In a recent Lyndhurst School Board meeting, the community grappled with the aftermath of a fire at Washington School and celebrated a significant rise in the high school’s graduation rate.
The Washington School incident was at the forefront of concerns, as Superintendent Joseph A. DeCorso detailed the fire that broke out in the school’s basement. Swift interventions from the fire and police departments and the district’s protocol of shutting classroom doors confined the flames to a single room. DeCorso stressed that while there were disruptions, the extent of damage was far from catastrophic. Thanks to these timely measures and the building’s structural integrity, severe damage was averted. As students from the affected school have been temporarily moved to nearby institutions like the Roosevelt School, Memorial School, and Mount Carmel Church, the community, especially Father Ernie and the congregation of Mount Carmel Church, played a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth transition. Restoration efforts are in progress, with plans to rejuvenate the damaged classroom and enhance other facilities in the building.
On a brighter note, DeCorso proudly announced that the high school graduation rate had witnessed an impressive leap from 87% to 96.9%. This testament to the district’s ongoing commitment to education was underscored by a self-assessment featured on the board agenda, spotlighting instituted programs bolstering student outcomes.
Additionally, in alignment with new state legislation, the board will now have a student representative. After a rigorous selection process, Nicoletta Anesco was appointed to this pioneering role.
A heartfelt initiative saw ESL students being recognized for their role in crafting a multi-language “Welcome to L” pamphlet, aimed at aiding new students, especially those from foreign lands, in assimilating into the Lyndhurst community. Stemming from a personal narrative of struggle in a new environment, the pamphlet, developed with Mr. Diaz’s students, now extends a welcoming hand in six languages, including Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Georgian, Turkish, and Portuguese. Acknowledging the collaborative spirit, special commendations were offered to the library media consultant, Miss Vasquez, who was instrumental in designing the pamphlet, and the students who made significant contributions were honored.
The state monitor’s role and the district’s fiscal health were also in focus. A highlight came when it was revealed that the acting commissioner had extended the state monitor’s service in Lyndhurst for another year. Board member Elaine Stella introduced this renewal contract, emphasizing its significance for the district’s monetary operations and obligations, especially concerning a notable sum of 4.8 million dollars borrowed from the state.
Superintendent DeCorso’s employment contract received unanimous approval, with attendees vocalizing their appreciation for his 14-year commitment to the district, especially lauding his decisive action during the Washington School fire. DeCorso, in response, emphasized his vision of students in Lyndhurst as an “extension of [his] family.”