Letter: Thanks to BSD Herculean efforts

To the editor:

On behalf of the Bennington School District Board of Directors, I write this letter of gratitude to the teachers and staff of the BSD. The three schools underwent a massive energy efficiency retrofit over the course of the summer, and the construction rendered Benn El, Molly Stark, and Monument uninhabitable for most of the summer. In the end, staff and teachers had one week to prepare the buildings before the students returned. Were it not for their dedication and professionalism, the school year would not have had the successful beginning we enjoyed on Tuesday, September 5th.

The efforts to prepare the schools began with Gerry Prue and his staff in cleaning the buildings. The construction work that had been done to heating systems, insulation, air ducts, masonry, sprinkler systems, exterior windows, and electrical systems created huge amounts of dirt and debris, all of which needed to be thoroughly cleaned. Through their hard work and tenacity, Mr. Prue and his team completed this cleaning in a remarkably short period of time. Superintendent Culkeen called the custodial efforts "Herculean," and when compared to the mess of the Augean stables, the metaphor is fitting.

This allowed the teachers to ready their classrooms. The teachers had prepared for the construction by boxing up the entire contents of their classrooms over a very small time frame in June. This required going beyond their work hours and job duties, and yet they managed with grace and grit. To move back into their classrooms, the teachers were subject to an even tighter time frame. Teachers worked afterhours, through the weekend, into the night, and throughout Labor Day, all to be prepared to greet our students Tuesday morning. The determination demonstrated by the B.S.D. teachers speaks to their total dedication to educating our children, and making sure that the schools are safe and welcoming.

Thanks are also due to the BSD. Principals Donna Cauley, Edie Dunn and Michael Mugits. Over the summer, they each accomplished the necessary planning, hiring, and preparation for the new school year, and did so despite being barred from their actual buildings. While there were certainly challenges with working off-site, the principals managed with poise and composure.

The B.S.D. is incredibly grateful to the staff and teachers of Bennington, Molly Stark, and Monument Elementary Schools for making the 2017-2018 school year start so smoothly. We are honored for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of professionals.

— Chris Murphy, chair, Bennington School District Board of Directors



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