The Chalk Hill building will soon be renamed as Sandy Hook Elementary School, whose former principal Donna Page is coming out of retirement to lead after the school lost its principal, Dawn Hochsprung, in the tragic shooting incident last Friday. Page will receive assistance from Bruce Lazar, who served as the last principal when Chalk Hill was still a school.
"Bruce will be our administrative liaison/transition leader," Monroe Supt. of Schools James Agostine said Thursday. "Bruce is experienced with the building and all of the bus routes and parent drop offs, emergency procedures — all of that. I think it's critical to have someone who knows the flow of the building."
Agostine said Lazar will help Page as long as he's needed.
"We'll be meeting with the Newtown administration over the coming weeks to see what their needs are," Agostine said.
Donna Page worked at Sandy Hook School as principal until her retirement in 2010.
State and local officials approved the move to Chalk Hill earlier this week, and plan to resume classes there after the winter break. Officials are currently preparing Chalk Hill, which was removed from use as a school in 2010 after changing student population needs in Monroe.
Parents Tour the Building
Sandy Hook parents, children and teachers have been coming through the building over the past few days, according to Agostine.
Though some are still struggling with the change, Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek said about 99% of those who saw Chalk Hill are "ecstatic" about moving in.
"Last night I met a father whose son heard every gun shot and didn't want to go back to school," Vavrek said Thursday. "He just wanted the $12.64 that was in his backpack."
When his parents toured the building Wednesday night, Vavrek said, "Midway through, they saw what was happening. The parents said, 'Boy this is great. We have to take him back.'"
Vavrek said the boy's parents called his grandmother, who came to Chalk Hill to see the school for herself. "She saw it and collapsed in my arms," Vavrek said of the emotional moment.