Sheri West

Recent Articles

‘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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Board of Ed Member Calls for More Input from Parents Regarding Computer Use at Middle School

Parents should have a say in some curriculum decisions regarding the use of computers in the classroom, rather than mere access to the trusted New Canaan Public Schools educators now making them, according to one member of the Board of Education. Some parents closely monitor their children’s “screen time” at home and the study of how computer use affects young people is a rapidly developing area, Maria Naughton said during the school board’s regular meeting last week. “We don’t have a district curriculum committee in the district, which I think we should,” Naughton said during the group’s meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “And I would like to know: How will this impact the curriculum for fifth and sixth grade?” said Naughton, who has called for greater parent collaboration in the past. “I have had parents contact me. 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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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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‘It Truly Helps Me to Be the Best That I Can’, Camp LiveGirl a Success for a Third Summer

It’s 9:30 am, and 100 middle school girls are gathered in the auditorium at New Canaan High School. Each wears a lime green T-shirt emblazoned with the affirmation, “I am smart. I am strong. I am special.”

At Camp LiveGirl, these are the words to live by. The campers, girls going into grades 6 through 9, enjoy a full week of bonding and leadership training. Continue Reading →

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