The ASD Community Comes Together
We practice for a potential crisis situation throughout the year. We have training. We run fire drills and lock down drills in all of our buildings. We do whatever we can to be as prepared as possible, but you never know how a situation will unfold until it actually happens.
As everyone knows, on February 24 at 7:11 a.m. a fire began on the second floor of Cleveland Elementary School. If not for the fast actions of two teachers, Loren Kessler and Lisa Noll, who investigated an odor, saw the Teacher’s Prep Room on fire, pulled the alarm and called 911 – all in a matter of seconds – the damage to Cleveland would be so much worse. It is believed that the fire was caused by an electrical short in a piece of equipment. The majority of the damage was contained in the Teacher’s Prep Room and the second floor sustained smoke and water damage. The first floor was spared. At this point, repairs are already underway and we are hopeful that Cleveland students will be back in their own classrooms within 8 weeks, if not sooner.
Of course the story does not end there. Within 3 days, Cleveland students and teachers were back in class at Mosser and Roosevelt Elementary Schools. Although displaced, the Cleveland students, faculty and staff have had the support of the entire ASD family. The Mosser and Roosevelt staff have made certain that their Cleveland colleagues and students were welcomed with open arms. The principals – Tonya Swavely (Cleveland), Tiffany Polek (Mosser), and Erin Martin (Roosevelt) – worked together to make the most of the situation and ensure as smooth of a transition as they could. Extra books and academic needs were gathered from every corner of ASD, so that students and teachers would be ready to pick up where they left off. The IT staff set up Mosser and Roosevelt with technology needs. Logistics for the transition incorporated the efforts of Facilities and Security staff along with First Student Bus Company and the Allentown Police Department. During the first few days of Cleveland students being bussed to and from their new schools, administrators from all over – other schools and central office – were onsite at the bus locations to work with Cleveland parents/ guardians and students to alleviate any of their concerns. We know how disconcerting a change like this is to our students and their families; and everyone has worked very hard to minimize the impact of this change and lessen the stress of coping with being displaced by a fire. This was an all-out ASD community effort and everyone responded with enthusiasm and compassion.
The community support has been overwhelming. St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Salvation Army opened their doors to us and agreed to be the bus sites for Cleveland students. PPL Corporation and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley are holding fundraising efforts and supply drives. Cleveland parents and guardians hosted a yard sale to raise money for anything the students and teachers needed. Other individuals from the community have been dropping off notebooks, pencils and pens that will help restock what was lost in the fire.
It is hard to recover from such a situation, but everyone has pulled together to ensure that Cleveland students, their families and our staff were able to move forward in a positive way. To say that the District and this community have risen to the occasion is an understatement.