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Tuesday, October 06, 2015



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Welcome to Coleytown El Image
Janna Bell Sirowich, principal of Westport’s Coleytown Elementary School, welcomes a kindergartner today on the first day of school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:16 AM
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August School Start Feels Like Fall Image
Students at Westport’s Bedford Middle School make their way to classes today as school began on an August day that was crisp and clear, feeling more like fall than summer. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:10 AM
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Back to the Routine Image
Students and parents at the Oak Ridge Park at Imperial Avenue school bus stop today as Westport students returned to school.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:03 AM
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Back to School

Scenes as Westport students went back to school today. Dave Matlow for

Posted 08:55 AM
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Already Overcrowded, Staples Enrollment at 1,900

(Editor’s note: The headline and original story have been clarified to say that this year’s Staples enrollment is 1,900, 100 over capacity, a situation that has existed for several years but this is highest in recent years.)

By James Lomuscio Image
Elliott Landon: “We’re packing them in (at Staples).” Dave Matlow for
UPDATE The highest Staples enrollment in recent years—1,900, which is 100 over capacity—decreasing student populations in the early grades, and nine new administrators set the stage for the 2015-16 school year that beings Thursday, Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said today.

“We’re going to have to take a hard look at the increased enrollment at Staples,” said Landon, who has announced his retirement at the end of this school year after 17 years. He said that he has several proposals to address the issue, but declined to release them yet.

“We’re packing them in,” he added. “We’re at 1,900, and it was built for 1,800, even though when was being built, we had asked for enough space for 2,000. We’re using closets, we took away meeting rooms, a classroom in the library.” 

Landon is convinced that the Staples student population, which has been more than 1,800 at least going back to 2012 and is 45 more than last year, will continue to swell, eventually surpassing 2,000.

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Posted 07:51 PM
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Finance Board Approves School Carryover Account

By James Lomuscio

Despite strong objections from Representative Town Meeting (RTM) members who argued that excess school monies should be returned to the general fund, the Board of Finance tonight unanimously approved a Board of Education (BOE) carryover account. Image
Board of Finance member Tom Lasersohn (c) makes a point at tonight’s meeting as Lee Caney (l) and Brian Stern listen. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The unexpended operating funds, whether prior to the end of the fiscal year or prior to Aug. 31, can be used for future schools expenditures subject to an agreement between both boards, the Board of Finance voted.

As soon as the carryover account was approved, the finance board unanimously gave its approval to the schools’ transfer of up to $250,000 not spent during fiscal year 2014-15 to the new education account.

Board of Finance members Tom Lasersohn and Lee Caney, who had been studying the BOE proposal since July 1, described it in detail. Lasersohn said there was a limit on how big the fund can get, 3 percent of the schools’ operating budget, and that withdrawing more than $200,000 from the account would be subject to Board of Finance approval.

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Posted 11:05 PM
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Newsweek: Staples No. 2 CT High School

Newsweek Magazine today published its annual list of the top 500 U.S. high schools and ranked Westport’s Staples High School No. 2 in Connecticut behind No. 1 Weston High School. Image

In the national rankings, Weston came in No. 47 and Staples No. 63. (See complete list here) Neither Weston nor Staples appeared on last year’s Newsweek list. (See WestportNow Oct. 24, 2014)

Newsweek said since 2014, it has published two separate lists in an effort to address the complexities of assessing the “best” high schools when students’ socioeconomic backgrounds are taken into account.

It said its lists, done in collaboration with research partner Westat, therefore included the 2015 list of America’s Top High Schools—an “absolute” list that ranks schools solely based on performance—and Beating The Odds, a “relative” list that ranks schools based on performance, while also accounting for student poverty rates.

Posted 09:39 PM
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For Super Search, Ed Board to Hold Community Forums

Westport’s Board of Education has scheduled two community forums in September to discuss the qualities of the next schools superintendent, board member Brett Aronow announced today.

The forums to be conducted by Hazard, Young and Attea (HYA), the search firm engaged by the school board, are set for Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium and Thursday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. in the Town Hall auditorium.

In addition, HYA will conduct an online survey beginning Aug. 31 to discern what the community expects of the educational leader who will replace Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, who is retiring at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. Details and a link to the survey will be forthcoming, Aronow said. 

“As we have said since the beginning, we are committed to a process that will offer our stakeholders the opportunity to share their views about the needs of the school system and the qualities of the superintendent that will meet those needs,” said Michael Gordon, school board chairman.

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Posted 05:47 PM
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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Coming to a School Near You: Ratings from 1 to 5

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

NEW HAVEN — Every public school in Connecticut will be rated 1 through 5 this winter.

In addition, every high school junior will be required to take the SAT test as opposed to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a controversial exam aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

And teachers will have another year before student test scores begin being factored into their evaluations.

Those are just a few of the changes that the U.S. Department of Education approved for Connecticut schools today. Connecticut had asked for flexibility to make the changes under the No Child Left Behind Act so it would not be penalized under the law’s rigid requirements.

Click here for more of story

Posted 10:05 PM
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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Newman’s Own Selects First Fellows

Westport-based Newman’s Own Foundation today announced its first formal class of fellows.

The innovative Newman’s Own Foundation Fellowship Program provides recent college graduates with work experience in the philanthropic sector. In addition, the program is designed to expand, enhance, and diversify the pipeline of new talent entering nonprofit careers, an announcement said.

The Fellows were selected based on demonstrated leadership skills, as well as commitment to social issues and community development. They have been placed at nonprofit organizations in roles aligned with their capabilities and career interests.

The placements were made by Newman’s Own Foundation in collaboration with the nonprofits.

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Posted 11:15 AM
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Ed Board Picks Search Firm for Landon Replacement

The Westport Board of Education tonight approved the hiring of search firm Hazard, Young and Attea (HYA) to help replace Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon set to retire next June after 17 years.

According to a school board statement, Hazard, Young and Attea is the Executive Search Division of ECRA Group, Inc. “with an extensive history of success in working with boards in high-performing districts throughout the Northeast and across the country to find candidates who will provide long-term leadership .”

School officials said that of the 328 superintendents hired with HYA’s assistance since 2000, 90 percent led their districts for several years.

“The selection of a new superintendent is the most important responsibility of any Board of Education,” said Michael Gordon, school board chairman.

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Posted 10:18 PM
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Visiting a Singapore Broadcaster Image
Staples High School student Rachel Corbally (r), 17, was one of students from 13 nations who made a visit today in Singapore to the Republic’s leading broadcaster, MediaCorp. They gained hands-on experience working with professionals as they learned about television and radio broadcasts. Rachel is one of three Staples students attending the Hwa Chong Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Summit 2015, which continues until Tuesday. Other Staples attendees include Angela Yu and Aliza Gross along with chaperone Mary Fulco, a Staples English teacher. Staples hosted nine Hwa Chong students last November. (See WestportNow Nov. 7, 2015) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 05:49 PM
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Comings & Goings: Zaniac to Post Road East Image
Zaniac, a national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational business that provides F-8 after-school programs and camps to help youths in math and science instruction, opens next month at 1391 Post Road East, near Balducci’s. Zaniac engages and integrates a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving with the aid of Zaniac Robotics, LEGO, game-based learning: Minecraft, 3D printing, app creation and computer programming, according to an announcement. Zaniac, which maintains corporate offices in Utah and Miami, opened its first classroom in Greenwich in December 2013. Its owners there, Greenwich residents Camilla Gazal and Flavia Naslausky, are also owners of the Westport business. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:11 PM
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Staples Interim Principal Picked, More Searches Needed

By James Lomuscio Image
Mark Karagus: Trinity Catholic principal takes interim job. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

An educator with 37 years experience has agreed to serve as interim principal of Staples High School for one year while the administration continues its search to replace John Dodig, Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon announced today.

Mark W. Karagus, 64, of Trumbull most recently served as principal of Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, and has many years experience as a guidance counselor, assistant principal and housemaster, Landon said.

“He has the background and experience that I believe should serve Staples High School well during this transitional interim period,” Landon said.

The transitional period, however, is not limited to finding a Dodig replacement.

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Posted 11:26 AM
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Orphenians on Yankee Stadium Big Screen Image
The big screen scoreboard at Yankee Stadium tonight showed the Staples High School Orphenians singing the national anthem behind home plate. An adjacent big screen identified them as being from Staples High School (without identifying the school’s location—but Westport was mentioned by the public address announcer.)  Anxiously awaited for months by the Staples singers, the appearance was delayed one hour and 21 minutes by rain before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies began. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Heather Hychko for

Posted 08:32 PM
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