Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cold-weather delay: What do you think?

We know what everyone's talking about this morning:  The two-hour school delay because of frigid temperatures. (Update: CMS has just announced that schools will open two hours late again on Wednesday.)

Such delays are part of the winter routine in surrounding counties,  but rare for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,  which decided Monday to join the late-start crowd.  Officials say the delay will keep buses off possibly icy roads and protect kids from standing outside during the pre-sunrise cold.



Previous leaders of CMS had decided the district's bus schedule was too big and complex to accommodate late starts or early dismissals.  For about a decade, it was all-or-nothing when bad weather hit.  Last January,  with new leaders in place,  CMS pulled off an early dismissal with no major problems  (blog readers had fun trying to figure out when the last such event happened; it proved surprisingly hard to document).

By making the call Monday afternoon,  CMS gave families time to prepare for the schedule shake-up.  And delays,  unlike closings,  don't require makeup days.

But as any superintendent will tell you,  there are two decisions guaranteed to make you unpopular:  Student assignment changes and dealing with bad weather.  The delay is bound to cause strain for parents who don't get a two-hour delay in their work schedules.  And we'll certainly hear from some folks from northern regions who can't believe we consider this cold.

So if you're sitting at home watching the thermometer,  let us know what you think and how the delay works for you.  Winter has just begun.  Should delayed starts become part of the CMS routine?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a smart move, I like how the decision was made early. I hear teachers did not get a delay but I guess they drive..

Wiley Coyote said...

The delay in this case is a prudent one.

It ensures that if there are heating problems in schools or bus woes because some won't start, kids aren't left standing in frigid weather waiting on a bus that isn't coming or a school that doesn't have heat when they get there.

It's 6 degrees at my house right now and if people from northern regions don't think this is cold, then Yankees can go home.

By the way. It wasn't much colder during the Green Bay game the other night and they almost didn't sellout the game due to the cold weather.

Shamash said...

I don't buy the "too complex" argument.

Just add two hours to the "schedule".

Everyone else seems to be able to do that.

Except the airlines, of course, who prefer random delays for their less complex scheduling.

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that CMS says it is for safety reasons, citing they don't want kids out standing in the dark and cold weather waiting on buses. They already do that due to the ludicrous start times of the high schools at 7:15am.

Philip said...

Due to the exact same forecast for tonight/tomorrow morn, CMS will have to announce another 2 hour delay based on the same reasons as this morning's 2 hour delay.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, is it 6 degrees IN your house? I didn't think so. It's not 6 degrees in the school houses either. Local SC schools didn't delay bc they started heat in the schools last night and had buses prepared. I think this was a silly decision on CMS' part, but the staff and students are loving it. Glad we live in SC.

Anonymous said...

?? Students still have to wait at the bus stop... Buses still break down or get caught in traffic.. Teachers did not get a delay. My buddy had to report at normal time.

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamash said...

Anon 7:53 am.

Yep, another doubtful reason.

Because there is a BIG difference between freezing outside at 7 degrees (at 7 am) and freezing at 10 degrees (at 9am).

Those 3 degrees make a world of difference.

And Lancaster County, SC also started at 9am.

So I guess their buses are unreliable, too.

Wiley Coyote said...

8:24

Try to follow the bouncing ball.

CMS frequently has HVAC, water and other issues in some schools during the year.

With this extreme weather, are you confident all 159 schools are working properly and are toasty warm?

I hope they are but it's better to take a couple of hours to ensure they are and that buses will arrive than sending kids to school only to have to send them back home.

Anonymous said...

Its a poor move by CMS by making the statement " its too cold outside lets stay home and play". Do you take that attitude in the real world with your job? Family? Church? I dont think so. Unless your simply from the cloth of whats in it for me and the free hand out program just grow up. The next day and the next day kids are waiting for the bus in the dark in the cold or rain. Yes its a 48 hour colder than normal stretch for our area , but just grow up. That cold weather may make you a little stronger and tougher if you stand in it for a little bit. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Oh for heaven's sake--what a stupid "controversy". Thumbs down to Ann for encouraging it and thumbs down to all those griping about it. In our home states of Kentucky and Ohio, where people are used to cold weather and presumably are better prepared to cope, many school systems have been completely shut down for two days (with temperatures not all that much lower than ours). I think CMS did the prudent thing by delaying the start time. One only wishes they had been willing to employ that option in the past when snow issues were very marginal, rather than shutting down for the whole day.

David Knoble said...

I remind you that late bell schools that start at 9:15am started today at 11:15am. That is too late for parents of middle school children. Certainly, for a high schooler to wait until 8:30 is not a problem, however.

Yes, this is a hard call to make an not everyone will be happy.

Anonymous said...

David's point about the widely varying start times illustrates one problem with a "way too big" school system. Managing what should be a sensible weather emergency start time policy can quickly turn messy.

Anonymous said...

Folks the bell schedule is what the bell schedule is. That is not going to change per CMS staff. Petey changed it under the rug and nobody since has been capable of seeing the negative impacts. CMS has lost great students and many supporting families due to the late bell change. CMS for some reason does not want to save huge amounts of money or make families happy with normal start times. I and many others have supplied the data at no cost to CMS staff with nobody listening. Heath this is your PR moment use it ! Keith W. Hurley

Bolyn McClung said...

.
AN OPPORTUNITY MISSED?

Perhaps CMS could include in its inclement weather plan this year, a test of a "Go to meeting" type class.

Not asking for perfection, just use the opportunity to get reactions from teachers, parents and students.

Doesn't need a budget. Doesn't need a schedule (who can predict the weather) and doesn't need a test.

Anyone agree?

Bolyn McClung
Pineville
.

Wiley Coyote said...

Bolyn,

What do kids in the LIFT zone do? CMS has had to use incentives just to get many kids in the zone to "Go To School" in the first place.

What about all those kids in poverty who don't have computers or the internet?

Dreams versus reality.

Bolyn McClung said...

.
TO: WC

Jez,

This is just a suggestion. It could even work for a motivated student who is not able to come to class for a day, a week or longer.

Just a simple suggestion.

I bet somewhere in CMS this is being done now.

Anybody know of students attending classes remotely because of an illness?

Bolyn McClung
Pineville
.

Anonymous said...

Ann, A questions regarding the article. How did Charlotte Catholic survive artic chill 2014? They went to school as regularly scheduled. They taught their students a great message in my eyes. Dont make excuses like everyone else make progress and be leaders. They had a full day today and made no excuses about it. Keith W. Hurley

Bobby McGee said...

I'm thinking our local private schools, like Charlotte Catholic, Charlotte Christian, Covenant Day School, Latin, Providence Day, etc... all started on a normal schedule today.

Anonymous said...

Bolyn, I like your idea. Not sure the school system is anywhere near providing that type of service though.

I'm sure the high school students are happy, well rested and more alert today in school due to the 9:15am start time and the shorter classes. 90 minute block classes are awful, just ask the students AND teachers. Very few teachers actually fill a 90 minute block with instructional material and therefore, half of the class time is a waste any way for the students (the ones who are still awake).

Wish CMS was able to think outside the box, particularly for high school education.

Anonymous said...

Well, for one thing, most of the private schools start after 8, instead of 7:15. No one getting on the bus at 6 or 6:30 in the morning. In addition most of their students do not use school provided transportation (and those that do probably ride buses with only two or three central stops--doubt many private schoolers wait outside for very long for their buses. And when you are talking private schools you are talking about a much smaller population, primarily being driven to school by parents (or by themselves for high schoolers). Far fewer issues than with a 140,000 plus public school population.

Anonymous said...

Really ? Comparing the handful of kids at private schools that are mostly car riders... To 130,000 of CMS.. Apples to oranges...

Penny said...

To the comments about the private schools, those schools still need to be opened and heated, staff needs to get there early in the morning to prepare for day, students either ride on shuttle buses (catholic schools, pds, cc) all over the county and the students need to safely get to school. I would say that most of those issues are the SAME issues CMS is dealing with....yet private school students are going to school on a regular schedule. By the way, thousands of them.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to some of the private school comments here, over 25,000 students in Meck county go to private schools, another 10,000 are homeschooled. According to CMS data from 2 years ago, only 52% of CMS students ride the bus, so approx. 70,000 ride buses.

Anonymous said...

And why a late start on wens? Such weak backbones CMS I hope the state makes you add another day to the school year. MAKE YOUR BELL SCHEDULE IDENTICAL AT MOST OR ALL SCHOOLS AND ELIMINATE MULTIPLE BUSES REDUCE COST AND DRIVERS ! THE BUSES ARE EMPTY FOR THE MOST PART AND YOU WOULD SAVE MILLIONS YOU BUFFONS. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

if you take the number of private school kids per individual school and divide by number in enrollment then divide by number of bus units you will be shocked at how close it is to CMS data. Of course CMS would never give you that percentage data since that would show it cheaper to send taxi cabs to each students house daily for transport.Cook the numbers how you will , but use real factual data. When the state takes over CMS in a few years this will all come out in a common core sense.

Chipper said...

nobody would attend private schools if they started at 7:15am! If CMS really cared about the health and safety of students, schools would start between 8am - 9:30am.

Anonymous said...

Opening of the school day; public high schools. Requires local school boards to set the daily school calendar so that programs of instruction at public high schools start no earlier than 8:00 a.m.

From Today's Virginia Legislative news, finally things moving in the right direction for teenaged students.

Carol S. said...

Ann, could we get accurate numbers on private school and home school students? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Please clarify - CMS staff is reporting on a 2 hour delay as well? I've heard conflicting reports.

Anonymous said...

Many of the students in my class do not have winter coats. I'm willing to bet most of the kids in private schools do. I totally understand not wanting to have small kids without coats waiting at bus stops in this kind of weather. However, it's not that simple. Attendance was down yesterday (I'm assuming because of working parents who didn't take time off and had their kids stay at home), and when you teach kids who are 2-3 years behind...every single day of instruction matters.

No delay for cms teachers.

Anonymous said...

What do I think? I think these past two days are probably the happiest and most productive for our high school students.

Anonymous said...

9:02am Love it! You are correct, and teachers most likely will concur.

RD said...

Acting like they care, instead of caring!!!....I don't have a problem with not wanting kids to wait in the cold, but if kids get to school early, they MUST wait outside (in the cold). IF a bus gets to school early, the driver just sits in the parking lot, with the kids on the bus?! I wanted to drop my son off at 1030 but, they would of make him sit outside, until 1045! The system is a joke! TOO MUCH POLITICS and not enough EDUCATION

Ann Doss Helms said...

Carol S, what kind of numbers are you asking about? Enrollment? Whether they delayed schools? State does overall counts of private-school and home-schooled students, but other than that, there's not a lot of data available.

Carol S. said...

Ann, how many students in Meck county do not attend CMS schools? How many attend the local private schools throughout the area and how many are homeschooled? Just think of the mess we would have if all of those thousands of students did attend a CMS school? I think it would be insightful to the public to see those numbers.

Anonymous said...

RD, Did you know that high school buses get to the schools at 6:25am, 6:30am and sit running in the lot (in the dark) for 15-20 minutes until the doors open at 6:45am? Why not let those students have the extra 20 minutes of much needed sleep, and maybe some time to eat something at home before they run off to the bus stop at some ungodly hour. seriously, what a waste of everyone's time and money.

Anonymous said...

RD, what you speak of is not about Education. The schools do not have the staff in place to take care of your little Johnny at 10:30am.

Anonymous said...

IF a bus happens to break down or slide into a ditch and a child of these same parents that are complaining about 2 hour delays gets injured or frostbite from the cold, said parents would be ready to sue all parties involved and screaming because those irresponsible idiots at central office didn't call a two hour delay. You can't blame them for protecting the children and covering their butts at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Ann,
What is the magic degree marker (10 degrees or less, is wind chill involved?, etc.) that CMS is using in determining a delay for the start of school? I think parents should be provided this information so we can have an idea of how to plan. I have not been able to get an answer from CMS on this question.

Ann Doss Helms said...

I don't know; haven't asked but will try to remember to do so soon. My guess is they'll say no magic number, look at conditions, etc.