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

October 15, 2020
A Message From NPS Superintendent
Dr. Alexandra Estrella – 100 Days
I am proud to report that I have officially completed my 100th day as superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools! During that time, I have met with hundreds of students, parents, teachers, staff and community members as I get to know the district and city better and better. As I continue to tour our schools, I have had the opportunity to watch as educators, paraprofessionals and NPS staff work together to find new ways to engage our students in synchronous instruction. It is these joint efforts that enable our children to thrive, despite the challenges from COVID-19.
Educational Equity Survey & Focus Group
Registration Available For NPS Families
We've received great input from those who have already participated in the Educational Equity focus groups. In order to capture feedback from across all of Norwalk's diverse communities, Dr. Fergus of Temple University needs to hear from you!
To ensure effective discussions, sessions will be limited to six participants at a time. Focus groups will take place both virtually and in-person at a variety of locations throughout the city. Focus group signups are available online.
NPS Survey Link: Temple University & NPS Family Survey on Equity in Education
Input from the survey and focus groups will be utilized to develop the next Strategic Operating Plan.
All parents and guardians, both who currently have students enrolled in the district and those who have had students enrolled in the past, are encouraged to volunteer to participate in both the survey and focus groups.
NPS Introduces COVID Dashboard

NPS is committed to keeping families informed about cases of COVID-19 in our district. When a confirmed positive case is identified, the Norwalk Health Department conducts contact tracing and notifies NPS. Students or staff members who may have been in close contact with a COVID-positive person will be notified by the school or district and required to quarantine.

To keep everyone in the community informed, NPS has developed a COVID Dashboard to provide ongoing information about new and total cases. The Dashboard will be located on the NPS website and will be updated once a week. School principals will continue to send communications directly to their community whenever a case is confirmed in their building.
NPS Strategic Plan Listening & Learning Tour
There is still one parent focus group session remaining in our "Listening and Learning" tour: Wednesday, October 21 at Norwalk High School. Over the last few weeks, Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella has met with parents & the community to gather input as we prepare to develop our next Strategic Operating Plan. Advance registration is required, please click here to register.
NPS School Shout Out: Marvin Elementary School
We are pleased to introduce a new series of short video pieces called “NPS Shout Out” featuring staff from different schools across the district. Each video will highlight the fantastic learning and hard work that is taking place in our schools each day! Videos will be shared in the district newsletter as well as on the NPS YouTube page, website and social media. 
Congrats To The Brien McMahon High School
Math Team

The Brien McMahon High School Math Team has had a successful start to the year! The team excelled in their first virtual meet last Wednesday, placing in the top half of all schools in the greater Fairfield County area, including some perennial powerhouses like Fairfield Prep, Greenwich Country Day, Weston, Westhill and Darien.  The team also tied Danbury and came in just behind Fairfield Ludlowe and Greens Farms Academy.  

Congrats to the Math Team for sticking with it on difficult problems and excelling against some very strong competition. Thanks to Math Team Coach Marshal Root for his support and encouragement. We wish the team luck at its next Fairfield County Math League competition on November 4!

Grade 12: Raisha Abubo, Rancele Ante, Bobby Bona, Rafeed Mahmood, Marielise Robillard
Grade 11: Ryan Bona, Jack Kolman, Corin Riahl
Grade 10: Anika Amman, Yohanen Salinas
Free Meals Extended Through the 20-21 School Year

Great news! The free meal program for Norwalk children has been officially extended through the 2020-21 school year at various locations throughout the city.

Please remember that each child may take a maximum of one breakfast and one lunch for each school day and weekend day. Duplicate meals cannot be received by visiting multiple sites. Meals can be accessed in either the cafeteria or the remote learning pickup site, but not both locations on the same day. Children may receive a maximum of seven breakfasts and seven lunches per week.
Contract Tracing & Exposure,
 Recap From October 1 Newsletter
We know that the threat from COVID-19 will remain part of our lives for some time to come. Until this public health issue has been resolved for all, NPS will continue to carefully move forward to provide the best learning environment possible, while keeping the health and safety of our students and staff in mind.

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, NPS follows strict, state mandated protocols and guidelines in order to keep members of our community safe. These protocols include contact and exposure tracing, self-quarantines, sanitization, and consultations with the local health department and medical director.
NPS Chief of Operations Frank Costanzo is the district's COVID-19 Health and Safety Compliance Liaison. Below are some of the most common questions we heard from families recently. This information was first shared in the October 1 district newsletter as well as on NPS social media.

NPS Chief of Operations Frank Costanzo is the district's COVID-19 Health and Safety Compliance Liaison. Below are some of the most common questions we heard from families recently.
Question: When there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at a school, does that mean that the entire school closes?
Dr. Costanzo: For the most part, a confirmed COVID-19 case in a school building does not require that the entire school close. Contact tracing protocols identify anyone who has been in close contact, for an extended period of time, with someone who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19, and direct him or her to self-quarantine. Therefore, only the affected staff members and students will be required to quarantine for a 14-day period.
If a large number of staff are affected and there is a challenge in providing substitute teachers, the school may temporarily close and shift to virtual learning. In most cases, the building remain open after it has been thoroughly sanitized.
Question: How are decisions made once a positive case has been confirmed?
Dr. Costanzo: Once a case has been confirmed, Dr. Estrella will work closely with the director of the Norwalk Health Department, as well as our medical advisor, Dr. Norman Weinberger. Contact tracing will begin immediately to identify who had close contact with the individual. Based on that information, decisions will be made about who will be directed to self-quarantine and what areas of the school need to be deep cleaned.
Question: What is the contact tracing process?
Dr. Costanzo: The Norwalk Health Department identifies anyone who has been in close contact with the person who tested positive. Per the Centers for Disease Control, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. Following this process, NPS Health Services contacts those who may have been exposed.
Any students who have been identified through contact or exposure tracing will be directed to their health care provider and may return to the school after a self-quarantine period of 14 days.
Question: If contract and exposure tracing shows that a student has been exposed, how will this person be notified?
Dr. Costanzo: If a student is confirmed positive, those who were identified through contact and exposure tracing will be notified via phone call from an NPS Health Services representative.
NPS Students Named National Merit Scholarship Commended Scholars
Anna Makover
Tom McCarthy
Congratulations to High School Seniors Anna Makover and Tom McCarthy for having been named commended students for the National Merit Scholarship Program. 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. Commended students are named based on a nationally applied selection index score that may vary from year to year.

Anna is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate who has taken the most rigorous courses at Brien McMahon. She has participated in a variety of sports at Brien McMahon including lacrosse, indoor track and soccer. Anna is also a member of the BMHS Environmental Club and Model UN. She is founder and president of an environmental initiative called Root Cause Project. An active member of the community, Anna has spent time working as a camp counselor and coach. Known by staff and peers as conscientious, hardworking, and dedicated to academics, Anna proudly represents her school and community having met this great accomplishment.

A student of P-TECH Norwalk, Tom McCarthy has been named a commended student for the National Merit Scholarship. As a member of the National Honors Society, Tom is committed towards not only academic achievement, but also making a positive impact on his community. He has participated in several club organizations including president of the Norwalk High School 3D printing club, and the secretary of the Japanese Language & Culture Club at Norwalk Community College. He also serves as a school committee member and officer.

We are confident that these students will have bright careers ahead of them, both academically and as an integral part of society!
Governor Visits Norwalk High To Celebrate Funding Of New Building
NPS Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella joined Governor Ned Lamont, State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, Mayor Rilling and others to celebrate the approval of state funding last week to replace the current building that houses both Norwalk High and P-TECH Norwalk. The school construction bill passed last week by the legislature, authorizing 80 percent State reimbursement for building costs.
Naramake Elementary School Shows School Spirit
Schools across the district are showing their school spirit! Pictured here, words of kindness and encouragement to great staff and students each day.
Go Naramake community!
Cranbury Move-a-Thon

To replace the annual Walk-a-Thon this year due to the need for social distancing, the Cranbury Elementary School PTA introduced a fundraiser with a new twist, a “Virtual Move-a-Thon.”

Students and staff had some fun participating in 5 days of different movements throughout the week.
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.

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

Tuesday, October 20, Curriculum Committee, 4pm

Tuesday, October 20, Ad-Hoc Sped Committee, 5:30pm

Tuesday, October 20, Board Business Meeting, 7pm

Wednesday, October 28, Facilities Committee, 6pm

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.