East Rockaway students back to (different) area schools

Centre, Rhame elementary schools combine; Jr., Sr. high school students bussed to Baldwin


East Rockaway elementary students returned to school on Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy caused a forced closing for two weeks because of flooding, lack of electrity, or both.

According to Board of Education President Kristin Ochtera, the opening went smoothly. “Everyone did great,” she said. “The students, the teachers, the PTA. Everyone got in safely.” There is no bussing for the Rhame Avenue students to get across town to Centre, but the PTA, said Ochtera, has been instrumental is helping to organize car pooling.

Centre Avenue’s classrooms are larger and can accomodate the extra students and teachers, giving every child a desk or a table. “Eveyone is using the buddy system — including the teachers,” Ochtera said.

The music program is ongoing: Roxanne LaLama wrote a special song for the occasion, “CARE,” which stands for Centre Avenue, Rhame Elementary.”

According to a joint statement by Rhame Avenue and Centre Avenue principals Laura Guggino and Timothy B. Silk, Centre Avenue students were asked to report at normal time between 8:30 and 8:40 a.m. directly to their classrooms and their day and will begin, as always, at 8:45 a.m. They were released at 2:50 p.m.

Rhame Avenue students reported at 9 a.m. directly to the Centre Avenue School All Purpose Room to meet their Rhame Avenue teachers. After attendance is taken, the students reported with their teacher and classmates to their temporary reassignments. Dismissal will remain the same for Centre students (2:50 p.m.) and 15 minutes later for Rhame students. Kindergarten students are dismissed at 3:05 p.m.

Before school supervision and after-school programs will continue at Centre Avenue for all elementary students. The school’s temporarty phone contact is (516) 599-5727.

Jr./Sr. High School

Pending the approval of the Baldwin Board of Education at this week’s meeting, the East Rockaway Junior/Senior High School will reopen for all students on Thursday. Grades 7 and 8 will be housed at the Millburn Elementary School located at 2501 Milburn Avenue. Grades 9 through 12 will be housed at Schubert Elementary School located at 835 Demott Avenue. Parents will be sent a message with important information regarding transportation, start time, lunch and other details.

“We are excited about the return of our students and look forward to getting back to teaching and learning,” the statement read.

“It hearwarming to see everyone working together to make this as easy as possible for everyone,” Ochtera said.

Visit www.eastrockawayschools.org for updates.