A lesson not learned

Hasn't BRRSD learned from it's "best and brightest"? (I.e. The obnoxious parents who live in this district.)

The lesson BRRSD should learn from them? The squeaky wheel gets oiled. 

Yesterday morning I got an e-mail stating:
We have been in contact with both power companies (PSE&G and JCP&L), but at this time they are unable to provide us with a specific timeline for power restoration.  Bridgewater Township has informed us that roads are in much better shape today and therefore we are expecting buses to have an easier time in picking up students.

(And then an update last night)

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community,

Van Holten School, Hamilton School, and Eisenhower School are still without power and will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, November 2.  PSE&G is currently at the Middle School and we have been told that electricty will be fully restored by 11:00 PM tonight.  Therefore we are anticipating that the Middle School will be ready for opening tomorrow morning at regular starting time.  All other schools will open at regular scheduled start times tomorrow. 

Many parents have asked when the remaining schools will be open.  The best I can offer is that JCP&L has stated that they will not be in the area until Thursday.  We are pushing hard for them to be here sooner.  Also, the Bridgewater Public Library wanted me to share with parents that they will be showing drop-in movies tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 5:00 PM. 

If there are any changes to this email, I will notify only the parents and staff members of the affected schools tomorrow morning. As power is restored to the remaining schools in the next few days, I will notify only the parents and staff members of those schools.  This will be the last eblast sent to the entire school community, but I will continue to issue daily updates on the district website.

To summarize: Van Holten, Hamilton, and Eisenhower are closed tomorrow; all other schools including the Middle School will open at regular start times.

Michael Schilder, Superintendent

Aren't schools, like hospitals, a priority for electric companies? Where are the politicians???  Why can't the District, together with the Township, or even regional representatives, lobby strongly enough to persuade companies to prioritize returning power to schools?

I'd be happy if our schools would open even without electricity. Yes, I know that would break fire codes, but for thousands of years children learned without electricity. (Allow me to fantasize in today's blog about a school where learning takes precedent over administrative restrictions). Couldn't we somehow think outside of the box and double up in classrooms - splitting children across the district? Alternately maybe we could find space offsite, like sending students/teachers to RVCC's theater for character education, or for an astronomy lesson at RVCC's planetarium? I'm sure with some out-of-the-box thinking we could come up with great opportunities. And if parents didn't want their kids to go to an off-site location... then could choose to keep them home. Plus, kids who are living in houses without heat can get warmed up during the day.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I'm ready to let our creative juices flow because if nothing else, I've learned this: I'm not interested in home schooling! Nor am I happy about losing Spring Break to unplanned days off in October and early November. Snow days are fun - when there is snow. This year each snow day will be a reminder: our kids (at least at the schools that are closed) will be sitting in classes when the rest of the district - and the rest of the country are kicking back

Have kids hand-write persuasive letters to the various power companies, or maybe write emergency management guidelines for the Township.  We can turn this into a math lesson (budgeting the cost of a generator - or profit and loss for local businesses, or power necessary to run a town). Use physical ed time to pick up branches (I'm joking, of course).

Of course I realize that JCP&L is the real enemy here, not the district. But as I'm not a JCP&L customer I feel I have little recourse. If I were their customer I'd be calling every five minutes. E-mailing the Mayor, the Governor and anyone else who will advocate for me. As parents we should also be up in arms. Our kids in this section again are not getting the education that the rest of the district is.

Take them back, BRRSD! Teach our kids! They're all yours!


Ryan said…

How in the world are schools and hospitals the same priority when it comes to emergency power?

Schools routinely have snow days, they routinely have extended holiday closings, and they are closed all summer long.

Maybe having your kids at home affects your personal schedule, but an emergency that is not. In the long run, missing a week of school is completely lost in the noise.
Poppet said…
Of course, I don't equate schools with hospitals! But, in a situation where many people are without heat, power, running water (since many have wells) and electric lights, having schools function would have benefited many children.

I promise you that having my children home isn't interfering with my personal schedule! In fact we have hosted various children each night whose parents were displaced by the lack of heat/electric, and I was care for them. Today I thoroughly enjoyed taking my son and three friends to Liberty Science Center. I choose to stay home - and while, at times, I am conflicted about my professional options, long time readers know that I am grateful for this short period of time with my kids.

I try to enjoy every minute of time I get to share with them, and this unexpected school closure was no exception.

My point was that it seemed that the district and township could have put more pressure on the utilities to open schools... because EDUCATION in important - not because the kids are a drain on my time!

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