Educational Institutions & Severe Weather

  • Sep 20, 2017

Educational Institutions and Severe Weather

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an educator as one skilled in teaching or ad administrator in education. We know, however, that educators are so much more than just a sentence on a piece of paper. There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to understanding the important impact the education system has on students and the high level of effort educators go to achieve it. Those who work in the education sector, both public and private, value one thing above everything else: their students.

Teachers, superintendents, and athletic staff alike all play an integral role in preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. These professionals spend every day making sure students are well-educated, safe, and prepared for the future. However, it can be difficult to engage every student in learning about the world around them and just as challenging to keep them safe while at school.

Unfortunately, these days there are a number of things that can put students at risk. One subject that has remained constant since the beginning of time is severe weather.

Weather Challenges 

One emergency school districts must be prepared for in order to protect students, staff, and parents is severe weather. Depending on your location, campus weather conditions can vary from season to season. For example, blizzards and icy conditions complicate drop-off’s and pick-up’s during the winter months while thunderstorms turn normal school day activities into dangerous situations.

Severe weather conditions like thunderstorms, blizzards, tornadoes, and hurricanes, can create confusing and dangerous situations at any school district. However, they also tend to spark an interest in meteorology within the student body. The threat of severe weather poses two main challenges at school districts:

  1. How can we keep our students safe?
  2. How can we keep students interested in STEM subjects, like meteorology, year-round?

The answer to all of these questions lies in monitoring weather data.

Why Weather Data?

What’s the difference between accessing real-time weather data and just watching the weatherman on TV? It comes down to the uses schools, colleges, and universities have for this data. If you want to streamline district level logistics, improve athletic safety, and advance student interest in STEM education, you need the best severe weather tracking data streaming to your district with the easiest to use interface.

Our Earth Networks weather visualization, severe weather alerting, and STEM education tools enable superintendents, athletic staff, and teachers to keep students safer and more engaged in the classroom while making these tasks easier to obtain. Let’s take a look at three use cases to see how schools around the country are investing in logistical planning, safety, and STEM. Or, you can skip ahead by clicking the image below to learning all about our education weather safety solutions.
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1. Athletic Directors, Coaches, & Trainers

Athletic Directors and Coaches both put in long hours to ensure student-athletes have fun, play competitively, and stay safe. Between making schedules, training athletes, and dealing with parents, athletic staff members at schools have a lot on their plate. Plus, you have to worry about something else that can impact your effectiveness of a team: Player injuries. One of the biggest concerns whether your team is coming off a state championship or a building year is keeping your athletes safe. School sports are an extension of the school itself, so it’s important to look out for your students.

That being said, you can’t really be prepared for every injury student-athletes can suffer from. Sometimes, bruises, sprains, concussions, and breaks are just part of the game as a season wears on. However, if you have real-time, hyperlocal weather data and an easy way to access it, you can protect students from weather-related injuries like:

  • Dehydration
  • Heat-Related Illnesses
  • Electrocution by Lightning

While these injuries seem rare, they happen more frequently than you think.

Dallas Independent School District

At the Dallas Independent School District in Texas, the athletic administration protects their student-athletes, visitors, and fans with an Outdoor Alerting System. This lightning alert system has helped notify athletes, coaches, trainers, and fans in a consistent manner that there are dangerous storms with lightning in the area. Their Outdoor Alerting System also takes the human element out of the decision-making process when deciding when to suspend an athletic activity. Gil Garza, Director of Athletics at the Dallas Independent School District says that it is “very comforting to us, as athletic administrators, that our parents realize we have taken that extra step to ensure safety for everyone attending our athletic activities.”

2. Teachers & Aids

While safety is a constant concern, a teacher’s main purpose is to educate his or her students. In today’s digital world, keeping students’ attention while preparing them for their futures can be difficult. This is especially true in STEM subjects.

STEM subjects are important for preparing students for the future. According to the U.S. Department of Education, STEM jobs are projected to increase up to 62% in some areas by 2020.* This is quite alarming when only 16% of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career.*

Investing in STEM programs is a great way for districts to show that they care about their STEM teachers and their STEM learners. Programs like WeatherSTEM help teachers engage students with online lesson plans. When integrated with an Earth Networks weather station, students can get meteorological data from their own school. This combination helps teachers present STEM data to students and keep them engaged.

Then Morristown-Beard School

The Morristown-Beard School in New Jersey is one of the leaders in weather-inspired STEM education in the area. After installing an Earth Network weather station on their campus, students at all different levels started getting more interested in the weather. Interest quickly morphed from checking the weather display on a daily basis to starting a student-run meteorology club. Jeff Yuhas, a science teacher at the high school level, guides the students as they learn about the weather outside with Earth Networks educational software.

Not only have the students at Morristown-Beard School created their own weather station and presented at the American Meteorological Society, but they also recently became protected by an Outdoor Alerting System. As an open campus, Morristown-Beard has students moving from building to building in between classes every day. They also have plenty of sports teams that train outdoors three seasons out of the year. The school’s Athletic Director, Joanne Dzama, used to receive text alerts from Earth Networks containing severe weather alerts. However, she found that the alerting system is a much more efficient way of clearing the fields. This has a lot to do with the strobe lights and horn. “Instead of receiving a text and forwarding to my coaches, everyone knows exactly when a storm is on the way.”

Sources

US Department of Education.  https://www.ed.gov/stem