CHESTER, Vt. – The elementary school had a delay in opening. Originally the school was scheduled to open in mid-November, but the electrical conduits didn’t pass the megger test, which measures the insulation resistance quality of an electrical system. Also, due to the storms and power outages, there was a delay in getting the electric hooked up to the elementary school.
Green Mountain Power and Watts-UP have now completed the electrical work including the repair to the electrical insulation, replacement of wires, and the electrical system has been energized. The projects are finally coming together and the end is drawing near.
The only items left are for Control Technology to come and program the controls for the boilers, which should take place Dec. 19 or 20, and for the fire marshal to do a final inspection.
The plan is for the movers to transport our materials and furniture on Dec. 27 or 28 and then the teachers to come in to organize their rooms on Jan. 2, which is an in-service day. The children’s first day back in their elementary school will be Jan. 3!
There have been some concerns expressed about how the children are faring being located at the high school; however, while some of the children have been in somewhat cramped corners, they are doing very well.
A big advantage from our K-12 students being together has been the new buddy/mentor programs. One of these programs included third graders acting as “big buddies” to the preschool students who are regularly housed in the high school building.
There was also a new project that involved high school ninth grade students pairing with elementary school students on a writing project. The project came about organically through a conversation with ninth grade English teacher, Michele Farrar, and her students while discussing the fear the younger children might be experiencing being in a new school with older children.
This was an exercise in empathy that was so successful that the high school students are hoping to continue to have a relationship with the elementary students by providing more possibilities for mentoring in the future.