At Caccamo Lane today, Julie Enrich takes a photo of daughter Chloe, 6, as she boards a bus to Saugatuck Elementary School for her first day in first grade. Her brother, Dylan, 8, is in third grade at the same school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, March 31, 2023
Back to School Party Time
After ‘Long Engagement,’ Palmer’s First BOE Meeting
By James Lomuscio
After what Westport Board of Education Chairman Michael Gordon called “a long engagement,” Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer—hired in February and appointed July 1—attended her first school board meeting tonight as the town’s education leader.
Colleen Palmer (in her office): she has visited every school. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Gordon exuded an air of enthusiasm about Palmer, former superintendent of Weston, being at the helm as the school system readied for Thursday’s start of the 2016-17 academic year for Westport’s 5,612 students.
“They represent 22 percent of our population in Westport,” Palmer said, stressing that her guiding principles put students’ needs first, making education a joy.
Tonight’s changing of the guard for the board that had worked for the past 17 years with former Superintendent Elliott Landon, who retired in June, was also marked by another change. School board member Brett Aronow announced she will be stepping down effective Sept. 30, saying she recently sold her home.
Teacher of the Year Introduced
At today’s Bedford Milldle School convocaton for teachers, Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer (r) introduced Mary Elizabeth (ME) Fulco as Teacher of the Year. Fulco teaches English and journalism at Staples High School and is mentor for Inklings, the school newspaper. The annual event was held in advance of Thursday’s school opening. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tests Show Gains But About Half of Students Still Below Grade Level
By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas and Andrew Ba Tran
[Click here for Westport results]
About half of the 234,000 elementary and middle school students tested during the last school year were not at grade level in reading or math, state education officials announced today.
But a higher proportion of students were at grade level than in the previous year.
In math, 44 percent of students tested last spring were at grade level compared to 40.1 percent in spring 2015. On the English exam, which includes reading and writing, 55.7 percent of students tested last spring were at goal compared to 52.4 percent the previous year.
Education officials said the scores showed both how much progress had been made and how far the schools still have to go.
New Staples Principal Ready for Challenges, Stage Appearances
New Staples High School Principal James D’Amico today detailed qualities he seeks to instill in graduating seniors. Addressing the Westport Rotary Club’s weekly meeting, he said they include emotional and social awareness; kindness with sincerity in relationships with all fellow students; highest principles in thought and action, and always learning. Referring to some of the challenges he faces, D’Amico said bullying issues are high on the list, particularly cyber-bullying and the use of social media. Asked by a Rotary member if he is prepared to sing and dance in Staples Players productions as other principals have done, D’Amico said he is well prepared because in his high school days he played Bernardo in “West Side Story” and Motel, the tailor in “Fiddler on the Roof.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
New Super Ready for School Start Challenges
By James Lomuscio
When school opens Thursday, Sept. 1, Westport Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer’s responsibilities will be more than double that of her previous post in neighboring Weston, but she says she is ready for the challenges.
Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer has some fun during an interview Tuesday in her Town Hall office. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
As Weston’s superintendent for the past five years, she oversaw a system that served 2,400 students. Now, it’s 5,600 for Palmer who came on board July 1, succeeding Elliott Landon, who retired after 17 years.
In Weston, she was responsible for a School Road campus of four schools. Now she oversees eight schools spread across town.
Westport’s 2016-17 operating budget of $113 million is more than double Weston’s $49 million budget this year. And she admits she and the school board will not be able to repeat this year’s lauded, 1.29 percent budget increase.
Palmer: State Mandated SAT Results Not Full Picture
By James Lomuscio
Westport Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer said today that the scores from this spring’s state mandated SATs for juniors are not accurate indicators of future student success. She said she puts more stock in official College Board reports to come.
Colleen Palmer,: “I would put more stock in College Board report.” Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Palmer made this comment despite the fact Westport’s scores released in a state report Wednesday are in line with other school systems in the district reference group (DIRG).
Of the 431 graded tests, the average score for English and language arts in Westport was 598, 599 in math.
Palmer said the College Board report expected in mid-September for the Class of 2016 would offer a better assessment of student achievement.
SAT English Results: 91% in Westport ‘College or Career Ready’
Test results released by the state Department of Education showed 91 percent of Westport junior high school students met or exceeded the standard for career and college ready in the SAT English tests admnistered in March. Students are considered college and career ready if they scored at least 480 out of 800. Comparisons with neighboring districts are available here. The results are from the first Connecticut SAT School Day, a new test that more closely aligns with the skills and knowledge students need to be college- and career-ready. These results mark the first time all Connecticut 11th graders took the SAT. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org graphic
SAT Math Results: 75.5% in Westport ‘College or Career Ready’
Test results released by the state Department of Education showed 75.5 percent of Westport junior high school students met or exceeded the standard for career and college ready in the SAT math tests administered in March. The state said 433 Westport students took the test. Students are considered college and career ready if they scored at least 530 out of 800. Comparisons with neighboring districts are available here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org graphic