Nov. 1, 2019

Jeffrey M. Howard
I wish “frightful” referred to Halloween yesterday, but I am afraid it is more like “the weather outside has been frightful…”.

Boy, has it.

I cannot remember in my time in education in Colorado a late October like the one we just witnessed. It’s been something else. I am very aware of the disruptions and disappointments some of our schedule changes and event cancellations have caused and am sympathetic to all of that. I want to thank Mrs. McCarty, Ms. Abeyta, Mr. Gray and all those teachers, clubs and students who were going to put on a wonderful Booville. With school closed for the three days before it, there was no way to pull it together in time and no viable date for a reschedule. It’s such a great event and I am already looking forward to it for next year. We are also indebted to Mrs. Davis for rolling with the challenge of moving this trimester’s concert from this week to next. None of these changes were ideal, but all were necessary. 
I am VERY grateful to the Administrative Team (Mrs. Abeyta, Mr. Massey, Ms. Niblack, Dr. Porter, Mr. Ruff and Mr. Welling) for their wise and calm counsel on all of this and, specifically, to Mr. Welling who, really and truly, is something of a meteorologist in his own right!

In the wake of the weather, a few questions came to me and, though I wrote about my philosophy of snow schedules and weather, I thought I would delve in again with the sharper focus of the actual events of this week.

Decisions such as these are not made easily or lightly. I do not like closing school as class time is so precious. Changing our schedule has massive effects, causing significant challenges for our families, our students and our faculty and I am highly aware of that. I try not to make these decisions in a vacuum and consult with our administration and principals from other schools across the city (especially from other Catholic schools) in an attempt to get a handle on conditions in various parts of town. When I consider closing (or calling a late start), the fact that we have students coming from all over town, likely from a broader geographic than we ever have, is a significant factor on which I reflect. My priority in all I do as principal, including making these determinations, is to err on the side of safety for our students every time.   

I make every attempt to make decisions the night before a potential change to give families the ability to plan their mornings, child care, travel and the like. Often I will call a late start the night before (if conditions warrant) to give us time to determine what to do the next day and to watch the actual weather developments. This is what we did Monday, 10.28. Tuesday, 10.29, as I drove to school, it was clear to me that the forecasts were wrong in terms of the timing of the snow coming in (I thought we might be dealing with an early dismissal Tuesday) and we had to close. Then, Tuesday night, we took our cue from the major districts - all of our surrounding districts - closing for Wednesday, 10.30.

This may be more than you wanted to know, but I did want to rearticulate how all this works with some real data of the last few days!

As you know, Final Exams will be administered as scheduled Tuesday, 11.5 (Periods 1 and 2) and Wednesday, 11.6 (Periods 3, 4 and 5). Your students’ teachers have been considering the impacts of losing the 3 days this week and how to compensate for them in terms of curriculum and planning of exams. I have the utmost confidence in their and your students’ preparation.

Calmness Before Exams
I shared this last week and it seems all the more important this week:

Dear God, only your peace can sustain me through the anxiety and stresses of exam nerves. Your peace surpasses all understanding. I ask for this gift and choose to lean upon you at this time. Lord, come and remind me of your unfailing love. Remind me that you hold me safe, you understand me, and you cherish me. I lay down my fears before you.I leave them at the foot of the cross, for you have overcome the world. I choose to give you all my concerns, worries and fears of failure. I trust that your loving hand will hold me through these exams and lead into a bright future. Amen.