This past week we were reminded that it is still winter in Northwest Indiana.
As the storm approached and weather sources were calling for 8 to 12 inches, we reviewed plans and procedures and ensured everything was in place to deal with what Mother Nature had in store for us. While the support staff was making plans to handle the impending “doom,” students were making plans in hope for a snow day.
While Mother Nature supplied us with a day of snow, the support staff ensured we did not have a snow day. With the storm beginning as schools dismissed on Tuesday, the bus drivers went about their business without hesitation. They navigated through the heavy snowfall, ensuring safe delivery of every student.
As most of us fell asleep wondering how much snow we would get, the maintenance department hit the road to plow parking lots and remove snow. They worked through the night, clearing the parking lots at eight elementary schools, two middle schools, Portage High School, the Administration building, Food Service, Transportation and the Auxiliary Service Center.
With the amount of snow we received, it was much more than just pushing snow with a plow. They had to utilize Bobcats, front loader and dump trucks to remove snow from the parking lots. All of the locations were clean, safe and ready for the morning influx of staff and students.
Before sunrise, the remainder of the support staff dug out of their driveways and made their way to work. The custodians cleaned sidewalks and entrances, readying the buildings for student and staff arrival. The food service staff made sure the kitchens were up and ready to serve a hot breakfast as students arrived. Transportation arrived before dawn to inspect their buses and head out on their routes. At 4 am, the transportation director and I hit the road to see if the city streets were cleared and ready for student and bus traffic.
As I waded through knee-deep snow to get to my truck, I had my doubts. However, as I exited my neighborhood I quickly realized that the Portage Street Department was, as usual, as good as it gets. The main streets were clear and with few exceptions, the subdivisions were plowed.
I received calls from neighboring districts reporting that they were on a two-hour delay for opening and listened as they commented on how lucky we were to be ready to open on time.
They were absolutely right; we are very lucky to have a support staff and street department that work diligently to ensure our students, staff and community are safe.
While we are lucky, it is not luck that makes this happen. It is the hard work of everyone mentioned here that makes it happen.
It would have been very easy to raise the white flag and call a snow day. However, thanks to the hard work of both school and city employees, that wasn’t necessary. That is what defines teamwork: When things happen so seamlessly that the hum of daily schedules and activity are without interruption.