21 Aug 2014
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'Unprecedented' School Sharing Plan a Success, Officials Say

Westwood and Washington Township elementary schools held combined sessions last week because of ongoing power outages.

'Unprecedented' School Sharing Plan a Success, Officials Say

An unusual plan to hold combined sessions in Westwood Regional schools with power after Hurricane Sandy was a success, school officials said at a Board of Education meeting Thursday.

"The move was unprecedented, but it became a wonderful learning experience for our students and staff," George School Principal Mary Ferreri said.

Students had already been out of school for an entire week because of damage and power outages caused by the storm, and power was still out at George Elementary School and Brookside Elementary School the following Monday.

District officials came up with a plan to hold combined sessions. Students from George School attended class at Washington Elementary School — they called it "George Washington School" — and students from Brookside School attended class at Berkeley Elementary School.

The Westwood schools ended up sharing facilities for one day. The Washington Township schools shared for five days.

Westwood Administrators Association President Charles Seipp praised Director of Elementary Education Rory McCourt and the elementary schools' principals, teachers and families for cooperating to make everything work during the

"We had to get creative to bring our kids back and provide them with a thorough educational experience last week," Seipp said. 

Governor Chris Christie also praised the plan when he visited Berkeley School last week and urged other districts to find similar methods to return students to school.

"Getting kids back to school is an important part of our return to normalcy," Christie said.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at  Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on  Facebook and  Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our  daily newsletter.

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