Important Snow Delay Information!

Snow Days Are Coming!

As the weather has chilled and the leaves clog our storm drains, a spectacular science experiment is being conducted right over our heads: liquids are turning to solids!  And if it stays cold enough, for long enough, with enough liquid in the air, then piles and piles of those solids will accumulate all around us.  Tires will spin, plows will scrape, and folks at The Weather Channel will squeal with delight.

How will everyone know if school’s delayed or cancelled?  Because of busing, we follow Pittsburgh Public Schools’ delay schedule.  If PPS has a two-hour delay, we have a two-hour delay.  Usually, but not always, we follow them for closing as well.  However, other districts do not always align their plans with PPS; more detailed instructions are attached.  We publish our own delay and closing notices on KDKA, WPXI, and WTAE web and TV services.

This year we’re launching a text-notification service to complement these other platforms.  A test of this system will be run tomorrow, Tuesday, November 27th, at noon.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Dave Moore

At A Time Like This

After a very hard weekend for our city, I’m reminded of a scene from that fount of wisdom, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (we have the VHS if you want to borrow it)…

At the beginning of the third Act, Kirk, McCoy, and a team of scientists are trapped in an underground cave system on a dead moon, while Khan (the bad guy) flies off with a doomsday machine.  TheEnterprise is damaged and can neither chase Khan nor retrieve the away team.  It is a most hopeless moment.

“Is there anything to eat?”  Kirk asks as he sits down.  “I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m starved.”

McCoy is indignant: “How can you think of food at a time like this?”

Last night and this morning I reminded our teachers that we trust them to do what they considered was “developmentally appropriate” for their classes.  Middle School history classes were, ironically, already discussing the Holocaust and antisemitism through the ages.  They talked about the pervasive influence of evil, always, in the words of Genesis, “crouching at our door.”  4th and 5th graders were discussing this topic as well and could place the events in Squirrel Hill in a larger narrative framework.  Younger students were free to discuss their responses with their teachers and were encouraged to pray for the victims and the community at large.

And meanwhile, another chick hatched in the 1st Grade incubator, bringing us to eight distracting babies!  A student came in from recess to get a band-aid on his knee.  The 4th/5th-grade chip peddlers came by my office at the usual time.  We judged a few posters about the golden rule.  An inflatable cow was seen heading upstairs.  Kids talked, or didn’t, to whom they needed when they needed.

The same things happened at the same times they always do because that’s what everyone is used to… and “what we’re used to” is our best tool for helping kids mature through events like this.  Keeping the routine – while simultaneously telling kids that we’re also sad, angry, or scared – reminds kids that we can lament while not despairing, we can grieve without being crushed.  We live in a bent world; darkness thrashes against the light, but it will not prevail.  We might have to adjust our step, or even take a different route from time to time, but we will keep marching.

It might seem a sacrilege to “think about food at a time like this,” but that’s what our kids need right now.  Please, turn off the news coverage; put down the phone; read the Bible together; go to bed on time (for once).  Cook, play, run, wrestle, dance, pray.  Ask your kids how they’re doing; tell them how you’re doing, and pass the potatoes.

Dave Moore

our chick:

Taking Time

Taking Time

If it would ever cool off around here, the air would clear enough to see the summer constellations of Lyra and Cygnus brightly overhead each evening.   Thanks to the lengthened night, you can also see the winter marvels of Orion, Taurus, and Canis Major each morning.  Such is the marvel of autumn stargazing: you can see all the good stuff and get a good night’s sleep in between.

When I took students out for a night walk at PUCS Camp, I pointed out the constellations, and especially the planets, that we could see on that moonlit night.  Venus had already set, but Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars brilliantly revealed the plane of the solar system.  We then focused our telescope on the moon’s craters and Saturn’s rings.  I wish we could plan Camp around a clear night every year!

Invariably, each time I point these nightly wonders out to people, someone asks, “How do you know this?”  They’re typically not asking this to challenge my information; they genuinely want to know where it’s coming from.  “I just do,” is my typical response.  I’ve been staring at the stars since I was little, got my first telescope when I was 11, and wore out the library’s copy of “Find the Constellations.”  I still look at sky charts and pay attention to the movements of the sky almost every night.

But it isn’t information I was born with.  My love for it is possibly innate, but my understanding of it is not.  This took work.  I’ve read a lot, studied a lot, watched the sky a lot.  Though the journey starts with love and curiosity, mastery, and even enjoyment, are the result of hard work.  Loving work… but work nonetheless.

When our kids get frustrated about what they don’t know, we can remind them that mastery is not innate.  All we are born with is the raw material: mastering skills, developing understanding, even knowing how to learn, take hard work.  There is nothing broken about them if they don’t have a skill or an understanding they wish they had.  In fact, thinking you have it all together is generally a greater problem!

Loving something – like writing, singing, or astronomy – means having an internal drive to master it.  Often, this love can sustain our curiosity, even when mastery gets tough.   But it can never shortcut that mastery.  Teach your kids to be patient, and keep at it.