Snow Days

January 11, 2010
What kids don’t like snow days? Waking up and being told you’re able to go back to sleep. You look outside and it’s a winter wonderland. No classes. No teachers. No homework.

Snow days can either be surprising or predictable. According to Superintendent Craig Jefson, there is no specific amount of snow that determines whether school will close or not. It depends on the time it snows, how windy it is, the ability of the road crews to clear roads, wet and freezing conditions, and the ability of the bus company to safely transport students. The young and inexperienced drivers are also taken into consideration because some may not be able to manage the conditions.
“In making the decision, I am usually up around three in the morning reviewing weather information. In most instances I will drive a portion of our district, I communicate with our bus transportation provider, county road supervisors, sheriffs department, buildings and grounds administrator, the area superintendents and we contract a weather service,” said Jefson, via email.

Jefson makes the final decision to cancel school. Arrowhead has an agreement to provide transportation to the seven surrounding K-8 feeder schools. Thus, Jefson also makes the decision for these schools as well. If he is out of town, the business administrator, Steve Kopecky, would manage all the contacts and information, and then contact Jefson to make the final agreement.

At 4:30am, Jefson, along with Waukesha and surrounding area school’s superintendents, participate in a conference to determine if there will be school. The final decision must be made by 6:00am because that is when the buses begin their routes, and it gives parents time to prepare their child for the day if they have prior obligations, such as work. Ideally, the decision is made by 5:00am.
AHS uses an automated calling system that contacts the 2,300 families and 200 plus staff members notifying them of the cancellation. Jefson also contacts channels 4, 6, 12 and 58, as well as local radio stations. The closing is then posted on the District website and phone system.

Jefson said AHS has two built-in days in the 2009-2010 calendar. The Department of Public Instruction in the state of Wisconsin has minimum requirements for the number of days, hours and minutes required for instruction in all public schools. Arrowhead exceeds those minimums by two days.
Because of the snow day on December 9, there is one built-in day left. AHS can cancel once more before we must make up missed time.

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