Fox Chase principal invokes community involvement

Put­ting down roots: Rob Caroselli out­side Fox Chase Ele­ment­ary. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

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. ••

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