Board of Education

Recent Articles

District Rules Out Later School Start Times for 2018-19 Academic Year

District officials plan this spring to present data about how starting school later in the morning could affect areas such as bus scheduling, costs, extracurricular activities, homework and classroom learning—framing a wider community discussion that would push any possible change until after next academic year, according to the superintendent of schools. A team of New Canaan Public Schools administrators currently is working with a third-party company to gather data about what starting school later would entail, with an eye on taking that information and developing, with the aid of a different consultant, “some possible recommendations both of what could happen and what would be the cost-benefit” of various scenarios, Dr. Bryan Luizzi said. Those recommendations are to be presented to the Board of Education in the spring, Luizzi said. At that point, public hearings would open up so that input can be had from parents and the wider community. “It’s not simply a matter of starting later,” Luizzi said, adding that “you have to take time” to study comprehensively what would follow from a change to school start times prior to making a decision. Continue Reading →

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Proposed ‘Alternative High School’ Program Built into Superintendent’s $90.7 Million Spending Plan

The superintendent of schools on Monday night proposed an approximately $90.7 million budget for New Canaan Public Schools next year, a 3.5 percent increase over current spending. Of the approximately $3 million increase in spending over this fiscal year, about $2 million is due to salary increases, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting. And of that $2 million, $1.3 million is due to contracted wage increases, while $203,000 is from salary adjustments from units in negotiations and $186,000 represents anticipated raises for teachers at they progress in their careers, for example, after earning advanced degrees. Another approximately $827,000 of the overall increase comes from spending on benefits, Luizzi said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. His proposed budget is the first step for the Board of Ed toward developing its full spending plan for review and final approval (in April) by town funding bodies. Continue Reading →

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District: New ‘Personal Safety’ Lessons Introduced to Fifth-Graders in Health Education

Fifth-graders in New Canaan Public Schools starting this year are getting new lessons in personal safety—including “good touch versus bad touch” and going to trusted adults if “put in an unsafe or risky situation”—as part of an updated health curriculum, district officials say. Two new lessons within personal safety, co-taught by a school counselor and health teacher, are “focused primarily around healthy relationships, building that foundation that we are looking for within personal safety that is aligned with the sexual assault and abuse prevention mandate,” Jonathan Adams, the district’s K-8 heath and physical education coordinator, told members of the Board of Education during a presentation (available here under “Health Update”) at their Dec. 4 meeting. “It’s a two-part lesson and it starts with the people around me and it’s the individuals that they have that they have healthy relationships with, and they start building that circle out from the inner side to the closest relationships they have to maybe some people that are acquaintances,” Anderson said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. Answering a question posed by Board of Ed Vice Chair Penny Rashin, about how “stranger danger” school safety lessons cross into other lessons plans that touch on students protecting themselves—Anderson said they relate “in terms of their trust circle.”

“So it’s the same diagram but then it’s who are those adults in their life that they can actually go to within their circle or outside of that, too,” he said. Continue Reading →

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School Resource Officer: ‘Nonstop’ Social Media Use Ranks with Drugs and Alcohol As Major Dangers Facing Saxe Middle School Students

Use of social media is nonstop among Saxe Middle School students and, with drugs and alcohol, represents a major danger facing New Canaan youth, safety officials said Monday night. No matter how much trusted adults warn middle school students about the pitfalls of social media, “it doesn’t matter,” New Canaan Police Officer Jeff Deak, the school resource officer at Saxe, told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting. “And I throw into the mix the dangers of social media and you participating in illegal activities like vaping under 18, or drinking or doing drugs, and posting them,” he told the school board at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “Those issues, in my opinion—the alcohol, the drugs and the social media—are the big issues. I know some of you are looking saying, ‘What else is there?’ There are other parts. Continue Reading →

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‘It Has Stretched Down to Elementary School’: Police Address ‘Vaping’ Concerns with Board of Ed

New Canaan kids as young as those in elementary school are exposed to and experimenting with e-cigarettes, inhaling the aerosols produced by vaporizers in an increasingly prevalent practice known as “vaping,” officials said Monday night. Though long-term health effects aren’t yet known, vaping increases heart rates and blood pressure and is “kind of terrifying” in its use among kids, New Canaan Police Officer Jeff Deak told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting. “Quite honestly, the kids think it’s a safe alternative” to cigarettes, Deak, the school resource officer at Saxe Middle School, said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “It has stretched down to elementary school,” Deak said. He added: “Some of the kids just think it’s fun—it’s fun to blow white smoke in the air. Continue Reading →

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