A letter sent to parents on Monday via Two River Alert from Little Silver Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carolyn Kossack:
I’m hoping that you had a restful holiday break. We are now back into the swing of things as we prepare for a very busy 2013. I’m writing to keep you abreast of four issues: 1. School Safety; 2. Internet Safety; 3. Kindergarten construction timeline; and 4. Bridge construction timeline.
While every district is required to have a comprehensive Safe Schools Plan, the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has caused all districts to pause and re-evaluate all aspects of our School Safety plans. Since mid-December, I have received a number of emails and phone calls regarding our district’s safety procedures. As always, I appreciate the feedback. There were a number of thoughtful suggestions that we are investigating. One concern that was expressed several times was that the locks on the teachers’ doors lock from the hallway. While, admittedly, it seems unwise that our locking mechanisms wouldn’t lock from both sides of the door (or minimally from the inside of the classrooms), this is the way almost all school locks work. In fact, when the School Security Drill Law (18A:41-1) was signed into law on January 11, 2010, it became apparent that locking mechanisms in most schools was problematic. As part of our long-term facility plan, we conducted an audit of all classroom locks and planned on phasing in new locks over time. We had established other projects that took precedence. At Markham Place, we had planned for a two-year window replacement project. We have some very old windows whose structures and/or locking mechanisms are weak. The first phase (ground floor phase) will begin in March. In light of the Newtown tragedy, we are re-evaluating the long-range facility timeline with regards to the door locks. We may need to postpone the second phase of the window replacement project until the door locks are addressed. The Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Education is involved in these decisions, and they will be provided with the financial impact of all projects once we have final quotes.
In addition to School Safety, Internet Safety is of utmost importance. Please consider attending an Internet Safety Lecture for Parents next Monday, January 14th at 8:00 PM in the Markham Place cafetorium. Detective Rick Bruccoliere from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will be presenting. If you allow your children on the Internet, you should attend this workshop! School Safety concerns should continue to be directed to me.
The opening of full-day Kindergarten is right around the corner! We are right on track for our September opening. At the December 13th BOE meeting, Rampart Construction was awarded the construction bid. On December 14th we issued the Notice to Proceed. Work in the existing building is scheduled to begin on March 25th. While we had hoped to have off that entire week for Spring Break, we will do our best to minimize disruption to our students’ education. As it gets closer, information will be forthcoming regarding drop-off procedures as that side of the building will be closed for drop-off once construction begins. The completion date for the project is August 17th. That will give us more than two-weeks to outfit the rooms with furniture and prepare for the students.
Finally, in terms of the Bridge construction, the County Engineer has tentatively pushed the completion date to April 15th. While I know that this is an inconvenience to the community, it will not impact our timeline for our Kindergarten construction project.
I will continue to keep you abreast of issues as they arise. In the meantime, have a safe and Happy New Year!