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

February 4, 2021
Norwalk Board Retreat – A Focus On Equity
And The NPS Strategic Plan
NPS Superintendent Dr. Estrella, Board of Education members and the NPS senior leadership team attended the bi-annual board retreat last weekend. The focus was on the next round of equity work including a review of equity reports, brainstorming strategies of improvement and development of equity principles. The meeting also included an overview of Strategic Plan development work in progress, such as the facilities study and special education review.
 
Stay tuned to hear more details on these topics in the near future. The meeting was recorded and is available on the NPS YouTube channel.
Presidents’ Day Recess
There will be no school for students beginning on Thursday, February 11 through Monday, February 15 due to Presidents’ Day recess. During the break, we ask that you keep reinforcing the same safety measures we are using inside of school to help stop the spread of Covid. This includes keeping gatherings small, preferably only with those living in your household. Watch your distance, wear a mask and wash your hands.
 
NPS District Welcome Center Proposal
Each year, nearly 2,100 new students enter Norwalk Public Schools to start or continue their academic journey towards graduation, and ultimately, college and career. In a typical year, that number includes about 900 new Kindergarteners, as well as more than 450 multi-lingual learners who speak a language other than English at home.
 
Every new family represents an opportunity for the school district and city to make a first impression, laying the groundwork for meaningful family engagement.
 
Yet families new to NPS face a confusing maze of contacts and locations. Families may start at their neighborhood school, while follow up on health forms, bus transportation, language testing and other essentials are spread throughout Central Office, on the third floor of City Hall.
 
Enrolled families also report difficulty navigating different stops, calls or locations when they have questions. New or current, what all families have in common is their need for information. Our current set up makes it a challenge to efficiently link customers with accurate information, available resources and quality assistance.
 
To support families throughout their child’s academic years, Norwalk Public Schools and the Board of Education have proposed creating the NPS Family Welcome Center. The proposal recognizes that families are essential partners in a student’s success. It also brings to life the District’s and City’s commitment to equity, inclusion and access for all. 
 
ZippSlip Registration 
NPS will be utilizing ZippSlip to send out a variety of communications in the future, such as surveys and other notifications. Families will need to register with this service to establish their accounts.

If you have not already registered, you should be receiving an email invitation containing additional information and further instructions to complete the registration for your ZippSlip account. If you do not receive an email from ZippSlip and have not already registered, please contact support@zippslip.com.

ZippSlip is a secure option that works with our PowerSchool database, and will allow NPS to send out parental forms, obtain consents and approvals, and let families digitally complete surveys.
NPS Celebrates Black History Month
Every year, NPS classrooms highlight Black History Month by learning about Black historical figures, inventors, educators, and civil rights leaders. Educators highlight books written by Black-American authors and poets and incorporate videos and other resources into everyday lessons.
 
Starting this week, schools across the district honored and celebrated the observance with a variety of Black History Month Lessons and Resources. Staff and students engaged in age appropriate discussions about critically important social and equity issues in our community, schools, and beyond, including Guiding Principles of the Black Lives Matter movement, such as restorative justice, empathy, loving engagement and diversity.  
 
The Norwalk Board of Education will adopt a Black History Month proclamation during next week’s meeting.
NPS To Launch Electronic Bus Pass
Over the next several weeks, NPS will roll out a new electronic bus pass program. Students will be provided with a bus pass to swipe in with upon entering the bus. The card will include their name, student ID and school. The new equipment works in cooperation with the GPS tracking system installed on the buses. There is a digital dashboard, which provides the district with reports of students’ daily attendance on buses. The system also works with Durham Bus Tracking app, which should be in operation shortly after the bus pass system launches. If you have questions about your child’s bus eligibility please call the school directly. 
 
Please note, students are expected to continue wearing a mask at all times, sitting in their assigned area on the bus and loading the bus from the back to front, unloading from the front to back. Thank you for reminding your children about these procedures, which have been put in place to keep all students safe.  
NPS To Participate In Winter FCIAC
Competitions
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After careful consideration and consultation with the Norwalk Health Department, we are excited to share that Norwalk athletes will be able to participate in winter FCIAC games and meets beginning next week. The district and our health advisors will continue to watch the health data carefully throughout the season. 

Both high schools have reviewed safety recommendations and have put together thoughtful plans for winter sports. At this time, no spectators will be permitted.

Athletic directors are working on arrangements to live stream as many sporting events as possible. Stay tuned for details.
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 beginning tonight, January 21st at 6pm. 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.
PTECH Norwalk Submission Deadline Extended To February 12
Did you know that PTECH Norwalk scholars can earn an associates degree in software engineering from Norwalk Community College? Interested in learning more? There is still time! The application deadline has been extended to February 12. For additional information visit the PTECH website.
 
In partnership with Norwalk Community College and IBM, P-TECH Norwalk combines the best of high school, college and the professional world. In as little as four years, scholars can earn a high school diploma and AAS degree in Mobile Programming or Software Engineering. Upon graduation, scholars are prepared to join the work force, are first in line for interviews with IBM, or may transfer to a four-year institution to complete their undergraduate studies.
PTECH Selected As Part Of FAFSA
Completion Challenge
Congrats to PTECH Norwalk on being selected for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Challenge Learning Community! The challenge was designed to help districts overcome the obstacles to FAFSA completion while providing targeted support based on national best practices. Norwalk was one of 16 school districts selected to join the FAFSA Learning Cohort and compete for prizes. To read more about the FAFSA Completion Challenge click here.
 
According to research, students who complete the FAFSA are more likely to attend college and more likely to get financial aid for college. The FAFSA can unlock Pell grants, financial aid and federal student loans. P-TECH will offer assistance to students and families throughout the challenge. Contact P-TECH to learn more.
NPS Launches Facebook
En Español Page

We are excited to share that in addition to the NPS Facebook page, NPS now has a Facebook page dedicated to our Spanish speaking families. Check it out and follow us!
NPS School Shout Out – Naramake
This week's “NPS Shout Out” video features Naramake Elementary School. Click here to watch the clip on the NPS YouTube page!
 
  
Each "NPS Shout Out" highlights the fantastic learning and hard work that is taking place in our schools each day! Videos are shared in the district newsletter as well as on the NPS YouTube page, and social media.  
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.

Thursday, February 4, NPS Facilities Master Plan Workshop: Virtual Tours and Benchmarks, 5pm

Wednesday, February 10, Facilities Special Meeting, 5pm

Wednesday, February 10, Finance Committee, 6pm

Thursday, February 11, Presidents’ Day Recess, All Day - Feb 15

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.