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.
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.