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Letter from the Superintendent « West Ottawa Public Schools

Letter from the Superintendent

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February 6, 2014

Dear Friends,

We have had quite an interesting return from the holiday break so I wanted to take an opportunity to update you on the impact of snow days and some recent excitement at our high school campus.

We have not seen this much snow in recent memory, and this has led to more time for kids away from school than any of us would like.  Please know that we make snow day decisions with student safety in mind.  The state allows us six snow days per year without penalty, but as of this writing, we have needed eight snow days.  What this means is that we will have to make these days up at the end of the year unless there is some sort of legislative reprieve from Lansing.  Those make up days will be as follows:  <strong>June 6 will become a full day, June 9 (full day) and June 10 (half day), 2014</strong>.  Graduation, exam dates and schedules for seniors will remain the same.  We hope this notice will give you time to make appropriate arrangements.

Also, as you are probably aware, we had some excitement at the high school last week with the false report of an explosive device in the south building.  The story under the story, however, is that many people worked together to ensure an orderly response to a difficult situation.  More than 800 students needed to be moved from the south building to the north, the south building needed to be swept and cleared by law enforcement, parent questions had to be answered, and all of the additional students needed to be fed at one location (north high school) instead of two.  Our high school students remained calm and mature, following staff directives very well which kept a potentially chaotic situation pretty organized.  I was very pleased with what I observed at our high school campus that day from both students and staff.  Nearly all bomb threats are false, but we have to take them seriously because we value the safety of each and every child as much as you do.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update and for the opportunity you give us every day to prepare your students to be college, career and life ready.


Thomas K. Martin
Superintendent of Schools
West Ottawa Public Schools