Middle School Gets Revamped AC, Dress Code
Twenty classrooms get air conditioning in time for the 2012-13 school year.
Over the summer, 20 classrooms were outfitted with air conditioning for the first time, thanks to a $12,000 donation from the CMS Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). These were the last classrooms in the school not to have air conditioning.
"That is an enormous upgrade, because there were the haves and have-nots," Principal Robert Accardi said. "It's been my personal crusade. The PTO's been terrific in making that possible. ... It's really going to help provide an optimal learning environment for students."
The PTO also donated funds for a new awning at the entrance to CMS, which has been installed.
The district budget for the 2012-13 school year includes the addition of ventilation and a drop ceiling in the middle school cafeteria. "There's new lighting and new ventilation in there, so that's fantastic, especially for those who have lunch duty," Accardi said.
Like the other district schools, CMS had a new security system installed over the summer, including new cameras and swipe-card entry to all the doors.
According to Accardi and incoming Principal Jill Gihorski, feedback from parents on the new security stem has been positive. "They've had a system like this at the high school for years, and it's been good there. When they've had an issue, they've been able to get to the bottom of it," Gihorski said.
The scale of the project alone is impressive, according to Accardi. "I don't know that parents have ever seen a initiative quite like this across the district," Accardi said. "It'll be an improvement for us."
The Student Body
As of Friday, enrollment at Chatham Middle School still hovered below 1,000 students. Sixth-grade enrollment was at 312 students, grade 7 enrollment was at 311 and grade 8 enrollment was at 347 for a total student population of 970. The numbers may yet rise further.
"We will get a rush of new students," Accardi said. The school ended the 2011-12 year with about 960 students, and according to Accardi, "We get about 35 new students a year."
The student dress code, which underwent several major changes at the start of the 2011-12 school year, was revised further for the 2012-13 school year.
"We looked at what worked, what didn't work, what we want to stay with for the next school year," Accardi said. "The clothing that students wear outside of school, they very much want to wear in school. And it's not appropriate."
The revisions specify that sneakers must be worn in physical education and laboratory science classes. The minimum inseam for shorts was shortened from 5 in. to 3 in., while the standard for skirts and dresses remains the same: no shorter than the student's fingertips.
The dress code also specifies that students' midriffs must be covered at all times, and that undergarments cannot be purposefully exposed.
The dress code also prohibits:
- clothing promoting alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, inappropriate language or inappropriate messages
- halter tops
- tank tops
- see-through blouses
- midriff tops
- low-cut tops
- pocket chains
- large hoop earrings
Back to School
Teachers return for Professional Development on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The first day of class is Thursday, Sept. 6. Students must report to their homerooms by 7:59 a.m.
Back to School Night is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.