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Board Approves Memorial School Plan

Superintendent Bruce Watson said he expects students to be back at Memorial within three weeks

At Wednesday’s , Fair Lawn Superintendent Bruce Watson presented, and had approved, for students while their

Parents and board members both applauded the precision and depth of focus of Watson’s plan, which covers transporting, feeding and educating the kids -- providing them with what he described as “95 percent” of what they would get at Memorial.

“I really want to give Mr. Watson credit because he thought of everything that was needed,” board president Michael Rosenberg said. “This is as sound a plan as I think is possible in this situation, and you made a bad situation a whole lot better.”

Starting Friday, Memorial sixth graders will begin classes on the first floor of the Community Center, seventh graders at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and eighth graders in the C-Wing of Fair Lawn High School.

Three buses will run to each of the three locations every day, morning and afternoon, on a staggered schedule, beginning with the eighth grade, to be followed by the seventh and then sixth grade students. Two teachers will supervise students waiting for buses at Memorial each morning.

Watson encouraged eighth graders who lived near the high school to walk, but said parents could also drop their kids off in the Burbank parking lot or take the bus.

He said he strongly preferred sixth and seventh graders to take the bus from Memorial, but that parents who wished to drive their children were also free to do so.

Until Memorial is ready, special education students will be split out to various school buildings, depending on which program they attend.  Watson stressed that they would receive the services they’re entitled to at all locations.

“Those students who are supposed to get some additional help in math and literacy, they’ll get that,” Watson assured parents.

“We’re trying to duplicate everything we normally do. That was the biggest thing. That was, I think, the toughest objective. How do we give them everything that we want them to have if they went to Memorial?”

Special education students in the Bridges program will go to Edison School. Stepping Stones students will be at either Warren Point or Forrest, depending on grade level. Seventh grade FLEX students will go to Thomas Jefferson and eighth grade FLEX students will have class at the high school.

Like busing, classes will also be staggered. Seventh and eighth grade students will start classes 10 to 20 minutes after their permanent TJ and high school counterparts to avoid excess hall traffic.

Cafeteria lunch will be provided for seventh and eighth graders on Friday, but sixth grade students at the Community Center are required to pack lunch their first day. Starting Monday, however, sixth graders will have boxed lunches delivered.

Watson said he felt comfortable projecting that Memorial would be up-and-running within three weeks, but was hopeful that it would be sooner.

He said Memorial teachers were gung-ho about getting started and that he had asked them to present the temporary workaround to students as somewhat of a unique opportunity to be embraced, calling it an “adventure.”

Board president Rosenberg said that the cooperation on this plan between the schools and the borough, which passed a resolution Tuesday allowing the district to take over the Community Center during weekdays, had been unprecedented.

LENNY September 09, 2011 at 06:11 PM
MR ROSENBERG Our you new to fairlawn that you and everyone else never before taught of a plan in case that school was flooded. this is not the first time this school has been hit by water that the light should have gone off that we might need a plan. let us be honest it was never taught of until you got the word oh you can not use this school someone should come out and say yes we should have been ready for this.

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