NPS notes achievements: Tracey, NECA and hardworking high school students

Tracey Elementary School Principal Theresa Rangel speaks to the Norwalk Board of Education Curriculum Committee in December.

Updated, 9:15 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Some Norwalk Public Schools announcements for you:

  • Tracey Elementary School named a 2019 Connecticut School of Character
  • NPS high school students headed for Connecticut State Seal of Biliteracy
  • NECA approved as separate school

Tracey Elementary

Character.org, a national advocate and leader for character education, has named Tracey Elementary School as a 2019 Connecticut School of Character, a Norwalk Public Schools press release said Monday.

“The program recognized Tracey as a school that has demonstrated its use of character development to drive a positive impact on academics, student behavior and Tracey’s school climate,” the release said.

Tracey has been in the news lately: a visit from Gov. Ned Lamont on Jan. 16 helped the Dalio Foundation highlight an education report from The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD). (The NPS video of a roundtable discussion from that day is now online.)

The school’s Character Education program incorporates core values into academic instruction, the Board of Education Curriculum Committee said in December, and a Tracey teacher was selected as Norwalk’s Teacher of the Year in August.

Monday’s press release from NPS Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams explained:

“Tracey Elementary integrates character education into all aspects of the school environment.  Each day, the more than 400 K-5 students at Tracey are challenged to leave their ‘P.R.I.N.T’ on the world by living the core values embedded in the Tracey pledge: Problem solving, Respect, Integrity, being Neighborly and Taking Responsibility.  The school’s character education program has significantly enhanced the climate of the school and supported academic growth and achievement.

“The rigorous Schools of Character application process is an opportunity for schools and districts to receive thoughtful feedback for growth and excellence in the area of character development through Character.org’s 11 Principles of Character framework. It is also a method of recognizing exemplary schools and districts in the nation.

“Since its inception, Character.org has recognized more than 565 schools with the distinction of State School of Character. Criteria for the designation are based on Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, which includes providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in character-building efforts.

“‘Utilizing components of character education is a large part of our student and staff’s daily routines,’ said Theresa Rangel, Principal at Tracey Elementary. ‘We are grateful to Character.org for their efforts to create a state and national discussion on the importance of character in education. We’re eager to carry this distinction for years to come and are hopeful our example will lead other schools in Connecticut to participate in this program in order to enhance student’s lives statewide.’

About Character.org: Founded in 1993, Character.org is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. It works with schools, families, workplaces and other communities to inspire, educate and empower people to be ethical and compassionate citizens. Character.org is comprised of character leaders dedicated to individual growth and success through the advancement of quality character development in all schools and communities. The impact of this is seen through improved academic achievement, decline in behavioral problems such as truancy and an increase in an overall positive school climate. Visit www.character.org to learn more about the National Forum and the Schools of Character program.”

High schoolers earn biliteracy seals for their diplomas

“A group of NPS high school students are on their way to earning the Connecticut State Seal of Biliteracy, an award which recognizes those who have studied and demonstrated proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation,” a Jan. 25 NPS press release said.

The Brien McMahon and Norwalk High School seniors have successfully completed the Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages or the Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment to demonstrate their use of another language other than English, the release said.

This means they will receive a Seal on their high school diplomas and their achievement will be noted on their transcripts, after completing all English language arts graduation requirements, the release said.  The students:


Norwalk High School


  • Alondra Sanchez Minaya
  • Chantal Velázquez
  • Kayla  Alvarado
  • Mateo Roldán
  • Nicole Sánchez Minaya
  • Isabella Ramos
  • Angel Espana
  • Mykol Reyes Alvarado
  • Adriana Gudiel
  • Fredy Rosales-Santos
  • Sebastian Mercado
  • Daniel De Menezes
  • Itzel Becerril
  • Shawn Ramirez
  • Dayanara Acuna
  • Rosy Guevara



  • Aleksandra Phillips



  • Julia Turek



  • Angelica Martin Charles



Brien McMahon High School


  • Riana Soliven



  • Devin Stevens Jordan
  • Lizbeth Bauza
  • Cindy E Reyes Carrera
  • Jacksson Carpico
  • Santiago Henao
  • Liliana Sofia Solis Colmenares
  • Osar Asael Dormes Rodrigeuz
  • Mario Gutierrez
  • Rainer Martinez-Peralta
  • Brian Madrigal
  • Fabiana Infantes
  • Davis Del-Cid
  • Josue Campos
  • Frida Sofia Avila
  • Nardo Josue Aguirre Vazquez
  • Tarcy Castro
  • Pablo Ham Sagostume
  • Maria  Gomez
  • Carolyn Priscilla Merino Lara



“Offering the opportunity to earn the Seal of Biliteracy sends the message to our students that Norwalk values the World Language Program and encourages students to pursue proficiency in a second language,” Janine Goss, K-12 Director of Humanities is quoted as saying.  “Student dedication to take the exam also demonstrates that they are prepared to engage in the rigorous academic expectations found in the college and career pathways.”

The press release explains:

“Rather than show their knowledge of the language, to attain the Seal of Biliteracy, students must show proficiency in the 4 skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing found in the ACTFL  (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) guidelines.

“Both native and non-native speakers of English must provide comparable evidence of English language proficiency. English Language Learners now have the opportunity to be recognized for their  academic  linguistic skills in both their primary  language and English as their secondary  language. Students who intend to take an AP or IB language exam will also be eligible to earn the Seal after completing all English language arts graduation requirements.

 “This honor, was established by the State Board of Education in 2017 to recognize a critical 21st-century language and communication skill.”


“The Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA) will become its own NPS high school effective July 1, 2019. A P-Tech model leader in the state, NECA was granted separate school status approval by The State Department of Education in mid-January. NECA is currently housed in Norwalk High School and will remain in this location,” a Jan. 24 press release said.

It continued:

“The shift will affect how SAT scores, school performance indexes, graduation rates and class rankings are reported. Data will now be broken out separately from the overall Norwalk High School student population. Financially, the separate school status allows the district to apply for federal grants.

 “This year, due to high demand, NECA held its first ever lottery with over 140 applications having been submitted. There will be a waitlist for those who are not initially accepted.

 “NECA currently provides 400 Norwalk students with the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree while taking college courses during high school. A partnership with IBM gives NECA students access to mentorships, worksite visits, paid internships and first-in-line consideration for available jobs at IBM. Last May, 12 NECA students finished college without debt and with the skills to compete in well-paying technology fields or to continue their education. One of these graduates now holds a sought-after position at IBM.

“The request to submit the application to the state was a recommendation made by the P-Tech Steering Committee comprised of Norwalk Community College, IBM and Norwalk Public Schools. This is not the first time that NPS has received separate status for a school. In 2017 after a state audit, the Center for Global Studies (CGS) became its own school. CGS is housed in Brien McMahon High School.”

One comment

Sherelle Harris February 5, 2019 at 9:44 pm

Congratulations to Tracey Elementary School and Norwalk Public Schools on this great honor of being named the 2019 Connecticut School of Character. Theresa Rangel is a great leader!

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