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Jan 292014
 

The front entrance to the new Yale-Peck Place school.

The front entrance to the new Yale-Peck Place school.

The parking lot of the Yale West Campus saw more full parking spaces on Tuesday night than since it was home to the Showcase Cinemas decades ago.

Parents and students from the Peck Place community flocked to the site to get their first glimpse of the new Peck Place School digs in a corner section of the vast college campus.

Supt. Lynn McMullin and just about everyone from the Orange Board of Education were on hand for the open house, including Principal/Director of Curriculum & Instruction at Mary L. Tracy, Colleen Murray, who greeted and hugged the children just as she did when she was principal of Turkey Hill School.

Peck Place Principal Eric Carbone stopped to talk to as many of the 375 children and their parents as he could. One boy who hadn’t seen him in a while asked why he had a beard.

“I’ll shave it again soon,” he assured the child.

Of his school’s new temporary home, Carbone said, “We love it. It’s outstanding. It was a total team effort from everybody in Orange to everybody at Yale to make this happen. The kids are ecstatic , they want to see it, explore their new spaces, and tomorrow will definitely be a great day.”

First Grade teacher Pattie Moffet greeted her students and graciously accepted a large box of hand wipes from a parent. She spoke to selectman Mitch Goldblatt and explained how wonderful everyone was in getting the space set up for the kids.

Another teacher told parents that one difference between Peck and the Yale Campus was that there are no water fountains, so children will have to bring bottled water that can be refilled in the sink, but she was delighted that the movers brought her tissue boxes over from her old classroom.

She hugged students that she hadn’t seen in a while and told them that they would all be together again tomorrow.

Parents seemed to be very impressed and pleased with the look and layout of the space. “Our kids will be begging to go to school now,” one dad told an administrator.

Rebecca Brandriff, Director of Finance and Administration for the Yale-West Campus has been especially busy this month.

Her job was to get all the necessary approvals from the University to move Peck Place to the West Campus and helping Carbone facilitate the move from one school to another.

“Eric has been wonderful,” she said of Carbone and her experiences working with him in this crisis.

As far as the school busses dropping off and picking up and having everything run smoothly Brandriff said, “We have a map, we have a plan and all of our staff is aware of what is happening — we’re looking forward to the first day.

She said the campus has beautiful hiking trails that teachers and students can use and nature often comes to the building which will thrill the children. “We have lots of deer that walk around here and the kids will be able to see them up close as they eat their lunch in the cafeteria,” she said. “I know they’ll love it.”

One special event awaits the sixth graders in June. Brandriff said Yale West will host their graduation ceremony in the campus auditorium. They will be able to say that they graduated “at” Yale — not “from” Yale — but pretty darn close.

A parent named John said his son will miss his new friends at Race Brook School, but it will be nice to get back to some sort of normalcy with his old classmates.

The Peck Place Students are expected to arrive at the Yale West Campus Wednesday morning shortly after 8 a.m. to the bright lights and big cameras of the local news media. (Update: The snow caused a 2 hour delay this morning)

We wish everyone luck and happiness in your new “temporary” home.

 

 

 

 

Jan 212014
 

yale west campusFollowing is a press release from the town of Orange

First Selectman James Zeoli and Lynn McMullin, Superintendent of the Orange Board of Education, announced today that following a recent water line break at Peck Place School, Yale University has agreed to house the students at Yale’s West Campus through the end of the school year.

“The Town of Orange, and more particularly the Peck Place family, are very grateful to Yale. I want to thank Bruce Alexander and Scott Strobel of Yale for all of their assistance. When our students needed a home, Yale immediately stepped up and provided them with one. Yale is part of the fabric of the Orange community,” Zeoli said.

Yale’s assistance will allow for incorporating the bond work renovations that were scheduled for the summer, with the building’s remediation and State certification.

Zeoli also expressed his gratitude to Superintendent McMullin. Our Superintendent has worked around the clock on this issue and has set a great example for her staff,” Zeoli said.

Superintendent McMullin expressed her thanks to her administrative staff, teachers and parents. “Everyone has stepped up to meet this challenge. Our Peck Place principal, Eric Carbone, has worked tirelessly to ensure that the building on the Yale campus will work for our teachers and students,” McMullin said.

Superintendent McMullin confirmed that she is working to complete the relocation to Yale before the end of the month. “We are moving quickly and are working with state and local officials to ensure that the temporary school meets our requirements,” McMullin said.

In addition to the pipe break at Peck Place School, town officials addressed an external water main break at Turkey Hill School that occurred on January 2nd between the building and the fire hydrant and caused water to flow across the parking lot. In a classroom in that same general location, a custodian noticed a gap in the window ledge on Friday, January 17th.

Jan 112014
 

yale west campusThis past week school administrators, students, teachers and parents survived the ultimate challenge — What do you do when there is a catastrophic event in your school?

For Supt. Lynn McMullin the nightmare began with a phone call at 7:15 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 6. Peck Place School had flooded due to the toll the freezing weather had on water pipes.

The majority of Orange Live’s readers were satisfied with the spur-of-the-moment decisions the school administrators made so students wouldn’t have to miss any class time.

Some parents have been more critical, sending angry e-mails to the school decision-makers and Orange Live heard just a few unkind comments about the event that followed the flooding.

From my experience, I have to say that McMullin, Mike Luzzi and the others have worked their [butts] off this week. Constantly thinking of ways to take care of the children — their first priority; posting updates on the school website and sending out e-mail blasts with any new information; and handling parents concerns the very best they can.

All of their hard work led to this decision: All Peck Place School Students will go to Yale.

I contacted Mrs. McMullin for new information and she referred me to the website, stating it was all there for everyone to see. And I must say, the notices (there are 3) are so clear and detailed that I don’t really see what else can be said.

Here is the complete Friday Notice to Peck Place Parents regarding the situation:

 Friday, January 10, 2014

Dear Peck Place Community,

I’m happy to update you about the latest developments for the Peck Place school building and especially our plans for your children.

Congratulations! Your children have all been accepted to Yale!

At a second emergency Board of Education meeting last evening, the Board authorized Peck’s move into a clean, new space at the Yale West Campus in Orange. (Below, I will explain the specific rationale for this decision.) The move will happen as soon as possible, but there are a few hurdles we still need to overcome. Contractual details for the use of the space need to be finalized, and Yale needs to remove all of the office-style cubicles and help us reconfigure the space into classrooms. Then, we will need to move Peck’s furniture, records, equipment (such as copiers and office computers), and supplies over. We are moving as rapidly as we possibly can, but there are a lot of details that need to be worked out — from thinking through the protocols for loading and unloading buses — to how the teachers and kids will move throughout building (marking the exits, bathrooms, etc.) — to how we can accommodate for students with special needs — to figuring out lunch, recess, and specials schedules.

This is very good news, however! The Peck teachers will soon be with their own students, and the Peck community will all be in one place very soon. The timeline is this: as soon as we possibly can. I ask that you trust Eric, his office staff and teachers, and his colleagues (Colleen Murray, Steve Bergin, Kai Byrd, and Mike Gray) to figure out all of the logistics for this move. Doing it once and meticulously is our primary concern. At some point next week, we may even ask for volunteers to help with the relocation. In addition, Eric will be reaching out to the PTO for support with some needs.

Upcoming Events:

1. Friday, January 10th 9:30 a.m.: Eric and others are walking the very large space to map out the rearrangement of partitions we need to turn the building into a school. Matt Bruder, our Tech Admin, is there as well to plan for technology access.

2. Friday, January 10th 11:00a.m.: Meeting with News 12.

3. Friday, January 10th 2:00 p.m.: The Peck teachers are being released from Race Brook and Turkey Hill and will meet Eric at the Yale West Campus building to help Eric with the lay-out and logistics and to become acclimated with the space.

4. Monday, January 13th: 6:00 p.m.: there will be a special meeting for parents upstairs at MLT. This will be a question and answer session. If you know your questions now, or think of them over the weekend, please email your questions to [email protected] Eric is going ‘off-the-grid’ for a short while, so that he can begin the renovation of the space.

You will not receive an answer to your email, but your question will be answered on Monday night and then again in the Q’s and A’s which will be emailed and posted to our webpage.

5. Monday, January 13th: 7:30 p.m.: Regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting.

6. An Open House at the Yale West Haven building: TBA

7. An Orientation for the kids: TBA

The Rationale for the Yale West Campus Decision:

Wednesday and Thursday as we began to look for new spaces, we made many phone calls. We explored suggestions about the spaces in local congregations, empty retail space on the Post Road, closed schools in other districts, and so on. (Many people immediately thought of Sandy Hook’s move into another closed school, but keep in mind that move took unlimited resources and over three weeks to accomplish.) We wanted something that would work for us sooner, rather than later, because the current situation we have, while working and even somewhat fun, is going to get ‘old’ really quickly.

Some places we called told us they couldn’t accommodate us for various reasons. We have to respect that. Other places were extremely open and helpful and invited us to come right in to look at what they could offer us.

These are the criteria we considered as we went from site to site:

 Location in or very near Orange

 Large enough to house all of Peck (or two spaces that could house at least ½. This was somewhat important to limit the number of places parents might need to pick-up their children around town.

 Fitted with fire alarms, phone service, and other communication and safety features

 Handicap accessible

 Clean, safe, and secure (not needing extensive or time-consuming renovation)

 Bus drop-off and pick-up that was safe and parent access, with parking

 Spaces for Special Education, school psychologist, and Tier I and II support services

 Bathrooms

 Playground and space for 21st Century

 Kitchen and cafeteria

 

You’ll be wondering why we didn’t choose one or another site, so I will provide some examples. As I said, the people in all of the spaces we saw were truly open and willing to help us in any way possible. We looked at the classroom spaces in the Greek Orthodox Church on Race Brook. The space was light and bright and had a kitchen and cafeteria space, but the classrooms were too small for our students and teachers to set-up shop. We couldn’t envision 150 students (½ of our Peck kids) in the space. We also looked at the Congregational Church across the street from the MLT. There the four or possibly five classrooms were larger, but the bathrooms were unisex, on a different floor, and there was no Internet service which would make daily communications difficult. One final example is our trip to the Hubble property. Again, wonderful people, but the building they could offer us was under construction in the lobby and on the first floor, and the rooms available were former yoga studios in the basement and lined floor-to-ceiling with mirrors. The road was too narrow to envision two buses safely passing each other on the way in and out.

We did choose carefully; and ultimately we decided on the Yale West Haven Campus because it met most of our criteria. We can house the entire school, thereby reuniting Eric, the teachers, and students. The drop-off and pick-up is perfect (I’m sure the Orange Police will assist with the intersection.) The building is incredibly secure, and we can set up our security desk in the entrance. We’ll have computer lab set-ups, and we can bring the laptop carts, the copiers, our office equipment, and so on. There are many push-out spaces for tutoring and Special Education. The draw-backs are important, but we can overcome them:

1. There is no gym or playground, so we will need to ‘manufacture’ exercise space within the building. There are beautiful walking trails outside.

2. There is no kitchen. There are too many federal regulations for me to go into here, but this won’t be a simple solution. We can have milk delivered to refrigerators in the building. We can deliver cold, boxed lunches to our free-and-reduced students and provide extras every day for kids who forget their lunches. But we may need to ask students and staff pack lunches and then supplement with deliveries on special days. Please be patient while we try to work this out. We can create a cafeteria space, so kids don’t eat at their desks, but there is no kitchen.

3. There is no intercom. However, we will install a portable solution and have already started working on it.

About the Peck Facility:

I will send another letter with more specific details, but the facility will be completely closed and off-limits within a day or two. We are working on the remediation of Peck very quickly, but as safely as possible. There is a State licensed hygienist assigned to us. An abatement means we are sealing off the building completely, and an abatement contractor with the correct licensing will be removing all of the floor tiles and the mastic which adheres them to the subflooring. (Remember the mastic is the issue, not the tiles). I will soon send out the official notice, but please understand no one under the age of 18 is allowed on the Peck Place property. If you see our custodians, Mike Luzzi, Matt Bruder, Eric, me, or our teachers coming and going over the next few days, it is only because the actual abatement has not begun and we are removing what we need for the new location.

When the kids return from Yale New Haven, they will return to a new, brighter, and cleaner environment!

Have a good weekend with your family.

Sincerely,

Lynn K. McMullin

Superintendent

 

May 202013
 

Participants are checked in at the Relay Recess.

Participants are checked in at the Relay Recess.

Earlier this month, the field and playground of Peck Place School were filled with hundreds of enthusiastic children who were anxious to take part in the first Orange Relay Recess, a mini event to get the kids outside for some exercise, have some healthy snacks and introduce them to the way the Relay for Life is run.

Relay for Life Committee Member and Peck Place School mom Kristin Marquis said she received information in 2012 about bringing the Relay Recess to the grade school levels and tried to get it off the ground, but it was too late in the year.

So in 2013, she jumped on it early because she thinks it is a great way to bring education, exercise and  fun to the grade school kids and raise awareness for the BOW Relay For Life which takes place on June 1 and 2 this year.

After reaching out to the student councils and principals of all three Orange elementary schools, she learned that Turkey Hill and Race Brook already had planned some sort of event for other causes and so Peck Place Principal Eric Carbone, the student council advisor, and kids rose up and got as many students involved as possible.

Marquis said Relay Recess was as true to the Relay for Life as possible with the kids getting their names checked off the list as they exited the school, and then walking, or running around the field for the entire recess.

When they were done, they took a break and had healthy snacks, bottled water, grapes, and such.

“There are 385 kids in the school, and we have participation from just about 50%,” Marquis said. “All the kids had to do was bring in a signed permission slip. If they got donations, it was great. All we wanted was awareness and participation.”

The awareness part was tri-fold — awareness for cancer prevention, awareness for being healthier, and awareness of the Relay event in June.

Student council member, Sophie, said the event was important because it helped raise money for a good cause and showed kids that a walk around the field could make a big difference.

Sophie said it didn’t take long to organize the Relay because they all (council members) cooperated nicely and the plans all came together.

Fellow Council member, Jessica, agreed that the Relay Recess was an easy way to help people by walking around the field.

Relay For Life Chairman Lynn Plaskowitz said, “This was our goal this year, to get community involvement, you start with the younger kids and then you get more community involvement.”

In the end the children had a wonderful afternoon of fun in the fresh air, some getting their faces on TV or being interviewed by News 12 and Orange Live, and raising $4,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Relay Co-Chairmen Debby Davis and George Geane had a blast, encouraging the kids as they walked around the track. Happy to see that the town’s youngest residents were giving their all for a great cause.

The 2013 BOW Relay for Life takes place at the Orange Fairgrounds beginning at 2 p.m. (Opening ceremonies are at 5 p.m.) on June 1  and ending at 7 a.m. on  June 2.  This year’s goal is $95,000.

Aug 252012
 

The Peck Place School PTO hosted a “new family” welcome picnic for families with first graders and other students who are new to the school late Friday afternoon. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

The event included full access to the playground for the children, tours of the school and an opportunity to meet new school Principal Eric Carbone.

As families entered the side playground parents had the chance to see information/and sign up for the PTO, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and an upcoming Golf Tournament fund-raiser. School t-shirts and sweatshirts also were available for sale.

The PTO is responsible for many of the things that students and their parents have come to love at Peck Place including Book Fairs; the DARE Graduation; Buses for Field Trips; Colonial Day; Father Daughter Dance; Class Plays and so much more that we tend to take for granted.

The PTO page soon will be up and ready on the Peck Place Tab of the Board of Education website. Consider joining the PTO or volunteering for one of their fund-raisers throughout the school year to be a bigger part of your child’s life in 2012-13.

All parents should become familiar with what the website has to offer. PTO President Mary Lou Nuzzo is particularly excited and pleased with the “virtual backpack” which contains ALL of the items that historically would get lost between the school and home — event notices, sports registration forms, letters from the superintendent and Principal Carbone, etc.

The first day of school is Wednesday, Aug. 29.

 

Jun 292012
 

Superintendent Lynn McMullin and the Orange Board of Education introduced the new Turkey Hill School Principal-elect during a special meeting at the BOE meeting room on Thursday night.

McMullin posted Stephen Bergin’s bio on the BOE website, in which she stated that he was one of 50 applicants in a search chaired by Race Brook Principal Mike Gray.

The notice stated, “His nomination was supported by the BOE… Bergin comes to Orange with five years of valuable experience as a K-6 principal in Hamden and three years as an asst. principal in Westport, where he also taught at an elementary level. He earned his Sixth year degree from Southern and is currently a doctoral student at Boston College.”

It continued, “Bergin brings a wealth of experiences with data teams, technology integration and Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s). He impressed the interview committees with his open and approachable style an his strong reputation for collaboration and involvement in the school community.”

Bergin is the second Orange elementary school principal that the BOE has hired this year.

Principal Searches

Searches began after earlier this year both Ralph Nuzzo, Principal of Mary L. Tracy School and Al deCant, Principal of Peck Place School announced their plans to retire at the end of the school year.

Finding two new principals would be quite an undertaking, so McMullin and the Board followed a tried and true protocol to get everything in place in time for the start of the 2012-13 school year.

Four search committees were formed to find two new principals. They were comprised of teachers, parents and BOE members.

McMullin chaired the search for the Principal of Peck Place School. Committee number One interviewed candidates, then made their recommendation to Committee Two, which conducted its own interviews and made its decision and then brought it to the full Board for approval.

On June 11, Eric Carbone was introduced at the regular BOE meeting as the new Peck Place School Principal, replacing Al deCant.

Carbone was an Asst. Principal in Wallingford, with six years of experience [Elementary school level for 4 years, Middle School 2 years].

Under Mike Gray’s leadership, the second team of two committees chose Bergin as the Principal at Turkey Hill School.

STOP! What Happened to Colleen Murray?

This is where it may be confusing for some residents. Higher up in this story we mentioned that Ralph Nuzzo from Mary L. Tracy and Al deCant announced their retirements, so why on earth did the BOE need to find a new principal for Turkey Hill School? What happened to Colleen Murray?

On June 8, Orange Live published an article explaining all of these changes.

McMullin explained the Mary L. situation to Orange Live.

Ralph Nuzzo was Principal of Mary L. Tracy School with eight kindergarten classrooms and several pre-K classrooms. A part time director of curriculum rounded out the leadership at that school.

With the Board of Education’s approval, McMullin moved Turkey Hill Principal Colleen Murray over to the Central Office to become the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Part Time Principal of Mary L. Tracy School.

“Mary L. has something called a 1.0 Lead Teacher, most of the teachers have a .84 contract and a 1.0 lead teacher. We restructured the 1.0 Lead teacher so that person has more leadership opportunities,” McMullin said. “Colleen will supervise the Kindergarten from here (Central Office) and be the Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

McMullin said, “If anyone has any questions about the process with which these principals were hired, the BOE has a protocol for it that is on our web page. Mike and I both followed the same protocol and it worked well.”

Bergin will be formally introduced to the public with a meet-and-greet at the July 9 Board of Education regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Jun 132012
 

The Board of Ed’s Intro flier

Video: Meet Matthew Bruder

On Monday, the Orange Board of Education introduced two new employees to the community, Peck Place Principal Eric Carbone and Technology Administrator Matthew Bruder.

Bruder is currently the assistant technology administrator in Milford.

He brings with him a lot of technological knowledge and the ability to connect with the community and to speak in terms that everyone can understand instead of “computer-speak.” See Video HERE.

“I’m looking forward to helping bring Orange up to the 21st century and expanding on what they already have in place,” Bruder said.

Bruder moved to Orange six years ago, and, he said he looks forward to seeing what he can do for his community, using tax dollars wisely and helping build up the school system.

“I can’t wait to get started in a couple of weeks,” Bruder said. “I look forward to working with everybody.”

Jun 122012
 

New Peck Place Principal Eric Carbone meets OGAT's Ron Davis.

On Monday night, June 11, at the regular Board of Education meeting, Eric Carbone was introduced as the new Peck Place School Principal. See Video HERE.

The BOE met Carbone, an Asst. Principal in Wallingford, with six years of experience [Elementary school level for 4 years, Middle School 2 years], on Monday June 4.

The search was done by a dual committee: committee number one initiated the process and then turned over the work to the second committee. “He was the unanimous choice of both committees,” said Supt. Lynn McMullin.

Carbone is the father of two boys. His wife is a Spanish teacher at Amity Middle School.

If the transition from Wallingford runs smoothly, Carbone could begin his job on July 1.

Jun 082012
 

Earlier this year both Ralph Nuzzo, Principal of Mary L. Tracy School and Al deCant, Principal of Peck Place School announced their plans to retire at the end of the school year (later this month).

So, one might think that this would mean that the Board of Education would have the undertaking of finding new principals for Mary L. and Peck Place right?

Not quite.

It turns out, the Principal searches are actually for Peck Place and Turkey Hill Schools.

Why? You ask. Where did Colleen Murray go? Well — now follow closely.

Peck Place

On Monday night, June 11, at the regular Board of Education meeting, Eric Carbone will be introduced as the new Peck Place School Principal.

The BOE met Carbone, an Asst. Principal in Wallingford, with six years of experience [Elementary school level for 4 years, Middle School 2 years], on Monday June 4.

The search was done by a dual committee: committee number one initiated the process and then turned over the work to the second committee. “He was the unanimous choice of both committees,” said Supt. Lynn McMullin.

Carbone is the father of two boys. His wife is a Spanish teacher at Amity Middle School.

If the transition from Wallingford runs smoothly, Carbone could begin his job on July 1.

Turkey Hill

The Principal search for Turkey Hill is currently in the first interview phase — Committee number one is interviewing candidates, about seven applicants thus far, (which should now be completed).

Committee One will make their recommendations to Committee number Two, which will conduct its own interviews of these recommended candidates and make a decision in the neighborhood of June 18-19.

Shortly after the committees have completed their task, the Board of Education will hold a special meeting at which it will meet the recommended candidate.

What about Mary L Tracy?

McMullin explained the Mary L. situation to Orange Live.

Ralph Nuzzo was Principal of Mary L. Tracy School with eight kindergarten classrooms and several pre-K classrooms. A part time director of curriculum rounded out the leadership at that school.

With the Board of Education’s approval, McMullin moved Turkey Hill Principal Colleen Murray over to the Central Office to become the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Part Time Principal of Mary L. Tracy School.

“Mary L. has something called a 1.0 Lead Teacher, most of the teachers have a .84 contract and a 1.0 lead teacher. We restructured the 1.0 Lead teacher so that person has more leadership opportunities,” McMullin said. “Colleen will supervise the Kindergarten from here (Central Office) and be the Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

About the searches

Race Brook School Principal Mike Gray is leading the Principal Search for Turkey Hill School.

“It’s a huge undertaking for him, but he’s doing a terrific job,” McMullin said.

McMullin was chairman for the search committee for Peck Place School.

“We have a protocol for it that is on our web page if anyone would like to see it,” she said. “Mike and I are both following the same protocol and it is working well.”

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