December 16, 2012
Dear Parents and Guardians:
As we return to school and work our entire community is attempting to come to grips with the horrendous events of last Friday. Our colleagues, friends and neighbors of Newtown will remain in our collective thoughts and prayers.
Our children will continue to ask questions about the event and it is important to provide the level of information you feel is appropriate for your child. Hyper-links to on-line resources are available on our school website. Please consider reviewing these resources and incorporating suggestions from them when responding to questions from your child. (Editor's Note: here is the link to the school's "helping children deal with a crisis" page, which has several links; here is a link to additional resources on the site).
School personnel will be able to assist you and I encourage you to reach out to teachers, school psychologists, counselors, our school social worker and your school administrators to help find the support you may need. Rebecca Cavallaro, our Director of Pupil Personnel Services, will be coordinating the support services provided by these professionals so that we can deploy our resources in the most effective and efficient manner.
In the coming days, our Oxford Public School staff will focus on maintaining a balance between a return to normalcy and providing the necessary support for students, families and staff. Part of that balance is to reassure our students that their schools are safe and that we will all work together to maintain a safe learning environment. Our building administrators will be meeting with their staff on Monday morning to address these issues and to help insure a safe and orderly environment for students.
The entire Administrative Leadership Team has engaged in a planning process over the weekend. In addition to holding staff meetings first thing Monday, each building administrator will reinforce our safety procedures and emergency protocols. A heightened level of awareness and security will be maintained in all buildings and of course those actions will take on slightly different forms depending on the building. As you know our First Selectman George Temple will be providing uniformed personnel on our school campuses as a way to help reassure our students and their families.
We have already begun the process of reviewing safety protocols and our Facilities Manager John Barlow will be completing an inventory in each building on Monday that will identify those areas, mechanical, electronic or otherwise that we can improve upon immediately, in the short term and of course in the near future. In addition every employee will be expected to follow our security procedures and practices strictly. I am sure that we will all understand and welcome any minor inconveniences associated with following simple rules and procedures, as these rules will help to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Even though our sense of security has been shaken, it is well within our power to reassure our students and each other that we can contribute to the overall safety of schools and community by adhering to these procedures and by maintaining a healthy sense of awareness.
In the days and weeks ahead we must all work together to restore a sense of security to our children and to all the members of our community. The Oxford Public School staff and administration are committed to providing the finest education possible in a safe, secure and orderly environment for all of our students.
Timothy F. Connellan, Superintendent