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Orange Board of Education Meeting Agenda – Monday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

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Feb 092014
 

BOE Chairman Bill Kraut and Supt. Lynn McMullin at a recent BOE meeting.

BOE Chairman Bill Kraut and Supt. Lynn McMullin at a recent BOE meeting.

BOE Meeting: Upstairs Conference Room – BOE Offices Time of BOE Meeting: 7:30 P.M.

I Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance & Mission Statement
The Orange Elementary School District recognizes that the education of each child is the shared responsibility of every
member of our community.

Our goal is to inspire and empower each student to achieve academic excellence, embrace social and individual
responsibility, and lead with integrity. We believe all individuals should be valued and treated with respect.

Together we will make a difference.

II Public Participation:
1. General Participation
2. Introduction to Full Day Kindergarten – Lynn McMullin
3. Kindergarten Full Day Participation
Speakers may offer objective comments to the Board concerning subjects that lie within its jurisdiction, i.e. school operations and
programs. Comments will be limited to two (2) minutes per speaker. The Board encourages speakers not to express personal complaints
or defamatory comments about the Orange Board of Education personnel or any person associated with the Orange Public School System.
Comments about security issues, matters related to due process, negotiations, or grievances will not be permitted. Consistent with the
principles of the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), discussions about students are prohibited absent a written parent
waiver. Questions which can be answered during the meeting may be answered at the option of the Board. Inquiries which may require
analysis/investigations will, at the option of the Board, be answered at a future specified time.

III Correspondence
1. Two thank you notes from staff members – “Books in Memory”
2. Three parent/citizen letters
IV Consent Agenda
1. BOE Regular Meeting Minutes – January 13, 2014
2. Approval of Bills – January 2014
V Presentation – Mrs. Byrd – Special Education Accomplishments in 2012-2013 & Goals for 2013-2014
VI Superintendent’s Report
VII Board Business
1. 2013/2014 Budget Update – Mr. McNabola
2. Kindergarten Full Day Pilot Proposal – Ms. McMullin
3. Second Read – Policy 9110 – Number of Members, Term of Office, Oath of Office – Mr. Kraut
Policy 9214 – Number of Members & Elections – Mr. Kraut
4. 2014-2015 Draft Student Calendar – Ms. McMullin
5. Building & Grounds Sub Committee Recommendations – Mr. Cap
Motion: Recommendation – Hiring a Structural Engineer
Motion: Retention of AIG to Remediate Peck Place
6. Out of State Field Trip Permission – Race Brook & Turkey Hill Schools – Mr. Kraut

VIII Standing Committees
1. Finance and Insurance- Mr. Robert Ricciardi
2. Personnel/Transportation & Policy- Mrs. Jody Dietch
3. Building & Grounds – Mr. Jeff Cap
4. Long Range Planning – Mrs. Deanna Pucillo
5. Schools of the 21st Century/Food Services – Mr. Keith Marquis
6. Health & Wellness – Ms. Susan Riccio
7. Technology – Mr. Jeff Cap
8. Safety & Security – Mr. Bobby Ricciardi

IX Adjournment of Meeting

* Item may require an executive session

Peck Place Parents and Students Check Out The New School Space at Yale

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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.

 

 

 

 

Newest Info: Peck Place Students Will Finish The School Year At Yale West Campus

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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.

Special Meeting For Peck Place Parents: Questions, Answers, Compliments

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Jan 142014
 

The BOE meeting room at Mary L Tracy on Monday night.

The BOE meeting room at Mary L Tracy on Monday night.

The Meeting Room at Mary L. Tracy School saw a standing room only crowd as parents from Peck Place School gathered for a special meeting at which they could get answers to their questions about  their children’s school since it sustained flood damage during a cold snap last week.

Yale University offered space at its West Campus in Orange, which seems like a good fit.

Currently the Yale building is an office space with cubicles which are being dismantled and the spacious area will be made into large classroom spaces.

Before the children can  move to the Yale campus, the Fire Marshal must inspect it and approve it for occupancy as a school. Superintendent Lynn McMullin said she and her team are working as fast as they can.  

McMullin answered parent’s questions with occasional help from Mike Luzzi, Kevin McNabola and Peck Place Principal Eric Carbone.

A sheet with all of the questions asked in advance, along with the answers was available to everyone in attendance and McMullin promised that they would be posted on the Orange Elementary School System website as soon as possible.

Three members of the Board of Education also were on hand, Chairman Bill Kraut, Vice Chair Jody Dietch and Jeff Cap (all are on the board’s Building and Grounds Committee).

McMullin said they are hoping to get the kids into Yale by Tuesday, Jan. 21, but first it has to be transformed from an office space into an educational facility, and be approved by the Fire Marshal.

Some of the things that were discussed already have been clearly laid out in McMullin’s letters to parents. Here are a few of the things that many first heard on Monday night.
The Yale building is three levels. The first-graders will be on the ground level. The library is on the third floor, so instead of making the children climb all of those stairs, the library will be brought to the youngest students.
The abatement work at Peck Place has not yet begun, but it should be underway by Wednesday or Thursday. The first phase of the abatement in all the water damaged areas should be done in 2-3 weeks.
The environmental hygenest must be on scene while the work is going on, performing air quality testing. Once the air is completely clear, the barriers can come down.
Supt. Lynn McMullin addresses Peck Place School Parents at a special Meeting on Jan. 13.

Supt. Lynn McMullin addresses Peck Place School Parents at a special Meeting on Jan. 13.

What about mold at Peck Place? – McMullin said mold needs a specific set of conditions to grow and in this case, the dehumidifiers at Peck took care of the conditions that would cause mold. “If we keep the building clean, mold won’t have a chance to grow,” she said

All ceiling tiles and insulation will come down. Insulation has been installed and already maked a big difference in the rooms.

McMullin said the month of March is not an option for moving back into Peck since so much work has to be done. 

The school roof about to go out to RFP (requests for proposals). Roofing should not be done when kids are in school as the smell of hot tar is nauseating. 

The parking lot can’t be done until there are no more workers’ trucks coming through, otherwise it would just get chewed up.

At Yale, there is no kitchen, so parents will have to provide bagged lunches for their children. But the school may be able to provide a box lunch in the future. If kids forget lunch they will not starve, they will be provided with a lunch. They also will be able to eat in a cafeteria. 

Kids with concentration problems or focusing difficulties, the Yale facility offers offices some for coats and backpacks and some for quiet learning spaces. Will be similar to a reading lab. these spaces will be Quiet. It is a challenge, but the school administrators are doing  everything hey can to accommodate all students in this 3 story building.  

For the future safety of the children, McMullin would not elaborate on security measures. But everyone as assured that Yale has excellent security and the kids would have their familiar security monitors from Peck Place on site as well as the Yale, Orange and West Haven Police responding to any emergencies.  Parents were asked not to discuss security on Facebook or any social media. Employees who currently have swipe cards will need them at Yale, parents must bring their licenses. They will be buzzed in – but only to the front foyer, then, according to security protocol, they will be approved to enter the building if it is the appropriate thing to do.

When parents visit the Yale Campus they may have a difficult time finding a place to park, although specific parking areas are set aside for the school’s use. Every day the children, teachers (and parents) will have a hike from the parking lot to the building — children should always dress appropriately for the weather conditions.

Principal Carbone is working on a color-coded system for the new surroundings to make it easy for students to find their way around. Staff will be briefed on it first and once they are familiar, the children will learn it. Parents may be needed to help guide kids in beginning.

The children will have a fire drill early on and FYI, fire response will be from West Haven’s West Shore Fire Department, as it is the closest station.

The School of the 21st Century will be done at Mary L. Tracy School – it has a playground and it is closer for parents than Yale. Clubs and Girl Scout meetings will be held at Mary L Tracy. Instrumental Band and Orchestra will take place at Yale.

Q: Because of the longer commute, how much earlier will the busses come to homes? — Tirollo bus company will let everyone know for sure. All anyone knows now is that  it will be earlier.  

Q: Will there be any problem with middle school drivers who also have the Yale route?   –Tirollo Bus Co will make decisions.

Q: What about field trips?  — Kevin McNabola answered, “We’re in the early stages of mapping travel out.”

Q: Will the children have outside time? — Carbone answered,  “They will have a lot of exercise climbing stairs, there is no playground, but there are nature trails, recess is a different story. We will do what we can to get them outside, but there are no solid plans yet.

Q: What about the Smart boards? — The wall mounted Smart Boards will stay at Peck, but portables will go. At Yale there will be three carts, it has wi fi, and it has a space for a computer lab. Administrators are finding ways to keep the children’s education stimulating.

Q: What about Communication and updates?  “Eric (Carbone) will have a package for parents. If you don’t hear from them it’s because there is no new news,” Mc Mullin said. “Until we know something we’ve given you everything.”

The School Nurse will go Yale.

Some parents faxed questions or concerns to Peck Place School over the past week. These papers were almost missed. Parents are asked to Fax to the Central Office not Peck, and their message will be forwarded to the appropriate person. 

Q: My child’s classroom was ruined, how do we get his/her things? —  The desks were shrink wrapped with contents in them. They will arrive at Yale intact with names on them. The PTO made supply kits for kids whose classrooms were compromise. Carbone contacted parents of these students last week. Teachers went through lockers and got out personal affects, clothing, glasses, etc. and packed them up.

Q: How many bathrooms are there on each floor at Yale? — There are several bathrooms on each floor, but since it is an office space not a school layout, there are no boys rooms/girls rooms or staff facilities. This is something that is being worked out. Be assured that little children will not be sent out alone to find a bathroom.

One  parent shared a positive experience from the past week and said, “On a high note, its temporary, but it’s working.”

Another parent said, “Thank you. I Can’t imagine what you are going through.”

As promised, the questions and answers to this issue have been posted on the Orange Elementary School System website.  

Peck Place Update: Congratulations, Your Kids Are Going To Yale

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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 peckismovingtoyalewest@orange-ed.org. 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

 

Exclusive: Is Peck Place School Safe For Children To Return To Classes?

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Aug 272013
 

peck place schoolSupt. Lynn McMullin, Peck Place Principal Eric Carbone, Facilities Director Mike Luzzi, Business Administrator Kevin McNabola and a rep. from JP McGuire were available to answer questions Monday night at a special informational meeting for parents at Peck Place School regarding the presence of mold and the remediation actions taken over the past couple of months.

The parent turn-out was a little disappointing, considering the potential serious health hazards that mold could cause, especially to children with respiratory issues.

To start the evening off, a fact sheet with a timeline from Sept. 2012 through Monday Aug. 26, 2013 was distributed to every parent and discussed.

For those parents who could not attend the meeting, here is that timeline:

Sept. 2012 — After several humid days, custodial staff and teachers reported slick floors in rooms 102, 103, and 202. the Superintendent and Director of Facilities were notified and classroom fans were used to dry floors. The humidity subsided, conditions improved and the situation did ot return for the remainder of the fall.

Friday, May 31, 2013 — After a series of humid days and with heavy volume of student and parent traffic in rooms on Travel Agency Day, slick floors were observed in rooms 102, 103, and 303. The Superintendent and Director of Facilities were notified and classroom fans and dehumidifiers were used to dry floors. After the humidity subsided floors dried and the issue was resolved for the remainder of the school year.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 — Facility Support Services, LLC conducted air quality tests in rooms 101, 102, 103, 301, 302, & 303, as well as outside in the halls near rooms 401 and 203.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 — A letter was communicated to parents with the results of the tests indicating that the air quality and mold counts in these classrooms fell well below the outside air.

Friday, July 5, 2013 — A member of the custodial staff brought to my attention suspicious spots in several classrooms in the school. this came after a serious of very humid days,. The spotting was evident on floors, chairs, rugs and waste paper baskets. There was also condensation on the floors in several rooms. The Superintendent and Director of Facilities were notified. In the subsequent days, Facility Support Services and JP McGuire were contacted for additional testing, professional assessment, and methods to remedy the situation.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 — A letter was communicated to parents and staff with the results of the recent tests indicating that the air quality and common mold counts in these classrooms was well above the outside air and remediation was necessary.

July 17 – Aug. 9, 2013 — JP McGuire cleaned all surfaces and furniture in classrooms with Benefect, shampooed rugs and used commercial dehumidifiers in classrooms.

Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 — Two meetings, one for staff and one for parents were scheduled with Facility Support Services, LLC and announced to the Peck community through e-mail, and the Orange community at large, through the webpage and social media.

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 — Facility Support Services, LLC again conducted air quality tests.

Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 — Facility Support Services, LLC provided the results of the most recent tests. One classroom, Room 101 did not pass, JP McGuire was contracted to re-clean the room as well as remove ceiling tiles and insulation in the ceiling.

Thursday, Aug. 22 – 23, 2013 — JP McGuire re-cleaned room 101 and removed all ceiling tiles and insulation and repolcaed them with new tiles. Facility Support Services, LLC retested room 101, 102, and 103.

Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 — Facility Support Services, LLC reported that all three classrooms are now in the acceptable level.

—  —  —  —  —  —  —  •  —  —  —  —  —  —  •  —  —  —  —  —  —  —

What came out of this meeting was that the mold was caused by humidity. One of the problems was that somewhere along the line insulation was placed above the ceiling tiles (which is not supposed to be done) creating a greenhouse effect. The insulation has been removed and the tiles replaced.

Bushes that were planted close to the building have been cut back because they held the moisture in. Now there is enough room between the plantings and the building for someone to walk through the area.

Humid September days ahead will not help the situation, but JP McGuire has a plan.

Air conditioning, vented through the ceilings will pull humidity out of the rooms. Humidity gauges will be installed in the hallways outside the troubled rooms and monitored.

Dehumidifiers on timers will run in the classrooms after school until morning so when children arrive the rooms will be at a comfortable level.

If, for any reason the rooms have any air quality issues in spite of the administrator’s best efforts, classes will be moved to a place where the air is healthy.

Earlier this week two men walked the roof of Peck Place School and checked for any tares and possible leaks in the roofing materials and sealed them.

Next spring, the entire roof will be covered in tar and stone and sealed properly so there won’t be any water infiltration issues.

Parents who were present wanted assurance that the air quality in the school would be safe for their children when they return next week.

An air quality testing schedule will be set up and it will be sent to parents (as well as the results).

Teachers and Custodians will be hyper vigilant regarding any moisture issues in the classrooms and share that information with the principal.

Is there asbestos in the school? Yes. It is under the floor tiles and of no danger to anyone as it is not airborne. If the tiles are removed the particles would become airborne, but the facilities people are well aware of it and explained why they were not concerned about it, and no one else should be either.

In Orange the health and safety of the children is the number one priority. The administration will be open and honest with parents now and throughout the school year.

On a side note: One difficult decision that the Board of Education may have to mull over this year is whether or not to permit “food” parties in school. Just from the reaction of the dozen or so parents at this meeting, Supt. McMullin could tell that the rest of the parents in town will be split on whatever decision is made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supt. Lynn McMullin Invites You To Lunch Discussion

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May 032013
 

doc4bd85a70213691008189751Beginning in May, all are invited to join a Friday Drop-in Lunch with Superintendent Lynn McMullin on the first Friday of each month, to talk about one set agenda topic each month, in addition to a roundtable discussion of whatever is on your mind.

Bring a bagged lunch and your ideas to the first meeting, May 3rd, when the topic will be the “School Cafeterias.”  The topic for June 7th will be the “District Webpage.”

Dessert will be provided.

All meetings will take place in the Mary L. Tracy Upstairs Meeting Room at 12 p.m.

Originally Published on: Apr 9, 2013 @ 4:01 p.m.

Supt. McMullin Addresses Critics Regarding Halloween Events

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Nov 022012
 

Following is a press release from Orange Superintendent Lynn McMullin:

I have heard from several parents regarding the cancellation of Halloween parades and parties for this year; and last night when I had a little more time, I wrote a detailed explanation for this very difficult situation.  I sincerely hope it helps everyone to understand how the decision was made.

I did not mean to top-down mandate the culture of the district.  Nor was this a malicious or punitive decision.  This was simply a decision that needed to be made quickly, among many decisions made this week, and I took responsibility for it.   There were many factors to consider, such as teachers needing to finish-up units for the end of the term, which is right upon us… such as our pending Veterans Day celebrations scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Monday for which the teachers and children need to carefully prepare… and the reality that so many parents have already had to juggle their work schedules for the past five days due to our closures.

Additionally, I grew up believing that the cure for chaos and misfortune was a return to routine as soon as possible.  I did not personally cancel Halloween to advance an agenda; and had the storm not wiped out five days of classes, all the Halloween celebrations would have gone on as scheduled.  But, unfortunate circumstances did intervene; and for that I am sorry, but not to blame.   I know that parents may not understand this, but four days lost in November are not really equal to four days made-up in June.  It’s not a one-for-one trade, and any teacher you might speak to would quickly confirm that.

Finally, when I came to Orange, I did not come as a dictator.  I listened when teachers said they did not have enough time to complete the curriculum.  Some teachers told me they could not fit in daily math instruction, which distressed me.  Yes, I did set three district-wide goals this year, and protecting instructional time is one of them.  But, what I meant by protecting instructional time is centered on a former practice in which the teachers were too often pulled from their classrooms for curriculum writing and professional development activities at the district level.

In addition to this key change at the district level, I asked teachers to plan activities with a clear curricular objective or target and write it on the board, so that students can refer to it.  Learning does not have to be contrary to either self-expression or having fun.

Finally, I asked our teachers to protect instructional time by being selective and choosing the most rewarding activities among the many possible enhancements.  We can’t do everything that comes along; therefore, we must choose the best.

These objectives are clearly documented in my opening day talk to the teachers, which you can find on the webpage or linked below.   I will try to continue to live by these principles because I deeply believe in them and I think, at heart, the school community does as well.  I canceled the Halloween parades and parties because it will be November 7th, not October 31st; because Veteran’s Day is immediately upon us the next day and worthy of our careful attention; because also upon us is the end of the term; and finally, because the school Halloween events had gone off without a hitch the weekend before Sandy hit, “Truck or Treat” was being offered by a volunteer parents and our First Selectman Jim Zeoli at High Plains this Saturday, and the real ‘Trick or Treating’ in neighborhoods was still taking place.  I was also thinking about our parents who have had to request time off this week and are likely to be feeling a squeeze when requesting additional time.  Many are planning to come with their family members to the Veteran’s Day celebration as well.

When you get a chance, please take a look at these ‘celebrations’ of the Orange District.  They represent a side of me that seems as yet to be unknown to you.  I do support enrichment activities.  I do understand that learning takes place outside of the textbook.  I have never claimed it’s all about the test scores.  (I also included my Opening Day message to the teachers, in which I talked about protecting instructional time, so you can see it was not related to Halloween or any agenda.)

12 Orange Students Receive CAPSS Award

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Jun 302012
 

12 Orange students received the CAPSS award

Published 11:59 pm June 29

Orange Supt. Lynn McMullin, presented twelve students with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents’ (CAPSS) Superintendent/Student Recognition Award at the May 14 Board of Education meeting.

School administrators recognized students who have served their schools and communities while maintaining good scholastic progress.

The students are: Alexandra Ashworth, Shayna Goldblatt, Emily Kilian and Patrick Winkel from Peck Place School; Amelia Bailey-Schetlin, Ryan Ford, Courtney Greifenberger and Hannah Rappaport from Race Brook School; and Anne Marie Allen, Carsan Dziczkowski, Emilia Steinbrick and Grace Vocalina from Turkey Hill School

Criteria for the award include leadership, service to school, academic prowess relative to ability, and service to others in the community.

Orange Live congratulates all of these fine boys and girls on this well-deserved recognition.

All Orange School Principal Positions Filled

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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.