NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s new superintendent offered comforting words regarding Briggs High School this week, saying he has made much progress in getting to know the Norwalk community and hopes to develop strategic plans that everyone can work on.
Superintendent Manuel Rivera made the remarks at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, the first time that he addressed the public from that position. Rivera, who had been on the job for 2½ weeks, said he had met with about 150 people, including union leaders, parents in groups at homes, people who wished to stop in at his office and school principals, and been to visit summer schools.
“It has affirmed for me the great potential of Norwalk public schools,” he said. “Nothing really surprised me.”
He went on to talk about Norwalk’s partner in the Briggs High School turnaround plan, Our Piece of the Pie, an organization that works with urban youth.
“I have all the confidence in the world with this organization,” he said, although the choice was made before he came to Norwalk.
Administrators are working to define the contract with Our Piece of the Pie, he said, and expect to present it at the next board meeting.
“As with all contracts with outside vendors, I believe it should include a performance component,” he said. “There should be performance standards known, milestones known, all of these should be part of the agreement that we have with companies or vendors that provide these types of services.”
He said he is focused on “a comprehensive and very inclusive” strategic planning process.
“My dream would be to see where there’s a major community plan around improving the learning environment, improving learning,” he said. “That means not only looking and working internally with what district goals can be and district responsibilities could be as far as that plan, but where do the various efforts that have been ongoing fit? How do we all work together and why not have a very robust integrated strategic plan that incorporates a number of goals that have been developed already as well as measures performance indicators.”
He said he is excited about the effort.
“I feel and I’ve sensed and I’ve heard the community really wants that,” he said. “I’m excited about that because we can’t do it alone, obviously. There are resources in this community that we need to embrace as our partners.”