Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Many Hands Get the School Ready!!

As I am writing this, we are making final arrangements for teachers who students who will join us tomorrow.  First day activities will include extended homerooms to take care of forms and other materials that need to be sent home, a welcome assembly in the “Compass” to meet new and returning students and staff, and extended class periods and meetings to go over rules, routines, and expectations.  All of this is combined with renewing friendships, recess, lunch, first homework assignments and all that makes a school day for our students and staff.
The staff resumes their contributions in this my first report of the school year:

From Ms. Donabedian:
“The Special Services Department is excited to welcome Elizabeth "Betsy" Leary, a new Educational Associate. Mrs. Leary has a BS in Health and Physical Education and has a great deal of experience working with children. We are happy to welcome her to our team!”
From Mrs. Moran: “We welcomed 5 new students and their families today!!” (Monday August 24 Kindergarten Welcome Picnic)
There was so much going on this summer that I have decided to devote the bulk of my report to cleaning, renovation, repair, and improvement projects, the process in getting them set up, and the results of the work.
First on the list is major praise for our custodial staff, Bill Cote, head custodian, Al Pierce, his assistant, and Nick Fortuna, Barnard Alumnus entering his senior year at AHS, who is helping out for the third summer on the cleaning staff.  Midway through the summer we looked at cleaning procedures throughout the building and completely revamped expectations for summer cleaning and procedures once school begins.  With the help of Mr. Hickey who recruited Alan Lajoie, Lincoln Akerman Head Custodian we adopted cleaning checklists for duties in the summer and during the school year.  We are currently in a process of continuous improvement in addressing items in the checklists looking at work schedules, equipment, and staffing.  Another component is a pledge from the staff to reduce clutter making it easier to maintain the cleanest possible facility for our students, staff, and the community.

The next important summer activity is our amazing Science Lab Renovation Project.  After considerable study and planning by the Barnard Long Range Facilities Committee and design work by architect Kyle Barker of Warrenstreet Architects the contract was awarded to Meridian Construction.  They did an excellent job on the renovations, with very little disruption, and the Lab is ready to use!
There are so many other organizations that have helped to get our beautiful school ready that I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge their contributions, some who are here every summer and others for the first time.  Every contributor represents many other firms who have bid on projects or offered their advice and services.  

Majestic Landscaping mows our lawns during the growing season and maintains trees, shrubs, and beds that make this building a pillar of the South Hampton Historical District.  We needed some trench work under the eaves on the Vanbokkelen Wing and WJ Brunet Landscaping performed the work.  They also filled a small sinkhole in the lot, and plow, shovel and clear roofs in the winter. Our neighbor George Buxton came by during July with his tractor to mow the hill over the septic tank and promises to return in the fall. He even took a pass in the vegetable garden, which I promise to resurrect next season! During the past year the SHFD informed us that we needed emergency lights and emergency lights in some classrooms and Thompson Electric performed the work. They also help maintain exterior lighting and perform other electrical work as needed.  Likewise our Safety Committee noted that some corridors, the gym, and outside needed public address for lockdowns and other emergency drills.  Hampton Technical Services, who services our phone system, performed the upgrades and tie-in to phones.  

As our buildings age, they are in need of certain maintenance to combat the effects of weather and the elements.   Precision Painting did some fine work in our Elementary Classrooms inside and out with ceiling repair, wall painting, and exterior touchups.  Not only did they perform fine work but matched paint and did surfaces not included in their bid at no additional charge.  For several months we have been in search of the proper repair of our Gym roof that seems to leak very intermittently.  Precision Shingling performed a thorough inspection, mad recommendations, and performed the repair all last week in time to be ready for classes to resume.  Lastly RL Construction has been contracted to replace the damaged trim on the Vanbokkelen Wing with composite materials that promise to last much longer.  Those repairs are scheduled to be completed within the next few weeks at times so as not to disrupt instruction. 

Now that repairs are done or in progress, it’s time for staff to resume their duties.  Before the first day of school there was much to get done.  On Monday August 24 we had out first New Teacher Induction and Orientation.  Ms. Nelson, Art, Mrs. Sullivan, Music and Mrs. Conley, School Counselor joined the group at Winnacunnet High School hosted by the Mentorship Committee.  I want to thank the committee for their efforts and Mrs. Hopkins for making this very successful day happen.  Thursday August 27 was the first day for staff and we all met at the WHS for a kickoff followed by an awesome cookout and meeting on our new picnic table in the Butterfly Garden!  Lastly I want to recognize the teachers for participating in the Jo Boaler presentation on Friday giving up important time in the classroom for this amazing shared experience. The presentation centered on discovering how students learn and how to overcome mindsets in a cooperative collaborative group setting.  Although the subject was math, teachers of all disciplines gained valuable insights. I’m sure this will transfer to great experiences for kids in the classrooms.

Here’s to another great year! Thank you again for your continued kind encouragement and support. 

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