After fire, working together for student needs

After fire, working together for student needs
Posted on 02/02/2020
Good afternoon!

Many of you saw on TV or read about the devastating fire Friday evening at the former Quakertown Christian Academy. It is leased by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU) as an Early Learning Center for Head Start, Pre-K Counts, and Preschool Early Intervention programs. Fortunately, no one was in the building when the fire started. If the fire had occurred earlier, it could have been a tragedy.

Quakertown is one of 13 partner school districts of Bucks County that comprise the Bucks IU. Within minutes of the fire starting Friday, I was contacted by the Executive Director of the Bucks IU, Dr. Mark Hoffman, who forewarned me of the situation. Many of the students who receive services at the Early Learning Center are from Quakertown and surrounding districts. We immediately started working on a backup plan to get these students back into a classroom. Last evening, less than 24 hours after the fire started, Bucks IU Early Childhood Programs Director Dr. Deborah Lock (former principal at Pfaff ES and Milford MS) met at the Sixth Grade Center with Principal Eric Thompson, Quakertown district officials, and me to discuss how we can make it work for the Bucks IU and these students for the next two to four weeks. I am thrilled with the response and support of our teachers and staff at the SGC.

Yes, there will be an inconvenience, but working together we will make it work. Most of the Early Learning Center functions will be housed at the SGC, with the remainder at the Quakertown District Services Center. At the SGC, that includes creating five classrooms for their programs from three of our classrooms and office spaces. We expect to have all of the SGC furniture removed and replaced with little people furniture by close of business tomorrow night. Then the Early Learning Center teachers will set up their rooms Tuesday, conduct an open house for parents as soon as possible - so parents can see the safe instructional spaces we have created for their children. We hope to have the Pre-K students back in a classroom Wednesday morning. We already started planning with our Quakertown School Resource Officer Bob Lee to plan traffic control for bus and parent drop off/pickup, along with other logistical support requirements - IT, food service, etc.

It is truly wonderful to be working in a community with so many dedicated teachers, staff, and administrators to make this as seamless as possible for our most vulnerable students. Proud of the teamwork! The Bucks IU has an incredibly heavy lift to get their new location up and running and we are honored to be able to help them!

Thank you for reading!

Bill Harner
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @billharner
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