Monroe, Connecticut - January 2, 2013

1. SOUNDBITE: Janet Robinson/Newtown School Superintendent

"a great deal or thought and effort and volunteer work to make this as seamless as possible. At one point there were 80 people in the building, cleaning up the building, painting to make it really look cheerful and happy. There are pictures up. Right now chalk hill has been transformed from a middle school to a very cheerful, nurturing elementary school. But that's been the work of a lot of people. The governor just walked through and was amazed at the transformation that's taken place there. The staff have come in and at time when I walked through last week there would be one of the newtown teachers with 3 of the monroe teachers in a room, with the monroe teachers volunteering to help set up the classrooms. It took a great deal of stress off of our teachers to have all of this work done. We've had incredible support from monroe. We do have mental health workers with each of our schools and a larger staff has been assigned to sandy hook school, which by the way - if you noticed the sign has been renamed sandy hook school so we can carry our on our traditions to make this a very nurturing place. The teachers met this morning, the parents of some of the children have been walking through at other times. But we have an open house as they walk through today. The children are coming in, they're so excited to see their teachers. The students coming in completes the circle. That's what is missing right now."


Monroe, Connecticut - December 2012

2. Wide shot of Welcome Sandy Hook Elementary sign

3. Medium shot of Chalk Hill School sign

4. Pan of welcome monroe early learning center sign

5. Medium shot of Chalk Hill hallway

6. Pan of Chalk Hill gym

7. Pan of Chalk Hill library


Monroe, Connecticut - January 2, 2013

8. SOUNDBITE: Janet Robinson/Newtown School Superintendent

"Our teachers were all there today and the what we know from the advice we've been giving is to have as much a normal routine as possible. And they are prepared to do that. It won't be heavy curriculum but they need to do the kind of things that are important for kids and to have a normal routine."


The children who escaped last month's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown were welcomed Wednesday to a school in a neighboring town that was overhauled specially for them.

The open house at the former Chalk Hill School in Monroe marks the students' first time in a formal classroom setting since the massacre on Dec. 14, when a gunman killed 20 of their fellow classmates and six educators. Classes are starting for the Sandy Hook students on Thursday.

The road leading to the school in a rural, largely residential neighborhood was lined with signs greeting the students, saying "Welcome Sandy Hook Elementary School" and "Welcome. You are in our prayers." Several police cars were parked outside the school.

Teams of workers, many of them volunteers, prepared the former Chalk Hill middle school with fresh paint and new furniture and even raised bathroom floors so the smaller elementary school students can reach the toilets. The students' desks, backpacks and other belongings that were left behind following the shooting were taken to the new school to make them feel at home.

Counselors say it's important for children to get back to a normal routine and for teachers and parents to offer sensitive reassurances.

When classes start, schools Superintendent Janet Robinson said teachers will try to make it as normal a school day as possible for the children.