A destructive hail storm pummeled North Texas this past Monday evening. The hail caused significant damage to homes and cars in our little ISD, even causing us to cancel school Tuesday, for a “hail day”. (Everything’s bigger in Texas, right?) From golf ball sized hail at my house to SOFTBALL SIZED HAIL in another neighborhood…we were hit hard to say the least. Check out this aerial view:
Immediately after the 15 minutes of pounding rain and hail (I posted a video on instagram!) there were tasks to be handled and leadership implications. From checking on my campus to checking in on my teachers, I’ve added multiple tools to my leadership toolbox that will hopefully help myself (and anyone else!) not miss a beat if they go through this again or something similar!
- Do you have a check-in plan? While I had most of my staff’s numbers in my phone, I didn’t have EVERYONE. Needing to not only know the extent of damage to their personal homes but being able to personally reach out is important. I am thankful for my PLC leaders who were able to contact teams, and report back to me. Group texting is convenient but sometimes needs to just be between me and the person I need!
- Do you know the multiple modalities of communicating to students and families? I now know how to access my Skyward family blast system from our district website. It was HUGELY helpful to email all of our families and give campus & district updates. We posted it on Facebook and twitter, but in a situation like this I really needed to access as many ways as possible to get the messages out. (Campus website, marquee, phone blast, etc.) I’ve now saved these links within my chrome browser so I can access them at home if I leave my laptop at work.
- Who will walk your building if you can’t? While our district was amazingly prompt, I needed to walk my halls and give an immediate assessment report to our superintendent. Thankfully my car was in our garage and I was able to get here quickly. There were hundreds of cars completely totaled from the hail, making them undrivable. If you or your teachers can’t travel, what’s the plan?
- How will you be able to help? One campus posted on FB that they would open their gym on our “hail day” allowing parents some kid free time to handle broken glass, phone calls, window repairs. If your building is habitable, what a tremendous support as parents are dealing with all their damage.
- Who is your district contact? From sub questions, to damage reports, to teacher needs…who and how will you communicate with district leaders? I am blessed with a text savvy supt so he is available ALL the time ( I don’t think he slept Monday night!) but you will have many questions. Know your contacts! (And, as importantly, have their numbers at home!!)
- What will you do if your teachers are impacted? Our district resoundingly responded with not many out at all today, despite the damages incurred on many houses. We had a plan on how to divide up students if necessary, and have car pool plans now in place for those without vehicles. How will you cover classes and/or duty if your people can’t get there? From homes with holes to daycares with no roof, there is a myriad of reasons people have had to miss today.
- Where will you be? Videos on the news showed our amazing teachers, janitorial staff, administrators, and even our superintendent being all hands on. I raked yards, helped carry in tools/wood to cover windows, and delivered lunch to roofers. It has all contributed to such a STRONG commitment to our district and community. Humble leadership is down in the trenches and if you’re able to contribute, it will make an impact.
This has been a year of learning experiences, that’s for sure! I’ve taken plenty of notes in the last 48 hours and while I hope I don’t have to use them again this year, I feel SO much better about how I will handle what mother nature throws our way!
Texas weather ready,