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Norwalk BOE fashioning plan for Briggs High School

Briggs High School
Gov. Dannel Malloy invited Brigg’s High School to become part of Connecticut’s Commissioner’s Network in February.

NORWALK, Conn. – A turnaround plan has been formed for Briggs High School, even if Norwalk officials aren’t sure how much money they will get from the state.

Board members visited a transfer school in New York and found a perfect model for Norwalk’s alternative school, Interim Superintendent Tony Daddona said at last week’s meeting. The school served just 200 students and has an administrative structure for Norwalk to emulate, he said.

But Chief Operating Officer Elio Longo said later in the week that there are problems in the state’s process to get the Commissioner’s Network funds that have been promised.

“This is amazing, but we have to put a budget together for the turnaround school with Briggs but they haven’t told us how much we’re getting,” he said. “We will put in a budget based on our program and the needs of the program. Then what we’ll do is, if that budget doesn’t come through, then we’ll have to start changing the program for the turnaround school.”

The Commissioner’s Network aims to turnaround some of the lowest performing schools in the state in order to help thousands of students receive a quality education and close the achievement gap, according to a February press release from the governor’s office.

While Gov. Dannel Malloy recommended allocating $3.3 million to fund Commissioner’s Network schools in Fiscal Year 2014, the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee recommended last week that $1.6 million be allocated to the program.

Daddona and others agree that Briggs should have no more than 200 students.

The principal of the transfer school in New York is solely devoted to overseeing academics, he said. The school has another administrator who oversees the social component of the students’ school life. Parents are also very involved with the school.

The turnaround plan defines five core values for Briggs, he said: respect, passion, excellence and innovation. By passion, Daddona said, he meant “a lifelong passion for learning.”

The deadline for a plan is May 3.

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