The new principal at Fox Chase Elementary wants the community to get involved with the school. And it’s a neighborhood Rob Caroselli knows well; he lives in Fox Chase.
“I live 30 seconds away,” he said during an interview at the school on Sept. 20.
Caroselli, who was Northeast High’s assistant principal until June, grew up in Rhawnhurst and has lived in Fox Chase for the past 11 years. He was hired as the elementary school’s principal on June 6, he said.
“It’s a great school,” he said. “Great” is how he feels about the staff, the home-and-school association and the kindergarten-through-fifth grade school’s almost 500 pupils.
“And I want to improve it to make it even better,” he said.
But he sees that happening over time. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”
There are some challenges for the principal. Support staff was severely pared when the school district laid off thousands of employees in the late spring. Counselors, assistant principals and other workers lost their jobs.
Although the Rhawn Street school is well-kept, the grounds looked a little drab, he said. Local landscaper Jeff Hanagan took care of that, Caroselli said.
The two men met during the National Night Out event on Aug. 6, Caroselli said as he pointed to the new flowers around the school’s flagpole and the new mulch around the trees on the front lawn. It is the kind of work the school district wouldn’t do, he said.
“He donated manpower and supplies, and did an amazing job,” the new principal said of Hanagan. “It has to be a thousand-dollar job. I, in turn, will place his ads on my parent bulletin board and announce his support at back-to-school night and any other time where I can recommend his work. This is a great example of how schools can help the local economy and vice versa.”
Caroselli said he hoped to establish more reciprocal agreements with local businesses and also to get more parents involved in the school.
That community involvement, he said, will positively affect academics at Fox Chase Elementary.
And speaking of academics, one of Caroselli’s goals is to improve his pupils’ reading skills. He wants to identify the kids who are having trouble reading, and he wants to do it early.
“I want all kids reading on grade level,” he said. ••