I’ve become a bit of a one-woman-snow-day-notification-machine.
We had three snow days last week and we are on one right now. Total snowfall over the past week: over 3 feet.
Each evening my colleagues and I avidly check our phones and computers for news about school closings. From the BPS website, to its twitter, to its facebook page, all the sources we’ve turned to are online.
But a lot of my students don’t have computers at home. Some have smart phones but many have smart devices that aren’t on data plans (so they can surf the internet using wifi but not 3G or 4G or LTE or 123LMNOP…wait, that’s not a thing?). I don’t have any idea how many have televisions. A few weeks ago, on the night of our first snow day, I became concerned when I got a phone call from a student (all in Spanish).
“Hola, Ms. A-P, we have school tomorrow?”
“No, we don’t have school tomorrow.”
“Oh,” long pause. “This is your number?!”
Naw kid, you clairvoyantly typed in a serious of random digits and that magically connected you to the phone in my hand. Instead I said, “Yes, this is my number. Use it wisely — don’t call me too late at night please!”
Once I hung up the phone this got me wondering. Why did my student need to call and verify that there was a snow day? How had she found out about the day off from school? Out of my concern I proceeded to call the six or so families that are newest to the country and have the least English-language access to notify them about the day off.
And last week I called those six families each night school was cancelled and then again Thursday night to say we had school on Friday.
When I got to school Friday their ELL teacher, Ms. V, pulled me aside.
“You know I asked them how they knew about the snow days. And you know what P said? She said she just calls Ms. A-P!”
Last night I made the same calls before heading out (uncharacteristically) to a Super Bowl Party. But to no avail. One drink in, a student called to ask about whether or not school was cancelled.
If only I had a way of sending out an automated recording…
[Update: No school tomorrow either, though tonight I turned to text messages for the families. Still got a call from a student wondering about tomorrow, this time in heavily-accented English. And according to both my mom and Jacob this is the snowiest week in Boston history, so I guess the days off are justified.]