I'm starting to think I'm Bill Murray and living his 1993 movie - Groundhog Day. The teaser for the movie states that Phil (Murray's character) is trapped in a personal time warp, living his worst day over and over.
On January 8, 2015, I kept the schools in my community of Novi open. Students were not happy. Students took to Twitter to express their unhappiness. Some were quite unhappy.
Today - Groundhog Day - I find myself in the same position.
Yesterday Novi received over 13 inches of snow. We closed school today - Groundhog Day. But tomorrow - well let's just say the students are expressing their hopes and fears on Twitter.
@: everyone pray for @docsmatthews to make the right decision and give us one more day off🙏🙏🙏
@: @docsmatthews it's colder than my heart and more barren than my soul and I think that points to another snow day
@: @docsmatthews Farmington, Livonia, Troy, International Academy, Walled Lake, and Rochester all closed..isn't this enough?
@: @docsmatthews you're on the clock #BelieveInSteve
You have to love the passion of high school students!
Even though my high school students, and some of their parents, may not believe it, I really am concerned about their safety. I don't want them to be put at risk. I monitor the roads and weather. My Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations and I talk frequently about what we should do. We talk to the city of Novi's Department of Public Works.
Contrary to the opinion of our high school students - I really do care about their safety.
But I also happen to believe that being in school is important.
I know that our students could find information on the Internet. I know that one missed day of school - or in this case two missed days - would not be the end of the world.
But being in school makes a difference. I believe that the community of school provides context and texture for students that they cannot find in other places.
I believe that the rhythm of school needs to be nurtured. Stopping and starting over and over again creates dissonance. The powerful symphony that can be created through the sharing of different voices within one space cannot be nurtured if we disrupt the rhythm of learning.
I believe that teachers help students every day. Trust is built between students and teachers when they are together. Teachers learn to see things, recognize moods, capitalize on learning opportunities. But those things cannot be developed without being together.
I know that it is possible to create a virtual community that can do some of these things. We are not yet there in Novi.
Someday maybe, but not on this Groundhog Day.
So tonight at 9:00 PM, my Assistant Superintendent and several other area Superintendents will once again be on the phone having another conversation about what to do tomorrow.
Some will decide to close. Others will decide to stay open.
All of us will make the best decision we can for the students and the parents in our community.
And my Groundhog Day will continue.