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

NCHS Students Awarded at Annual Senior Recognition Assembly

Friday marked New Canaan High School’s annual Senior Recognition Ceremony, where emcee Assistant Principal Ari Rothman awarded outstanding Juniors and seniors for their various achievements. Congratulations to all— what follows is a brief description of awards and their corresponding recipients: (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘I Am Thrilled’: NCHS Senior Internship Program Underway

As the school year comes to a close, nearly every New Canaan High School senior is turning to the increasingly popular Senior Internship Program to provide them with the real-world job experience that is expected of them in college and beyond. May 22 marked the first day students ventured into New Canaan and surrounding towns’ businesses and organizations to join the workforce as interns. Assigned jobs ranged anywhere from gardening at churches to working in interior design. Run by Program Coordinator Heather Bianco, ‘SIP,’ as it’s known, reached a record-high number of participants in 2018, at 94 percent of the graduating class. While it earned high marks from past participants, the program still needed some adjustments this year, Bianco said. Continue Reading →

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‘The District Is Always Looking for Ways To Rationalize Costs’: Board of Ed Spotlights Money-Saving Efforts

Through contract negotiations, competitive bidding, new carrier agreements and shifting retirees to a state health plan, New Canaan Public Schools has saved nearly $1.6 million annually in the area of employee benefits, district officials said last week. About 80 percent of the district’s operating budget is devoted to staff salaries or benefits and that is an area “we can be creative in and have some good thoughtful conversations is around the type of health benefits that we offer our employees,” Dr. Jo-Ann Keating, NCPS director of finance and operations, told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting May 21. Public schools officials looks especially at plan design changes, such as those in other districts, and cost-sharing options, Keating said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. Together those components “do generate quite a bit of savings for the school district.”

“And it is really the one thing that we are able to use to offset our salaries, because salaries grow at a much lower rate than health insurance does,” Keating said. “You have close to double-digit increases with trends in some years whereas salaries lower percentages.”

Specifically, she said, the district is saving $747,000 per year through contract negotiations (by replacing a PPO with a high-deductible plan for both certified and non-certified staff, and a 1 percent savings through cost-sharing), $326,000 through competitive bidding (stop loss insurance changes that significantly increased the threshold, creating risk, but saved money as fewer claims came in, and life and long-term disability), and $506,000 through carrier agreements such as pharmacy rebates and performance guarantees, as well as transitioning retirees from Cigna to the state Teachers’ Retirement Board or ‘TRB’ plan. Continue Reading →

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Officials: District, Police Reach ‘Conceptual Agreement’ on Access To School Security Video

The superintendent of schools and chief of the New Canaan Police Department said Friday that they’ve reached “a conceptual agreement” that will give authorities access to school security video. That agreement will be put into a formal document for review by the district and NCPD, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi and Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said in an email to the press. “The conceptual agreement ensures that police department officials will have immediate access to school security cameras in the event of an emergency,” they said. It isn’t clear whether police will have continuous access to interior cameras at the schools, rather than access through some type of login—a process that Krolikowski has described as problematic in the event of an emergency. Luizzi has cited the need to honor student privacy rights under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act, a law

that gives parents certain protections with regard to their children’s education records, including school security videos. Continue Reading →

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‘Sky Blue Poles Seen Against the Sky’: Public Safety Antennas Proposed for West School, St. Luke’s

Town officials have received applications to affix radio antennas to existing structures at West and St. Luke’s Schools, part of a wider effort to improve communications for New Canaan’s first responders. The proposed 20.8-foot antenna at West School would be located atop of a building toward the rear of the campus, on a roof whose peak is about 28 feet from the ground, according to an application submitted to Planning & Zoning. The proposed 20-foot antenna at St. Luke’s would be affixed atop a brick chimney at a building alongside the football field, according to the school’s application. Continue Reading →

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