Gary Kass

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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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‘We Are Seeing a Pattern Now’: Move-Ins To New Canaan Expected To Drive Record-High Kindergarten Enrollment

Due mainly to young families moving to town, New Canaan Public Schools are projected to see a net gain of 72 students next academic year, creating one of the highest total enrollments that the district has seen in decades, officials said Monday. In the first public release of current enrollment figures and projections since the district’s Oct. 1 report date, officials during the Board of Education’s regular meeting reported that total students will rise from 4,174 in this academic year to 4,246 for 2016-17, according to the New England School Development Council (see “Nov. 9 Staffing and Enrollment” presentation):

 

“In looking at our school district’s historical enrollment, using our pre-K to 12 enrollment this year of 4,217, 10 years ago in 2005 we had 4,163,” Gary Kass, the district’s director of human resources, said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS. “We are 54 students higher, and this slow but steady growth is also predicted for our future. Continue Reading →

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Concerns Arise as Enrollment Drives up Projected Class Sizes at Elementary Schools

The district will see a steep increase in the number of kids in New Canaan’s elementary schools this coming year, preliminary data show, prompting concerns from some education officials about average class sizes. Projections call for 1,674 elementary-level students in New Canaan Public Schools. Though that figure may be higher than the number of kids who actually show up next Wednesday for the first day of school, it represents a net increase of 72 kids over the last academic year. District officials said during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting that East, South and West schools plan to absorb the additional students with a net increase of just one more class/section. (Tables with average classroom size projections for each school are interspersed throughout this article.)

School board Secretary Dionna Carlson said she’s concerned that six out of the 15 grades (kindergarten through fourth, in each of the three elementary schools) are either at or slightly above class size guidelines. Continue Reading →

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