Hot weather impacts early school days

Not easy to teach in that environment, says principal
Fri, 09/21/2018 - 8:15am

The school year began on Sept. 4 with the temperature hovering in the mid 80s.

School Committee member Annie Hall referenced the heat wave at the committee’s most recent meeting, and asked if the school could be more prepared to deal with the impact of hot weather. In response to the discussion, Principal Kristin Monje said it is not an easy environment to teach in. 

“Maybe we should have thermometers in all of the classrooms,” said Hall, during the meeting. “I know it’s been extremely hot. Just out of curiosity maybe we should know what the temperature is in some of those classrooms, and if it is conducive for learning.” 

New Superintendent Michael Convery said the school has deployed fans in the classrooms. He did acknowledge that it has been excessively hot.

Monje said the school’s use of fans “isn’t perfect, but then again, it’s not as bad as it could be. It’s just not easy to teach in that environment.” Monje noted that the school bought fans and three dehumidifiers. The temperature, she said, “usually starts to dwindle” this time of year, but “it’s still hot.”

Marsha Gutierrez, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, told The Block Island Times that, “The main office, the superintendent's office, and the library are the only areas in the school that have air conditioning, as they are all used year-round. I believe all of the classrooms have fans in them, or most of them do.”

Despite the issue with the heat, Convery noted during his Superintendent’s report that, in his opinion, the first two days of school “went very smooth.”

Convery said he was “really touched by the genuine caring that was displayed by the teachers toward the returning students. It was sincere. It was a goose-bumps moment for me. The students were happy to be here, and the teachers were happy to see them.” He said it was “special” to see that. “And we’re off and running.”

Convery then discussed updates regarding a laundry list of facility items that need to be addressed. Convery said that a new door-locking system, called Columbine Locks, would be installed by November.

Convery also touched on a few items, including the need for an electric gate for wheelchair users; that installation is underway for an updated fire alarm system; that he is proposing to address the building’s façade and walkways; and that a new school sign will be erected within the next few months.

In other news, there was a brief discussion about the school’s field trip transportation policy, which notes that one adult should be in attendance for school field trips. After the discussion, the item was tabled for a later meeting. Connor and fellow committee member Jessica Willi felt that the school should have two adults in attendance during field trips.

The School Committee unanimously appointed Sarah Barkley as an assistant teacher. Barkley replaces Mike Petrik, who was hired as a middle school teacher.

The next School Committee meeting is on Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.