Laurel Plains Elementary School staff and PTA members warmly
welcomed fourth and fifth graders from Congers Elementary School for tours on
Wednesday. Students and parents from the now closed Congers school greeted each
other with hugs and smiles.
Congers Principal Martha Ryan and Laurel Plains Principal Carol Pilla thanked parents and students for their understanding and assured them the transition would be as smooth as possible. District officials shut down Congers Elementary last Thursday after an engineering report cited concerns about the gym’s unstable back wall. Ryan said teachers and district administrators worked through the holiday weekend planning the relocation.
“The progress we had made since Friday is just amazing,” said Ryan.
Students eagerly entered Laurel Plains to see their new homerooms and walk through the building.
“I think it’s going to be a good school,” said Maddie Hind, a fourth grader, adding she was excited about the start of classes on Monday, Sept. 9.
Her mother Jennifer Hind said “I’m really happy with how the school district is handling it. I’m optimistic.”
She said the fact that Laurel Plains staff had gone through a similar relocation three years ago helped put her mind at ease.
“It’s a plus that Laurel Plains (staff) can commiserate,” said Hind. “I just think we’re in a special unique situation because they’ve been through it.”
In 2010 a mysterious odor that sickened Laurel Plains pupils and teachers resulted in their relocation to Clarkstown South High School and then to the Hillcrest School.
When Jamie Moreno’s son Remy went into his fourth grade teacher Cathy Hastings’ classroom he sat down right away at a table with some of his friends. His mother said she hoped the district could find one building to accommodate all of Congers students instead of keeping them split among three schools. She said her daughter going into second grade was disappointed she would not be going to school with her older brother.
“I think there are some nerves, “ said Moreno. “I think the fact they are working so hard to keep the Congers classmates together is easing their fears.”
Numerous parents said they thought the district was working hard to make the best out of a bad situation.
Pilla assured the Congers parents that she would take care of their children just as carefully as she takes care of all Laurel Plains students and would try to make their experience a positive one.
The other Congers students visited Lakewood and New City elementary schools on Wednesday.
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Congers Elementary School Closed For At Least One Year