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Norwalk superintendent: staffing up, sprucing up

Norwalk Superintendent Manuel Rivera is issuing weekly updates to the Board of Education.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s new schools superintendent is getting the mold removed from the exterior of Norwalk High School and the grass cut in the parking lot.

He also said new staff at Norwalk Public Schools greatly exceeds the number of new staff one year ago.

Those are just a few of the ditties in Manny Rivera’s weekly report to the Board of Education.

Rivera began sending a weekly report to the BOE two Fridays ago. BOE Chairman Mike Lyons said Superintendent Susan Marks also sent weekly reports detailing her activities and updating members on the status of things in general.

Rivera’s first report mentioned his various meetings, including those with the group that studied Common Core State Standards, the school safety committee, state Sen. Bob Duff, Rhonda Kiest of the Stepping Stones Museum for Children and union representatives. He also went over the CMT and CAPT tests and said he had been reviewing extended day and summer school programs, especially those serving kindergarteners to second-graders.

“There is a great deal of state and federal funding tied to these programs and I want to be certain that they all reflect the kind of quality, excellence and high expectations that we must have for all children,” he wrote. “I also believe that we need to pay attention to unique funding opportunities for all students, in addition to serving those who are not performing at grade level.”

Last week’s report said 47 new teachers had been hired, including two speech and language pathologists. The vacancies were mostly from retirements and internal transfers, he said.

There were 27 open positions as of Friday. Fourteen are at the elementary school level due to increased classroom sizes and a few transfers. The others are from last-minute resignations and difficult-to-fill positions (physics, speech and language pathologists and technology education), he said.

An effort is being made to fill the positions as soon as possible, he said.

Rivera said that, while there are many district priorities involving improving the learning environment and communications, he also believes the facilities and grounds must reflect a higher standard. He had therefore instructed maintenance staff to pressure wash the top floor of Norwalk High School as it faces Strawberry Hill Avenue, which he expected to be done by Monday. Alarms at the school would also be fixed, he said. Grass in the parking lot looked like it had not been cut since June, he said.

He also gave this update:

• Work on the portable classrooms at Jefferson Elementary School has passed all inspections. They will be ready for occupancy Monday (Aug. 26).

• Roof work at Tracey Elementary School was to be finished last Friday, he said.

• Painting at West Rocks, Marvin Elementary School, Tracey and Columbus will all be done by the end of the day Monday (Aug. 6).

Rivera also repeated his desire to find a new building for Briggs High School and said he would be visiting as many schools as possible on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Weekly Report 8-23-13

Weekly Report Memo – 8-16-13

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