Saugus superintendent addresses Helmers questions

Construction at Helmers Elementary will cause students to be possibly relocated for the next two years. January 22, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Saugus Union School District Superintendent Colleen Hawkins released a frequently asked questions document and updated the board with parent feedback from the community meeting during Tuesday’s meeting.

Hawkins released a 10-page document to parents of Charles Helmers Elementary School students via ParentSquare, a communication platform for the school district and parents, which addressed frequently asked questions regarding campus construction which is anticipated to begin January 2021.

“We were receiving emails and questions from parents about individual situations regarding their children, so the FAQ was put together to give answers about everyone’s needs,” said Hawkins, after Wednesday’s meeting.

The document was also posted to Hawkin’s Facebook page and was linked to the district’s page with the intent to answer common questions parents had about construction and temporary student housing.

The topics on the document are placed in alphabetical order and do not represent one topic’s importance over another’s, since one question wasn’t more commonly asked than another, according to Hawkins.

The document is broken up into categories, so parents with questions regarding student housing options, temporary relocation to North Park Elementary School, bussing or traffic, Child Development Programs, construction, play yard concerns, Parent-Teacher Association, special education, school transfers and the decision-making process can be easily found.

During the meeting, Hawkins and Nick Heinlein, assistant superintendent of business services, provided the board with an update on parent and teacher feedback from the Feb. 11 community meeting.

The community meeting aimed to gather feedback from parents and teachers regarding their top priorities during the construction project.

Of the teacher’s concerns, Hawkins said maintaining grade-level teams, avoiding split/combination classes, aquduate playspace, parking and consistent staff meetings were a priority.

During last week’s community meeting, parents were able to submit their main concerns on a sheet of paper which was provided at the beginning of the meeting. The main concerns of parents who attended the meeting were child safety during construction, siblings remaining on the same campus and noise and dust issues.

“These are the most occurring considerations that the parent group that was at the meeting listed for us to think about,” said Hawkins during the board meeting. “There was a lot of conversation about transportation.”

A survey is currently being given to parents via ParentSquare for those who were unable to attend the community meeting, according to Hawkins. She added the results from the survey will be given to the board during a special board meeting scheduled for next week.

The special board meeting will be held on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at the district office to give parents the opportunity to sit in focus groups with board members and address concerns they may have.

The document can be found by clicking the link:

The Saugus Union School District office is located on 24930 Avenue Stanford, Valencia.

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