Connecticut's #1 City School District!
June 4, 2021
Norwalk Public Schools Announces Senior
Leadership Appointments
As part of the new strategic framework adopted on May 18 by the Norwalk Board of Education, a new structure was approved for districtwide leadership positions. Dr. Alexandra Estrella, superintendent, has confirmed appointments for the following positions: assistant superintendent of business and operations, assistant superintendent for digital learning, chief of staff and communications, and chief financial officer. All will report directly to the superintendent. For additional details on the leadership positions and bios click below.
Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations
Sandra Faioes
Sandra Faioes has been appointed assistant superintendent of business and operations. Faioes will oversee the district’s processes in facilities, food services, health and safety and transportation, ensuring alignment and coordination of these services to the mission and strategic priorities of Norwalk Public Schools. Faioes will manage the implementation of the district’s comprehensive facilities plan, including new construction and renovations, critical building maintenance, and space modifications to ensure that students are learning in an environment that supports education, activities, safety and security. Her role will also work closely with the chief financial officer to ensure systems are aligned. To read Sandra's bio click here.
Assistant Superintendent of Digital Learning and Innovation
Ralph Valenzisi
Ralph Valenzisi has been appointed assistant superintendent for digital learning and innovation. Valenzisi will be responsible for planning, organizing and providing direction to ensure the district remains a leader in digital learning. Working closely with the assistant superintendent of schools, Valezisi will lead the development of long-term technology and digital learning plans, innovative instructional strategies, workforce development opportunities, and career and technical education. In this position, Valenzisi will oversee all information systems activities. His responsibilities will also include developing partnerships with businesses and charitable foundations to generate support for district goals. To read Ralph's bio click here.
Chief of Staff and Communications
Brenda Wilcox Williams
Brenda Wilcox Williams has been appointed to the position of chief of staff and communications. This new role will be responsible for planning and executing districtwide internal and external communications, promoting family engagement, and leading the development of a district Family Center. Williams will also serve as the superintendent’s liaison for monitoring and facilitating the progress of staff-led projects and initiatives, taking responsibility for complex short-term assignments and strategic problem solving. To read Brenda's bio click here.
Chief Financial Officer
Tom Hamilton
Tom Hamilton will continue in the role of chief financial officer. Hamilton joined NPS in October 2015, and is responsible for managing the financial affairs of the district, including budget preparation and execution, capital planning, accounting, financial reporting, payroll, purchasing and accounts payable. To read Tom's bio click here.
NPS To Launch Virtual Learning Program For High School Students   
The pandemic has had us shift our mode of instruction for the last year. As we worked through the challenges of remote learning, teachers were incredible in their ability to pivot and use this environment to deliver the best instruction possible for our students. In many cases, we have seen that virtual learning has benefits for some students and situations. This has led us to develop a new virtual model for incoming 11th and 12th grade students, which we plan to launch in September. This model will align with our Strategic Priority Focus of Innovation, Improving Digital Learning and Equity initiatives by offering an alternative program for a cohort of learners. The program will be a fully virtual model for a group of students.
Currently we are waiting for a bill to pass at the State level, which will allow us to move forward with such a model. In the meantime, we want to get feedback from students on virtual learning. We plan to send a survey out before the school year ends. The results of that survey will allow us to have a follow up survey with parents on the program. Once we receive feedback, parents will have the opportunity to apply for the virtual learning program for their child. 
NPS Summer Reading Fun!
In partnership with our public library and the Governor’s Reading Challenge, The Summer Game begins on June 15th for readers of all ages.

Students should register at to log their reading and earn badges for raffle prizes! Beanstack has an app if students want to keep track on their phones!
Here is a video to help introduce the program to students. This opportunity will also be posted on our district’s website and the public library’s website.
The suggested summer reading lists are here, but students can read anything they enjoy. We hope all students will dive into reading this summer and get lost in a great book - or two, or three…
2021 Commissioner’s Summer Math Challenge
Looking for a way to keep your child’s math skills sharp during the summer? Look no further than the 2021 Commissioner’s Summer Math Challenge!

The 2021 Commissioner's Summer Math Challenge stresses the importance of maintaining math skills during the summer. The Summer Math Challenge is a free, six-week program that helps your child practice math skills taught during the school year. When you enroll your child, you’ll get access to daily fun activities and resources designed for your child’s grade and ability level.
The 2021 Summer Math Challenge will begin on Monday, June 21.

There are three exciting ways for students to participate:

  • Grades 1-8: Quantile Summer Math Challenge
  • Grades K-8: Connecticut’s Summer Math Passport
  • Grades 9-12: Khan Academy Mission SAT

Register for a free account to begin. 

Information on the 2021 Summer Math Challenge (Grades 1-12)
STEM21 Showcase Celebrates Student Achievements
The STEM Department is proud to present the STEM21 Showcase! This virtual experience highlights the creativity and innovation of Norwalk's students and teachers. The STEM21 Showcase is a compilation of highlight videos from each school that celebrates and recognizes the academic achievements and design thinking occurring in the areas of STEM education during this past school year. Please enjoy seeing our teachers facilitate our students' critical thinking and collaboration with each other as they design innovative solutions to real-world problems.
Ponus Ridge Students Create Health Focused Businesses And Architectural Design Projects Using STEAM Tools
From financial health to mental health, customized shoes to put you in the right frame of mind, farm-to-table restaurants, healthy candy, skincare lines, architectural design and more, Ponus Ridge sixth and eighth grade students developed customized businesses focused on health and architectural designs of an outdoor courtyard.

Over several weeks, students worked in groups during math, ELA, art, tech education and music classes, integrating STEAM strategies (Science. Technology. Engineering. Art. Math) into business plans, product concepts and design projects. Students then presented finalized projects to a panel, answered questions and discussed their experiences.
CMS Students Pass The Olympic Torch
Columbus Magnet School students had the honor of passing an official Olympic Torch during last week's Torch Run/field day. The Torch Run has been a CMS tradition since 1984 when former PE Teacher Tom Kretsch kicked off the event. In 1996 when the summer Olympics were in Atlanta, Mr. Kretsch brought CMS students to see the torch being carried through Norwalk. After reaching out to the Olympic Committee, CMS was bestowed with a Torch. The event happens every four years to coincide with the Olympics. This year, the Olympic Torch, American flag and Olympic flag were carried continuously throughout the school day around the Columbus track to celebrate.
Norwalk Public Schools And The New York Rangers Partner To Break The Ice On Sports Equity For Students
Ponus Ridge Middle School students and Jefferson Elementary Students took to the rinks on May 21 to learn street hockey skills with New York junior Rangers staff. Former New York Rangers Defenseman Tom Laidlaw played a game of ball hockey with students and encouraged them to reach for success. Former Professional Hockey Right Winger Anson Carter was also onsite to share his story with students and teach them a few skills.
The event kicked off a partnership between Norwalk Public Schools and National Hockey League’s New York Rangers Try Hockey for Free program. The goal of the program is to engage students in the sport of hockey through recreational game play. The initiative addresses barriers to hockey due to socio-economic status, while providing students with physical activity to promote an active lifestyle.
Funded by the New York Rangers, the Try Hockey for Free program offers Norwalk students the ability to participate in a year-round program, skill development sessions through recreational co-ed floor hockey game play, and after-school access to SoNo Ice House for homework help and training. NPS Physical Education teachers will also receive training from New York Rangers professionals on how to implement floor hockey into the PE curriculum. Schools will receive complimentary hockey equipment to be replenished as needed.
NPS And Durham School Services Honored For Propane Initiative
We are excited to share that NPS and Durham School Services won the Small Private Fleet Category during the virtual Green Bus Summit for the adoption of propane.

NPS and Durham were selected by School Transportation News and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

We are very proud of this partnership and look forward to further supporting alternative fuels and energy in the future.
End Of Year Promotion And Graduation Schedule
Norwalk High School and P-TECH Norwalk Students Showcase Art Work Via Virtual Gallery
Norwalk High School and P—TECH Norwalk seniors launched an art show in a virtual tour format this year. Viewers can click here to wander through the gallery and click on each piece of art work for additional details. 
Additionally, NHS and P-TECH sudents grades 9-11 are featured in The NHS Art Show. To view the YouTube presentation of the 9-11 NHS art show, click here.
We are so proud of the talented NHS and P-TECH artists and the hard work and creativity that they have showcased this year. Special thanks to the NHS art teachers who supported our students!
West Rocks Drama Club Presents High School Musical
Disney’s High School Musical JR. is streaming virtually on June 4. The 60-minute musical, designed for middle school-aged performers, is based on the 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie and the subsequent National Tour.

The cast includes students in Grades 6-8 and is led by Sara Golding and Michael O’Callaghan. This up-beat throwback to the ins and outs of high school drama is a nostalgic romp for young and old alike!

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, June 8, Board SGC Annual Forum (special meeting), 6:30pm

Wednesday, June 9, Finance Committee, 6pm

Tuesday, June 15, Curriculum Committee, 4pm

Tuesday, June 15, Special Education Curriculum Subcommittee, 5:30pm

Tuesday, June 15, Board Business Meeting, 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,, or call 203-854-4003.