Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Facing A Difficult Challenge
Another milestone reached today. As of noon I officially finished booking all the elementary schools in the Alpine District. Once again the Space Education Center will meet its obligations.
Now I face one of the most difficult tasks required of me each year. What do I do with all the non-Alpine District schools? There are too many of them and not enough open dates. It is a problem I’ve dealt with for the last seven or so years but its getting worse. Every year the Alpine District opens more schools. The District is exploding in the Lehi / Eagle Mountain areas. The thousands of new students enrolling every year must be accommodated. Every new school I book takes one non Alpine school off the calendar.
Here is a typical phone call from a non Alpine teacher....
“Hello. Is this Mr. Williamson?”
“Yes it is.”
“This is ........ from ........... school. I’m wondering if we can book our yearly field trip.”
“Well, I’m currently booking the Alpine District schools. I should be done with them this week. Next week I’ll start working on schools out of the district.”
“So I’m calling too early?”
“Just by a few days. I’ve taken your name and number and will get in touch with you next week.”
“Will there be anything left over for us?”
“Well, its getting tight. Our district is growing larger and larger every year. Every new school means a loss to an out of district school. I can’t make any promises. I wish I could.”
“So do we Mr. Williamson. So do we.”
“Well, I’ll call you next week.”
“Please do what ever you can for us. Mr. Williamson. We’ve been coming to the Space Center for nearly 15 years. Our students are so excited to finally reach the 6th grade because they know they’ll get to go to the Space Center like their older brothers and sisters. Its all they ask about the first day of school. You’ve become an institution in this school. It is a tradition that must continue. It means so much to the kids. I just wanted you to know that. Please do what you can for us.”
I hang up and sit back in my chair. I know what the calendar looks like. I know I only have a few days open and several schools on the wait list. A wait list that grows daily. Last year I took the cowards way out. I wrote a letter explaining my situation to the schools I couldn’t accommodate. This year I’ll do the same.
Some schools will not let their Space Center field trip disappear. They are willing to book after school field trips. These fantastic teachers will bring their students on their own time, after school to ensure they get the experience. My hat is off to them. They truly go the extra mile for their students.
Last year we accommodated every school that wanted an after school trip. Yes, it meant we worked four missions a day instead of our normal two but if that teacher was willing to give up their time I felt obliged to do the same. We will offer the after school experience again this year. I hope more teachers will take advantage of it.
Well Troops, here we are again. We prepare for another year. We clean the ship and prep the computers. We prepare our uniforms and costumes. We brush off our scripts and ready new ones. We update the web site and then, on or around September 14th we open our doors wide and welcome Utah to the Second Happiest Place on Earth!