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Norwalk BoE begins annual deep dive into info, scores Adamowski

The Norwalk Board of Education begins its annual retreat Friday in the Cranbury Park bunkhouse. In attendance, in addition to Norwalk Public Schools administrators, were BoE members Mike Barbis, Bruce Kimmel, Julie Corbett, Barbara Meyer-Mitchell, Sarah LeMieux, Heidi Keyes and Bryan Meek, and Common Council members Thomas Livingston, Barbara Smyth and Colin Hosten.

Correction, 12:30 p.m.: Scores based on rubrics.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski has scored a 77 out of a possible 100 on an evaluation of his 2018-19 performance.

That news come to you courtesy of a thick binder stuffed with information, handed out Thursday evening in the Cranbury Park bunkhouse as the Board of Education began its annual three-day retreat. Adamowski’s evaluation is set to be discussed Saturday in an executive session; touched upon in public Thursday were shifting enrollment patterns, the possible conversion of Wolfpit Elementary School to an arts curriculum and the expectation that Norwalk Public Schools will request $9.8 million more next year for its operating budget.

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Thomas Hamilton characterized that last item in a positive way, explaining that the projected $210.2 million 2020-21 operating budget is $1 million less than the City had been told to expect during last winter’s budget cycle. He attributed that to some recalculations; the City funded $2.3 million in expected one-time Board of Education expenses, using the Rainy Day Fund, but $1 million of expected one-time expenses aren’t needed this year.

The request, if it materializes as predicted, would represent a 4.9% budget increase.

Seven BoE members and three Common Council members attended the sixth annual Board retreat, a custom started in an attempt to heal Board dysfunction. Attendees enjoyed dinner provided by Valencia as Hamilton presented an enrollment data update done by consultants Milone & McBroom.

Norwalk is growing, unlike other Connecticut communities, Hamilton said. Enrollment is up 6.2% from a decade ago and is expected to increase 4.7% over the next 10 years, with that affected grade levels differently:

  • PreK-5: up 2.8%
  • Grades 6-8: up .7%
  • Grades 9-12: up 10.5%

 

Individual school enrollments will be vary widely, Hamilton said. Naramake and Wolfpit Elementary Schools are expected to drop below 300 students each in 2021-22, which Adamowski characterized as being less than optimal. Overall middle school enrollment is expected to stay steady at 2,600 students but wildly varying enrollments are projected by 2028-29:

  • Roton Middle School would grow to 750 students
  • Nathan Hale Middle School would decline to 440 students
  • Ponus Upper School would peak at 708 students in 2024-25

 

The high schools would also diverge by 2028-29:

  • Brien McMahon High School would increase to 2,132 students, plus 305 at the Center for Global Studies
  • Norwalk High School would decline to 1,116 students, plus 391 at the Norwalk Early College Academy

 

A Wolfpit Elementary School integrated arts program would help draw students and would feed into Nathan Hale and Norwalk High, where perhaps there would be an arts academy, Adamowski said, explaining, “I think that’s a very good strategy for keeping the schools between 1,500 and 2,000.”

The Board will learn more about this proposal Friday and will eventually vote on allowing the Wolfpit staff to develop the proposal, Adamowski said.

Adamowski’s evaluation score of 77, as relayed through the Board’s packet of info, compares to his 80 out of a possible 100 in 2017-18 and 89.7 for 2016-17. It’s based on the rubrics, the statistics sought by the strategic operating plan goals.

A score of at least 70 results in a raise for Adamowski equal to that received by Norwalk Association of School Administrators (NASA) members. A score of 80 would result in a bonus equal to 3% of Adamowski’s salary.

Adamowski evaluation 19-0725

10 comments

AL July 26, 2019 at 7:44 am

Adamowski was a poor choice and should be banished from Connecticut.
Search old posts in the now defunct Jon Pelto blog called Wait! What?
I found it shocking that he found a home in Norwalk, but hey! It’s Connecticut.

Lisa Brinton July 26, 2019 at 7:44 am

How does the BOE Master Plan reconcile with the City’s projected Grand List growth??

Patrick Cooper July 26, 2019 at 2:25 pm

@AL – what didn’t the union get that still makes you angry? Reforms that improved the overall school district performance – facts you can’t spin? What – you no longer have a proxy (or three) on the BOE? Seems like you got at least one.

Jonathan Pelto is a documented 1000% pro-union lobbyist – which if you look around, is how we get congress people like Rosa DeLauro (from the D-centric New Haven) – how many times a year does she lunch with Randi Weingarten? Representing “the people”? Or just some people.

AL – save it please. Say thanks – and move on.

One thing I’ll say – is thank you Brian Meek (I’m guessing it’s his idea) for utilizing the Bunkhouse. Wonder how many other times that facility has been used this year? Don’t forget – the city quietly built that while the backwards plan to put in a paying zip-line on a municipal property was working its way through the ranks. Public response shut that down. But still – they spent what $ to build a beautiful facility that to my knowledge (I pass by 4-6x per week) is virtually never used.

Nancy Chapman July 27, 2019 at 9:09 am

The Board of Education is meeting today in City Hall because the bunkhouse is being used for a social event. This happened last year as well; on Saturday the bunkhouse was not available.

AL July 27, 2019 at 11:53 am

Patrick,
Jon Pelto may have been funded by special interests, but hardly at the level that the for profits bought their influence in this state. Like him,or not,Jon exposed folks like Adamowski and his New London/Hartford shenanigans.
I do not have an ax to grind but the truth is hard to come by in this state. One needs to read,read and read. Sources like NonN and blogs have taken the place of traditional media.
Adamowski and others (Christina Kishimoto, Starr in Stamford,the list is endless) are perfect examples of failing upwards. They leave scorched earth behind and move on to collect fat pensions.
Do not be so angry!

Educator July 29, 2019 at 8:58 am

In typical fashion, Mike Barbis is on his phone not paying attention. And he wants to be Town clerk?

Non Partisan July 29, 2019 at 3:26 pm

As long as we have a steady stream of illegal immigrants into our sanctuary city school district we will have low test scores- which in tern leads to a declining real estate market, and a higher mill rate.

Let’s make Norwalk great again.

Mike Barbis July 30, 2019 at 12:33 am

Educator — always making digs anonymously … how do you know what I am doing on my phone and my laptop? Spare me the nasty comments. Nancy and Bob, don’t you think that’s a personal attack on a volunteer, unpaid elected official? #enoughisenough

Mike Barbis July 30, 2019 at 12:35 am

Al, please tell us what is so wonderful about Jon Pelto? He’s a kook. And how can you attack Dr. A considering we are now the best performing urban school district in the State? With multiple Schools of Distinction! And not one school in a Category 4 of the Next Gen Accountability Standards! What exactly is failing upwards?

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