From time to time Superintendent John Marschhausen is asked the same questions from different members of the community. In an effort to share the answers with everyone he puts the questions here with his candid responses.
We have five calamity days. Why don’t we use them?
I don’t view calamity days as good things; calamity days are simply a necessity in Central Ohio. I view them as lost opportunities for teaching and learning. We use calamity days when it is unsafe to get to schools – even with a little extra time. My objective is to not let the number of days – either used or unused – impact the decision on any specific morning. If it’s -14 degrees (wind chill included) we will have school; if it’s -20 degrees with the wind chill, we will close school. If we get a couple inches of snow but can still safely “get around” with some additional time, we will have school. If the roads are unsafe for travel, we will close school. It can’t be a focus on the number of days; it must be a focus on instructional time and preparing students to be Ready for Tomorrow. So, if we have a “year without a snow day” it would be a great year – that is five additional days that our amazing staff got to teach our students. If the weather dictates it is unsafe, with extra time and caution, to get to schools . . . then we have a calamity day.
As a parent I am hearing my children speak about “Stand up and Own It” and “Above the Line.” I think the lessons are wonderful, but I want to know more. Is the district going to share these messages with parents?
The Hilliard City School District is currently working with Focus 3, specifically with Tim and Brian Kight, to focus on our culture, values, and behavior in the district. We have spent time this school year training our administrators, teachers, and staff members. We have created a Culture Blue Print and outlined our values, expected behavior, and intended outcomes. During the 2016-17 school year we will be working with our students – and providing learning opportunities around individual responses to challenging events. You will see, and hear, more about E + R = O. In addition, we will be hosting a series of parent/community events in September and October to share R-Factor with interested community members. More information will be available in August – we are eager to share this message with our community.
Why doesn’t the district address more concerns that are posted on social media sites?
The district’s communication team monitors social media – to an extent. Our team works to provide answers, when answers can be provided. Often a concern or a complaint would require specific student information in a reply; something we would never do on social media. Also, it is difficult to correct embellished or exaggerated accounts on social media. It is never good to get into a debate in an online forum.
We will continue to post factual, timely information on social media. We react as quickly as possible to district events; we strive to only post the facts. Please remember, with 16,000 students and over a thousand employees, there are often multiple views and lenses to share a story. In addition, times are changing. Nearly every high school and secondary students is – in one way or another – a reporter. Often events are posted on social media instantaneously. District personnel are often responding to the situation, working with students, and taking care of business. We provide accurate information as soon as possible, but often the students “beat us” to the social media outlets. It’s part of society today; we learn, live, and strive to embrace our culture. No complaints – simply reality. We won’t push information until we have the whole story.