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Sandy Hook Teachers: 'This Allows Us to Stay Together'

Sandy Hook Elementary School children's desks at Chalk Hill are set up to make them feel at home, right down to the crayons.

 

Contractors are working around the clock to prepare the Chalk Hill building for Sandy Hook Elementary School students and staff in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Newtown. Aside from the actual structure, the electricity has been upgraded, there is now wifi and cell phone capabilities, and the town may hook up to a gas line that runs by the school.

Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek said special attention has been paid to the finest details to make the students feel more at home.

"A boy was writing a paper on the Newtown Night Hawks at Sandy Hook. It was on his desk Friday — and that's exactly how it was delivered, with the little football helmet on there and his name on there," Vavrek said of the furniture Tuesday. "They're trying to do everything as psychologically correct as possible."

School will not be back in session until January, but no specific date has been announced.

Monroe Supt. of Schools James Agostine has met a number of the Sandy Hook Elementary School teachers who have come into the building.

"So far, the single resounding sentiment they have is, 'Thank you, because this allows us to stay together,'" Agostine said Tuesday. "I think the fact that they’re able to move as an entire unit is so important to this."

Prior to Newtown accepting Monroe's offer, Monroe Board of Education Chairman Darrell Trump said, "They mentioned several schools in Fairfield that offered a classroom here or there. They would have had to be divided up."

"The most important thing that could happen for these kids was to be together," Trump added. "We're setting up classrooms as they were at Sandy Hook, so the transition is as minimal for the students and teachers as well."

Some members of the Monroe Board of Education participated in a walk through of Chalk Hill on Tuesday and Vavrek said the work is moving along quickly.

"This will probably be one of the safest and secure schools in the country," the first selectman said. "The building is coming along great."

Links to information, coverage for Patch readers:

  • How to Help Families Affected by Newtown School Shooting
  • How You Can Help: Memorial Donations For Sandy Hook Victims
  • Newtown Pics & Clips
  • Sandy Hook Victims Remembered: 'They Didn't Deserve Any of This'
  • Dear Santa: Send Love to Newtown
  • Newtown School Shootings: News Hub
Donna Monteleone Randle December 19, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Thank you a million times over to First Selectman Vavrek, Superintendent Agostine and everyone in Monroe for your very generous, "Neighborly" offer to bring Sandy Hook Elementary in it's entirety to Monroe! The out pouring of support from Monroe and all the neighboring towns has been incredible in bringing Chaulk Hill School (originally a middle school) up to speed for our K - 4. I have watched the moving vans go past our home, with police escort, bringing the children's belongings to school and I was so moved!! Keeping the school "together" will be so important to their healing. One of our friend's has a daughter at Sandy Hook School and she asked me if they would bring her coat and backpack to the new school because she "forgot them there". She was so happy to hear that everything would be waiting for her when she gets to Chaulk Hill; her face was beaming. Thank you again from the bottom of our heart, Monroe and everyone who has helped!
Your Healthy Pet December 19, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Proud to call Monroe our neighbor. Thank you to everyone who helped get Chaulk Hill ready for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary.
Todd Heibner December 19, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Our prayers are with your community and Family's who lost their loved ones... Springfield. Il, T.H.
Matt Maron December 19, 2012 at 01:52 PM
The latest hero's to emerge from this horrific event are Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek, Superintendent of Monroe schools James Augustine, and all those involved in prepping the Chaulk Hill school. The detail to which you are bringing back to life this school, for the benefit of the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School, is truly remarkable and heart warming. Not only do I say Thank You, but I believe so does our nation...., Matt Maron, New Fairfield, CT.
Marge Heim December 19, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Thank you Monroe, a good neighbor. The sooner things get back to "normal" the better. And with everyone pulling together it will.. God Bless...marge....
Anne Normandin December 19, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Our thoughts and prayers are with all in Newtown. The school sounds wonderful, anything to keep them together. Hopefully it will be a source of comfort. All our love and prayers from all of us from North Smithfield, RI, a town not unlike Newtown.
Lorraine Fitelson December 19, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Chalk Hill was a wonderful, caring, supportive school to both teachers and students when it operated as a Monroe School..I am sure it will be the same to the students, staff, and parents of Sandy Hook.. I am so happy to know that it will play a part in the healing process.

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