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

January 21, 2021
An Update On The Recommended 2021-22 Budget
This week, the Norwalk Board of Education approved NPS Superintendent Dr. Estrella’s recommended operating budget, which was originally presented at the Board's workshop meeting on January 12. The board also discussed and passed a proposed capital budget that prioritizes funding for building repairs, maintenance, construction.


Full Board of Education workshop and business meetings are live streamed on Zoom and the NPS YouTube channel. To watch the budget meeting on YouTube, click the NPS YouTube Channel link at the top of the website home page.
Mid-Year Learning Model Questionnaire 
Norwalk Public Schools is committed to keeping our students safe, while at the same time providing different options for learning. As you know, the district worked on the 2020-21 School Reopening Plan over the summer, using guidelines from the Connecticut State Department of Education, as well as input from the Norwalk Health Department. At that time, we asked families to select which learning model their student would be enrolled in for the school re-opening.

Norwalk Public Schools plans to continue the remainder of the 2020-21 school year using the current instructional model. However, we know and understand that some families have changed their original selection throughout the school year.

To help us plan for a safe remainder of this unique school year, Norwalk Public Schools needs to reconfirm what your student’s learning plan will be.

In order to fill out the mid-year model questionnaire, families will need to register with online service ZippSlip. Please be on the lookout for an email invitation containing additional information and further instructions to complete the registration for your ZippSlip account.

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 Strategic Plan Development Underway
Norwalk Public Schools has kicked off planning and development of the new Strategic Plan. The development of the Strategic Plan represents months of work from a wide variety of stakeholders, including input from the district’s senior management team and school administrators, as well as teachers, staff, parents, students, community leaders and funders. The plan will help ensure that all students leave Grade 12 ready for future academic or work success.

Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest
Winners Announced
Congratulations to the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest winners! The Norwalk Public Library, Norwalk Public Schools and the Norwalk Branch NAACP teamed up to encourage students to honor Dr. King through the essay contest. Elementary, middle and high school students wrote about the pillars of Dr. King’s legacy. To watch the video of students reading their essays click here.

Elementary School Essay Winners
First place: Riley Wiggins, Columbus Magnet School, grade 3, second place: Ariana Brown, Kendall College and Career Academy, grade 5, third place: Guadalupe Trejo Reyes, Kendall College and Career Academy, grade 5

Middle School Essay Winners
First place: Joalys Rosario, Roton Middle School, grade 6, second place: Shanice Daniels, Roton Middle School, grade 6, third place: Isla Tucker, Roton Middle School, grade 6

High School Essay Winners
First place: Denali Baker, Norwalk High School, grade 12, second place: Ava Massucco,
Brien McMahon High School, grade 9, third place: Joanna Susan Gentle, Norwalk High School, grade 9
NPS Winter Sports Health Update
The Superintendent and other district leaders met this week with the director of the Norwalk Health Department, as well as the district’s medical advisor, Dr. Norman Weinberger, to discuss high school athletics and to review the most recent data on Covid cases in Norwalk.  
  
With over 400,000 Covid-related deaths nationwide and a new, more contagious strain of the virus detected in Connecticut, we remain committed to informed and cautious decision making for our students and staff. As you may know, Norwalk has had a higher rate of Covid cases than some smaller towns in our area, and cases continue to rise.  For the time period of January 3 through January 16 (a 14-day average), the daily cases per 100,000 population was 78.5 and the percent positivity rate was 9.9%. 
  
We also understand the mental and physical health benefits that sports brings to student athletes, especially during these challenging times. Both high schools have reviewed CIAC recommendations and have put together thoughtful plans for winter sports. The move to indoor sports required additional mitigation strategies to keep everyone safe. 
  
With all this in mind, the decision has been made that high schools in Norwalk can begin training and conditioning work on Friday, January 22, for sports that have been approved by the CIAC. This includes basketball, ice hockey, indoor track, boys swimming and diving, girls gymnastics and sideline cheer.  
  
A decision will be made on participation in games and meets before February 8.  The district and our health advisors will watch the health data carefully during this time to see if Covid cases continue to rise. 
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.
NPS School Shout Out – Nathan Hale Middle School
This week's “NPS Shout Out” video features Nathan Hale Middle 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. 
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.
Norwalk High School Honored With
Sportsmanship Award
Congratulations to Norwalk High School for receiving a Michaels Cup Award from the CIAC! Michael’s Cup recognizes commitment to sportsmanship, positive school climate, and commitment to community service. NHS is one of only 16 schools in the state to be recognized. The school will be formally recognized during the CIAC’s virtual Sportsmanship Conference on February 10. Click here to read the CIAC press release with additional information.
Kendall Students Discuss Social Justice
In the most recent episode of Kendall student-led KIDZ TALK! @ KENDALL, students discuss what social justice means to them. School Social Worker Mr. Jules Douge formed a social justice group, which has provided a safe space for students to share their thoughts, and most importantly, feelings, on the events that transpired at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
 
KIDZ TALK! @ KENDALL is a talk show created by Randall Austin, instructional coach for digital learning, Our KT!@K squad consists of students ranging from grades 3-5, all from diverse backgrounds and experiences. To view the latest episode, click here. Please note, topics discussed in this episode are based around what transpired in the Capitol on January 6. This episode is recommended for students in grades 4 and up. Parents should review content prior to sharing with their children.
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.

Tuesday, January 26, Curriculum Committee, 4pm

Wednesday, January 27, Facilities Committee, 6pm

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

Tuesday, February 2, Board Workshop, 7pm

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.