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Local educators get creative with snow day announcements

Administrators say videos create sense of community

School administrators are showing students aren't the only ones who can have fun on snow days.

Following what's become a national trend of educators announcing school cancellations with song or dance numbers posted to YouTube and shared on social media, principals and superintendents in La Salle County have joined in the act with some memorable performances of their own.

Harding Grade School Principal Joseph Landers has sung parodies of "Baby Shark," "Do You Want to Build A Snowman" (or "Do You Want to Have a Snow Day?" as Landers sings it) and AC/DC's "Shook Me All Night Long" with the lyrics rewritten and the chorus changed to "It's Another Snow Day" to announce on Facebook canceled days last week at the K-4 school.

Following Landers' act, Sheridan Grade School Principal Randy Goodbred lip synced the theme song to "Welcome Back Kotter" on his school's Facebook page, and La Salle-Peru High School Suprintendent Steve Wrobleski starred in a skit of "Mister Wrobleski's Neighborhood" posted to YouTube — an homage to "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

Landers said he's not surprised the trend is catching on. He said the way school administrators communicate to parents is changing. Instead of sending notes home, educators are texting parents and posting to social media.

"It's all about creating community and a culture in the school," Landers said.

Tasked with duties that usually keep them in the office, administrators see the videos as a way to create a rapport with students and show they have personality.

"The kids love seeing it," Landers said. "The kids are coming up to me Friday morning to say, 'Hey I saw it.' ... It gives me an opportunity to make connections with parents and students."

Landers said singing a "Baby Shark" parody and a "Frozen" song were natural hits working with young children, but the AC/DC parody was him putting on a little bit of his own personal flare.

"I like having fun with it," he said.

Wrobleski agreed about having fun.

Due to L-P High opening late in the summer after renovation work and missing all of last week, including Friday due to a broken pipe in the building, students still are in first semester and in the midst of final exams.

They needed a smile, and the video — created with the assistance of Communications Director Matt Baker, Band Director Paula Tuttle and Choir Director Grace Currie — helped do so.

"I think kids like to see teachers and administrators be goofy," Wrobleski said. "It demonstrates that we have a sense of humor and we like to have fun."

Wrobleski's video posted Sunday night starts out with drone footage above La Salle-Peru High School, mimicking the opening of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

"It's a beautiful day at L-P High," Wrobleski sings as he enters with a hat and sweater on, pausing between words like Fred Rogers. "We're back on Monday, don't you cry. It's time to come back. We want you all back. It's time to start learning.

" ... It looked real good on Thursday night, then that pipe broke during the night, delayed again, delayed again, we just want you back ... "

The local trend is part of one that's sweeping the country. A superintendent and principal in Flint, Mich., sang a rewritten version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," a Missouri Valley, Iowa, superintendent has sung remixes of "Uptown Funk" and "Faith," and there was even a grand video reproduction of an "All That Jazz!" scene from a Swansea, Mass., principal.

Landers, who also plays the drums and guitar, said he's got some ideas for the next snow day.

"I might have to compose my own song," he said.

All the educators agree — the bar has been set pretty high. And that's part of the fun.

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