Palmer High Principal's Post


A Day We Won't Forget

Last Friday morning at 8:29 the first sign of the earthquake wasn't the shaking, I could hear a rumbling. The next 30 seconds we found out how powerful mother nature can be as the school jolted back and forth. The lights went out during the most violent shaking, and we were left in the dark. The emergency generator kicked on within seconds and we were able to take in the aftermath of the brief but violent earthquake.

Walking out of the front office area the atmosphere looked smoky from the dust of the quake. It wasn't long after that the fire alarms sounded. Knowing the building is old and the fire alarms were sounding there was only one thing left to do; evacuate the building.

The administration began the usual sweep that is performed on our monthly fire drills. The building was clear in around 3 minutes and the fire chief and the fire marshal showed up on the scene. One key difference between now and a typical fire drill is that after our student count we were not able to reenter the building due to the uncertainty of the building's structure and atmosphere. We sent another staff member to look into the conditions of the LDS (Mormon) church, which is our secondary gathering area; we couldn't take the chance of moving students into another potentially unsafe area. After verifying that the church was safe, a call was made to move staff and students.

From the LDS church, we found a steady stream of grateful parents that were reunited with their children. In the early afternoon, we released our last student back to their parent.

At the end of the day, there was a collective sigh of relief felt by everyone involved. Throughout the experience our students were resilient, our staff was supportive, and the end result was a stronger and better-connected school community. There has been an outpouring of gratitude from the school community, and the greater Palmer community.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Adjustments In Academics

The first day back with students went very well. Students were genuinely happy to be reunited with their friends and there was a positive energy throughout the building. I spent the morning visiting with first hour classes that shared stories of the experience and how they found their homes. It was good to process it together.

Students were out 4 days. The teaching staff is doing a great job of adjusting their curriculum and working with students to communicate the changes in timelines. I've emphasized with staff to not add undue pressure about covering materials that may have been previously anticipated. The second day back has looked more like business as usual. We have a purposeful approach of getting life back to normal and that already seems to be happening.

Finals week is the week after next and finals will take place during the last three days with students on December 18th, 19th, and 20th.

During finals, we strive to keep the test environment void of distractions. Students leaving the classroom can be a distraction to other students continuing to test. Please refer to the finals schedule to avoid checking out your student if they are done with their finals. We prefer that parents pick up or check out students during passing times. Thank you for your cooperation.

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