Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thank You To All of Our School Heroes!

We've all read and/or seen information regarding students/Principals/Teachers/Bus Drivers stranded within their buildings or buses for hours and some even overnight.  I know this was the case at Dunwoody Elementary School and Peachtree Charter Middle School.  I am posting the message below from Vanderlyn Principal Mrs. Sanders as an example of the heroic efforts of our educators (and parents) during this weather crisis. I am sure each individual school has their own examples of heroes in their midst. I hope that DeKalb School Superintendent Thurmond will offer a MEANINGFUL Thank You to all of those District employees that gave of themselves and their own safety so that our children could be safe. 
Dear Viking Family,
I am once again amazed by the power of collaboration, teamwork and selflessness. The fact that we had less than an hour to prepare 760+ students for a modified dismissal did not seem to unravel our staff. We began the day with a contingency plan and communicated with all stakeholders. Just when we thought that we had made it through a complete and normal day, we received word that we would be dismissing students within the hour. It is safe to say that our plan worked for the majority, but not without a few unexpected pains along the way. Several factors beyond the school's and parent's control put a snafu in our best laid plan. Here is a quick synopsis of today's events:
  • Parents were able to check students out fairly quickly through a 3 station check-out procedure that was organized by grade-level. Thanks to our Special Area Teachers for making this happen!
  • Carpool and walkers were dismissed without incident and there were several parents who served as good neighbors to those working parents who could not make it to the school. I even received a call from parents who offered to return to the school to pick up stranded students from her neighborhood! (Thanks Suzie).
  • All buses ran with no delays with the exception of Bus 22B which runs a 2nd route to the Jefferson Apartments. The second route was severely delayed causing our students to arrive home very late. This bus was caught in the horrible traffic from the simultaneous dismissal of schools and created a flurry of worried parents. Despite their worry, they were polite and understanding as we explained that the bus was safely in route but was unable to navigate through standstill traffic. Unable to communicate with the drivers, we all waited patiently until the safe arrival of the students to their homes. There was a great dad (Kumar) who communicated with me throughout the extended wait and let me know that all was well when the bus finally arrived!
  • Patience kicked in as many of our staff remained to supervise several students whose parents were stranded in traffic for hours and were unable to get to the school. This type of selflessness allowed the majority of teachers to get home safely to their children and families. The altruistic staff that volunteered to stay was more concerned with the welfare of those who had further travels than themselves and offered to stay until the last child left. There were too many to name!
Overall, we learned that even the best-laid plans don't always go according to the way they are supposed to. But literally, at the end of the day, I can sigh with relief that all students made it home safely, some late, but nevertheless, safe. Thank you to the many staff members who went above and beyond the call of duty, to the many parents who assisted their neighbors, to the parents who had to endure a bit of worry because of a late bus, and for those who felt helpless as they desperately made futile attempts to make it to the school to pick up their children.

As I drove home finally to reunite with my family, my ride was inundated with calls and text messages from my wonderful staff and parents making sure that I got home safely. Needless to say, I am overcome with joy and gratitude that all the students and staff got home safely and also with disbelief of how today's events left others in a state of true emergency. How blessed we were to end the hectic day on a good note! As I watch the news and see all the horrible situations occurring for stranded students and staff in various schools, I pray that they are able to experience the lessons I learned today... patience, kindness, teamwork and selflessness. All the best on our 1st Snow Day tomorrow! Enjoy your families and have some much needed fun in the beautiful snow! Sorry to make this so personal, but for me, it always is.

Your Proud Leader,
Mrs. Crenshaw

1 comment:

  1. I took my son 8 hours to get home from DES. He's in a special education class there and his bus route goes all over the city. After about 6 hours, my husband and older son walked up to meet his bus on Ashford Dunwoody. The driver dropped them off at the BP station on Mt. Vernon. After a futile stop at Mellow Mushroom they arrived home at 9:30 pm. Kudos to his driver Jeanette and Tenesha his bus aide for keeping calm, remaining in touch by cell phone.