Dionna Carlson

Recent Articles

Board of Ed Honors Saxe Science Teacher Who Won Environmental Education Award

District officials on Monday night honored a Saxe Middle School science teacher who recently received a national award that recognizes educators who use innovative approaches to environmental education. Laura Poidomani received the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. Administered by the White House Council on Environmental Quality as well as the federal Environmental Protection Agency, it also recognizes outstanding teachers who “use the environment as a context for learning for their students.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said during a board meeting that Poidomani is one of just 12 educators nationwide—and the only one in this EPA region (there are 10)—to receive the award. Poidomani is a teacher of 18 years experience, he said, and she has taught in every grade. “Her classroom vividly reflects how she integrates direct experiences with textbook learning,” Luizzi said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. Continue Reading →

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District: All Elementary School Sections Meet Class Size Guidelines for 2017-18 Academic Year

New Canaan Public Schools will see 4,247 students attend kindergarten through twelfth grade for the academic year that starts next Wednesday, officials said this week—just four more than projected. In addition, due largely to continuous enrollment monitoring and attendant hiring by district administrators, the class sizes of each section within the town’s elementary schools will come within Board of Education guidelines, according to Director of Human Resources Gary Kass. “We have been monitoring the enrollment very closely over the summer, meeting weekly just to try to keep track of who is moving in and who is moving out, and we have made some changes to our original staffing so we ended up adding teachers to achieve these class size numbers,” Kass said at the Board of Ed’s meeting on Monday night, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “Back on May 31st, for example, we added a kindergarten section at East. In July, we added three sections—fourth grade at East, second and third grade at South School—and just recently, at the end of July, we added a kindergarten at South. Continue Reading →

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Board of Ed Voices Support for Proposed Emergency Communications Antenna at West School

Board of Education members on Monday night voiced support for a proposal from the New Canaan Police Department to install an approximately 10-foot radio communications antenna on a 5-foot “monopole” atop the roof of the West School gymnasium. Assured that the pole poses no health hazards—in fact, there are two existing, similar set-ups already at West School, used by the bus company and district itself, according to Police Capt. John DiFederico—Board of Ed members stopped short of a formal vote. The new one would serve public safety needs, he said. School board member Sheri West said: “It seems very straightforward to me that we would be supporting” the installation. DiFederico described the proposed antenna as an initial step toward improving portable radio communications for police, fire and public works officials as well as EMTs and members of the Community Emergency Response Team or ‘CERT.’

“The problem is that portable radios in the western side of town have a real difficult time reaching our base so that is what a receive-only antenna does—it captures the radio signals in the air and sends them back to the police department or the fire house or the public works facilities,” DiFederico said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. Continue Reading →

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New Canaan High School Class of 2017 Graduates

In 1989, Jennifer Lee spoke at her high school graduation. It is a speech that she now admits revealed very little about what it meant to be her because that was something, at the time, she was still figuring out. On Tuesday evening, 28 years later, Lee took to the podium once again to address the 334-member New Canaan High School class of 2017 as its keynote speaker—getting a second chance to deliver something more personal. Yet after learning that she would address the students, Lee felt denial, anxiety and fear being chief among them. To aid her in finding a theme for her speech, the mathematics teacher and 22-year veteran of the New Canaan Public Schools conducted a survey with her students, asking them who their favorite elementary school teachers were. Continue Reading →

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Board of Ed, Longtime New Canaan Public Schools Figure Recognized for Excellence in Science Education

A fixture in the New Canaan Public Schools’ Science Department and recent award recipient honored the Board of Education at its most recent meeting for the group’s vision, support and encouragement. Melinda Meyer, the district’s K-8 science coordinator and winner of the Connecticut Science Supervisors Association’s Fred J. Simone Award for distinguished leadership and service in science education, told members of the Board of Ed that educators in the NCPS science program “really do have the best job in the world,” thanks in large part to the school board. “We get to engage students every day in learning, making connections and providing them with the fuel to grow into the next leaders, scientists and engineers,” Meyer said during the Board of Ed’s May 15 meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “Our students’ excitement and energy is our caffeine in the morning. It is what keeps us going. Continue Reading →

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