5 Stages:

Stage One – the initial news reports (a week in advance) saying we could get between a single flake and 1 inch of light snow.

Stage Two – sheer panic by the general public that if school is not dismissed literally thousands of people will die on the streets in car accidents or by starvation (hence the run on stores for food… which usually means cookies, soda, and renting a movie).  Total strangers, without children, repeatedly call the school to say the administrators are idiots (sorry, this has nothing to do with a snowstorm… this is just an average day).

Stage Three – school is cancelled and everyone survives to go sledding or the mall by 10:00 am.

Stage Four – later that same winter (after 8 other storms) an actual blizzard drops 29 inches of snow in 30 minutes (that’s a lot).

Stage Five – parents call the school, begging the administration not to dismiss because they are sick of having their children at home and they need to go to work.

I wonder if the Swine Flu Crisis won’t go much the same way.

Initially everyone is in a panic.  This will be especially true when a school district has their first student with Swine Flu.

But what happens when the 7th, or 19th, 52nd, or 1,000th person contracts it?

Will everyone still be as paranoid?

Or will we send our kids to school and go back to work?

Time may prove me wrong.  It has before.

I can’t tell you how silly I felt when I locked myself in the basement with beef jerky, bottled water, and 37 People Magazines as I anticipated Y2K.

Excuse me if I don’t trust the government and the news media.  But as the president’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before."

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The Perfect School.


Lately, I have been thinking what it would take to make a perfect school. Here is my list in no particular order.

Sure, I may have some kinks in my system, but it is a start.

* Air conditioning (it has been HOT!)
* The school day would start at 7:00 a.m. (everyone seems to get more accomplished before 11 o’clock in the morning than they do the rest of the day)
* Every student would be required to write a blog about their thoughts, goals, daily adventures and misadventures, etc.
* Yearly comprehensive physicals for all students and staff (preventive medicine is good)
* Students would be required to read 5 other blogs. Read, Read, Read.

* School uniforms (this includes staff members… I am tired of ironing dress shirts)
* No prep time for teachers, but they would have to be at school 2 hours longer than students… could be before or after school… or a combination
* 4 day school weeks (I am thinking the day should go from 7 to 5)
* Everyone reads… a lot (including all staff… certified and non certified)
* Extra pay for new ideas and innovation (teachers and students)

* Teachers and Administrators would be required to take 2 college or high school courses every year… forever (I am leaning towards sitting in on Art or Spanish)
* 1 hour each day of physical education (staff included)
* Free milk (saves me 30 cents a day)
* All students would have to watch at least 1 hour of CNN each day (we need to understand that there is a big world out there)
* Music in the classrooms, hallways, bathrooms… everywhere

* Recycling program
* Staff members would come from all economic, social, and racial backgrounds (but they would all be positive, upbeat, and funny)
* Lots of guest speakers (from inspirational to everyday people)
* All athletic contests would be held on weekends
* Technology… and lots of it

* A staff member whose sole job would be to help other staff members with technology
* Every classroom and office would have a pet (I am going with either a dog or a monkey… can’t decide)
* Students would have a voice in teacher and administrator evaluations
* Field trips to museums, colleges, inner city or the country (the opposite of where you live)
* Teachers could take sabbaticals and not have it affect their retirement

* Required classes in religion (all kinds) and foreign language (all kinds)
* Art and Music class every day
* Cooks would make freshly baked cookies every day
* All employees on 1 year contracts (a 1 year contract is a written guarantee that people will do their best)
* Free pencils (no more upset teachers if a student forgets to bring one to class)

* An end to a schedule of 45 minute classes (more time for reading… less for something else… haven’t figured this part out as of yet)
* Every student and teacher would be required to volunteer 5 hours a month
* Paperless office
* Students and Staff would have to help the janitors twice a year (and consequently would pick up after themselves)
* Mandatory speech and debate classes (has anyone NOT needed the ability to speak in public?)

* Laptops and wireless internet for everyone
* A variety of vocational classes
* All snow days must be announced in advance (sleeping in is cool)
* No study halls
* Retired teachers can come and go as they please (to help teach, tutor, and mentor)

* No lounge (staff eats in cafeteria with the students)
* Ban on students driving to school (bikes and buses only)
* No bells (they are annoying and colleges seem to survive without them)
* Only educational field trips (families, not schools, should go to Six Flags…)
* All students would have to participate on 2 athletic teams (preferably 1 where they are not good… there is a lot to be learned when you are not the best)

* Teachers would teach to the state test (seems to work for drivers education and med school)
* Every discipline situation would be addressed within 10 minutes
* Clean bathrooms (just because I am easily grossed out)
* Outdoor classrooms
* Students would have representation on the school board

* No yelling… by students or staff
* Every 5 years all staff members would have to work full-time at another job (we would all appreciate education that much more)
* Cumulative tests (life is cumulative, not short chapters)
* Free swim lessons (I have always regretted not learning to swim)
* Mandatory tutoring (older students teaching younger students)

* Volunteers in every classroom… every day
* Students would be allowed to drink water or eat fruit in class
* Dodgeball (no hitting in the face… principal gets first pick)
* No school on the first day of Spring when it is 80 degrees and sunny
* Free donuts every Friday morning

* Social hour for staff at the end of the week
* Corporal punishment would be allowed (but never used… the idea is the scary part)

A longer list than I first envisioned, but you need some extensive guidelines to have a perfect school.

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Disclaimer

While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.