Connecticut's #1 City School District for 3 Years in a Row!

February 18, 2021
2021-22 School Operating Budget Request Reduced to 4.6%
With new information now available about the projected rise in health insurance rates, the Board of Education voted Tuesday night to revise the original recommended school operating budget request for 2021-22. As a result, the Board of Ed requests that the City of Norwalk fully fund the Norwalk Public Schools revised budget request for a modest 4.6% increase. We remain deeply concerned about the City's choice to recommend only a 2% increase for the school budget.

For more information, click the following link to visit our website: 2021-22 Norwalk Public Schools Operating Budget Request Reduced to 4.6%
Tonight: Common Council Finance Committee
Public Hearing On 2021-22 Operating Budget
The Finance Committee of the Norwalk Common Council will hold a an online public hearing tonight starting at 7pm. The hearing provides the community with the opportunity to voice their opinions about next year's operating budget, which includes the 2021-22 Board of Education recommended school budget. For information on how to participate, visit the calendar section of the City of Norwalk website, or use the link below:

Annual Panorama Climate Survey To Launch
February 26 - March 10
We value your feedback! Beginning next week, we are asking NPS parents, students and staff to take a brief climate survey to tell us about your experience with Norwalk Public Schools. To ensure we continue to provide high quality, rigorous learning experiences that meet the needs of our learners and prepare them for college and career, we need your feedback.

Based on parent feedback from previous years, the survey is substantially shorter than it has been in the past. Your responses to the survey are completely anonymous. The survey will be available online in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.
 
Students will also have the opportunity to take the survey. Per student feedback, this year’s student survey will also include an opportunity for students to share input via an open-ended question.
 
We thank you in advance for your thoughtful responses. If you have any questions about the survey, please don’t hesitate to contact your school’s principal. 
NPS To Share Preliminary Facilities Study Results 
As we develop the new Strategic Plan to help ensure that all students leave grade 12 ready for future college or career success, NPS understands the need to address the infrastructure of our schools. To create a robust plan, a comprehensive facilities study led by Newman Architects/DLR Group took place over the last few months. Initial findings from this work and master plan will be presented at the March 2 Board workshop. Community members can view this meeting by clicking here.
BMHS Senior Paul Buellesbach Named
National Merit Scholarship Finalist
Congratulations to Brien McMahon High School Senior Paul Buellesbach, who has earned the distinction of being named a National Merit Scholarship finalist! About 15,000 outstanding scholars advance to the finalist level each year from across the country.

Paul has excelled at rigorous course work throughout his high school career, including college classes at Norwalk Community College and University of Massachusetts. Within the Brien McMahon High School community, he is a dynamic member of the golf team, marching band, and math and drama clubs. Outside of school, Paul is a longtime Boy Scout, on the path to Eagle Scout. He is an active member of the Metropolitan Golf Association and is genuine in wanting to help others through his volunteer work at Person-to-Person and the Maritime Aquarium.

A longstanding tradition of elite academic recognition, Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
Scholastic Writing Honors Awarded To NPS Students
NPS is excited to share the winners of the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Congrats to Sophie Magnifico and Ava Ryen! A panel of professional novelists, editors, teachers, poets, librarians, journalists, and other literary professionals selected these works from nearly 1,700 works submitted this year.
 
Sophie Magnifico, Norwalk High School, Grade 10
Easy Way Out, Dramatic Script, Honorable Mention
Mixed Emotion, Dramatic Script, Honorable Mention       
Yeah, Me Too, Dramatic Script, Gold Key   
 
Ava Ryen, Brien McMahon High School, Grade 9
The Unwanted Gift, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Silver Key
NPS Students Named Connecticut Scholastic Art Award Winners
Photo by Tierna Mahoney, grade 10, Gold Key award
Congratulations to Norwalk High School students Tierna Mahoney, Himani Narayan and Eyesly Zuniga for earning the title of 2021 Scholastic Art Award winners. Tenth grader Tierna won a Gold Key award in photography, eleventh grader Himani won a Silver Key award in photography, and twelfth grader Eyesly won a Silver Key award 
in the drawing and illustration category. We are proud of all our NPS students who submitted entries to the 2021 Scholastic Art Awards juried competition!
 
The 31st annual Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards is the largest juried student art exhibition in the state. As an affiliate of the National Scholastic Art Awards and The Alliance For Young Artists and Writers, the Connecticut region continues its annual tradition established in 1927,of honoring the creative efforts of students grades 7-12, in public, private and parochial schools. Scholastic Art Awards is now the largest and most senior program of its type in the country.
 
The Connecticut Regional celebration award ceremony will be held virtually this year.
The virtual exhibit opens February 26 at 5:30pm and can be accessed here.Following the close of the Connecticut Regional exhibit, select Gold Key award winners from each national region will have their art works reviewed by an esteemed panel of judges. This National Jury will select "Gold Medal" national winners’ artwork to be exhibited virtually in New York City during the summer.
Schools across the district celebrated National Random Acts of Kindness Day yesterday! Norwalk High school students and staff participated in a kindness campaign which included sweet surprises in staff mailboxes, pencils with positive messages for students and daily activities and announcements.
Thank You NPS Counselors!
During the first week of February NPS celebrated National School Counseling week to highlight the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

Thank you to all of the NPS school counselors who work hard each day to support our students!
Rowayton students tasted different foods before voting on their favorites to be added to the menu. Favorite new items were yogurt parfait, turkey hot dogs and mac and cheese. Students across the district will also get the opportunity to taste test and vote over the next few weeks.
Meal Applications For The 2020-21 School Year
As a reminder, families who have not completed a meal application for free and reduced meals for the 2020-21 school year should do so before the end of February. Those who qualify for these benefits are eligible for discounts on summer programs, After the Bell, college applications and more. If you have not received a confirmation letter from Jill Kress, please submit an application. For questions or additional information visit myschoolapps.com to complete an application online or print an application and email it to Kressj@norwalkps.org.
Kindergarten Registration Now Open
Parents of incoming Norwalk Public Schools kindergartners can now register their child for the 2021-2022 school year online through PowerSchool registration. PowerSchool registration allows parents to easily and securely enter their child’s information.
 
Families of incoming kindergartners can visit the Step Into Kindergarten page to begin registration and learn more about immunization requirements, documents needed, lunch information and more. If a parent does not have a PowerSchool registration parent account, which would have been created for previous children registered to NPS, they can create one. The PowerSchool registration parent account will allow parents to fill out the necessary forms online, save and return to forms in progress and print form history.
 
For families who speak a primary language other than English, assistance is available by calling 203-854-4093.
 
Columbus Magnet School Information Meetings & Lottery Information
Columbus Magnet School (CMS) offers families a Progressive Bank Street/H.O.T. (Higher Order Thinking) model of learning. The mission of the school is to develop passionate, lifelong learners who strive for academic excellence by cultivating their creativity and imagination through hands-on, integrated units of study and arts infusion.
 
Columbus will be holding virtual information meetings for Norwalk parents interested in learning more about CMS’ progressive program and the lottery admission process. Five virtual information sessions are planned. Three sessions will be presented in English and two in Spanish.
 
In order to receive a lottery application, parents/guardians are required to attend an information session.  Reservations are required for information sessions. To make a reservation for one of the English sessions, please email CMS Lottery Coordinator Terry Lakin at lakint@norwalkps.org. In your email, please include your name and the meeting date you are requesting.
 
Due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, lottery applications and all correspondence will be electronic. Lottery applications will be emailed to all meeting participants following the meeting. The application, in google form format, may be submitted immediately upon completion.
 
Deadline for Lottery applications is Friday, March 12, 2021. The lottery will be drawn on Thursday, March 25, 2021.
 
For additional information, please call 203-899-2840, email Terry Lakin at lakint@norwalkps.org or visit our website: cms.norwalkps.org
Silvermine Dual Language Magnet School
Applications Due April 1
A full immersion dual language school, Silvermine teachers plan and coordinate instructional programs in a team teaching environment at each grade level: one instructs in English, and the other in Spanish.

Due to the pandemic, all tours and information nights will be held virtually. Families are required to view an online webinar and school tour, as well as attend one of the four virtual Parent Q and A sessions in order to be eligible for the lottery. Please click here to sign up for the Virtual Parent Q and A session. Links for the webinar, tour, and virtual session will be provided after signing up.

Applications for the Dual Language Program will be accepted until April 1, 2021. Students may only apply for one magnet school within the district. If applying for more than one sibling, separate applications must be completed for each child. Twins and triplets also need separate applications, but will be considered as one lottery opportunity per family. Silvermine attendance zone students and siblings of current students have priority.

If you have any questions, contact the dual language coordinator, Damaris Cruz, at (203) 899-2870 or cruzd@norwalkps.org.
Tracey Magnet School Lottery Application
And Virtual Info Tours
Tracey Magnet School was named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education. Each day, Tracey students are challenged to leave their “PRINT” on the world by living the core values embedded in the Tracey pledge: Problem solving, Respect, Integrity, Being Neighborly and Taking Responsibility. Character.org designated Tracey Magnet School as a National School of Character. Tracey is the only school in the state of Connecticut to earn this title, joining 87 schools and 3 districts in 24 states across the country.

Families can learn more about Tracey’s character education program, and ask any questions they might have regarding social emotional learning during upcoming virtual information tours. Those interested should call the school to reserve a spot prior to attending. 
 
  • Students zoned for Tracey and siblings of current students have priority. 
  • The Tracey Magnet School lottery application for 2021-22 will be distributed during virtual informational meetings. In order to make an informed decision, applications will be distributed after attending a mandatory evening informational session or daytime guided tour. Reservations are required for tours. 
  • The final deadline to submit an application is March 26. Once completed applications may be submitted in person, or mailed to Tracey Magnet School, attention Kristen Penta. 
  • If space is available, the lottery drawing will take place on the evening of April 8 at 6pm.
  • Space is limited and students are placed onto a waitlist if a spot is not available. 
 
Please contact the Character Education Theme Coach, Kristen Penta, at 203.899.2960 ext. 45210 or pentak@norwalkps.org with any additional questions.
Board of Ed meetings will be held by videoconference until further notice.

Full Board of Ed workshop and business meetings, as well as committee meetings, will be Live Streamed on the NPS YouTube channel at the times listed below. More information on the process for public comments for Board meetings will be available on our website.

Wednesday, February 24, Facilities Committee, 6pm

Tuesday, March 2, Policy Committee, 5:15pm

Tuesday, March 2, Board Workshop, 7pm

Thursday, March 4,  K-8 Conferences, 90 Minute Early Dismissal

Meetings also will be recorded and available
on YouTube within 24 hours of the meeting time listed below.

Norwalk Public Schools
125 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06852
Phone: 203-854-4000
This newsletter is compiled & published by the
NPS Communications Department.
Have a question about our school district or an item to share?
Contact Brenda Wilcox Williams, Chief Communications Officer, williams@norwalkps.org, or call 203-854-4003.