During this time of continued challenges in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, we would like to take a moment to give thanks and recognition to all the individuals in our school district whose efforts have made the opening of schools possible. As we strive to maintain the educational process, we are keenly aware of the ongoing hardships faced by so many members of our community whose lives remain disrupted by the loss of power to their homes in harsh weather conditions.
We would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lyn McKay, for working tirelessly and conscientiously to ensure that our schools were well prepared for the storm and would continue to function at maximum efficiency throughout the ensuing difficult conditions. Lyn maintained continuous contact with the school board, school administrators, facilities staff, Chappaqua Transportation, town officials and first responders. Lyn monitored ongoing efforts, found creative solutions and kept everyone informed on an almost hourly basis, including daily messages to the community. We thank Lyn for her competent hard work, solutions-oriented management, and outstanding and effective communications.
Our facilities crew, led by Director of Facilities Joe Gramando, worked diligently to prepare our buildings and grounds for the oncoming storm. As a result, our buildings suffered no damage other than loss of power and Internet connection. As the town went dark, staff members Jorge Barreiros and Diego Reino worked around the clock over nights and the weekend when the storm was at its worst. Others traveled to work after the storm under difficult circumstances and stayed in the buildings to monitor conditions. They also prepared the Horace Greeley gym for community use as soon as we were told the roads to the school were safe and accessible (roads to other schools were not deemed safe for travel by town emergency first responders). We would like to recognize Joe Gramando and his staff for going over and above the call of duty to keep our facilities safe and prepared for students, staff and the community where possible.
Joan and Seth Corwin of Chappaqua Transportation worked under very difficult conditions without power, monitoring roads on a continuous basis to map out safe passage to our schools. We are extremely grateful to them for the countless hours they put into communicating with our school Superintendent and town officials and driving all bus routes many times to assess road conditions and ensure the safety of our children.
We would like to recognize the efforts of our administrators, teachers and staff as they found ways to get to work despite their own difficult circumstances with loss of power, road blockages and gas distribution problems facing our area. We appreciate the round -the-clock work of all administrators who coordinated with our Superintendent to resume the educational process. We thank our teachers and all support staff for their preparations to make the start of school a comfortable transition for students as they reestablish a normal routine, and for their flexibility in striking the right balance between instruction and giving extra support to students who have missed school.
We would also like to thank parents and students for the extra efforts that many are still making to get to and from school while struggling under very trying personal circumstances and in far too many cases without access to their own homes. As stated in an early message from our Superintendent, it was important to get children back to a normal routine of instruction in a safe and warm place. Had we waited until the town was substantially back to normal, school would have been cancelled for an unreasonably long period. We greatly appreciate the tremendous efforts of parents and students and the positive responses we have received as we have worked through challenging options.
We are grateful for the dedicated and caring staff, administrators, and community members who have pulled together with resilience and resourcefulness under extraordinary circumstances. We will continue to work together to provide safe and comfortable environments for teaching and learning in our schools and to move forward in working with our town and community on emergency planning and other issues that concern us all.
Chappaqua Board of Education
Victoria Tipp, President
Alyson Gardner-Kiesel, Vice President
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