Friday, March 31, 2023


Palmer: Enrollment Down Slightly, Preschool to Open at Staples in January

Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer said tonight Westport schools will open Thursday with slightly fewer students than last year. Image
Colleen Palmer: “Active, vibrant preschool” set. Dave Matlow / WN file photo

She also announced the January opening of the Little Wrecker Preschool at Staples High School as well as the selection of the 2018 Teacher of the Year.

Addressing the year’s first Board of Education meeting, Palmer said kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment stands at 5,528, down 32 students from last fall as expected by demographic projections.

She also broke news that the Little Wreckers Preschool will open at Staples in January. It will be open daily from 7 a.m. “until the last teacher meeting in the afternoon,” Palmer said.

The program will be overseen by Earthplace, which has an accredited preschool, she said, and Norwalk Community College will be involved, working with Staples students as interns.

“This is going to be an active, vibrant preschool, and active learning lab,” Palmer said.

The announcement followed the controversy earlier this year with the decision that the Staples child development program as it existed would be discontinued. (See WestportNow Jan. 30, 2017)

Palmer said all teachers met earlier today in a convocation and called it “a very productive first day of professional development” as it was their first day.

She said professional development workshops would continue through Wednesday with “a very in-depth orientation for our new staff.”

“We’re still trying to find a few last minute hires,” Palmer said, adding that several teachers have withdrawn this month due to personal matters. “We’re on the hunt for new talent.”

She also said that it was announced at the convocation that the 2018 teacher of the year is Courtney Ruggiero, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Bedford Middle School.

Ruggiero, 32, at Bedford since 2009, will be formally presented to the board at a future meeting, Palmer said.

-— James Lomuscio

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