New Canaan Public Schools Enrollment Projections Call for Slight Decline Next Academic Year

Despite a high number of move-ins in this strong local real estate market, enrollment projections for New Canaan Public Schools call for an overall slight decline next academic year, district officials say. As of June 18, the district had 4,070 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade, and is projected to reach 4,095, according to data made public at last week’s Board of Education meeting. The figures compare to 4,176 students enrolled K-12 in the school year that just ended, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jill Correnty said during the June 21 Board of Ed meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. District officials said that by the time the 2021-2022 starts, the enrollment figures could end up rising, for a number of reasons. Many of the move-ins likely not have enrolled their children yet, Correnty said, and the figures do not include those who are “pre-registered” or in the process of finalizing residency and other documentation for the district.

LiveGirl, Carriage Barn Open ‘She is Rising’ Art Exhibition

Two nonprofit organizations in New Canaan teamed up to organize an art exhibition celebrating women that opened Thursday. “She Is Rising,” presented by LiveGirl and the Carriage Barn Arts Center, runs through June 5 at the well-known gallery in Waveny Park. Sheri West, LiveGirl’s founder and CEO, said the exhibition reflects her organization’s work to “build confident, inclusive, leaders.”

“We’re working to close the female leadership gap, and we’re working to create a world where women can rise and take on positions of power and leadership,” West said. “She Is Rising” features artists such as Ashley Longshore, TL Duryea, and Michele Voight. The art, ranging from embroidery to paintings, makes “powerful statements,” according to Hilary Wittman, the executive director of the Carriage Barn.

2020-21 Academic Year: District’s Phased Plan Calls For All Students To Be in Public Schools in Early-October

 

If health data supports it, New Canaan Public Schools will aim to allow students to attend all classes in-person in early October, district officials said Monday. School will look different at that time, officials said during a regular meeting of the Board of Education, held via videoconference. For example, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said, those in school will be wearing masks and observing physical distancing, hallways will be marked one-way, classrooms will be assigned designated bathrooms, visitors will be prohibited and all assemblies will be held virtually. Though Fairfield County has what health officials are calling “low community spread” of COVID-19 virus—meaning the state is allowing local districts to fully reopen with in-person learning—the first several weeks of the upcoming academic year will be spent re-acclimating students and parents, as well as teachers and faculty, to the changed environment, officials said. Available here in a continuously updated operations guide, the four-phase plan is geared toward the school community’s “on-boarding and reengagement,” Luizzi said.

Board of Ed Debates Adoption of Proposed Goals on ‘Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’

The New Canaan Board of Education last week debated whether to adopt formal goals for the upcoming school year designed to address issues of race through staff training, changes to curriculum and parent education, among other areas. 

Draft goals discussed at the Board’s July 13 meeting (they can be found here, under Goal 4-2, and embedded below as a PDF) include creation of what would be the districts’ first “statement on equity, diversity and inclusion,” as well as an update on Social Studies curriculum and identification of “additional opportunities in other content areas to increase content on diversity and inclusion K-12.”

Some Board members voiced support for adopting the goals, while others said they were concerned about introducing the changes during an academic year that likely will include some form of distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic that strains the “bandwidth” of educators and where spending on schools is tight. Sheri West said she strongly supported the new goals and that it’s “crucial that at this moment in history, that we as a Board, as educational leaders in our district that we communicate the importance of these values and really truly that they are at the cornerstone of what we do—our values and our belief system and our actions.”

“I especially like the addition of the professional development and of the parent education,” West said during the 3.5-hour meeting, held via videoconference. “One thing I would like added is I believe in order for us to execute on these goals, we are going to need budget dollars to bring in an expert consultant. I don’t think this is work that we can do alone. I think many districts have already or are hiring DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] leaders for their districts.