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Norwalk BoE celebrates successes

Attendees of Tuesday’s Norwalk Board of Education meeting applaud Rowayton Elementary School leaders and their second recognition as a School of Distinction.

Updated, 8:57 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Board of Education members on Tuesday emphasized the positive with a presentation that drew multiple rounds of applause from a full Common Council chambers.

Highlighted were Saturday’s surprising Norwalk High School girls’ basketball state championship and other high school athletic champions, along with schools which earned School of Distinction awards.

“What a thriller,” Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski said of Saturday’s come-from-behind basketball win at Mohegan Sun.  Adamowski noted that the Norwalk Lady Bears beat New London in the last minute of the game.

“We were trailing the entire time,” Norwalk Branch NAACP President Brenda Penn-Williams said Saturday, speaking to NancyOnNorwalk as she drove home from the game. “We were losing the entire time, I think there were two seconds left in the game and we came back.”

Naeva Rene scored the winning points, WTNH reports.

Adamowski and NPS Chief of School Operations Frank Costanzo attended the game, part of “a lot of support from the City of Norwalk, which was awesome,” Penn-Williams said.

“The Lady Bears gave it their all,” Adamowski said Tuesday. “If there was ever a team that won on the basis of determination, effort and heart, this was the team.”

A celebration for the families is planned for April 7, NPS is buying the girls championship rings and there will be an athletic banquet in May at the Norwalk Inn, he said.

In another first, NPS is “acquiring and building a float” for the Memorial Day parade, he said.  The award-winning Norwalk High School Marching Band will lead the float and Norwalk’s high-achieving athletes will be on it: the basketball girls; Brien McMahon senior Justin Ford, who is ranked number one in the country in triple jump; State diving champion Kevin Bradley; and wrestling 120-pound champion Sam White.

Mayor Harry Rilling has donated $500 in Mayor’s Ball proceeds to assist in the expenses, Adamowski said.

Diane Peters, a public speaker, said the Lady Bears basketball players have an average 3.4 grade point average, a first for the City.

All three seniors on the team are college-bound, and two are going just on the strength of their grades, Carolyn Fuller said.  Their mentors are all products of Norwalk Public Schools, including their coach and her son, Richard Fuller Jr.

Board Members also recognized the district’s School of Distinction winners, in a follow-up to the review of the Next Generation Accountability report made at the last BoE meeting, this time featuring the staff and parents involved.

“It is a really great honor for all of us in the school system to have four Schools of Distinction and I thank all of you for leading the way and providing an example of what is possible, what can be done,” Adamowski said. “Those possibilities are unlimited. We look forward to other schools walking in your footsteps as the achievement of our children throughout the district is elevated.”

The “Distinction” moniker was bestowed on 160 schools statewide “because they have a high overall academic performance, or are among the schools with the highest rate of academic growth for all students or for students with high needs,” according to the CT Mirror.

“We are really happy about it because it’s a public affirmation for what we know to be true of our school. It is a good place for students to learn,” Rowayton Elementary School Principal Joe Rodriguez said.

“We all believe that every child who enters our building is not defined by their challenges, they are not defined by their circumstances or their demographics or their zip code, they are defined by their potential and the innovation that all of them have,” Kendall Elementary School Principal Zakiyyah Baker said.

Jefferson Elementary School Principal Nicholas Brophy spoke of the “strong focus” his staff members have as they pride themselves in excellence.

“I see this on every grade level,” he said.

“Our principal had a vision, and her vision was to improve Tracey School and provide an education for all students,” Katrinka Deleon said of Tracey Elementary School Principal Theresa Rangel. “…She has the ability to look at issues that people see as concerns and look for solutions, things that people see as demographics she sees as a children.”

10 comments

Carolyn Fuller March 20, 2019 at 7:25 am

While I understand the need for brevity in reporting I would like to make sure my statement to the BOE last night is fully understood I not only thanked the head coach of the Lady Bears who happens to be my son but coach Evan jelly and coach Kerry Fitzgerald a great coaching team for those not in attendance I also thanked the administrative and entire staff of Norwalk High School., the families of the young ladies who worked hard to make the concession stand a reality and also Dr,.Adamoski Dr Costanzoso and Brenda Wilcox Williams for making the trip on Saturday or may sound cliche to some however it DOES take a village to raise a child and I am PROzuD to be a member of the Norwalk High village

Doug Marchetti March 20, 2019 at 8:07 am

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire Norwalk community for their support of our Athletic program, our athletes, and specifically our girl’s basketball team. The support this team received from the Norwalk community — fans, alumni, faculty, staff, Board of Education members, the City of Norwalk and Mayor Harry Rilling — has been exceptional throughout this championship run. I would also like to congratulate our coaching staff — Rick Fuller, Evan Kelley, and Karey Fitzgerald, for their hard work, leadership, and dedication to this exceptional group of young ladies. They have been an inspiration on the basketball court, as well as in the classroom. They have made the City and Norwalk High School proud! GO BEARS!

Bruce Kimmel March 20, 2019 at 8:21 am

Nancy Chapman left the BOE meeting at 8:37, which was before the board addressed the action items on the agenda. Among the items approved by the board last night were:

1. Approval to continue the state’s healthy food option for our schools;
2. Approval of the educational specifications for the new Columbus School;
3. Approval of the educational specifications for asbestos abatement at Rowayton School;
4. Approval of a new policy on calculating grade point averages;
5. Approval of an expanded summer school program;
6. Approval of a resolution recognizing Autism Awareness Month (April);
7. Approval of a number of budget transfers and the monthly financial report.

As the above story indicates, it was indeed a positive meeting.

Joanna Cooper March 20, 2019 at 9:50 am

Yes —it was a very positive meeting and it feels great! We have some superstar basketball players to celebrate and lots of wonderful work going on in our schools. Thanks to the BoE and NPS staff for all their hard work! Congrats to the basketball team! GO BEARS!!!!

Congrats lady bears March 20, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Good thing we had middle school sports to help these students who may have not played for leagues or aau teams. Maybe we can bring this back for the middle schools

Piberman March 20, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Our BOE continues to set the standard for public service in Norwalk. Kudos.

What’s happening over in the Common Council ? Awfully quiet. Election year ?

Ron Morris March 21, 2019 at 8:07 pm

The success should go to the kids NOT the BOE.
It should read the kids celebrate success in spite of the failed BOE

Joe March 22, 2019 at 2:58 am

But can our $14,000/yr students write longhand as we all learned by the 3rd grade?

That’s really not too much to ask.

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