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The East Rockaway School District will pay its Baldwin colleagues $48,221.70 per month for use of the two schools until Feb. 28. “I am very grateful to the Baldwin School District to provide us this space,” Spero said. “This is an incredible opportunity to be here, and we’re very thankful to be here.”
Spero said that his experience as an administrator has helped him over the last few weeks, but added that these circumstances are unprecedented. Dina Reilly, an assistant principal at ERHS who is also in her first year with the district, is running things at Milburn. Spero spends his mornings at Shubert, but drives to Milburn in the afternoons, leaving Assistant Principal James DeTommaso in charge. There are a little less than 200 students at Milburn and a little more than 400 at Shubert.
Since some faculty members normally teach students in a wide range of grade levels, dividing the student body into two groups complicates things. There are teachers who travel back and forth between buildings during the day, but the schedule had to be overhauled in order for them to do so. Spero said the toughest part of the process was redoing the master schedule for the school in a week — a process that normally takes months each summer.
Lindsay Dower, a senior at ERHS and student council president, said the change in schools is upsetting, but she’s able to look at the bright side. “It’s going to take a little time to get used to,” she said, “ but I think it’s better that we’re all together as opposed to splitting up into different schools, because we have that sense of community here.”
One aspect of Dower’s new school experience that she called “rough” was the way she and her classmates get to school — by bus. All students who live north of Main Street report to the ERHS oval each morning to be picked up at 6:45 a.m., while students who live south of Main Street do the same at the Rhame Avenue Elementary School parking lot. There are also several students who were displaced from their homes and are living outside of the East Rockaway area. The district is also providing transportation to those students with special circumstances.