School Start Times: Superintendent Floats Proposal To Start Elementary Schools Earlier, Followed by High School and Saxe

Local elementary schools could start as early as 7:30 a.m., with New Canaan High School starting later in the morning and all of Saxe Middle School starting last, under a new proposal that Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi unveiled Monday night. Citing anecdotal evidence that younger children tend to tire in the afternoon, Luizzi said the proposed new system—suggested by New Canaan Public Schools Transportation Coordinator Roy Walder—could largely preserve the current and cost-effective three-tier busing system, though it also comes with tradeoffs. “I’m not going to say this is the scenario I am recommending yet, because there is more work to be done,” Luizzi told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School and attended by about 25 parents. “But I want to share it with you because work is being done and continues to be done. The magnitude of the change—it moves everybody.

Superintendent of Schools Proposes 2.55 Percent Spending Increase

The superintendent of schools on Monday night proposed a $92 million budget for New Canaan Public Schools next year, a 2.55 percent increase over current spending. Of the approximately $2.3 million projected spending increase over this fiscal year, more than $1.6 million is due to employee salaries, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting. The budget also anticipates spending less money in areas that include contracted services ($94,554), property services ($440,302), supplies ($58,707) and equipment ($56,016), he said. The salary figure of $1.6 million represents an increase of about 2.8 percent over current spending, Luizzi said. The increase is driven mainly by contractual increases with unions representing district employees ($1.4 million), as well as “grid progressions” for teachers advancing on the salary schedule ($189,410), he said.

Three NCHS Seniors Sign Letters of Intent To Play Football in College

Three senior captains of the New Canaan High School football team on Wednesday signed letters of intent to play football in college. 

Garrett Braden (Rice University), Jack Conley (Boston College) and Jack Stewart (University of Michigan) participated in a National Letter of Intent signing ceremony in the Wagner Room at NCHS. 

Along with senior co-captain Quintin O’Connell, who last month signed his own letter of intent to play lacrosse at North Carolina, the trio led a tenacious Rams team to a Turkey Bowl win against Darien and all the way to the state Class LL championship game. 

After a 3-2 start that saw many write off the Rams as overrated, the team went on a winning streak and, in New Canaan’s first-ever season in the larger Class LL, lost only in the title game to a powerful Greenwich High School squad. Braden, a linebacker and edge rusher with a nose for the football who led the team in sacks, was named to the Class LL All-State defensive team. Conley, who like Stewart played on the line on both sides of the football, was one of the biggest and best linemen in the state, and was named as an All-State Class LL offensive lineman. Stewart, a ferocious player with a knack for the big play who played a tough and physical game that often saw his uniform bloodied, was names to the CHSCA All-State first team. We asked each of them about how they chose their respective colleges.

Officials Recommend Training in More Proactive Approach to Handling Violent Incidents in Schools

Officials who help shape school safety policy in New Canaan are recommending training for all district staff in a new way of preparing students for violent incidents. 

Members of the district’s Crisis Advisory Board, or ‘CAB,’ told the Board of Education last week that the powerful experiential training they’ve undergone in a more proactive approach to handling situations such as shootings should lead to new “lockdown” procedures at all public schools. In traditional lockdown drills, children go into a classroom and teachers all follow the same procedures, South School Principal and CAB member Joanne Rocco told the Board of Ed at its regular meeting Dec. 3. Those steps include “locking the door, pulling down the shades, turning off the lights and students would all go into one corner of the room where they weren’t visible and would just wait,” Rocco said. “So that was the traditional lockdown,” she said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.

New Canaan Woman Trips and Falls Outside High School, Breaks Nose, Sues Town

The town on Monday received a lawsuit filed on behalf of a local woman who last spring fell outside New Canaan High School and broke her nose. It happened at about 6:45 p.m. on a Thursday in April 2017, outside the high school’s main entrance, according to a lawsuit filed by Lawrence F. Reilly of the Ridgefield-based Reilly Law Firm. Joan Holloway tripped on a protruding, bent, defective and uneven piece of metal rebar where a paved walkway meets the grass on the southern end of the main entrance, according to the lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court. “As Ms. Holloway fell to the ground, she was unable to brace herself and her face slammed into the paving stones covering the entranceway to the High School, thus causing injuries and losses described herein,” the complaint said. Those include “massive bruising above and around her left eye” so that it was swollen shut for a time, “abrasions, scarring, severe bruising and discoloration throughout her face,” contusions and swelling of her left knee and “ongoing tenderness of her injured body parts,” according to the lawsuit.