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Norwalk education notes: A bonus, racial balancing stats and thoughts of school additions

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski, July 26 at the annual Board of Education retreat in the Cranbury Park bunkhouse.

Updated, 3:35 p.m.: PDF added.

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk education items for you:

  • Adamowski gets a bonus after all
  • ‘Impending’ racial imbalance
  • Silvermine dual language program could expand to West Rocks; an addition at Roton?

SAT scores mean 3% bonus for Adamowski

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski has qualified for a bonus, although last month it appeared he did not.

Adamowski bonus is tied to a performance evaluation based on rubrics, the statistics sought by the strategic operating plan goals. The evaluation document provided at the Board of Education’s retreat in July showed that Adamowski scored a 77 out of a possible 100 on the rubrics generated by his 2018-19 performance.

Higher than expected SAT scores pushed Adamowski’s score up, qualifying him for a bonus, Board of Education Negotiations and Personnel Committee Chairman Mike Lyons said at Tuesday’s BoE meeting. The score is now 81.5, according to Lyons, and the minimum score needed for a bonus is 80. Adamowski has qualified for a bonus equal to 3% of his base pay.

The only Board member to comment was Barbara Meyer-Mitchell.

“I support this wholeheartedly,” she said. “Dr. Adamowski works tirelessly to improve our district. I don’t think I’ve met anybody was such a comprehensive vision in my entire career. I’m very grateful for his service to Norwalk and happy to reward him.”
The vote to approve the bonus was unanimous.

Adamowski has been Norwalk’s highest paid employee for three year’s straight; he earned $273,159.89 in 2018.

Supt Evaluation Outocme and Implementation for 2018-19

 

 

Adamowski seeks to take schools off list of racial balancing subjects

Kendall Elementary School has been added to the list of Norwalk schools with an impending racial imbalance, Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski said Tuesday. Brookside, Jefferson and Silvermine were already on the list.

This comes from a June 20 letter from the Connecticut State Board of Education (CSBE) to Adamowski, a yearly examination of Norwalk racial statistics in accordance to State Statute.

Racial imbalance exists, according to the statute, when a school’s proportion of minority students is 25% plus or minus the comparable proportion for the district, Commissioner Dianna Wentzell wrote to Adamowski. Impending imbalance exists when the school’s proportion of minority students is plus or minus 15% out of whack with the comparable proportion for the district.

They figure this out by taking the number of students enrolled in the school and then dividing it by district-wide enrollment at that grade level.

The statistics show:

  • Norwalk Early Childhood Center (NECC): 54.63% minority, imbalance 7.44%
  • Brookside Elementary School: 90.8% minority, imbalance 18.09%
  • Columbus Magnet School: 61.25% minority, imbalance 12.09%
  • Cranbury Elementary School: 50% minority, imbalance 23.23%
  • Center for Global Studies (CGS): 60.14% minority, imbalance 10.58%
  • Jefferson Magnet School: 91.07% minority, imbalance 17.83%
  • Kendall Elementary School: 88.43% minority, imbalance 15.2%
  • Rowayton Elementary School: 47.65% minority, imbalance 25.59%
  • Tracey Elementary School: 85.06% minority, imbalance 12.35%
  • Fox Run Elementary School: 67.94% minority, imbalance 4.77%
  • Marvin Elementary School: 69.14% minority, imbalance 4.1%
  • Naramake Elementary School: 66.39% minority, imbalance 6.32%
  • Silvermine Elementary School: 88.44% minority, imbalance 15.2%
  • Wolfpit Elementary School: 63.47% minority, imbalance 9.77%
  • Nathan Hale Middle School: 66.67% minority, imbalance 7.01%
  • Ponus Ridge Middle School: 84.9% minority, imbalance 11.22%
  • West Rocks Middle School: 75.41% minority, imbalance 1.73%
  • Roton Middle School: 66.12% minority, imbalance7.56 %
  • Norwalk High School: 67.83% minority, imbalance 2.9%
  • Brien McMahon High School: 76.76% minority, imbalance 6.03%

 

Adamowski pointed out Tuesday that this is becoming increasingly moot as the elementary schools are at 73% minority enrollment and once they become 75% minority, the State Statute will no longer apply to them.

Norwalk has never pointed out to the state that it has unique schools, which are exempt from the racial balancing statute, Adamowski said, promising to “formally communicate” that to the appropriate authorities.

“Unique” means a “interdistrict or intradistrict magnet, local or state charter, lighthouse, regional vocational agriculture, regional vocational-technical, alternative, or special education school,” according to the statute, identifying them as schools with voluntary enrollment.

Silvermine, Tracey and Columbus qualify as unique, and if the Kendall year-round program goes forward next year, it will too, Adamowski said.

Board of Education member Barbara Meyer-Mitchell questioned why Rowayton Elementary wasn’t declare out of balance, given that it’s 25.59% imbalanced.

The percentage is in the “opposite” direction, the “high end,” Adamowski said.

“I think there have been numerous criticisms of this state board regulation and that is certainly one of them. But there are many, many more,” he said.

 

 

‘Wild guess’

An earlier draft of the new Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), otherwise referred to as a 10-year city-wide master plan, said that the Board of Education was expecting additions onto Silvermine Elementary School and Roton Middle School, in addition to the well-publicized plan to build two new schools, renovate two existing schools and address many infrastructure issues.

Norwalk Public Schools was asked to estimate its needs for 10 years and, “I kind of want to say this was a wild guess,” Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski said at the recent BoE retreat. “We had to project a lot of things that we didn’t know exactly.”

The Silvermine addition was inspired by plans to expand the dual language program to include student K-8, because research shows that students don’t become proficient in both languages until seventh grade, Adamowski said.

“We now have reasons to believe that we could extend the dual language program as a complete immersion program by creating a dual language house at West Rocks (Middle School),” he said. This needs discussion but “it would require a complete revamping of one of those houses” to be an extension of the Silvermine program, continuing the immersion approach.

“If we can actually bring this to fruition… that would avoid the need to build an additional at Silvermine and… that dovetails into some of these other ideas for continuation of program from elementary to middle school,” he said.

The Roton addition idea stems from the expected International Baccalaureate (IB) program at the expected renovation of the building now housing Columbus Magnet School. Elementary IB students would attend Roton and then continue to the IB program at Brien McMahon High School.

Board of Education member Barbara Meyer-Mitchell said the a dual language program at West Rocks might help diminish the enrollment at Roton, because South Norwalk students would head to West Rocks instead.

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