Gary Kass

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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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‘A Concern That I Have’: New Canaan High School Sees Drop in Teacher-Coaches

Just 37 percent of the total athletics coaching positions at New Canaan High School are filled by Board of Education staff—a figure that has dropped off in recent years though it would benefit the district to see it higher, officials say. Out of 106 coaching positions, 39 are filled by district staff, a number that represents 29 unique coaches, as some of them coach multiple sports, according to NCHS Athletic Director Jay Egan. A closer look at the numbers shows that just 21 of those unique coaches are teachers, Egan told Board of Ed members at their most recent meeting. “So that means almost 20 percent of the coaches are teachers,” Egan said at the June 18 meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS. “Now, 15 years ago that was a much different model. Continue Reading →

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District: Search for New Principal at Saxe Middle School Underway

District officials said this week that they’ve launched a search for a new Saxe Middle School principal and expect to gather applications through the end of this month. The successor to Greg Macedo, who is retiring, will have “big shoes to fill,” Board of Education Secretary Jennifer Richardson said at the group’s regular meeting on Monday night. “It’s really cool because he [Macedo] feels so strongly that the school is in such a great place and he wanted to wait for the auditorium to be ready,” Richardson said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “He’s just [done] such an amazing job and it’s such a loss to for all of us.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi noted that two dozen applicants had already put in for the job and that Saxe as oen of the largest middle schools in the state with its two-division system “is a very appealing spot for folks.”

“And having sat in on the focus group with [Saxe] PTC presidents, it is clear that we need to hire at least five people to do Greg’s job.”

According to the human resources director for New Canaan Public Schools, Gary Kass, the PTC co-prsidents are one of “various constituent groups” from whom the district is seeking information about qualities that a future Saxe principal should possess. Others are parents and the public, who are invited to attend a meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. Continue Reading →

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District: After Years of Steady Growth, Enrollment in Public Schools Projected To Flatten

The modest, steady growth in enrollment that New Canaan Public Schools has seen in the past decade is expected to level out for a period, and possibly decline somewhat, according to new projections that district officials cited Monday night. Overall, the 4,182 students currently enrolled from kindergarten to 12th grade is projected to grow by just two students next academic year, to 4,184, according to Gary Kass, the public schools’ director of human resources. Longer-term projections from the New England School Development Council, a nonprofit organization based in Marlborough, Mass., call for a decrease of about 90 students overall over the next five years—mostly at the middle school level—and further declines over the subsequent five years, Kass said during a regular meeting of the Board of Education. “At Saxe Middle School, the demographer is projecting a very slight increase of three students for next year and at the high school a decrease of seven students,” Kass told board members during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “So what you can see from what our demographer is projecting is a period of amazingly stable enrollment, when you are talking about a difference year-over-year of under 10 students at each location. 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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