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Monday, September 01, 2014



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. Image
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

“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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First Day Memories

Scenes as Westport students returned to school today after summer vacation. The school population is about 5,700, according to Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, and 44 teachers are new to the system. Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:17 AM
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Greeting Students at Staples Image
Staples High School Principal John Dodig today talks with Andrew Ippolito, 17, a senior at Staples High School who showed up on the first day of school wearing a graduation cap. Dodig later conducted an orientation session with each of the four classes starting with the Class of 2015.  Of his session with 480 seniors, he said, “The students were so quiet and attentive I could have heard a pin drop. To me that’s a measure of the respect between students and staff.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:45 AM
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New Name, Same School Image
Janna Bell Sirowich, starting her fifth year as principal of Coleytown Elementary School, today welcomes first day students. Sirowich said she has a new last name this year because she was married in April. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:31 AM
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Hurry Up and Wait Image
Saugatuck Elementary students today wait for the entrance doors to open at 7:45 a.m. A volunteer said the buses arrived a few minutes earlier than expected. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:19 AM
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All Smiles on First Day of School Image
Carolyn Cassell, 12, smiles as she boards the bus today to Bedford Middle School where she is in the seventh grade. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:12 AM
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New Principal at Saugatuck Greets Students Image
The new principal of Saugatuck Elementary School, Beth Messler, greets children as they arrive for the first day of school today.  Messler was formerly assistant principal at Coleytown Elementary School. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:09 AM
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Off to Coleytown Middle Image
Coleytown Middle School students—and friend—wait for the school bus today on Half Mile Common on the first day of school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dawn Shmaruk for

Posted 08:45 AM
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School Bus Schedules

With Westport public schools opening today, the school office released the following bus schedules and memo for parents:

(Click on links)
Transportation Information
Greens Farms Elementary
Kings Highway Elementary
Long Lots Elementary
Saugatuck Elementary
Coleytown Elementary
Bedford Middle School
Coleytown Middle School
Staples High School

Posted 12:20 AM
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CMS Spanish Teacher Named 2015 Teacher of Year

By Dave Matlow

Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon today marked the official opening of the 2014-2105 school year by welcoming an overflow crowd at the annual teacher orientation in the Bedford Middle School auditorium and introducing the 2015 Teacher of the Year. Image
Lisa Almeida, a Spanish teacher at Coleytown Middle School, was selected as the Teacher of the Year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlowfor

Lisa Almeida, a Spanish teacher at Coleytown Middle School, was selected as the Teacher of the Year.

Other nominees were announced as Megan Stone and Eric Lawrence, Saugatuck; Jennifer Benson, Kings Highway; Michelle DeCarlo, Greens Farms; Kerry Jean Douglas, Bedford; Anne Fernandez, Joel Kabak and Enia Noonan, Staples, and Rick Quiricone and Christina Zadravec, Coleytown Middle.

Landon’s welcome message included introductions to 44 new teachers—“the most new hires that we have had since 2008”—two new administrators as well as recognition of 25-year school veterans Enia Noonan at Staples, Ellen Zunick at King’s Highway, and Janice Price at Staples.

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Posted 04:05 PM
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Stefan Pryor to Leave Education Post After One Term

By Mark Pazniokas

Stefan Pryor announced today he will not seek another term as state education commissioner and is seeking a new job—a step that could diminish some of the teacher dissatisfaction with the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as the governor seeks re-election. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

“Having served for nearly three fulfilling years as Commissioner, I have decided to conclude my tenure by the end of this Administration’s current term and to pursue new professional opportunities,” Pryor said in a statement. “Because I believe it’s important to communicate my decision proactively to the Governor and the public, I am doing so now.”

Malloy, who had resisted calls for Pryor to resign, praised the commissioner.

“Commissioner Pryor has worked hard and well on behalf of Connecticut students,” Malloy said. “In the three years he’s led the department, we’ve taken tremendous steps forward to improve education, with a particular focus on the districts that have long needed the most help.”

Click here for more of story

Posted 01:33 PM
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Friday, August 08, 2014

Landon: New Administrators, Teachers and Initiatives for 2014-15

By James Lomuscio

Six new administrators promoted from within school ranks, 20 new teachers to replace longtime ones who retired, more uniform start times, and program and curriculum initiatives that include college math and ethics will mark the 2014-15 academic year as classes begin Aug. 25, Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said today. Image
Elliott Landon: few places can match Westport. Dave Matlow for

Landon added that enrollment remains stable with about 5,700 students system wide, and that student population increases as grades rise, a fact he attributed to parents becoming more well heeled to afford moving to town as their children grow. Population at Staples High School, he said, has shown a steady increase, currently at 1,854.

“My feeling is that with kind of publicity this town gets, there are few places that match it,” Landon said. “It’s a place where people want to raise their kids and have a good life. I can only see a boom.”

He said the school system is seeing enrollment rise with grade levels, “350 kids in kindergarten, 380 in first grade, and then it moves up to 469 in the sixth grade.”

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Posted 07:31 PM
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Staples Grads Urged to Live in Present With Eye to Future

By James Lomuscio

The banner suspended from the ceiling of the field house, where 5,000 family and friends had gathered for the 127th commencement exercises at Westport’s Staples High School, spoke of the future. Image
Frank Corbo, who is retiring after almost 50 years as a Westport educator, led the academic procession. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams,” read the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt.

Valedictorian Eliza Clare Llewellyn, however, asked her 462 fellow graduates to focus on the present, especially today.

“We live more in the future than in the present,” she said. “Today there is so much to celebrate, not in the future, but in this moment.”

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Posted 08:23 PM
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A Day to Remember for Class of 2014

Scenes from today’s Staples High School graduation. Dave Matlow for

Posted 08:15 PM
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