Friday, February 7, 2014

This is NOT a Drill.

If you asked me what my favorite part of my job's a tie. The best part of being the school counselor at BES is that I get to work with every student every year from the time they are in kindergarten until the time they leave us at the end of 5th grade. You really wouldn't believe the great and crazy things each kid does, or says, in those six years. The other best part is the reason I picked my job. Every day is different, you never really 100% know what to expect. Something is always surprising. A lot of people ask me what the worst part is too. The thing I dislike about my job is all my extra responsibilities. One of those topping all the others: Crisis Team Chairperson. You might recall the BES "fire" of 2011. There is far too much paperwork and "what ifs..." and personal opinions about protocols when it comes to crisis teams. Yesterday, my best and worsts collided.

Around 2:00 I was teaching a class of first graders when a co-worker came flying in the door. I knew immediately something was wrong. She told me to go to the office and she would take my class. I came to find out there was a manhunt in the neighborhoods surrounding my school and we had to "Secure the Building." After making a very quick plan in the office we alerted the staff and everything was fine. We were never really in imminent danger. We dismiss our students every day at 3:40 and that time very quickly crept up on us. A little before dismissal we were informed we wouldn't be allowed to dismiss our students. This put a little more stress on the situation. Phones were starting to ring and I'm sure there were lots of kid questions for teachers to answer. Eventually we were allowed to dismiss students to parents that came to pick up their child after 4:30. Ok, problem solved you are thinking. Yes, but no. Now you have 800 children who need picked up from school, and if you saw the road that leads to my school you would understand. {Here's some pictures} It's tiny. Two cars driving down it at one time is slightly nerve wracking. Then once they get there you have to make sure you are sending every kid home with the right person. I could go on and on about the logistics, but I won't. 

What I do want to talk about is the fabulous BES community. I might have days where I complain about my job, but I really do work at a wonderful place. I remember at one point yesterday standing the in the gym that was completely full with stressed parents, and kids trying to find parents, and a very busy staff and just thinking about the people checking the emergency cards (who ranged from teachers, to cafeteria staff, to substitutes) and how grateful I was for everyone standing there. Then I thought about all the bus drivers who were sitting at a venue just outside our school property waiting until 7:00 in case they were needed. Those people start work before 5:00 a.m. During the course of the afternoon I was stationed in the gym to help release students, but then got put in charge of giving snacks to hungry friends. It was so amazing just how calm the hallways and classrooms were. There was not one upset child. Everyone was basically having an extended recess and the time of their life while they waited so incredibly patiently. I consider it slight miracle that every single child had left the building by 7:15. Our parent community was so wonderful. They were calm and appreciative and even got up early to bring us a special breakfast, and then later brought us lunch today. It was such a crazy afternoon and evening, but we all worked together and made it happen. It was a proud day for BES. 

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