Monday, November 23, 2015
BOE to Seek $290K for Coley El Air Conditioning
After much discussion over the method of financing, the Westport Board of Education voted tonight to seek $290,000 to air condition the cafeteria and gymnasium at Coleytown Elementary School.
It is the only school among eight in the district that does not have air conditioning in these key areas. The issue has been in the capital project list since at least 2005 for the school, which opened in 1953.
At issue was whether the board should fund the project from its Capital Expenditure Offset Account and the Food Service Capital Account, as recommended by Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, or go to the town funding bodies with a capital project appropriation request.
A lengthy debate ensued, with member Mark Mathias summing up: “It’s a capital project. The Board of Finance as far as I know has always approved a request we’ve had for capital projects … This is the way it should be done.”
Board of Ed Told $630K Needed for School Bus Seat Belts
UPDATE The Westport Board of Education tonight was told it would cost $630,000 to add three-point seat belts to the district’s 41 school buses.
The use of three-point seat belts on school buses was discussed at tonight’s Board of Education meeting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The board asked for more information about the issue and put off any action until a future meeting.
The discussion about seat belts followed a memo to the board from Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon. He said he was raising the issue in light of a recommendation for use of the belts by Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Three-point seat belts, just like the ones installed on automobiles, are the preferred type of equipment for school buses,” he said in the memo and repeated to the board tonight.
Monday, November 16, 2015
Staples Cited for Commitment to Music Education
Westport’s Staples High School is among 119 U.S. public high schools selected by the GRAMMY Foundation as a GRAMMY Signature Schools semifinalist for making an outstanding commitment to music education, school officials announced today.
It is the only Connecticut high school chosen for the honor.
Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools for their commitment to music education during an academic school year.
The next part of the process will be the submission of performance excerpts from the past school year. Finalists for the GRAMMY Signature Schools will be announced in mid-March.
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Tickets Available to Candlelight Concerts
At the end of last year’s Candlelight Concert, a large banner was unfurled inviting everyone to this year’s 75th anniversary concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
Westport’s Staples High School today announced the availability of tickets to the 75th annual Candlelight Concerts next month.
The concerts will be held on Friday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 19, with a matinee at 2 p.m. and the traditional alumni performance at 8 p.m.
The snow date for all performances is Sunday, Dec. 20 at 3 p.m.
General Admission tickets are available by mail to 70 North Ave., Westport, CT 06880, and must be postmarked by Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
School, Finance Board Candidates Take to the Stage
By James Lomuscio
The spotlight was on controlling budgets and fiscal responsibility for both Board of Education and Board of Finance candidates who met in a Town Hall auditorium debate tonight.
Board of Finance candidates included (l-r) Ian Bruce, John Hartwell, Clarissa Moore, Sheri Gordon, and Michael Rea. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Daave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Moderated by Jean Rabinow, a member of the Steering Committee of the LWV of the Bridgeport Area, It was the second League of Women Voters (LWV) of Westport debate before the Nov. 3 municipal election.
The two-hour event began with three unopposed, incumbent school board members, Republican Paul Block and Democrats Mark Mathias, Michael Gordon, board chairman, fielding prepared audience questions.
Questions ranged from how to keep the budget down to concerns about a $1.6 million cost overrun to hiring a new principal for Staples High School.
Combatting Distracted Driving at Staples
Staples High School Senior Nick Greene tries out a distracted driving siimulator as a part of today’s anti-distracted driving assembly for all seniors and for any students not taking the PSAT (practice SAT) exam. The assembly is put on by the Safe a Life Tour—an international entertainment group that presents high school assemblies to combat and prevent teens from distracted driving. The event was sponsored by the Staples TAG (Teen Awareness Group), which coordinates similar events throughout the school year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com
For Super Search, Board Posts Profile Westport Wants
By James Lomuscio
The person replacing Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, set to retire in June, should be a good communicator, have a record of success, “a high degree of emotional intelligence” and offer mutual respect, according to q leadership profile released today.
Elliott Landon: retiring after 17 years. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The Westport Board of Education has posted the leadership profile on its website http://www.westport.k12.ct.us/
Topping the list of qualifications is a candidate who is a good communicator with “well refined writing and speaking skills.”
“Timely and effective communication concerning budget, facilities projects, program initiatives, emerging trends and critical issues facing the Westport Public Schools are essential,” the profile says.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Interim Staples Principal: ‘Honored’ to be in Westport
Mark A. Karagus, interim principal of Staples High School, told the Westport Rotary Club today that the most important part of a principal’s job is “to hire wisely.” In a wide ranging talk, the 40-year educator who visited Staples frequently while officiating at basketball games, said, “As an experienced high school basketball referee, I always found that meeting with the teams and staff in the locker room before a game told me more about the quality of the community than anything else.” Kargus said the atmosphere at Staples “is one of respect and trust—an honor system that the students do not abuse.” He said if he had one word to sum up his experience in Westport it was “honored” -– honored to be here, adding: “I never felt more welcomed anywhere than I have been in Westport.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Program that Grew Out of 9/11 Draws Large Crowd
Linda Lantieri, director f New York-based The Inner Resilience Program, addresses a packed workshop today in the Westport Town Hall auditorium. The program was founded by Lantieri in the spring of 2002 in response to the effects of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 on New York City schools. The aim was to equip school staff and parents with the skills necessary to build back their inner strength and resilience, and to model this way of being for the children in their care. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Sunday, October 04, 2015
Staples’ Karagus: ‘You Have to Be Yourself’
By James Lomuscio
One of the late baseball legend Yogi Berra’s scratch-your-head witticisms was, “If you can’t imitate him, don’t try to copy him.”
Interim Staples Principal Mark W. Karagus:“I’ve made a pretty good dent introducing myself,” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
That Yogi-ism could best apply to die-hard Yankees fan Mark W. Karagus, the interim principal who just finished up his first month at Westport’s Staples High School.
“I’m a little bit different from John,” Karagus says about his style compared to that of former principal John Dodig, the beloved administrator who retired in June after 11 years at the helm. “I don’t want to copy his style. You have to be yourself. It’s what I do.”
Described as personable, if not garrulous, Karagus, 65, can be found mornings, greeting students in the school’s lobby, but not standing center stage there like Dodig. He also makes sure to walk the halls, to visit the cafeteria, to chat with students.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Local ‘Tutors for Opportunity’ Chapter Launched
By Jaime Bairaktaris
Staples High School seniors Daryl Choi and Max Hammer have started a Westport chapter of Tutors for Opportunity (TFO), an international, nonprofit, all-volunteer tutoring service.
Staples tutors include (l-r) Timothy Chiang, Douglas Raigosa, Max Hammer, Daryl Choi, Julia Schorr, and Annie Gao. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com
“The not-for-profit organization aims to educate more people to create a better tomorrow, believing that educating people today will help create a new generation tomorrow that has the ability to solve and prevent our most common worldwide issues,” says Choi.
In its first six months, he says the new organization has tutored more than 100 students worldwide and about 20 in Westport.
Tutoring is available in all subjects for elementary, middle and high school students. Math and physical science are subjects most commonly requested.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Staples Gets 25 National Merit Commendations
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon announced today that 25 Staples High School seniors have been named Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.
A letter of commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation will be presented by the Staples Interim Principal Mark W. Karagus to students “who participate and excel in nearly every activity Staples High School offers.,” Landon said.
“They’re singers, athletes, journalists, computer whizzes, piano players, artists and actors,” Landon said. “They take advanced placement and honors classes, along with culinary, graphic design and are active in community service clubs.”
The commended students are: Jordan Adler, Nicolas Amato, Rees Chang, Claudia Chen, Devon Debalsi, Jason Garland, Aliza Gross, Joshua Hauser, Halley Jonas, Charles Krawiec, Maya Lawande, Yevgen Lensky, James Lewis, Jackson Livingstone, Arianna Markel, Vignesh Namasivayam, Joseph, Pravder, Douglas Raigosa, Julia Saveliff, Julia Schorr, Audrey Seo, Ethan Shenhar, Arun Soni, Jimmy Ray Stagg and Angela Yu.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Kings Highway El Beach Bash
Students, parents, teachers, and administrators had fun tonight at the annual Kings Highway Elementary School fall beach bash at Westport’s South Beach at Compo Beach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Five Westport students were cited for excellence in writing at the 37th annual Trumbull Arts Festival Literary Competition in a ceremony at the Trumbull Library. Students from Coleytown Middle school swept the poetry division awards, with Ava Geismann (first) for “The Last Day of Schoo,l” Kelley Schutte (second) for “My Family is a Beach,” and Lia Chen (honorable mention) for “It is 9:24 p.m. and I Have Just Started This Poem.” In addition, Ben Schussheim was awarded second in the fiction division for his story “A Diamond in the Brush.” Their teacher is Paul Ferrante. In the elementary division, Lilly Weisz from Kings Highway School was awarded first in the poetry division for “The Sky’s Garden.” Her teacher is Priscilla Jones. Pictured (l-r) are: Lia Chen, Kelley Schutte, Ava Geismann, Lilly Weisz, and Ben Schussheim. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Second Public Input Session Held on Super Search
By Dave Matlow
More than 40 persons gathered today in the Westport Town Hall auditorium for the second session to give public input into the search for a successor for retiring Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon.
More than 40 persons, most from PTAs, attended today’s session at Westport Town Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
John Chambers, an associate of Hazard, Young, Attea Associates, a Rosemont, Illinois-based search firm, led the session. It followed one attended by about 10 persons on Sept. 1 at Saugatuck Elementary School. (See WestportNow, Sept, 1, 2015)
Chambers, a former school superintendent at New York school systems in Byram Hill and Bronxville, said today’s turnout was unusually large and contrasted with the much smaller attendance at the first session held in evening hours.
He said it was good that Landon gave a year notice, which he said allows for a thorough search for his replacement.