GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 6, 2013

Y staff to replace W. Parish program leaders

GLOUCESTER — The after-school program at West Parish School, shut down abruptly over the weekend amid a Gloucester Police, District Attorney’s office and state Department of Children and Families investigation into a still-undefined incident and concern over the program’s level of supervision, is expected to reopen next week at the school with new supervisors affiliated with the Cape Ann YMCA.

Superintendent of Schools Richard Safier wrote in an email to the Times Tuesday that staff members from the YMCA will be brought in to host a reopening of the after-school program at the school as early as next week

The fate of the former program staff members, who worked for the school district, remained unclear Tuesday — Safier did not explicitly state whether they had been let go, resigned or were transferred, for example, and West Parish Principal Telena Imel did not return calls placed by the Times seeking information and comment.

Brian Flynn, the interim Executive Director of the Cape Ann YMCA, confirmed Tuesday night that four staff members from the facility will be replacing the three former supervisors for the after-school program, which had served some 60 families and 82 children.

Flynn, who also oversees other YMCA after-school programs, said the solution may be temporary, but YMCA staff members come highly qualified and trained. He added that he hopes the new program will be in place by next Wednesday, adding that he and Safier first spoke about the solution over the weekend.

Flynn said typical after-school activities include home work assistance, healthy snacks, physical activities and arts and craft. He said YMCA staff members have been operating similar after school programs at East Gloucester Elementary School and Veterans’ Memorial School since 2011.

“We are stepping in to meet the needs of working-class families,” he said Tuesday.

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