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How Christian County Public Schools Uses Perry Weather for District-Wide Weather Decisions

  • Chris Bentzel
    District Superintendent

  • Kerry Stovall
    District Athletic Director

  • Mike Long
    Head Athletic Trainer

“In my seat, my main priority is to provide a safe environment for our student athletes to compete. Perry Weather provides us that opportunity. All of our coaches and administrators have a system they can trust and rely on to make the right decision quickly.”
Kerry Stovall
District Athletic Director

Christian County Public Schools, a large district in Western Kentucky, encompasses 15 schools ranging from elementary to high school. Superintendent Chris Bentzel likens managing this district, with its nearly 8,000 students and 1,200 employees, to running a large city. The district’s operations include diverse components such as athletics, transportation, and scheduling, all of which can be affected by weather conditions.

Bentzel emphasizes the importance of equipping faculty and staff with the necessary tools to achieve the district’s primary goal: providing an environment where students can learn, grow, and compete. To this end, Christian County Public Schools invested in Perry Weather to enhance decision-making, particularly regarding student safety.

Kentucky’s climate presents various challenges, including extreme heat, lightning, high winds, and severe weather. Before implementing Perry Weather, the district struggled to make consistent decisions across its campuses. For instance, determining whether to adjust bus schedules during storms or modify athletic practices and games proved difficult.

Recognizing this challenge, Superintendent Bentzel and Athletic Director Kerry Stovall sought a solution that could provide accurate, location-specific weather readings, automate weather-related operations, and streamline decision-making processes for all sports and coaches. Perry Weather emerged as the answer to these needs, offering the district a comprehensive tool to manage weather-related challenges more effectively.

Enabling Staff and Faculty With Tools to Make Decisions

Before implementing Perry Weather, communication during weather-related events was a significant challenge for Christian County Public Schools. The district often relied on frantic text messages and phone calls to inform coaches and staff about changes to practices or games due to weather conditions. This process was not only inefficient but also often inaccurate, as the district depended on weather information from distant stations in Nashville, which didn’t always reflect local conditions.

Perry Weather has transformed this process, providing a streamlined solution for the entire faculty and staff. Now, they can quickly access the Perry Weather mobile app to find accurate, localized information and make informed decisions independently. This system also allows for top-down decision-making when necessary.

“Perry Weather solved the problem of isolated decision-making. In the past, when coaches or sponsors were in situations without immediate resources or communication lines, they struggled to make quick, informed decisions. Now, Perry Weather serves as our district’s single source of truth, empowering our staff to make correct decisions on their own, wherever they are.”

– Kerry Stovall, Athletic Director

This new approach has significantly improved the district’s ability to respond to weather-related challenges, ensuring more consistent and accurate decision-making across all schools and activities.

Automating Compliance with 2024/2025 KHSAA Heat Stress Mandate

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) has mandated Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) monitoring for the 2024/2025 season, replacing the less accurate Heat Index method previously used to ensure student-athlete safety during outdoor activities.

Initially, Christian County Public Schools, like many others, planned to use handheld devices such as the Kestrel 5400 for WBGT monitoring. However, Head Athletic Trainer Mike Long discovered several issues with these devices after a few months of use:

  1. Inaccurate Readings: Kestrel devices often overestimated WBGT, leading to unnecessary practice modifications or cancellations.
  2. Lack of Automated Warnings: Without integrated policy-based alerts, trainers had to manually inform coaches about required changes, resulting in communication gaps.
  3. Frequent Calibration: Kestrel units needed regular calibration and a 30-minute setup before each practice, introducing complexity and potential for human error.
  4. Manual Data Logging: The devices couldn’t automatically log WBGT values, requiring time-consuming manual recording.

Switching to Perry Weather resolved these issues by automating the entire WBGT monitoring process. The system provides:

  • Real-time readings from on-campus weather stations
  • Automated text messages and mobile push notifications to coaches and trainers
  • Clear, actionable guidance on practice modifications, hydration breaks, and equipment adjustments
  • Automatic WBGT value logging every 15 minutes, accessible via the Perry Weather dashboard

This transition has significantly improved the accuracy, efficiency, and reliability of the district’s heat stress management, ensuring better compliance with KHSAA mandates and enhancing student-athlete safety.

On-Premise Weather Monitoring for More Precise Data

Prior to implementing Perry Weather, Christian County Public Schools faced a significant challenge in obtaining accurate local weather data. The district had to rely on information from distant sources, typically the nearest airport in Nashville. This geographical disconnect led to a critical issue: the weather data used for decision-making was often highly inaccurate for Christian County’s specific locations.

Superintendent Bentzel explains, “The distance between our district and Nashville meant that we were frequently making decisions based on weather conditions that didn’t reflect our local reality. This inaccuracy often resulted in unnecessary cancellations of games or alterations to school activities.”

The solution came in the form of on-site weather stations installed across Christian County’s campuses. This local network of weather monitoring equipment has transformed the district’s ability to make informed decisions. Now, the schools have access to highly accurate, real-time weather data that is directly relevant to their specific locations, including schools, roadways, and athletic complexes.

This shift to on-premise weather monitoring has significantly improved the precision and relevance of the data used in decision-making processes. As a result, the district can now make more appropriate and timely decisions regarding school operations, transportation, and athletic events, reducing unnecessary disruptions while maintaining student safety.

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