Despite thunderstorms, approximately 3,500 students arrived at school on opening day (Aug. 25) safe and ready to learn-although a bit damp. Many students had attended open houses held earlier in the week, during which they and their parents had a chance to meet their teacher, find their desk and/or locker and greet their classmates. Hadley students participated in Start-Up for the first time-a day during which they were able to take care of numerous routine matters like locker assignment prior to the first day, so that there were fewer disruptions once school started.
Central Services personnel fanned out to the five schools to help things runs smoothly, assisting with bus debarkation, helping students find their classrooms, answering phones and generally being on call for any needs that might come up.
There was an unanticipated problem which kept classes out of the new portables for one day. On the afternoon of Aug. 23 (the day before school began), district officials were notified of a missing piece of software interface for the fire alarms in the new portables at Churchill and Hadley. The vendor and district officials were able to locate the parts on Wednesday and worked through the night of the 25th to install them and complete the necessary inspections in order to get occupancy certification so students could take their seats in the portables on Thursday, Aug. 26. Churchill and Hadley implemented contingency plans and the affected students were housed in alternative space for one day.
At Churchill, students from the portables occupied the computer room, the multi-purpose room, a portion of the library and the music and art rooms. Music and art instruction was delivered in the classrooms instead. At Hadley, plans had already been made to conduct opening day activities in the auditorium for the portable students. Delays in furniture deliveries (affecting many districts in the area) meant that students in the portables used desks that, although serviceable, had been slated for replacement. The new desks should arrive later this fall. The district is taking steps to tighten its inspection processes to prevent last-minute facility surprises in the future.