After making the final snow day decision today, I started to think about the amazing technology that is now available in our society. Today I can record one voicemail message, write one email message, and reach every family and staff member within the Sharon Public Schools. I can also log into my computer and post a “No School” message on the Boston television stations. In total, outside of the wrangling and second-guessing of myself I do when making the decision, the entire announcement process takes me less than 15 minutes. In that time, not only do the members of our school community know that school has been canceled for the day, but anyone who watches a Boston television station or looks at our website also knows our status. It truly is amazing and it is so vastly different than what occurred when I was a student in school. And that was a long time ago!
Growing up in a small coastal town in Maine was phenomenal. In my town of fewer than 2000 people, it seemed as if everyone knew everyone else, and the care and sense of community in town was consistently present. One example of this is when our superintendent had to call school off due to a snowstorm. Back in the ’70′s we had no instant messaging system, and the internet was not something that was available in every household. Instead, when our superintendent needed to cancel school for a day, she or he would call the local fire station to share the news. Once that was done, the fire chief would sound the fire alarm of five short noise blasts. Even though the alarm could only be heard in a small radius around the fire station, approximately one to two miles, once it was sounded parents immediately began a telephone chain designed to notify even those families outside of earshot of the alarm. While I don’t know how long it actually took before everyone was aware of the “no school” call, I can imagine that folks who lived furthest away from the center of town were aware of the “no school” call long before needing to think about preparing for the day.
So, we’ve come a long way from sounding the fire alarm to notify the community that there is no school to notifying the world in just fifteen minutes. Sometimes I wonder which system is better.
As today is the third snow day this school year, the last day of school is now Friday, June 20, 2014. I think we’re all hopeful that we have no more snow days as that would mean we move our last day of school into the next week in June. Think Spring!