12/17/12 - Superintendent Calmes' Update

posted Mar 10, 2013, 6:04 PM by Pamela Vallee   [ updated Apr 10, 2013, 6:47 AM ]

Originally posted 17 Dec 2012

The Principals and I wanted to provide you an update on the first day back to school after the heartbreak in Newtown Public Schools and Sandy Hook Elementary.   I want you to know how much we appreciate the assistance and support of our parents and the community as we express our sadness and try to understand how something like this could ever happen.  In the coming days and months we will work to understand the many factors that contributed to this tragedy and take action.    

I encourage you to review the resources we have posted at the website (www.lunenburgschools.net).   The wisdom of Mr. Rogers comforts us at this time.  To quote Fred Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”      

Lunenburg Primary School – Elaine Blaisdell, Principal

Monday, December 17, 2012 - the Primary School Staff met before school to have a moment of silence for Elizabeth Estrada-Turner and the innocent victims of Newtown, Conn. 

We discussed our plans for the day and the upcoming week regarding our staff and students’ needs.

We discussed the need to conduct business as usual, conducting our day without referencing the tragedy in front of students.  Staff reviewed information provided by the superintendent, Adults as Caregivers: Helping Staff Manage and Help Their Students after a Tragedy.  We discussed how most students at this level will be blissfully unaware of the tragedy but that we should be watchful for students who may be exhibiting any kinds of anxiety or expressing fears about safety. 

We discussed that we also need to take care of ourselves and be mindful of our ability to continue the work we do.  The staff was reminded that the Emergency Procedures folder was recently updated and that a copy is in each room in the building.  All staff members were reminded that they should take some time to review these procedures. 

By day’s end we had received no reports of students requiring support.  Staff members were able to provide a safe, academically-rich environment.

Turkey Hill Middle School – Timothy Santry, Principal

This morning, December 17, THMS assembled their safety team to review the research and develop a plan surrounding the tragedy in Connecticut. Specifically the team looked at research from the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Red Cross, and about talking to children about violence.

A brief simple statement was created and discussed in each classroom with the purpose of acknowledging the tragedy and reassuring that student safety is our number one priority.

·        The team also developed strategies based on that research for classroom teachers to address:

·        The importance of remaining calm for students and creating a supportive environment for students;

·        How to identify students who might need additional support from our counseling staff and where students should go if they needed additional support;

·        To reinforce with students what procedures we follow in order to create a safe environment- i.e. locked outside doors with video cameras, adult ID badges, fire drills and other safety procedures; and

·        The safety team then met with all faculty and staff and shared this information so our response to students would be uniform and systematic.

The amount of students requiring additional support through our guidance department was small, and we will continue to assess and monitor students for the need of additional emotional support in the weeks ahead.

Lunenburg High School – Brian Spadafino, Principal

This morning, we held a brief faculty meeting to talk about the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  It is a time of sadness and grief for all of us.  We reinforced to our staff that we need to be mindful that for many of our students this is already a very difficult month.  We talked about our safety protocols and the fact that we need to continue to be proactive in maintaining a safe learning environment.

All students reported to homeroom to start the day.  An announcement was read to recognize the victims, their families, and the community of Newtown, CT.  Then our students stood and observed a moment of silence.  Guidance personnel were available for students who needed to process through the events of Friday.  Academic programs continued, as normal. 

Students and staff members were encouraged to take care of themselves, take care of each other, and support each other through this difficult time.