January 10, 2018  |  Announcements

Making the Call: Inclement Weather

The decision to delay or cancel school is not a light-hearted or flippant decision. When a threat appears, Dr. Smith is in regular communication with Executive Director of Operations, Rodger Smith, and Transportation Director, Matt Miles. Mr. Smith and Mr. Miles actually drive around the district after midnight several times to assess the condition of the roads in Lawrence Township. They then provide their recommendation for Dr. Smith’s consideration. According to Mr. Smith, “Timing is the hardest part of the whole process, as we cannot control the weather.”

The geography of the district does play a role in the determination and the geography of Lawrence Township is different from the other Marion County districts. There are some hill-y areas on east 82nd Street and Fall Creek. These critical areas are watched with regard to both salt and plowing. 82nd Street, Fall Creek Road, Shadeland Avenue, and the southern and southeastern parts of the district are prone to snow drifting. Many streets lack sidewalks, forcing students to stand in the street following significant snow accumulation.

With regard to temperature and other specifics, visit: Weather Related School Closing Procedures & Guidelines.

Prior to making the final decision, Dr. Smith confers with his superintendent colleagues in Marion County to hear their thoughts. It is his wish to have a decision made no later than 5:15 am, but snow-(1).jpgsometimes it is 5:30 am. He then contacts District Coordinator of Communications, PR, and Marketing, Dr. Dana Altemeyer, who puts out the message to families via telephone, social media, the district app, and local news stations.

By statute, Indiana schools at the elementary level are required to provide students with 300 minutes (5 hours) of instructional time each day. These minutes cannot include time for lunch or recess. Secondary schools are required to provide students with 360 minutes (6 hours) of instructional time. (Indiana Department of Education)

In 1987, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that extended the school year to 180 days. Since that law was passed, schools are required to complete 180 full instructional days, based on the instructional time requirements described above. In the event of emergency weather conditions, schools are allowed a maximum of 120 minutes for a delayed arrival or an early dismissal. Anything beyond that amount of lost instructional time is not considered a full instructional day, and the day cannot count as one of the 180 required instructional days. Translation = Delays do not require make up but cancellation does.

There will be times when a delay or closing is inconvenient, or not as timely as families would like. Unfortunately, is not possible to please everyone. The district makes the best decision it can at the time with the information available. We are grateful for our weather forecasters and the technology at our disposal in dealing with inclement weather situations. That being said, safety of students and staff will always be the #1 priority.
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