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

March 4, 2021
Facilities Review Looks To The Future Of NPS Learning Environments
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 analyze and address the current state of our facilities and buildings.

To help support the various educational models and diverse learning taking place throughout the district, NPS engaged Newman Architects and DLR Group in early January. Over the past weeks, the group has worked to complete a comprehensive overview of the physical assessment of each one of our buildings, and the learning environments within. The group presented an update during this week’s Board of Education workshop meeting on the work that has taken place and future plans.
 
Representatives from Newman Architects & DLR Group shared insight regarding data collected from walkthroughs, co-labs and focus groups with students, parents and staff members. The group gathered “day-in-the-life” input regarding space, activities, culture and context, furniture, safety and security. Flexible seating options, open concept spaces, indoor environment quality, technology integration, and sustainability were also a focus.
 
Newman & DLR will present a final facilities plan in early April. Community members can view the presentation here, and watch the recorded meeting by clicking here.
NPS Joins Verizon To Bring Internet Access, Devices & Tech Coaches To Middle Schools
We are excited to report that Nathan Hale, Ponus Ridge and West Rocks middle schools have been selected to participate in Verizon Innovative Learning beginning with the 2021-22 school year!
 
Verizon’s education initiative addresses barriers to digital inclusion and is a key program under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. Nathan Hale, Ponus and West Rocks are among the 148 new schools joining Verizon Innovative Learning, bringing the program to more than 400 middle and high schools nationwide.
 
In partnership with Digital Promise, Verizon Innovative Learning will equip every student and teacher at middle schools across America with a device and up to a four-year data plan. In addition to free technology and access, schools receive extensive teacher training and support, along with the opportunity to engage in powerful teaching and learning that leverages technology in and out of the classroom.
 
“As the world discovered during the pandemic, technology is critical to connecting students with the resources that they need to learn successfully,” said Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella. “To help our learners develop critical 21st century skills, every student needs equitable access to technology, and every educator needs professional development and support to integrate technology into their instruction. This initiative provides NPS with the ability to ensure that commitment to these middle school students.”
 
Thanks to the Health Department and the Norwalk Community Health Center for their partnership in putting Covid vaccine clinics together this week.

A special thanks to everyone at McMahon, the NPS Facilities team and our NPS nurses.  
We Value Your Feedback – Panorama Survey
Closes March 10
As a reminder, 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.
 
This year’s survey is substantially shorter than it has been in the past. Your responses to the survey are completely anonymous.
 
The survey is currently available on your student’s school website in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. In most cases, the survey link for parents and guardians is located under the PARENT section of your school's website. The last day to complete this survey is March 10.
 
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 Continues To Advocate For Fair Budget 
money_piggybank_money.jpg
Last week, the Common Council voted 10-5 to approve a budget cap for the 2021-22 citywide budget that was $1 million less than the budget recommended by the City of Norwalk’s chief financial officer. The school budget recommended by the City was already $5 million less than the Board of Education requested.
 
We are extremely disappointed in this decision, which will significantly impact school funding for next year.
 
Our thanks to everyone who has advocated for appropriate levels of school funding in Norwalk.  We will continue to advocate for our students and staff to ensure a positive and effective school system for all. For additional details on budget news visit the NPS website.
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 School Shout Out – Silvermine Dual Language Magnet School
This week's “NPS Shout Out” video features Silvermine Dual Language Magnet 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. 
Students Celebrate Read Across America
Students across the district celebrated Read Across America this week! Guest readers included NPS Superintendent Dr. Estrella, Mayor Harry Rilling, Norwalk Board of Education members, parents and many more. Thanks to all of our very special guest readers who shared their favorite books virtually with learners to help promote a love for literacy.
BMHS Student Receives College Board
Opportunity Scholarship
Congrats to Brien McMahon 11th Grader Paula Carreno who received a College Board Opportunity Scholarship (CBOS)! CBOS is the first scholarship offered exclusively by the College Board.

Students are rewarded for taking action steps on their journey to college, rewarding effort and initiative. Paula is currently a member of Center for Youth Leadership, which focuses on social activism through projects that bring awareness to social issues on campus and throughout the Norwalk Community. 

Paula also volunteers at Building One Community in Stamford and was recently accepted as a Gaffney Scholar through the Gaffney Foundation. Though Paula is currently undecided as a major, she has an interest in exploring the medical field with a focus in pediatrics. Her goal is to be accepted into an exemplary Liberal Arts College.
DMCA Partners With Quinnipiac To Offer Students College Credit
The Norwalk High School Digital Media and Communications Academy has partnered with Quinnipiac University to offer students the opportunity to earn college credits for specific courses. Students enrolled in the DMCA program may complete the following courses for three credits each:
 
+ Film Production
+ Audio Design and Podcasting
+ Digital Communications
 
The cost to participate is $50 per credit, plus a non-refundable $25 administrative fee, payable directly to Quinnipiac University. Financial aid may be available. Students may earn credit for multiple courses if they are enrolled in more than one course. Those who are not interested in earning college credits may still enroll and complete the courses.

Students interested in enrolling in DMCA should speak with their school counselor and fill out an application. Admission is rolling. Questions can be directed to Kyle Seaburg at seaburgk@norwalkps.org
Excellence In Education Support Staff Nominations Are Now Open
Again this year, the Norwalk Education Foundation in partnership with the Norwalk Federation of Teachers and Norwalk Public Schools plans to recognize Norwalk educators, support staff and excellence in education in each school in our district. ­
 
Nominations are now live for The Excellence in Educational Support awards. The Support awards were designed to honor non-certified staff members who have earned the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators, co-workers and parents. Nominees in this category have the ability to apply for the Paraeducator of the Year program. Nominations for this category can be submitted by anyone. Click here for the nomination form. Nominations are due Thursday, March 25.

The Excellence in Education awards recognize Norwalk’s certified teachers for excellence in our schools. School Governance Council members select finalists from peer nominations submitted at each school. Nominated teachers are also given the opportunity to apply for NPS Teacher of the Year, in alignment with the State’s Teacher of the Year program.
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!
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.
 
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, March 10, Finance Committee, 6pm
 
Monday, March 15-19, Spring Recess - No School

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.