Board of Education

Recent Articles

Op-Ed: School Success and School Budgets

Breathtaking accolades for our schools continue to roll in. On Feb. 9, the Connecticut Department of Education released its annual statewide school ratings. Drum roll: New Canaan is the number one district in the State once more. Remarkably, we’re among only 27 percent of districts whose rating improved. Continue Reading →

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District Pursues ‘Alternative High School’ Program, Outback or No Outback

Though it appears the former Outback Teen Center is off the table for now as a future location for an alternative high school program, creating that program remains a priority for the district, officials said last week. New Canaan Public Schools administrators are actively looking at other locations for the program—designed to serve students facing specific health challenges such as anxiety, depression, mood and eating disorders—and a request to fund the equivalent of four positions to operate it remains in the Board of Education’s proposed spending plan for next year, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said. Though the district “would love to have the [Outback] building to establish the program, one is not dependent upon the other, so the alternative high school positions do remain in the budget at this point,” Luizzi said at the Board of Ed’s Feb. 5 meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “If it is not located at the Outback, we are looking at other possibilities, so just really exploring and we are looking at a couple of other places in town and other possibilities. 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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Saxe Middle School Principal Greg Macedo To Retire

Greg Macedo, longtime principal of Saxe Middle School, will retire after this academic year, he said in a blogpost. An educator for nearly four decades who has worked in the New Canaan Public Schools district for 25 years, Macedo said he reached the decision with his wife to relocate to the Delaware shoreline. “I will leave knowing that the support and guidance from the parent community, of which I will always be grateful, will continue to ensure that our middle school will thrive, even beyond its present state,” Macedo said in the post, whose contents also were emailed to parents. “I can honestly say that I have been able to live the life of a ‘life-long learner’ because I’ve been blessed to have had professional colleagues that are ‘life-long teachers.’ ”

Macedo in recent years earned praise from Board of Education members for making dozens of accommodations prior to a recent renovation and expansion in order to keep Saxe, built for 1,200 students, operating while it consistently saw 1,300-plus students enrolled. Even so, Macedo noted as the town weighed whether to fund the estimated $18.6 million project that those accommodations were made “on the backs of our neediest programs,” as several Special Ed classes had been pushed into converted closets and alcoves due to space deficiencies. Continue Reading →

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Parents Advocate for Later School Start Times Before Board of Ed

Citing multiple medical organizations that say sleep deprivation causes a slew of health problems in children and adolescents, parents on Monday night told district officials that they’re eager to weigh in on an open question, now facing New Canaan Public Schools, about whether to start later in the morning. Karen Willett, a parent of 11- and 6-year-old boys at Saxe Middle School and West School, told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the CDC have all issued policy statements “about the negative impact of early start times on student mental and physical health.”

“We realize that the decision on start times cannot be made in a vacuum,” Willett said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School

“As in every other district that has successfully changed start times, there are cost complications and logistical issues to be resolved. However, as we go through the process of addressing the difficulties, let’s also stay focused on the reason we are addressing this topic in the first place. Because that extra hour of sleep every day will help improve the mental and physical health of thousands of our children. In one of his budget presentations, [Superintendent of Schools] Dr. [Bryan] Luizzi said he often gets questions during the budgeting cycle from the finance people—and I’m paraphrasing here—‘What expenses can be deferred?’ and ‘What can be done later?’ and his response in regard to the student-impacting expenses, if we know a program is needed, we owe it to the current cohort of children to implement as soon as possible, because they will not be able to benefit from it if we defer it. Continue Reading →

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