Norwalk’s Pathways at Briggs school going through changes

Briggs High School. (Archive photo)

NORWALK, Conn. – The high school formerly known as “Briggs” may be moving to South Norwalk, Mayor Harry Rilling said.

It’s a possibility, he said, answering questions stemming from a recent District B Democrats meeting.

Norwalk Public Schools earlier this year considered, but opted against, moving the Pathway Academy at Briggs to the Norwalk High School industrial wing.

“The students will stay in that building but most of the resources have been cut. It is just a building with young people in it,”District B secretary Darlene Young said at the May 1 meeting. “That is a problem and I think as a community we need to address that.”

The staffing at the Pathway Academy at Briggs has been cut and the principal is being moved, she said, adding that there are almost 100 students.

“Those young people will be left to their own devices, so to speak, with some administrative oversight,” she said. “We have to mobilize the parents and the teachers.”

“Those kids will need the support of the entire city,” District B Chairman Bruce Morris said. “This is just wrong. That was not a student-centered decision.”

Briggs won’t be in the Commissioner’s Network next year, he said, citing a “failure of the Board to be transparent” as resources were cut at the school.

“The mayor is mayor of all people,” Vice Chairman Bobby Burgess said. “I think we should get some of the parents, have them meet with the mayor, and get his opinion… he should come to the rescue. We should get his opinion.”

Asked about Briggs, Norwalk Public Schools Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams said in an email:

“NPA is intended to get students who are over-age and under-credited on track to graduate. The good news is that the district graduation rate has gone up again this year and is now above the state average.  Also, more structural supports have been added to Grade 9, including Read 180 and Math 180. With the combination of more supports at NHS and McMahon, and more students graduating, there is less demand for a separate, stand-alone program. Enrollment has been going down at Pathways.

“Although the number fluctuates throughout the year, there were 47 students enrolled in NPA as of the October 1 annual report to the state. For 2017-18 budget purposes, a projected enrollment estimate of 70 was used.  Based on that, the budget includes 3.5 teachers and a .5 administrator.

“Dr. Adamowski and our Human Resources department will be working with Dr. Allen to explore where in the district she can make the best contribution, as she has the right under the NASA contract to another full-time position at the same salary level. We expect to assess educators in our leadership development program as potential candidates for the .5 administrator position for NPA.

“Regarding the Commissioner’s Network – yes, that is correct. NPA’s participation in that was originally a three-year commitment, and the State actually extended it for an extra year. But that is ending this year as scheduled.”

Mayor Harry Rilling, in an email, said:

“I am always glad to meet with anyone at any time on any issue. I work closely with the Board of Education and try to do what is best for the youth of our city in every decision I make. I meet with Dr. Adamowski frequently to discuss issues that arise and need my attention. It was during one of those meetings that I told him Briggs Pathway could not be closed nor could it be moved to the basement of Norwalk High. We are now looking at the possibility of moving Briggs to Ben Franklin School.

“I prefer to have an amicable working relationship with the Board rather than a strained relationship that used to exist. We get better outcomes if we work together. Some may not see it that way but that is how I prefer to conduct city business.”


One response to “Norwalk’s Pathways at Briggs school going through changes”

  1. Martha A Wooten Dumas

    I’m not sure I understand, if the program will still continued, why are they moving at all. Also regardless of funding, with the exploding budget the BOE has, why didn’t this school also fall under this Norwalk BOE funding. These student needs should not be sacrific, this city should allow Briggs to stay alive. Yes Mayor it’s good to be able to work with each city department. But you are the Mayor and how many department heads actually are from Norwalk or live in Norwalk. Hear and Listen to the community of Students. They know and understand more than we think.

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