The beginning of the school year always brings with it a combination of excitement and stress. Like lots of other parents, Catie and I will adjust to a new morning routine as Jeremy enters middle school and Owen concludes elementary school. For teachers and administrators, there are a whole different set of challenges, from preparing lesson plans, to organizing bus routes, to orienting newcomers. All in all, considering the potential complications, things usually work remarkably well, but it takes a lot of effort from a lot of people.
So when a huge monkey wrench gets thrown into the mix, it’s no fun. That’s exactly what happened at Webster Elementary School, when a portion of the ceiling collapsed over the summer. Fortunately, no one was injured, and we can all be very thankful that the collapse occurred while school was out, but the structural problems revealed by this incident now require extensive building repairs at Webster – and that means the school must be closed through about December. In other words, a whole elementary school needs to be temporarily relocated. Oy.
The relocation options are limited, and after careful consideration, the School District decided to utilize the former Holy Family School by Holy Family Church. So far, so good. But picking a site for classrooms is only the beginning. Then come all the related logistical headaches and complications for students, parents, teachers, and staff . . . as well as the legitimate concerns of the neighborhood surrounding Holy Family, which must now absorb a big influx of traffic and activity.
The School District and City government worked together to develop a plan that aims, as well as possible, to balance different needs, minimize impacts, and, most importantly, ensure that New Rochelle’s kids get the educational experience they deserve.
You can read the details in this memo from City Manager Chuck Strome, with more information on the School District website. And, of course, information is being shared directly with affected school families and residents.
Even the best laid plans can go awry, and I suspect that changes and adjustments will be necessary going forward, as we all learn from experience. And, of course, some level of inconvenience for everybody is unavoidable.
But there is at least one reason to feel good about all of this, because it’s shown our community’s ability to come together quickly and effectively to address a pressing need. I want to express sincere thanks to the many people who labored to assemble and execute this temporary relocation plan and to everyone who will have to work through its effects in the next few months. It won’t be easy, but it’s gratifying to see our common commitment to supporting New Rochelle’s children.
And this sure puts the comparatively minor beginning-of-school-year adjustments in my family and most other families in the proper perspective.
Have a great school year.