The New Normal
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The New Normal

Written by 12 November 2012

The following is a guest blog post by Brad Currie, a Middle School Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ ... Brad was one of many educators affected by Hurricane Sandy.....

The New Normal

The New Normal The past ten days have been an unbelievable and life changing experience for many people and many educators in New Jersey and beyond. The effects of Hurricane Sandy have altered people’s way of life and how the current school year will play out. A new normal has arose from this natural disaster and will change the way school districts set up their school calendars, communicate without electricity, provide instruction in shorter time frames and educate with empathy.

From a personal standpoint as a school leader, I have noticed several things during my ten powerless days off…….

  1. Instant alert systems, Twitter and Facebook have provided schools with a reliable method to communicate important information. Many people impacted by the severe weather have been without home Internet access or phone service. Communicating with stakeholders through these mobile device apps is quite necessary.
  2. Electricity is essential to life and obviously imperative to schools running in an efficient manner. Investing in back up generators might be an issue boards of education look at with more focus. Partnerships with surrounding school districts and community organizations helps address issues that arise.
  3. Strong leaders understand the importance of human safety and don’t rush to judgements just to get the days in. These same administrators should also communicate in a timely fashion and lead with empathy. Keeping a level head and being transparent enables stakeholders to buy into the deductions that are made.
  4. The education community around the Tri-state area and across the country for that matter have come together and lent a helping hand to those in need that were effected by Hurricane Sandy. The EdcampNJ group in particular is helping schools with supplies, selling tee shirts and holding a toy drive for kids that have had their world turned upside down.
  5. Humans are resilient and caring during trying times. For the most part people are taking these life changing experiences in stride and making the best out of a terrible situation. There is no doubt that communities and schools will come back stronger than ever. Families have taken other families into their homes and provided food and shelter, which to me is truly remarkable.

The New Normal Hurricane Sandy has provided schools with very challenging circumstances and everyone has learned some valuable lessons. There is no doubt that school districts will evaluate their crisis management procedures and develop “out of the box” solutions moving forward. A new normal has now presented itself and schools have to adapt accordingly. Strong leadership, teamwork and creative thinking will guide school districts through this type of disastrous situation with the success of all students the top priority.

About the Author:

Brad Currie is the Middle School Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is the co-founder and co-moderator of a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders called #satchat. Brad promotes the expansion of PLNs and social media integration in the school setting. You can follow Brad on Twitter @bcurrie5 or read his blog at

Click here to read Brad's original post.

Thank you so much to Brad for allowing us to re-post and share his story. The SimpleK12 Team would like to extend our thoughts to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

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The New Normal


  • Connie said:

    Brad I do feel your pain and concern for everyone who was affected by Hurriacan Sandy. 7 years ago my family came here from New Orleans. The devatastion was unreal and painful to all the them. Yes, it is very important that our leaders lead with empathy because the victims’ lives will never be the same. Being an elementary school teacher, knows how life tradegies have a major impact of our students. If I can do anything for the students, please let me know. My students and I are having deep converstation about what If….

  • Brian said:

    Can’t agree enough with point number one. My home phone is provided by my cable provider, so no power (or cable) means no phone. I eventually figured out I could forward my home phone to my cell phone, but for the first couple days I had to rely on Facebook, News 12, and texting colleagues to know what was happening at my school.

    It’s nice to get a phone call, but it seems there are far more efficient ways to handle announcing a closure, like a) e-mailing everyone, b) promptly updating the district website, or c) establishing a district Twitter/Facebook account for announcements. I’m a graduate student at Rutgers and a teacher in NJ. Rutgers has done a good job of adapting and using new technology to communicate; a lot of K-12 districts have not.
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