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Superintendent News & Views: Are You Prepared for Winter Weather?

November 18, 2016
David Hill - North Tama Superintendent , Traer Star-Clipper

We've been blessed with reasonably good weather conditions since the school year started in August. Yes, there have been some foggy mornings where I've been up at 4:00 or 4:30 a.m. to make a safety assessment, but fortunately these instances didn't require a change of schedule and the safest decision was to proceed with a regular day of school.

As I write this column, North Tama students haven't missed a single hour of their learning time due to weather-related delays, early dismissals, or cancellations. Did you notice that I started that last sentence with the words, "As I write this column"? As we all know, Iowa weather can be unpredictable so I thought it would be best to include that clause in my statement.

While we do make it a priority to protect instructional time whenever possible, safety simply must come first. There are times when changing our schedule at the last minute is simply the right thing to do for the safety of all. Our school district is responsible for transporting hundreds of young people every day. We need to consider the safety of everyone concerned when making the decisions about school cancellations, delays, or early dismissals.

As a child, I remember the anticipation and excitement when there was an approaching winter storm hoping and wishing that maybe school would be canceled. Don't get me wrong I absolutely loved school but what child doesn't enjoy an occasional surprise day off along with a chance to play in the snow? I recall sitting in front of the TV in the early morning on those wintery days, hoping my school's name would appear among the list of schools having a delay or cancellation.

With modern technologies, we no longer need to sit by the TV or radio to know if school has been canceled or delayed. In previous years, many district patrons have subscribed to text alerts from KWWL Channel 7 or KCRG Channel 9 for this purpose. In case you missed the announcements from these stations, KWWL & KCRG NO LONGER OFFER THIS SERVICE. So, you will no longer receive texts from these TV stations and will need to find a new way to receive notifications.

We will still submit this information to area media outlets to be broadcast on-screen and in radio announcements; however, the school has no control over how long it takes for our information to be posted on TV or announced on the radio. For those of you who prefer real-time notifications that are sent directly to you, North Tama utilizes a system called Powerschool Alert Solutions to send an instant text message or email when a decision needs to be announced. This system is available to anyone who may be interested, whether or not they have children in school.

The link to subscribe is and it only takes a minute to sign up. Parents of current North Tama Students DO NOT need to sign up via this weblink, as you are already part of our alert system. If you need to update your contact information or preferences, please don't use the form on the website; instead, call 319-478-2265 and we will be glad to assist you.

While I'm not very accurate at predicting the weather, one thing we can all be sure of is that winter is approaching! Be sure to get signed up for our text alerts today so you don't miss out on an important announcement.

I continue to receive positive feedback on my SUPERINTENDENT NEWS & VIEWS columns in the Star Clipper. THANK YOU for your interest in North Tama schools! These newspaper columns, along with my blog and Twitter postings, are part of my plan for open communication with the community. As a shared superintendent who has duties in two different school districts, I believe that open communication is absolutely essential. If you've missed any of my columns or would like to re-read or share them with your friends and family, you are welcome to visit my blog at where they are all posted. You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter (@DavidRobertHill) where I will occasionally post updates or other information not found on the blog.



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