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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dallas Brass Performs at Staples on April 23 Image
Staples High School’s music department invites the Westport community to a special concert by the Dallas Brass on Wednesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in the Staples auditorium. The event is being held in collaboration with the Westport PTA Cultural Arts Committee, Staples Music Parents Association, and Coleytown and Bedford Middle PTAs. Tickets are $5 at the door. Westport’s grades 8-12 band students will perform with the ensemble on one piece at the concert. Formed in 1983, the Dallas Brass has established a unique blend of traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion. Its repertoire includes classical masterpieces, Dixieland, swing, Broadway, Hollywood and patriotic music. Contributed photo

Posted 10:42 PM
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Staples Junior Named Governor’s Scholar Image
Staples High School junior Everett Sussman has been named a Governor’s Scholar, the Westport School District office announced. Only 30 students in the state, chosen from more than 150 applicants, receive the honor. Sussman is a math team star, a key debater with Junior State of America, a multi-faceted member of Staples Players, a pianist with Wreckers In Tune, and an officer in the Hiking Club. Last weekend, he was named a finalist in the state Rotary Clubs’ speech contest. Sussman will be honored on May 22 at a luncheon in Southington. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 01:52 PM
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Democrats Announce Push for Universal Pre-K

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Democratic legislative leaders have announced they intend to pass legislation that will pay for thousands more children to enroll in public schools’ preschool programs. Thousands of Connecticut students start kindergarten each fall having never attended preschool and trailing their peers academically.

“This promises to be an answer to a problem that has plagued us for too long,” Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said Wednesday.

The lawmakers’ plan – labeled “Smart Start”—calls for $10 million to be spent next school year, and in each of the following nine years—to provide an as yet undetermined number of new seats in public school classrooms taught by certified teachers with college degrees.

Every school district that can “demonstrate unmet need” will be eligible for funding, and districts must make children from low-income families a priority when filling the added preschool seats. Children from middle-class families could also be provided a spot, as districts could require that, based on their income, they pay tuition.

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Posted 11:39 AM
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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Spring Choral Festival Concert Draws Overflow Crowd Image
An overflow crowd attended tonight’s annual Westport Public Schools Spring Choral Festival concert at Staples High School.  More than 300 fourth and fifth grade students, members of their school choruses, performed under the direction of Luke Rosenberg, choral director at Staples High School, who was guest conductor for the event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:05 PM
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Guest Conductor Image
Luke Rosenberg, choral director at Staples High School, was guest conductor for tonight’s Westport Public Schools Spring Choral Festival concert at Staples High School. Participants were 300 fourth and fifth grade students, members of their school choruses. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:00 PM
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In the Spotlight Image
Fourth and fifth grade Westport students who are members of their school choruses performed at Staples High School tonight at the Spring Choral Festival. The audience also was treated to special performances by vocal groups from Coleytown Middle School, led by Amy Laurino, and Bedford Middle School, led by Stephen Baranski, as well as the Staples High School Orphenians, led by Luke Rosenberg, choral director. Westport music teachers Sarah Guterman, Anne Hadden, Ellen Hardy, Kerri Kohlun, Barbara Maisonpierre, Meghan Murray, Suzanne Sherman Propp, and Rebecca Faye Squire, under the direction of town Music Supervisor David Winer, helped organize the event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:55 PM
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Musical Festival at Staples

Scenes from tonight’s Westport Public Schools Spring Choral Festival concert at Staples High School. Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:50 PM
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Inklings Editor Named State Journalist of Year Image
Hannah Foley (l) editor-in-chief of Inklings, Staples High School’s newspaper, was named Connecticut’s Journalist of the Year by the Journalism Education Association (JEA). This weekend, the JEA National High School Journalism Conference in San Diego will take place and Hannah will find out whether she will be named National Journalist of the Year. She is pictured with features editor Zoe Brown as they work on layout. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 09:49 PM
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Staples 7th in CT in ‘Most Challenging High Schools’ Survey

Westport’s Staples High School ranked No. 7 in Connecticut in the Washington Post’s annual survey called “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.”

Staples placed No. 830 on the national list with an index score of 2.351. Last year it ranked No. 9 in the state.

The Connecticut list was topped by Connecticut IB Academy, East Hartford; followed in order by Farmington; Conard, West Hartford; Weston; Ridgefield; Westhill, Stamford; Staples; Coventry; Greenwich, and New Fairfield.

According to the newspaper, America’s Most Challenging High Schools “ranks schools through an index formula that’s a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. “

Posted 07:08 PM
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Monday, April 07, 2014

BOE Votes to Hire New Insurance Consultant

By James Lomuscio

Upon the recommendation of Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, the Westport Board of Education tonight unanimously approved hiring Lockton Companies, Inc.‘s Northeast U.S. operations as the school system’s new health insurance and risk management consultant for a three-year period at an annual fixed cost of $45,000.

According to Landon, who with Elio Longo, school business administrator, and Marge Cion, human resources director, interviewed respondents to an RFP (request for proposals), Lockton fit the bill as the best consultant to refine the schools’ best practices and guide the administration through the complexities of the Affordable Health Care Act.

The selection of Lockton came on the heels of the school board unanimously accepting the final report of its Health Insurance Fund Review Committee. The board subcommittee was formed early this year to grapple with what was thought to be a $2 million shortfall in it health insurance budget due to exorbitant claims, a shortfall that upon careful scrutiny actually turned out to be a surplus.

Longo noted that Lockton initially asked for $75,000 per year, but the amount was reduced to $45,000 after it was agreed that the town would also engage Lockton as a consultant.

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Posted 11:29 PM
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CMS Students Win Writing Awards Image
Two students from Coleytown Middle School are award winners in the 2014 Connecticut Student Writers contest sponsored by the University of Connecticut English Department. Seventh Grader Victoria Cao (r) was awarded an honorable mention for her personal memoir “First Day Jitters,” while eighth grader Eden Schumer is the winner of the poetry division for her piece entitled “A Drop in the Ocean.” Their teacher, Paul Ferrante, said both entries were the product of writing units in the Westport Language Arts curriculum. “The girls wrote very personal pieces and were not afraid to share their feelings and talent,” he said. The students will be honored in a ceremony at the Jorgensen Auditorium on the UCONN campus on Tuesday, May 13. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 04:21 PM
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Thursday, April 03, 2014

BMS Actors Rehearse ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ Image
More than 90 sixth grade members of Bedford Middle School’s Bedford Acting Group rehearsed tonight for its presentation this weekend of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis. The world of Narnia includes a grand scale puppet—Asian, the larger than life Lion, which takes three students to operate. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students, $12 for adults and can be purchased at the door. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 10:16 PM
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Dress Rehearsal Night

Scenes from tonight’s dress rehearsal at Bedford Middle School of the Bedford Acting Group’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” to be performed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Phyllis Groner for

Posted 10:11 PM
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Warming Up to Baseball Season Image
The Bridgeport Bluefish mascot made a visit to Westport’s Greens Farms Elementary School in a reminder that baseball season is here. The Bluefish open their season away on April 24 against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The home opener is April 30 against the Sugar Land Skeeters. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 11:11 AM
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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

$200,000 for High Security School Locks Approved

By James Lomuscio

Fifteen months after the Newtown school shootings, Westport’s Board of Finance tonight unanimously approved School Superintendent Elliott Landon’s request for $200,000 to replace each school’s interior door locks with high security ones, as recommended by Kroll Security Advisors.

But the approval did not come without criticism over why it took so long to get to this point, since the Newtown shootings took place in December 2012.

“It just seems to me it took a long time,” said Michael Rea, finance board member, noting that the Stamford Public Schools has similar locks installed last summer.

“I would urge you to move as expeditiously as possible,” he added about other security measures.

More "$200,000 for High Security School Locks Approved"

Posted 11:10 PM
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