Dear HFA: School for Creative Studies and HFA: Elementary School Families:
Our job is to educate children, so our strong preference is to hold school every day we possibly can. The decision to close school due to weather conditions, therefore, is always a difficult one.
With this month’s record snowfalls and extreme low temperatures, we’ve weighed on the side of student and staff safety a number of times, cancelling a scheduled day of instruction.
Who makes the call to close school? It’s not just a single person, but a team comprised of your school principals, Acting Superintendent Nan Gill, HFLI Executive Director Deborah Parizek, with support from our facilities and communications team members. They consider a number of factors when predictions of inclement weather arise:
· The conditions of main roads and side streets and the likelihood they will be cleared;
· Meteorologists’ forecasts (along with a healthy amount of skepticism to avoid any hype);
· The safety of not only those who are driving to school, but our students who walk or take public transportation; and
· The decisions of our colleagues across Metro Detroit, including other PSAD schools and at Detroit Public Schools.
Why do we take other school closings into consideration? It’s our experience that attendance at our schools is lower when the surrounding public school system is closed. When our attendance is below 75% on a given day, the state can take away a day’s funding.
Also factored into the decision is the state’s limit of six snow days; we may have to make up the days in the summer or cut other scheduled breaks short if we go past that number.
We do our very best to make a call to cancel school the night before a school closing, so our families and staff can make any necessary adjustments to their daily plans. We post notifications to our Facebook pages and web sites, and through the consolidated school closing reporting system which pushes our notifications out to local media outlets. We also activate our SchoolReach system to call our families and staff directly.
In the event we don’t have enough conclusive information during evening hours, and we do have to make a decision in the morning, we do our best to any announcements by 6:00 a.m. through the same notification process to families, staff and the public.
We hope this information is helpful in understanding our decisions to keep our schools open, or to close, during inclement weather.
In the meantime, please know that the education and safety of your child is our top priority -- and please join us in hopeful thoughts of warm sunshine, budding trees, and clear roads.
Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies
Dr. Curtis Lewis
Henry Ford Academy: Elementary School