Parents give transition passing grade
WOODBRIDGE-Hundreds of ninth-grade parents flocked to Amity High School last Thursday evening to see where their children would be attending classes. And the vast majority of them were satisfied with what they saw and learned.
Parent, Kathy Sienna, said she wished they had the modular classrooms sooner.
"I like it. I am pleased. They are clean and bright. Why couldn't they have this for my son who was outplaced because of environmental issues last year," she said. Sienna was referring to her sons inability to attend classes due to the mold problems plaguing the high school. Her son is one of more than a dozen students who have been homebound or outplaced due to mold.
More than 400 Amity freshmen made the big move the previous week as ninth-graders attending Bethany and Orange junior highs were placed into portable classrooms at Amity High in Woodbridge. The ninth-graders will remain in portable classrooms until an expansion project at the high school is completed. The ninth-graders will use the high school for lunch, art, some electives and gym class.
Both junior high schools will be renovated and the high school will be expanded by 90,000-square-feet. The renovation project costs $68.5 million.
The Back to School night was carefully planned by 9th Grade Associate Principal Leo Scillia. Parents were given copies of their child's class schedule, and had the opportunity to visit each class for 10 minutes, talk to teachers and gain an understanding not only of what their child would be learning and from whom but also see where their child would be spending time in the modulars as well as in the main building.
High School Principal Ed Goldstone explained to the large crowd of parents that high school standards were a little different than middle school. For instance a student is allowed 20 absences per school year. However, if the child brings a medical note those days would not be counted. He also told parents that ninth graders would have the opportunity to sign up for clubs, and a special Club Day was being arranged just for ninth graders later this month.
John and Danielle Dwan were also pleased with what they saw.
"Pretty nice," they said.
Bill Montross was a little guarded in his praise.
"It's fine so far," he said.
Karen Arnold, the past president of the PTO at the Orange Junior High School said she was happy to see her daughter where she belonged.
"They're (the modulars) functional and serve their purpose. I am glad my daughter is at the high school. The ninth grade belongs there," she said.
"I think the parents are please that we have moved from the anticipation to actually having the kids at the high school," she explained referring to the long anticipated move.
Kirsten Debba also agreed with Arnold.
"I'm fairly impressed with the modulars. I thought they would be utilitarian," she said.
But Debba has another worry.
"But I am concerned about the transition back and forth between the main building and the modulars. It will be difficult to keep the steps cleared of snow and ice. Why isn't there a breezeway to protect students from the elements," she asked.
"Something has to be done about this," she said.
Debba said she can almost predict the future.
"There is potential for kids to slip and fall. It is a formula for a problem," she said.
"They are trying to do their best but I can see a day when there will be a problem," she said.
Debba explained that she was not looking for problems when she visited.
"My son Michael is happy to be at the high school and was looking forward to it. We went in with a positive outlook," she said.
Scillia said he was pleased with the turnout
"I think the move is a positive thing for everyone involved. All students will benefit in the long run from this move. This includes the current ninth grade and future ninth graders. Everyone seems to be pleased with the move. The modular complex is new and exciting. The parents were very positive about the building and the move in their conversations with me on Thursday evening," Scillia said.