Thursday, May 16, 2013
Schools Set Screening for ‘At Risk’ Preschoolers for June 7
The Westport Public Schools said today it will be conducting a screening to identify preschool children who are “at risk” for learning under the federal and local Title I eligibility criteria.
The Title I screening looks at the child’s development in the areas of concepts, language, and motor.
The current Title I program is incorporated into the Westport Preschool Program, Stepping Stones Preschool. Screening for Title I will be held on Friday, June 7 from 9 a.m. to noon at Coleytown Elementary School, 65 Easton Road, an announcement said.
The screening will take approximately 45 minutes. For this Title I screening, you must be a resident of Westport, and your child will be 3 years of age by September 2013, the announcement said.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
RTM Approves $117.38 Million School Budget
By James Lomuscio
By a vote of 28 to 3, Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight approved the Board of Education’s $104.2 million operating budget and more than $13 million for debt service and aid to private schools, a total of $117.38 million for 2013-14 school year.
Board of Education Chair Elaine Whitney presents the school budget tonight to the Representative Town Meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The legislative body then finalized the overall budget, including the $75.6 million municipal budget approved Monday night, at $193.7 million by a vote of 30 with 1 abstention. The total was up 2.44 percent over the current year.
The school board’s budget approval drew a round of applause from parents and school supporters in the Town Hall auditorium, but it was not as smooth an approval as some had hoped.
Prior to the vote, RTM member Don Bergman, who voted against the budget along with Cathy Talmadge and Cornelia Olsen, gave the Board of Education a drubbing with a long list of grievances, each one beginning with the words “I am concerned.”
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Ja!
Nine Staples High School students of German were honored at Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business for their outstanding scores on the AATG (American Association of Teacher’s of German) exam. An elegant sit down dinner was served after a few introductory speeches were made and students received their certificates and prizes after the three-course meal. Pictured (l-r) Luke Paschal, Trevor Penwell, Carol Kochefko ( teacher of German), Maria Zachery department chair of world languages), Halie Smith, and Valerie Kirsch. Additional medal winners not pictured are: Luke Fonteyne, Dominic Shey, Louisa Freeman, Noortje Lueb, Alice McDonald, and Madison McCartin. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Floating Farm Idea Wins Prize
Jodi Reiman, a science teacher at Westport’s Coleytown Middle School, helps CMS student Charlie Colasurdo show off his winning entry called “Floating Farm” at today’s 30th annual Invention Convention at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The eco-friendly project won an award from the CT Environmental Forum. Charlie’s idea stated: “The Floating Farm is essentially a farm on a boat. Located on a reused barge, this renewable energy-powered boat will grow organic fruits and vegetables and bring them to underserved communities.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Friday, May 03, 2013
Now It’s Official
Almost three months after the news was first broken by Inklings, the Staples High School newspaper, the Westport schools issued a news release today announcing that Madeleine Seidman and Robert De Luca have been named valedictorian and salutatorian respectively. (See WestportNow Feb. 21, 2013). DeLuca, who will enter Princeton University in the fall, will address the baccalaureate dinner the night before graduation while Seidman, who will attend Williams College, will address the June 21 graduation ceremony. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Staples Senior Gets Music Scholarship Award
The Staples Music Parents Association tonight gave a scholarship award for outstanding achievement to senior Harry Zec, who will be attending Berklee College of Music next year, focusing on guitar studies. The award is given to Staples seniors who will be containing on in music studies in college or at a conservatory. The award was presented by Maureen Whiteman and Nick Hubbell of Staples Music Parents Association. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Staples Hosts Singapore Visitors
Westport’s Staples High School today hosted five members of Singapore’s Hwa Chong Institution in a joint meeting with the Staples Task Force for its project, Westport 2025 - Meeting the Global Challenge. The initiative is aimed at defining the changing needs for a 21st century education. Hwa Chong Insitution is a premier independent school in Singapore with a rich history of 90 years that has produced 51 President’s Scholars to date. The dean of the school, Ai Chin Tan, addresses the audience, including her fellow visitors (l-r) Pei Li Liew, senior consultant/corporate services; Susan Chang, math teacher; Mui Eng Ng, English language teacher, and Hwee Joo Yeo, deputy principal. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Describing a Typical School Day in Singapore
At a Staples High School forum today, Susan Chang describes a typical school day at at Singapore’s Hwa Chong Institution where she is a math lecturer. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Monday, April 29, 2013
New Long Lots Playground to Honor Sandy Hook Victim
By James Lomuscio
Westport Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar addresses the Boad of Education tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
With the unanimous approval of the Westport Board of Education tonight, the playground behind the Long Lots Elementary School will be rebuilt and dedicated to Dylan Hockley, a 6-year old who was one of the 26 murdered in the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown.
The board agreed to accept to $117,000 gift from the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association which is raisning funds to build 26 playgrounds throughout the tri-state area, each one dedicated to one of the victims.
“This will be the fourth,” said Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar, who presented the proposed “no strings attached” gift to the school board.
Kepchar said that one such playground has already been completed in Sea Bright, N.J., and others are underway in Union Beach, N.J. and in Staten Island, N.Y.
BOE Okays Kroll Firm for Security Audit
The Board of Education tonight approved the hiring of the Kroll security firm to conduct a $98,000 school security audit following the Newtown shootings.
The firm was among three finalists whose representatives appeared before the board in an executive session before the public meeting.
Also taking part in the executive session were Police Chief Dale Call, Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas, and Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kepchar, said Board Chair Elaine Whitney.
In March, an hour before the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) session scheduled to consider a $100,000 school security audit appropriation request, the Board of Education said it was withdrawing the item. (See WestportNow March 5, 2013)
Norwalk Official Named to Schools Business Post
The Westport Board of Education tonight approved the appointment of Norwalk public schools chief operating officer Elio Longo Jr. as school business administrator to replace Nancy Harris, who is retiring in June.
Elio Longo addresses the Board of Education tonight after his appointment. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Harris, who has been assistant superintendent for business since 1999, announced her retirement in February. (See WestportNow Feb. 10, 2013)
Longo has served since November 2011 in the Norwalk school system and previously worked for 10 years in Danbury as finance director of its public schools.
Board of Education Chair Elaine Whitney said Longo would serve to at least 2016 at an annual salary of $185,000. Harris last year earned $205,344.
Westport Assistant Superintendent for Business Nancy Harris chats in a Staples High School hallway tonight with her successor, Elio Longo, whose appointment as schools business administrator was approved by the Board of Education. Harris, in her post since 1999, will retire in June. Longo has been chief operating officer of the Norwalk public schools since November 2011 and previously served as finance director of the Danbury public schools. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Encouraging Reluctant Readers
Westport editor and author Lauren Tarshis spoke at the Westport Public Library today, addressing ways that parents can encourage reluctant readers, and about the profound effect the widely adopted new Common Core standards are having on the nation’s school curricula. Tarshis is the editor of Scholastic’s Storyworks and Scope magazines, and the author of the “I Survived” series and the critically acclaimed novels ” Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree ” and “Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell in Love.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) David Dreyfuss for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Remembering a Westport Educator
There was a celebration today at the Inn at Longshore of the life of Kenneth D. Brummel, superintendent of schools in Westport for 12 years, who died in December in Palm Springs, Calif. at age 77. He also served as principal of Bedford Junior High School. Among those attending were (l-r) Coach Bob Byiteck of the Staples Varsity and JV girls golf team, daughter Lisa Brummel, and Patty Kondub, assistant coach for the Staples girls golf team and JV team. Lisa Brummel, who lives in Seattle, Wash., was an outstanding athlete in Westport and went on to lead Yale’s teams in four sports. On Wednesday, she will be inducted into the Connecticut Basketball Hall of Fame along with Geno Auriemma, head coach of UCONN’s women’s basketball team. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Staples No. 7 in U.S. News Best CT High School Rankings
Westport’s Staples High School ranked No. 7 among the best Connecticut high schools, according to the 2013 rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report. Nationally, it ranked No. 296.
In the state, the top 10 in order were Darien, Conard (West Hartford), Weston, Ridgefield, Farmington, Wilton, Staples, William H. Hall (West Hartford), Joel Barlow (Redding), and Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy (East Hartford).
According to U.S. News, Staples had a 12:1 student-teacher ratio, a 54.6 college readiness index rating (58 percent took AP courses, 54 percent passed), a 4.5 math proficiency rating (97 percent proficient, 3 percent not proficient), and a 4.4 reading proficiency rating (100 percent proficient).
Last year, U.S. News ranked Staples No. 5 in the state and No. 302 nationally.
Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport