Board of Education

Recent Articles

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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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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