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Education

Education

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Special School Performance of ‘Intimate Apparel’

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The Westport Country Playhouse today hosted 510 students from five local schools for a special mid-morning performance of Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nattage’s “Intimate Apparel.” The students, transported to the theater in 10 buses, included representation from St. Luke’s School (New Canaan), Notre Dame High School (Fairfield), Trumbull High School, Staples High School and Norwalk Community College. The love story that confronts race and religion, directed by Mary B. Robinson, runs through Saturday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 01:03 PM
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lambda Legal Honors Staples Principal Dodig

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Staples High School Principal John Dodig today was honored by the Lambda Legal organization at a brunch, silent auction and fashion show at Mitchells on Post Road East. The group was founded in 1973 as the nation’s first legal organization dedicated to achieving full equality for lesbian and gay people. Dodig, Staples principal for 11 years, said 15 years ago he decided to let people know he was gay. “I’m in a community that is accepting,” he told News 12 Connecticut. “I’m able to be an advocate not just for gay kids, but all kids that see themselves as being different. My goal in life as principal has been to help kids avoid, as much as possible, not carrying a scar for the rest of their lives.” A former student nominated Dodig for the award. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) News12.com photo

Posted 06:46 PM
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Staples Fails to Make Newsweek Top High School List

Newsweek magazine has released its annual list of the Top 500 high schools in the United States, and 13 Connecticut high schools, including one in Fairfield and Greenwich, made the list.

But Westport’s Staples High School, named by Newsweek No. 3 in the state two years ago, is not among them. (See WestportNow May 3, 2012)

Each year, Newsweek teams up with a research group to compile the list based on a tough set of quality guidelines. Officials from Newsweek said that the methodology for the list was stricter than ever this year.

On top of the list this year was Thomas Jefferson High School of Alexandria, Va. The highest ranking Connecticut high school on the list is Amity Regional High School at No. 112. Amity serves students from Bethany, Orange, and Woodbridge.

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Posted 09:42 AM
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Friday, October 17, 2014

‘Kindness in Chalk’ at KHS

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Parents met at Westport’s Kings Highway Elementary School today before dismissal to decorate the sidewalks with messages of kindness and support. The “Kindness in Chalk” effort started in the Twin Cities in Minnesota by Nicki Brunner (www.minnemamaadventures.com) and aims to lift the spirits of children and is part of the nationwide anti-bullying movement. “The parent chalk artists and the KHS students and staff all had their hearts warmed today by more than just the weather,” said one parent.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 06:16 PM
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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

KHS Takes Part in International Walk to School Day

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More than 100 children, parents, teachers and staff members of Kings Highway Elementary School today participated in “International Walk to School Day,” a one-day event designed to promote physical activity and encourage children to walk to school, according to Jamie Viesselman, physical education teacher at KHS. Participants walked from the Westport Board of Education Technology Center on Riverside Avenue to Burr Road and up Burr to the school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 09:15 AM
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Now Walking to School Rates a Special Day

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Kings Highway School physical education teacher Jamie Vesselman (r) leads Kings Highway School walkers to the school today as part of International Walk to School Day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 09:10 AM
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Friday, October 03, 2014

Staples Students Honored

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Thirty-three Staples High School seniors have been named as Commended Students in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. Pirctured are (back row, l-r): Daniel Landy, Alyssa Gehb, Sage Vouse, Cadence Neenan, Lina Boehmer, Alexandra Benjamin, Nikhita Shankar, Frederick Hertan, Madeline Schemel, Griffin Lach, and Ryan Fanning; (second row) Griffin Haymes, Alexander Elias, Conrad Mera, Olivia Wiener, Noelle Adler, Terrie Yang, Monique Medina, Kana Higuchi, Rachel Doran, and Alexander Davis; (third row) Tyler Byrd, Jacob Nabel, Joseph Badion, ReniForer, Rachel Treisman, Kelsey Bobrow, Emma Boland, Julian Garrison, and Kari Flicker; (front row) Camille Shuken and Trevor Harken; missing from picture: Jonah Baughton and Jessica Shaw. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 11:03 AM
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33 Students Named Commended Students

Staples High School Principal John Dodig announced today that 33 Staples seniors have been named as Commended Students in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. 

A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, will be presented by the principal to the students who participate and excel in nearly every activity Staples High School offers.

They are singers, athletes, journalists, computer whizzes, piano players, artists and actors. They take Advanced Placement and honors classes, along with culinary, graphic design and are active in community service clubs.

The Commended Students include: Noelle Adler, Joseph Badion, Alexandra Benjamin, Kelsey Bobrow, Lina Boehmer, Emma Boland, Jonah Boughton, Alexander Davis, Rachel Doran, Alexander Elias, Ryan Fanning, Kari Flicker, Reni Forer, Julian Garrison, Alyssa Gehb, Trevor Harker, Griffin Haymes, Frederick Hertan, Kana Higuchi, Griffin Lach, Daniel Landy, Monique Medina, Conrad Mera, Jacob Nadel, Cadence Neenan, Madeline Schemel, Nikhita Shankar, Jessica Shaw, Camille Shuken, Rachel Treisman, Sage Vouse, Olivia Wiener and Terrie Yang.

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Posted 10:58 AM
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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Long Lots Painting Marks Start of ‘Art of the Month’

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Members of the Long Lots Elementary School community today inspect “Arctic Night” by Colcord Heurlin that spent the summer being repaired and restored thanks to a $500 donation from the school’s PTA. It is part of a series of paintings Heurlin created while living in Westport during the early 1930s. In celebration of the painting’s return and in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Westport Schools Art Collection (WSAC),  Long Lots will be highlighting this painting and artist throughout the month of October. The painting also marks the start of a “Art of the Month” initiative in which each Westport school will display a picture from the collection. Pictured (l-r) are Melissa Signorile and Candace Banks, Long Lots PTA co-chairs; Rex Jones, Long Lots principal, and Maija Krasts, co-chair WSAC. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jose Villaluz for WestportNow.com

Posted 05:39 PM
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Monday, September 08, 2014

“Teaching is a Performance—You’re Always on Stage’

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Lisa Almeida, Westport 2015 Teacher of the Year, a Spanish teacher at Coleytown Middle School, tonight addresses the Board of Education, which honored her and all nominees at its meeting. “Every day is an adventure and I love it,” she said. “Teaching is a performance. You’re always on stage.” Looking on are (l-r)  John Dodig, Staples principal, Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon, Kris Szabo, Coleytown Middle School principal, and Marge Cion, the schools’ director of human resources. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 09:26 PM
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Top Westport Teachers Honored

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The Westport Board of Education tonight honored Westport’s 2015 Teacher of the Year nominees during its meeting at Staples High School. Lisa Almeida (c., green dress), a Spanish teacher at Coleytown Middle School, as was previously announced, was selected for the honor. Joining her were (l-r) Eric Lawrence and Meg Stone (Saugatuck Elementary), Christina Zadravec (Coleytown Middle), Rick Quiricone (Bedford Middle), Almeida, Enia Noonan, Anne Fernandez, and Joel Kabak (Staples High School.)  Unavailable to attend were nominees Jennifer Benson (Kings Highway School), Michelle DeCarlo (Greens Farms School), and Kerry Jean Douglas (Bedford Middle School) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Posted 09:21 PM
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Landon Didn’t Tell School Board ‘Magnitude’ of Overrun

By James Lomuscio

Contrary to a report from the town’s internal auditor, Westport’s Board of Education chairwoman insists her board did inform Board of Finance members two years ago about cost overruns for the mold removal project at Kings Highway Elementary School.

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Elaine Whitney: Board of Education “is very concerned.” Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

It’s just that the school board had been kept in the dark about the amount of these overruns—$1.65 million—by Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, says Elaine Whitney, board chairwoman.

“The Board of Education is very concerned that the administration did not disclose the magnitude of the cost overruns to the BOE, the BOF, the RTM (Representative Town Meeting) or the public in a timely and transparent manner,” Whitney said in an email to WestportNow.

According to Lynn Scully, internal auditor, more than $4.52 million was spent on the project that ran from 2007 though fiscal year 2013-14, but only $2.87 million had been approved—a $1.65 million overrun the schools managed via transfers within its own budget.

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Posted 02:59 PM
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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Landon Grilled on $1.65 Million Cost Overrun

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Board of Finance took the Board of Education to task tonight over an internal auditor’s report showing the schools spent an additional $1.65 million for a mold clean up project at the Kings Highway Elementary School without informing the town’s funding bodies.

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Flashback to 2007: : Gavin Anderson, who died in 2012, and then First Selectman Gordon Joseloff survey the Kings Highway Elementary School gym where mold was found. Joseloff appointed Anderson to head a panel investigating air quality at the school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

According to Lynn Scully, internal auditor, more than $4.52 million was spent on the project that ran from 2007 though fiscal year 2013-14, but only $2.87 million had been approved—a $1.65 million overrun the schools managed via transfers within its own budget.

The overrun was due to the fact lead was found in the school, requiring the hiring of a lead abatement contractor, plus arbitration and legal fees, Scully said. She explained the schools transferred the cost increases from its electricity and natural gas accounts to its building maintenance account.

“There was no communication with the town regarding these capital expenditures,” Scully said.

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Posted 11:37 PM
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Daily Beast: Staples Ranked No. 20 in Northeast

The Daily Beast online website has ranked Westport’s Staples High School as No. 20 in its list of the best high schools in the Northeast and No. 69 nationally.

“We used six indicators culled from school surveys to compare public high schools in the U.S., with graduation and college acceptance rates weighed most heavily,” it said in explaining the rankings.

“Other criteria included: college-level courses and exams, percentage of students with free or reduced lunch, as well as SAT and ACT scores - another mark of how well a school prepares students for college.”

Daily Beast said Staples has an overall rank of 69 in its survey of more than 700 schools.

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Posted 03:26 PM
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Monday, August 25, 2014

New School Year, New Locks and Security Measures

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Board of Education tonight unanimously approved asking the Board of Finance for $750,000 to equip key public school personnel with special radios for instant police communication in the event of a security breach or possible attack.

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First floor windows of all Westport public schools now have a thin protective security layer held in place by a black seal. This is a window at Staples High School tonight where the Board of Education met. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“With this system it’s instantaneous,” said Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, noting that currently teachers and administrators would have to dial 911 in the event of an internal or external attack. “We save 15 to 30 seconds. We have time we never had before.”

Buying time appears to me the focus of the school board’s security measures now entering the next phase, communication.

Over the summer, Landon noted, the school system installed 1,425 high security interior door locks costing $200,000, as well as installing to the tune of $500,000 clear 3M film on each school’s first floor windows and doors to slow down access for those who would do harm to children.

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Posted 11:14 PM
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