Monday, April 29, 2013
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.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Westport resident Claudia Bernstein (r), an eighth grader at Greens Farms Academy, won the prestigious first place in Life Sciences Award at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair at Qunnipiac University. Her project on the effect of over-the-counter painkillers on the gastric system brought her the highest honor from the Pfizer Life Science Awards as well as the Connecticut Science Teacher’s Association Student Research Awards. Claudia’s teacher, Sara Campolettano (c ), said of her work that it was “authentic, original, and thorough.” Fellow eighth grader, Oliver Ferry (l) of Fairfield won second place in the physical sciences for his project on aircraft design. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Greenwich RTM Okays $1.4 Million for School Security
The Greenwich Representative Town Meeting Monday night approved $1.4 million to improve security at Greenwich public schools. The vote was 183 to 5 with one abstention, Greenwich Time reported.
As part of the security upgrades following the Newtown shootings, Greenwich will replace all locks on classroom doors so they can be secured from both the inside and outside. Now, classroom doors can be locked only from the outside, the report said.
In addition, the district plans to add additional security cameras, upgrade intercom systems, reinforce windows with laminated security glass, and put shades on classroom doors and windows that can lowered in an emergency, the newspaper said.
The district is weighing the addition of a second full-time school resource police officer to complement one assigned to Greenwich High School, Greenwich Time said.
Friday, April 05, 2013
Working on New Staples Varsity Girls Softball Field
Work is under way for the new Staples Girls varsity softball field. After playing for years at Green’s Farms Elementary School, the team will finally have a home field built to FCIAC standards on school property at Wakeman Field. Even though the field and stands will be ready later this spring for games, the project still needs to raise another $20,000 for a removable home run fence and batting cages. Tax deductible donations to help finish the project can be mailed (made out to Staples Softball Booster Club-got field?) to got field? 19 Country Road, Westport Ct. 06880. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Staples Junior Steven Sobel Named Governor’s Scholar
Steven Sobel, a junior at Westport’s Staples High School, is one of 30 Connecticut high school juniors chosen out of 150 nominees statewide to be honored as a Governor’s Scholar, school officials announced.
Steven Sobel: one of 30 selected. Contributed photo
With the honor, he will be invited with his parents Richard and Stacey Sobel to a May 16 luncheon with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other state leaders. Staples Principal John Dodig is also scheduled to attend.
Steven was selected by a panel of Connecticut educators based on his class rank, standardized test scores and an essay. To receive the honor students must rank in the top 5 percent of the junior class, and they are required to submit an essay on an assigned topic.
This year, the essay topic asked students to choose three challenges the United States faces. Steven wrote about educational disparity and inequality, preservation of natural resources and the electrical grid.
Monday, April 01, 2013
Landon Does ‘Peter Pan’ Imitation
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliot Landon took to the air today at Coleytown Middle School where he visited the rehearsal of “Peter Pan” by Coleytown Company. He allowed the team from ZFX (Zealous Flying Effects) to “fly” him across the stage. “Peter Pan” performances are this weekend—Friday at 7 p.m. Saturday at 1 p.m .and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets may be purchased up to 45 minutes before show time. For more info call (203) 341-1683. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lauren de Bruijn for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Three Staples Students Candidates for Presidential Scholar
Three Staples High School students – (l-r) Alex Lochoff, Ryan Greenberg, and Eric Lombardo – are among a select group of students nationwide named as honorees and candidates in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The program recognizes students for their academic and extra-curricular involvement with both the school and their community. Each year, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars. Students chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D. C. in June and the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House, in commemoration of their achievements. Semifinalists will be notified in mid-April with the U.S. Presidential Scholars notified in May. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Finance Board Approves $104 Million School Budget
By James Lomuscio
With comments describing Westport’s school system as the town’s crown jewel, the Board of Finance tonight unanimously approved the Board of Education’s proposed $104 million operating budget for 2013-14.
Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon and Board of Education Chair Elaine Whitney address the Board of Finance tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Board of Finance Chair Avi Kaner said if no further changes are made in the approved school and town budget of almost $193 million by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) in May, Westport taxpayers could see a less than 2 percent tax increase.
“I’d like to congratulate both the town and the schools for preparing responsible and reasonable budgets,” he said, adding: “My goal, and that of others on the Board of Finance, will be to limit any increase in the mill rate to under 2 percent—below last year’s CPI (consumer price index) increase.”
Finance board member Michael Rea had initially suggested trimming the education budget by $250,000 to encourage the school board to outsource and consolidate services with town government. But after hearing support for the full amount from other finance board members, Rea withdrew his motion and made a new one to approve the $104 million.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Staples Grad Among Marine Nevada Casualties
Roger Muchnick: 2008 Staples grad. Facebook.com photo
UPDATE A 2008 graduate of Westport’s Staples High School was among seven U.S. Marines killed in a training exercise in Nevada, his grandfather said Wednesday.
Jerome Muchnick of Philadelphia told The Associated Press that the family of Roger W. Muchnick, 23, had been notified of his death by military authorities. He was a native of Philadelphia.
A friend in touch with the family said he had served a tour in Afghanistan and one in Kuwait.
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said he had heard reports of Muchnick’s death beginning in mid-afternoon Tuesday but had no confirmation until learning of the grandfather’s statement on Wednesday. “It is a sad day for Westport,” he said.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Parents Divided Over Five-Day, All-Day Kindergarten
By James Lomuscio
Westport parents remained strongly divided at tonight’s school board meeting over School Superintendent Elliott Landon’s push for five-day, all-day kindergarten instead of the current three full-day and two extended-day setup.
Elliott Landon: urges approval of five-day, all-day kindergarten. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Proponents of the plan, who also included elementary school administrators, offered an array of arguments, from successes in other school districts, to students wanting to embrace more school time, to cost savings on bus runs, to one mother saying the days her child comes home early are exhausting.
Those troubled by the plan, including school board member Mark Mathias, argued that unstructured, creative play in necessary to a child’s overall social and academic development not found in 40-hour weeks thrust upon 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds.
“It’s kindergarten,” stressed Mathias, describing himself as conflicted. “Education isn’t always about academics. Not being in school an extra two hours a day, you run around with your friends, and you learn there, too.”
Westport Named a ‘Best Community for Music Education’
The Westport Public Schools today were among 307 U.S. school districts cited as a “Best Community for Music Education.”
The designation was made by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM), in conjunction with the SupportMusic Foundation, and the National Association for Music Education.
The Best Communities designation recognizes collaborative, from-the-ground-up efforts of teachers, administrators, students and parents who continually work to keep comprehensive music education as an integral part of the core curriculum, an announcement said.
More than 2,000 districts applied for national recognition in the program, now in its 14th year. Other Connecticut districts recognized with this award include Bethel, Canton, Cheshire, Glastonbury, Newtown, and Weston.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Westport 2025: Boldly Going Where No Students Have Gone Before
By James Lomuscio
Imagine preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist. To use technologies that have not been invented. To solve problems that are now unknown.
Panelists at tonight’s Community Conversation at Bedford Middle School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
As vague and as futuristic as it sounds, that was the thrust of a community conversation that drew an estimated 425 parents to the auditorium at Bedford Middle School tonight.
The goal: preparing Westport students to be creative, critical thinkers in order to solve real world problems globally in the future.
The more than two-hour presentation titled “Westport 2025: Meeting the Global Challenge” was co-sponsored by the school system and the PTA Council to showcase what local educators are doing to develop strategies for students to compete on a global scale.
Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport