MASSENA — The hallway floor isn’t just a hallway floor in one wing of Trinity Catholic School.
It’s now a multi-sensory hallway, with colorful alphabet letters, numbers, footprints and handprints pasted on the floor and walls for students to navigate as they’re heading from one room to the next.
If a child is getting a little antsy sitting in the classroom, he or she can enjoy the multi-sensory hallway as a way to get rid of some energy.
“It’s not sitting down in a classroom. It’s door to door,” said Angela Saucier, a pre-K4 teacher at the school. Her aide is Amanda Morris.
“The kids get out of the classroom. It gets the wiggle out,” Principal Joyce Giroux said.
Ms. Saucier said she saw the multi-sensory hallway online and decided to bring it to Trinity Catholic School. With the help of two parents, Alicia King and Christi Zagrobelny, they spent 14-hour days laying the stickers on the floor and walls.
“It was worth it,” she said.
That was only one of the changes taking place at Trinity Catholic School this year. When the doors opened earlier this month, the school started its first year of a 3-year-old pre-kindergarten program.
“It filled up immediately. We already have a list for next year. The 4-year-old pre-K program max’ed out as well. We had to open another room,” Ms. Giroux said.
The school also introduced a couple of new positions this year. Among them is a special education/resource position filled by Christine Millhausen, a former teacher who is certified in special education.
“We’re lucky to have one of our former teachers,” Ms. Giroux said.
She said the Massena Central School District provides the school with some services, such as speech therapy and a reading literacy specialist. Ms. Millhausen will augment those positions
“Now we’re able to add by having our own,” she said.
Kathleen Behrens, a former principal and teacher, is now serving as a family support coordinator. The position is through the Diocese of Ogdensburg.
Mrs. Behrens said she’ll serve as a family advocate and make connections between families, school and community. If families are new to the school or feel isolated and on their own, she’ll touch base with them and “help guide them to the right place.” There will also be home visits to find out their needs and to determine how they can best meet them.
“We’re supporting them and not enabling them,” she said. “It’s very much needed. Families are struggling.
Because it’s a new position, Ms. Giroux said they’ll be “baby-stepping along the way.” She envisions there will be a focus on different groups, as well as family activities at the school. The school will also be represented at the upcoming Trunk or Treat event next month in the Massena Central High School parking lot.
“Trinity is very proud of our new programs,” she said.