A districtwide construction project in the Cedar Grove School District last summer led to asbestos contamination at North End Elementary School. The episode caused the loss of many classroom resources and the displacement of staff and students.
District-run air quality tests at North End’s sister school, South End, revealed small amounts of asbestos contamination there as well. Most of the supplies that were used to decorate classroom walls, as well as educational activity carpets, had to be destroyed at both schools. North End School staff and students were relocated to Woodland Park’s School #1 and will remain there through at least December.
When members of the Woodland Park Education Association heard of Cedar Grove’s plight, they wanted to help. WPEA called NJEA UniServ Field Rep Ron Bivona, who in turn called Cedar Grove Education Association’s NJEA field rep, Jim McGuire. With NJEA’s associate director for Member Benefits, Phil Lomonico and CGEA President Chris Cannella, they helped organize assistance for CGEA members.
WPEA held a supply drive for its temporary neighbors. On Sept. 9, WPEA delivered boxes packed with decorations and other educational supplies.
In addition to the generosity of WPEA members, other community and association resources found their way to Cedar Gove. These include:
- A $500 donation for supplies from Paramus Medical and Sports Rehabilitation Center.
- Two $200 Amazon gift cards from Bank of America.
- Two shopping bags worth of classroom decorations and supplies from California Casualty.
- Tote bags and supplies from Prudential.
- Tote bags, pencils and magnets with contact information from AID-NJEA, which provides NJEA members with assistance dealing with stress.
- A $2,000 NJEA PRIDE in Public Education grant obtained by the Essex County Education Association.
- CGEA has committed $1,300 from its budget to help the staff replace lost supplies.
The PRIDE grant money brings parents into the process to assist CGEA members in replacing supplies. At a PRIDE event held on Sept. 22, ECEA hosted a tea with parents and staff to plan how to use the funds to improve the school.