Schools

We don’t just cover the Board of Education and issues affecting New Canaan Public Schools parents, including testing mandates and teacher evaluations, new hires in the district and programs in our schools—we also celebrate students and teacher achievements and spotlight outstanding work at all levels.

Recent Articles

Board of Ed: Schools May Need To Use Fuel Oil Temporarily Because Natural Gas Lines Still Aren’t In

Eversource missed an Aug. 25 deadline to run natural gas lines to New Canaan’s public schools, and district officials say they’re now preparing for a more expensive backup whereby oil might be used for a period of time if the work still isn’t done by heating season. Delayed in part by weather, the company still has “quite a bit of work to do,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said during a regular meeting Monday of the Board of Education. “They are working hard,” Luizzi said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “There is weather involved with this. Continue Reading →

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Lunch Lady’s Attorney: Former Food Services Director ‘May Have Been Involved in a Fraud’

An attorney for one of the former New Canaan lunch ladies accused of stealing a total of nearly $500,000 in cash from school cafeterias said Monday that he’s “optimistic” regarding his client’s case and also interested to find out what role was played by a man who used to oversee food services for the district. Stamford-based attorney Darnell Crosland told reporters that he has made an official request for discovery, in part to find out whether there’s evidence exonerating his client, Joanne Pascarelli, and also made an inquiry into Bruce Gluck, former head of food services for New Canaan Public Schools. “There is evidence that he may have been involved in a fraud, but it’s outside of the statute of limitations,” Crosland said at Stamford Courthouse after Pascarelli appeared before Judge Gary White. She and her sister, Marie Wilson, were arrested last month by New Canaan Police and charged with first-degree larceny following a monthslong investigation prompted by a complaint from the school district. 

“The idea here is that there’s $500,000 that’s alleged they have taken,” Crosland said. “And there’s an old adage, ‘Follow the money.’ And when you look at these individuals, there’s no cookie crumbs leading us to any money here, at all. Continue Reading →

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‘More Conversation Is In Order’: Board of Ed Puts Off Discussion, Vote on K-9 Policy

District officials said Monday night that they’re gathering more information for Board of Education members before the elected group votes formally on whether to allow a K-9 dog in New Canaan Public Schools. Some Board of Ed members last month voiced concerns over the prospect of adopting a new policy whereby police could be invited by the district to bring a drug-sniffing dog into a school. 

Since then, administrators have received “a couple of questions from the Board,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said during a regular meeting of the Board of Ed. “One, for instance, around how many school districts in our [District Reference Group] have such a policy, things like that,” Luizzi said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “We expanded it a little bit just to look around, we asked nine other districts, and it’s not helpful at all in that four of them do not have a policy and five of them do. Pretty much down middle. Continue Reading →

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P&Z: Board of Ed Lacks Site Plan Approval for ‘Alternative High School’ Downtown

The Board of Education plans to install New Canaan’s first-ever “alternative high school” on the second floor of the downtown building its administration currently occupies, though town officials on Tuesday night raised concerns that required zoning approvals for such a program have not yet been obtained. Specifically, the Board of Ed needs approval for a site plan in order to move forward with the program on the second floor of 39 Locust Ave., members of the Planning & Zoning Commission said during their regular meeting. 

Though school starts Thursday, the Board of Ed “missed a deadline” to get on the agenda for this week’s meeting, according to P&Z Chairman John Goodwin. “I think when they make the site plan application in September we will learn more,” Goodwin said at the meeting, held at Town Hall. “What is unfortunate is that they are going ahead and doing this without the site plan approval. So my question to them next month is, why did they miss the deadline?”

No Board of Ed members or district administrators attended the meeting. Continue Reading →

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School District Sees Unexpected Decline in Kindergarten Enrollment

Kindergarten enrollment in New Canaan Public Schools this fall is expected to come in at 46 students lower than projections, district officials reported this week. The district has 233 total enrollments in kindergarten this year, officials said during Monday’s meeting of the Board of Education, compared to 279 projected by the New England School Development Council or ‘NESDEC,’ a Marlborough, Mass.-based nonprofit organization. The figure—still subject to change, as families move into town just before the first day of school—also marks an 18 percent drop from last academic year, when 276 kindergartners were enrolled in the public schools, according information presented by Gary Kass, NCPS director of human resources. “Overall we are decreasing enrollment in certain areas but what is particularly evident is a reduction of students in kindergarten,” Kass told Board of Ed members at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. He added: “That could possibly be a trend as we move forward.”

It isn’t clear what is causing the lower-than-expected figures among kindergarteners. 

Board of Ed member Sheri West did ask whether district administrators had a handle on the data behind the lower enrollment there, but officials instead addressed a separate question from her, about why the fourth grade from last year appeared to be declining by about 17 students going into fifth grade this year. Continue Reading →

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