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2/02/15 > Visit NCPS at our new website...

...on Monday, February 2, 2015 the New Canaan Public Schools introduced our new website. For current and up-to-date information visit our new site at

1/26/15 > South Window Projects Addendum #1



RFP #2015-01  

ADDENDUM #1: Revised On-site Walk Through Date and Time

To: All Interested Bidders:

The following constitutes Addendum #1 to the above referenced solicitation.  The addendum is to change the date and time of the non-mandatory on-site walk through to January 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm.

All other instructions, terms and conditions of the Bid shall remain the same.

1/13/15 > 7 NCHS Students Exhibit in Juried Photo Show

New Canaan High School Photography Teacher Jeanne McDonagh was very pleased to share her news that seven photographs entered by NCHS Photo students and one faculty member were selected and are now on exhibit in the 35th Annual Juried Photography Show at the Carriage Barn Arts Center, located in Waveny Park, New Canaan.

NCHS student Zachary Seger was awarded first place among the student submissions for his digital images entitled "Playground" and  "Dump Truck". According to Mrs. McDonagh, these two images merge thirty separate photos into one flawless composition. Second place in the student category went to Elly Hersam for her digital images entitled "Make-up". 

During the opening reception Mrs. McDonagh observed, "It is always exciting to see our work in a professional gallery space." Jeanne McDonagh and students Anna Lysenko, Matthew DePalo, Julianne Reily, Avery Salomon, Zachary Seger, Hannah Kirkpatrick and Elly Hersam are pictured in this photo taken at the opening.

The 35th Annual Juried Photography Show at the Carriage Barn Arts Center runs through February 8th. This exhibition is open to the public and there is no admission charge. Gallery hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and Sundays 1:00 to 5:00 pm .

Photo Credit: Michael McDonagh

1/12/15 > Saxe Concerts Moved to NCHS

As a result of the closure of the Saxe auditorium for the remainder of the school year, all activities scheduled for that auditorium have been relocated. The upcoming Saxe Orchestra Concert, Saxe 7/8 Band Concert and Saxe 5/6 Band Concert will take place in the New Canaan High School auditorium.

January 13: Saxe Orchestra Concert at 7:00 p.m. at NCHS

January 22: Saxe 7/8 Band Concert at 7:00 p.m.  at NCHS

January 27: Saxe 5/6 Band Concert at 7:00 p.m.  at NCHS

1/11/15 > NCPS 2015-2016 Budget Information

As New Canaan enters its 2015-2016 budget season, New Canaan Public Schools has dedicated a page on our website to updated information that will help you navigate the budget process as it relates to our school district.

Find calendars, notes, presentations and more by visiting our homepage > District > Budget 2015-2016 or District > Board of Education > Budget 2015-2016. You can also click here: NCPS Budget 2015-2016

1/10/15 > NCHS SPED Presents Planning for Transition

Upcoming Event from the
NCHS Special Education Department

Planning for Transition:
Department of Developmental Services Presentation
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

What:  The NCHS SPED Department invites you to attend an informational meeting with Brian Smith, DDS Western Regional Manager, who will provide an overview of transition services available for students 18 to 21 years old.

When:  Tuesday, January 13 at 6:00 to 7:30 (snowdate Wednesday, January 21).

Where:  Wagner Room, New Canaan High School, 11 Farm Road

Questions:  For further information contact Carole Pakkala, SPED Coordinator - NCPS at 203.594.4650 or email

1/10/15 > Kindergarten Informational Session on 1/15

Kindergarten Registration 2015-2016

Thank you for your interest in the New Canaan Public Schools. Please note the following:

• Children entering kindergarten in fall 2015 must be five years old on or before December 31, 2015.

• An informational session will be held for all parents on January 15, at 9:30 a.m., at East School (snow date or delayed opening: January 16).

• Submission of the completed pre-registration form is the first step in the registration process. We will e-mail you further instructions once we begin the collection of documents and data.
1/09/15 > Saxe Auditorium: Message from Dr. Luizzi



January 9, 2015

Dear Saxe Parents and Staff,

In December, Tighe & Bond performed further testing on the Saxe auditorium to investigate the presence of PCBs in some of the paint systems. In addition, samples of gray paint on the ceramics room and the boiler room concrete floors were also collected.

The presence of PCBs is indicated in the gray paint on the floor of the ceramics room, boiler room, and in the auditorium.  Therefore, the auditorium will remain closed for the remainder of the school year until abatement can be performed over the summer.  All activities that were scheduled for the auditorium have been rescheduled, most of them to the high school or the Saxe cafeteria. Saxe staff and administration will communicate the changes as soon as possible to all concerned.

As a precautionary measure, following the same protocol as with the auditorium, access to the ceramics room will be restricted until additional testing can be performed. Appropriate health and safety protocols have been and will continue to be followed during all testing activities. 

Meetings with parents and staff will be held later this month to present findings once further testing in the ceramics room is completed.  After testing is complete, NCPS will continue to work with Tighe & Bond to develop and implement appropriate actions, and to abate PCB containing paint systems. 

Bryan D. Luizzi, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools



12/17/14 > NCHS Alumni Will Share Knowledge of College

On Monday, December 22, members of the New Canaan High School Class of 2014 will return to their alma mater to share their experiences and perspectives on college life with current NCHS seniors and juniors. For students only, the Alumni Roundtable and Breakfast is an annual event orchestrated for the past twelve years by Sue Carroll of the NCHS College and Career Center with assistance from parents and staff. 

The Alumni Roundtable provides current NCHS students a valuable opportunity to gain insight into the college experience based upon real life experiences of recent NCHS graduates. Moderated by grade advisors, students are encouraged to ask the questions that may be on their minds as they embark on their own paths to college. Pertinent topics such as the college application process, transitioning into freshman year, dorm life, and college class experiences will be discussed.

All seniors and juniors are invited and will be excused from class to attend. The session for seniors begins at 9:15. The junior session begins at 10:15. Both sessions will take place in the Wagner Room where breakfast will also be provided.

Photo from 2013 Alumni Roundtable and Breakfast provided by Valerie Stryker

12/16/14 > Saxe Auditorium Letter from Dr. Luizzi

12/15/14 > NCHS Choral Concert Wednesday Evening

The New Canaan High School Choir & Madrigal Ensemble will perform in concert Wednesday, December 17, 7:30 p.m., at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 111 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan. The annual winter concert conducted by David Gomez is titled "Men and Women in Song" and will feature a full program of beautiful selections for all men's and all women's choral ensembles.

As always, the winter choral concert is open to the community and there is no admission charge.

12/03/14 > East School Community Service Day

We thank East Elementary School Principal Kristine Woleck for sharing the following news story and photos.

East School Community Service Day

Our motto at East School is "Work Hard and Be Kind." On November 26th, East School put words into action with our school wide Community Service Day. Each grade level completed a project that "gave back" to our community:

  • Kindergarteners decorated placemats for patients at Waveny Care Center.
  • First graders collected toothpaste and toothbrushes for the Pacific House in Stamford and also made placemats for Waveny Care Center. With some help from parents, students were able to deliver the placemats to Waveny themselves!
  • Second and third graders collected donations and made gift bags for Kids in Crisis. Students had learned about Kids in Crisis from a guest speaker a few days earlier, raising their awareness of the contributions such organizations make to our community.
  • Fourth graders collected holiday gifts for children at the Bridgeport Boys and Girls Club. These gifts will be delivered with handmade tags and cards from our students.  

East students were able to play an active role in these projects that help others in their community. The sense of activism students develop from contributing to the community in this way is critical in the development of empathy, social/emotional skills, and perspective. Community Service Day taught us how good it feels to help others and that there are many ways we can make a difference in the world.

11/30/14 > Super Thoughts by Dr. Luizzi

The following article written by Dr. Bryan Luizzi is the first to appear in "Super Thoughts" his new column published by the New Canaan Advertiser .

Throughout my years as the New Canaan High School principal, I was always enormously proud of the outstanding academic, athletic, and visual and performing arts programs available to our high school students.  Now, as Superintendent of Schools, I see the entire district through new eyes, and I am struck by the vast array of opportunities available for all students, from kindergarten through senior year. As the first quarter of the school year comes to a close, I would like to take a minute to share with you some of the exciting programs for all ages offered in our schools.

Each year, students take the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, also known as the PSAT.  Each student's results are compared against the other 1.4 million students who were administered the test, with the highest 5% recognized as Commended Scholars.  Those students scoring in the top 1% are honored as Semi-Finalists, and are eligible to apply to become Finalists and receive scholarship awards. Last week, I had the privilege of addressing New Canaan High School's 19 Commended Scholars and 10 Semi-Finalists and to celebrate this wonderful recognition together with their parents and teachers.  

Over at Saxe Middle School, students in grades 5 and 6 have been "Reading Big" these past weeks in preparation for the "Big Read" with acclaimed youth fiction author Tony Abbott. In an age where video games and electronic devices can easily dominate free time, these programs that celebrate reading help instill and support a student's love of reading, a life-long value for us all. 

In the upper middle school, 7th and 8th grade students are being introduced to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through the newly established STEM lab. Here, students engage with 3-dimensional printers, flight and driving simulators and many other technologies that provide them with creative opportunities to learn through experimentation, collaboration, and research.  

While jumping frogs, migrating birds, and ponds that turn over were never a part of my elementary school education, during the LINKS program (facilitated by the New Canaan Nature Center), urban and suburban 4th graders together will explore the wonders of nature. This year, the focus is on understanding the significance of biodiversity in ecosystems around the world. In a year-long field study, our elementary learners will document the changes that occur in different habitats in a hands on, hands dirty type of experience that is sure to engage curious minds and stimulate an appreciation of the world outside.  

Most of today's classrooms are not the teacher-directed, lecture style format that many of us experienced when we were younger; indeed, schools are transitioning into professional learning communities where student engagement, problem-solving, collaboration, research, and communication flow throughout the classroom.  In the months to come, I will, from time to time, continue to share with you more of the innovative and engaging programs that our students are experiencing in our schools.  Throughout the district, we are preparing our students to excel and thrive in the dynamic and complex world ahead.  As superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools, I am proud to say that this is both our mission and our passion for each and every child in our care. 

11/25/14 > NCPS School Climate

NCPS School Climate 

In June 2013, New Canaan Public Schools administered a pilot school climate survey in accordance with state law and our district school climate plan. Reflection on the feedback we received from students, staff and parents informed our plan for the next iteration of this process. The outcome was a commitment to engaging in a school climate assessment that would: increase student voice, ownership and leadership, provide an opportunity for learning for students, faculty and parents and allow for meaningful dialogue about school climate over time. These commitments led to our partnership with Dr. William Preble, executive director of the Center for School Climate and Learning.

Dr. Preble and his team are training our middle and high school staff and students in the SafeMeasures™ process. This is a student-led, collaborative research process that provides for team development, school climate data collection and analysis, goal setting based on the data analysis, action project planning and evaluation. Our partnership with Dr. Preble and the Center for School Climate and Learning will continue next year as part of our on-going evaluation of continuous improvement efforts. We also anticipate providing our elementary students with training in the SafeMeasures™ process during the 2015-16 school year.

So far this year the student leadership teams at the middle and high schools have selected names as a part of their team development training, Saxe is SWAG (Saxe Will Achieve Greatness) and NCHS's student leadership team is IMPACT. SWAG and IMPACT have met to create presentations for peers and faculty, including videos introducing themselves and their mission. They have also created videos to be used as introductions to the next phase of the process, data collection through an online survey hosted by the Center for School Climate and Learning. 

The survey will be administered in early December to all students in grades 3 through 12 and their parents. Teachers, administrators and support staff across the district will also be invited to participate in the survey. Although it is a voluntary survey we hope all invited will participate in this important opportunity.

NCPS will be using the SafeMeasures™ School Climate Survey as one of our data collection tools. It has been used in hundreds of school over the last 15 years, validated by the University of Massachusetts and generates valid and reliable school climate data that is aligned with National School Climate Standards. Participants will be asked to share their school climate perceptions through the anonymous online survey; no personally identifiable information is required. There are about fifty questions and it should take about twenty minutes to complete. 

The Center for School Climate and Learning will complete a preliminary analysis of our school climate data and at the middle and high school, train SWAG and IMPACT to complete an analysis of their own. SWAG and IMPACT will generate goals based on the data and design action projects to meet their goals. They will share the school climate data with their school staff, who will in turn be given the opportunity to establish goals. Representatives from SWAG and IMPACT will also share the data with parents along side staff members and Dr. Preble. Students and staff will be working on their action projects throughout the remainder of the school year with on-going consultation from the Center for School Climate and Learning.

At the elementary level the preliminary analysis completed by the Center for School Climate and Learning will be provided to each building's school climate committee. These committees will share the analysis with staff, parents and students during the second half of the school year through assemblies, meetings and/or digital communication. This data will be used to inform next steps for ongoing school climate initiatives and goals for the future.

If you have a student in a grade designated to take the survey, you will receive an email with instructions and a link to the survey.

Please contact your principal or Darlene Pianka, District School Climate Coordinator at 230-954-4020 or, if you have any questions. We welcome your feedback on this process.

Additional information on School Climate may be found in the District pulldown menu > Departments > Pupil Personnel: School Climate or by clicking here.

11/24/14 > Two NCHS Seniors Chosen for Senate Youth!

For the first time in the program's history, two students from the same high school were chosen to represent their state in the United States Senate Youth Program. NCHS Courant News Editor Matt Riley explains how NCHS seniors Veronica Ma and Charlie Sosnick have accomplished this extraordinary achievement.  Click here for the story.

11/17/14 > South School Veterans Day Event

South School hosted eleven veterans during their Annual Veteran's Day assembly. Students honored the veterans with patriotic songs and tributes, and the kindergartners saluted each veteran while presenting them with a homemade flag. Many of the veterans were family members of South School students and staff members, and South School physical education teacher, Josh MacDonald, also was honored as a veteran of the United States Air Force. The assembly was organized by Assistant Principal Matt Kascak and staff members Jeff Kohn, Jaime Jaffer, Joanna Lacomis, Allison Bouffard, Laura Devine, Barbara White, Joanna Marsh, Megan Kimball, Paula Passero and Jason Clark.

- Joanne Rocco, South School Principal

11/14/14 > Peter Pan Jr: Reminiscence of a Saxe Alumna

The following article was written by Ms. Kaitlyn Sandvik, a Junior at New Canaan High School, Arts and Entertainment Editor for the NCHS Courant, and student intern to the NCPS Public Information and Communication Specialist.

A critical facet to the human condition is the necessity of expression throughout all stages of our lives. Art enables youth to experiment with the notion of an identity, apply their innocent escapist mentality to creative matter, and discover the beauty in the rich historical narrative that is told through cultural activities such as theatre. Visual art in the medium of theatre allows exploration of character and analysis of human traits. The prompted introspection gives some a feeling of unfiltered belonging - no matter their age or gender. Even more beautiful is the ability of theatre to transcend social barriers, question what authority demands us to accept, and create a community of passionate beings.

The notion of the adolescent quest for identity begins much earlier than high school, or so it did for me. The common theme I have become familiar with in New Canaan especially is the ever-expansive array of activities the children are involved in. The timing is right as the workload is not too heavy and children are often still developing their interests. Exposure is critical. Wherever the passion of a child lies - I encourage the exposure to all realms of activity. I tried an amalgam of sports at a young age before I found myself with a pencil in my hand and typewriter upon my desk. New Canaan approaches sports with great care as they offer others a sense of pride and purpose. I discovered at a young age that sports did not offer my lack-of-coordination-self a promising future of belonging and so I discovered that the community for artists in this small town was tight knit and incredibly beautiful. Even before this, I was upon the stage of Saxe Middle School assuming roles in the school's productions.

This coming weekend I encourage you to support those middle school artists that are expanding themselves into art and allowing their individuality to shine through. Over one hundred fifth and sixth grade students have worked to create Peter Pan Jr. Director Lauren Sherwood-Blank, musical director Joe Gergle, and stage manager Jordon Hensley have been working for months with parent volunteers to facilitate and organize the outstanding efforts of the students involved. The collaboration has been called a labor of love by some of those involved. NCPS auditorium manager Anthony Medaglia cited Vivian Birdsall's efforts as head of the STEM Program at Saxe Middle School, "she offered her students assistance in order to successfully incorporate the much needed science technology of creating highly specialized LED lighting special effects." Seventh grader Bella Grecco created the LED special lighting effects for the pirate's Jolly Roger banner and Tinker Bell lantern. Her skills depict just some of the brilliant work young students are able to explore through synergy between the arts and technology.  

A unique addition to this year's theatrical experience is a short video to be presented at each performance. Ms. Allison Williams who will star as Peter Pan in the upcoming NBC telecast of Peter Pan Live! has sent a delightful video message to her "blood brothers in our Peter Pan performances." The video message resulted from communication between Saxe theatre crew and members of Staying Put in New Canaan.

As an alumna of the Saxe theatre program I reminisce and feel great pride in the current work that is being done. I plan on supporting the aspiring students and local art by attending one of this weekend's performances. If you would like to, performances are scheduled for Friday night, November 14 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 15 at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased online at Peter Pan Jr. Tickets or at the door one hour before each performance.


11/12/14 > Veterans Visit Saxe on Veterans Day

The following news story and photos were submitted by Saxe Teacher Librarians Mona Biondi and Monica Sheehan.

Veterans Day  at Saxe Middle School

Saxe Middle School held its Seventh Annual Veterans Appreciation Day on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.The day was framed by the essential questions from the social studies curriculum:

• How does the past affect the present?
• How does an individual impact a global community? 

All students heard veterans speak about their experiences first hand. Grade five had a veteran visit their team. Grade six social studies classes met in the library media center to hear veterans talk about their service to our country. Grade seven students listened to Colonel Peter Langenus who spoke about his service in Vietnam from 1969-1970 and his nine-month tour during the Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm.Through pictures, Colonel Langenus took students on one of his missions. Grade eight students attended an assembly presented by Captain Evan R. Lock. Captain Evan R. Lock spoke about his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and his flight experiences during his deployment in Afghanistan. Also, during recess students wrote notes to thank a veteran. Thank you notes will be distributed to the West Haven Veterans Hospital and the homebound New Canaan senior veterans. Saxe Middle School provided a variety of different opportunities to express appreciation to the community's veterans. 

Guests of Honor

Dahlia "Pobie" Paubionsky Johnston:  Sergeant, U.S. Army, WWII, 1942-1945

Thomas Newell:  Specialist 4th Class, U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1968-1971

Evan Lock:  Captain, U.S. Army National Guard, Combat Engineer Operation
Iraqi Freedom 2003, Afghanistan 2012-2013

Mike McGlinn:  1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army Artillery, Vietnam, 1968-1970

MyLinh Shattan:  Officer, U.S. Army, Germany 1991-1994, West Point Graduate

Mark D. Shattan:  Captain, Field Artillery, U.S. Army, Europe 1991-1998, West Point Graduate

George Brakeley III:  Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, 1961-1965

Don Rowland:  SP-5, U.S. Army, 1962-1968

Peter Ricca:  1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army Green Beret, Vietnam, 1965-1967

Gene Palazzolo:  Petty Officer E-4, U.S. Navy, Vietnam, 1970-1972

Christopher Dewey:  Captain, U.S. Army, Executive Officer of 101st

John Charles Lettera:  Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Desert Storm, 1989-1995

Bob Dalury:  Captain, U.S. Marine Corp, Korea, 1954-1957

Peter Langenus:  Colonel, U.S. Army Operation Desert Storm, Gulf War,  Vietnam, 1969-1970

Marvin Newman:  Quartermaster 2nd Class, U.S. Navy Pacific, 1943-1946

Bill Sessions:  Naval Ordinance Officer, WWII Pacific, 1943-1946

John McLane:  Captain, 1st Cavalry Division, Vietnam, 1966-1969

A. James Bach:  Sergeant, U.S. Army Korea, 1952-1954

Russell Kimes III:  U.S. Marine Corps, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2000-2008

Michael P. Corey:  SP5, Artillery, U.S. Army Vietnam, 1966-1968

Joe Kelly:  Corporal, U.S. Army Europe, World War II, 1943-1946

William Holland:  U.S. Army, Iraq, 1999-2014

Nick Zaccagnino:  U.S. Navy, 1946-1948



11/11/14 > Dr. Luizzi Acknowledges Niche Ranking

"I believe it is impossible to quantify the quality of the educational experience using a single, or even a few indicators, however, on Friday I became aware of another school district ranking by According to their website, "Niche is transforming the way people make big life decisions.  By providing reviews and insight from everyday experts, we make choosing a neighborhood, college, or K-12 school a more transparent process.  Founded in 2002 by Carnegie Mellon University students… We're obsessed with providing students, families, and professionals with best-in-class content and deep insight into big life decisions…" Unlike other rankings, which use AP data as the sole datapoint, Niche's methodology includes grading for Academics (50%), Health and Safety (10%), Student Culture & Diversity (10%), Survey Responses (10%), Teachers (10%), Resources & Facilities (5%), Extracurriculars & Activities (2.5%), and Sports/Fitness (2.5%).  This methodology appears to be a more well-rounded, holistic approach to ranking.  Although I never want to place too much emphasis on these systems, I'm proud to share that, using the methodology above, the New Canaan Public Schools were rated #1 in Connecticut, and 19th in the country in the 2015 Niche Rankings. This is another testament to the great work that's occurring throughout our school district every day."  

Click to view's 2015 Niche School District Ranking.

11/04/14 > NCEA Offers Their Support to Dr. Luizzi

Pictured left to right:
Hazel Hobbs, BOE Chairman
 Vivian Birdsall, NCEA President
 Dr. Bryan Luizzi, NCPS Superintendent

New Canaan Education Association President Vivian Birdsall met recently with newly appointed schools superintendent Dr. Bryan Luizzi and Board of Education Chairman Hazel Hobbs to offer congratulations and the support of the NCEA. In October, the Board appointed Dr. Luizzi Superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools. He had served as Interim Superintendent since July 1, 2014.

Speaking on behalf of the NCEA Ms. Birdsall said, "Bryan has always supported teachers and the NCEA is happy he has become Superintendent of the New Canaan School District. Looking into the future, Bryan brings a new perspective to the district. Education has changed dramatically in the past few years and Bryan has an excellent understanding of these changes. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to be a teacher due to state mandates and rapidly changing student needs. Bryan is practical, bright, and understands going in that education will be different in the future. We look forward to his leadership."


10/28/14 > East School Enjoyed Fall Fair Fun!

East School Principal  Kristine Woleck  submitted the following news.


East School Fall Fair Fun!

Thanks to the many, many hours from our PTC volunteers, East School had a full house on Saturday for our annual East School Fall Fair. Music and laughter came from the ever-popular Cake Walk, and patients from the favorite "Hospital of Horrors" were walking the hallways all afternoon. It was a day filled with cotton candy, popcorn, games, face painting, and good old-fashioned fun. We also had a special visit from Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and gang to remind us of the wonderful NCHS performance of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" coming in November. 

The Fall Fair is a wonderful day that brings together the East School Community as well as friends from across New Canaan. We thank all who came out to be a part of the event - it was wonderful to see so many East "graduates" volunteering their time at the Fair, a true illustration of the East School "Work Hard, Be Kind" motto.


10/24/14 > Responsible Online Citizenship Events 11/5

Responsible online citizenship presentations for
students, parents, community on November 5, at NCHS

Street Chat, Yik Yak, Snap Chat... What new Social Media App will appear next and distract our Students from their primary focus - learning? It was disappointing to learn in a letter from the New Canaan High School Administration that our students were misusing Social Media and upsetting their fellow students. Our children have powerful tools at their fingertips but some are struggling to handle it responsibly and productively.  

The New Canaan High School PFA and Administration are teaming up to reinforce the message that Responsible Online citizenship is critical. Thanks to a grant from the Newcomers Club of New Canaan and funding from the PFA, the High School will be bringing in a speaker, Richard Guerry, whose award-winning program focuses on ways to not only prevent existing trends such as "sexting" and "cyber bullying" but also to create solutions to digital issues our students may face. His goal is to construct a digital community free of negative and sometimes irreversible consequences resulting from poor judgment. He focuses on cyber safety and responsible on-line citizenship by highlighting that users should be prepared for their digital activity to be public and permanent!

Richard will be speaking to all 9 th  - 11 th  grade students during an in-school assembly on November 5 th . He will also speak in the Wagner Room at 7 p.m. that evening for any parents and students who are interested in hearing his message. The evening presentation will be appropriate for a wide range of digital users - from those just starting out with cell phones and social media to those who remember the days without them. It is open to the entire New Canaan Community and we hope to see you there

10/20/14 > Dr. Luizzi Named NCPS Superintendent

Dr. Bryan Luizzi Named  Superintendent of New Canaan Public Schools

New Canaan, Connecticut - October 20, 2014   - The New Canaan Public Schools Board of Education has unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Bryan Luizzi as the superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools, removing "interim" from his title.   Dr. Luizzi has served as interim superintendent since July 1, 2014 when Dr. Mary Kolek retired.

Board of Education Chairman Hazel Hobbs said, "Dr. Luizzi has proven himself to be a visionary, highly-qualified, and energetic leader.  We are thrilled that he will continue to lead us, providing continuity as we continue our efforts and commitment to educational excellence.  Dr. Luizzi is a strong leader with the skills and passion required to lead the district."

Dr. Luizzi said, "I am humbled and honored by the trust the Board of Education and the New Canaan community have shown me by appointing me as the next superintendent of schools.  As interim superintendent these past months, it has been inspiring to see the impressive accomplishments of our students and staff throughout the district.  Thanks to the commitment of staff, parents, and the community, the New Canaan Public Schools are truly outstanding, and I am eager and excited to continue this great work as the next superintendent of schools."

Dr. Luizzi has 18 years of experience in education. He began his teaching career at Newtown High School as an English teacher.  He also served as the Manager of Technology Operations for the Newtown school district.  He then progressed through a number of administrative positions in the Brookfield school system, where he served as the principal of Brookfield High School for five years.  He then proudly served as principal of New Canaan High School for three years.  

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Luizzi has been engaged in higher education.  In 2006, he completed his Doctor of Education degree at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Soon thereafter, he began teaching as an adjunct professor at Central Connecticut State University and at the University of Connecticut.  In this role, he taught classes in School and District Leadership, Curriculum Development and Design, School Climate and Culture, and Educational Policy, among others.

Earlier this year at their March 17th meeting, the Board of Education accepted the resignation of Dr. Mary Kolek and moved "to appoint the Members of the New Canaan Board of Education as the Personnel Search Committee for the position of interim superintendent of schools and/or superintendent of schools."  Hazel Hobbs added, "The board moved expeditiously to fill the permanent position given the educational landscape and the board's belief that our district will be best served with a superintendent who will stay with us longer-term.  We are confident that we have found the best possible candidate."

Today's announcement of Dr. Luizzi's role as superintendent will initiate the search for a permanent principal for New Canaan High School. Dr. Luizzi, along with Director of Human Resources Gary Kass, will be leading the search and selection process

10/15/14 > South Enjoys Fall Walk to School Day

Friday, October 10 was Walk to School Day at South School. An all time high of 93% of our families participated in this event and walked, rode bikes or scooters to school. Walk to School Day is a much-anticipated event that is held in the fall and spring each year. South School staff members are out and about on the streets, cheering the students, their parents, siblings and other family members who join in the fun.  

The town's senior engineer, Tiger Mann, is credited with gaining the support and participation of the town and South School for this terrific event. Tiger Mann has volunteers from CERT and other town agencies stationed at all of the main intersections in the South neighborhood to help everyone safely cross the streets. School spirit is at an all time high and it's a great sight to see the roads crowded with families enjoying the morning together.

Joanne Rocco
South School Principal

10/10/14 > NCHS Debate Team Celebrates Success

The following excerpt from the article written by Chloe Rippe appears in the October 2014 print edition of the NCHS Courant and on 

NCHS Debate Team celebrates success at annual Yale Invitational
By Chloe Rippe, Editor-in-Chief, NCHS Courant

On the weekend of September 19, students from the NCHS Debate Team, led by Social Studies teacher and Debate Coach Kristine Goldhawk, participated in the annual Yale Invitational Parliamentary Division Debate Tournament . Three teams represented New Canaan at the event, two of which placed as octo-finalists and semi-finalists respectively. 

Read entire article at

10/08/14 > K-5 Parents: Let's Talk Math! on October 21

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  "

Let's Talk Math!  K-5 Mathematics Parent Presentation

This presentation will provide parents an overview of our New Canaan Public Schools K-5 Math Curriculum, take a look at the Mathematical Practice Standards and focus on Problem Solving in everyday life.    

 What is my child learning in School in the area of Mathematics?

What are the Practice standards and how are the different than Content Standards?

How can I teach my child to be a problem solver and not just solve problems?

How can I support my child's mathematical thinking at home?

My child LOVES math . . . where can I get more resources for home?

We'll address these questions and more. We hope you can join us!

  NEW - Morning and Evening Sessions are being offered

  Tuesday, October 21, 2014 @  9:20 am - 10:30 am
 at South Hall, South School

Tuesday,  October 21, 2014 @  6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
at South Hall, South School

  Please click on this link to RSVP   We hope to see you there!!

9/22/14 > The Nurse's Office: Enterovirus D68 and Flu

The Nurse's Office:
Enterovirus D68 and the Flu

The following letter was submitted by Susan Cesareo, RN
and NCPS Nursing Supervisor. 


September 17, 2014                                                                                                                                            

Dear Parents/Guardians: 

This notice is to make you aware of a virus, Enterovirus D68 (EV-68), which may cause severe respiratory illness in some children and adolescents.

Enterovirus D68:

  • Has recently been identified in New York with suspected cases in Connecticut.
  • In most children, the virus will cause mild symptoms which may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and/or body and muscle aches.
  • In some children the virus may cause difficulty breathing and wheezing. Many of the children who became very ill had a history of asthma or wheezing in the past.
  • Can be spread by an infected person's respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum.  
  • May also be spread when someone touches a contaminated surface.

If at any time your child experiences difficulty breathing, wheezing or a decrease in activity, seek medical attention.  

In addition, as the fall and winter months approach so does the ("flu") season. Since it is not possible to predict what the rate of infection will be in the weeks ahead, we each need to take precautions to minimize the spread of both Enterovirus D68 and flu within our homes, schools and community.  These same precautions also mitigate the spread of other communicable diseases.

We need your cooperation to help minimize the prevalence and spread of flu and flu-like illness in our community. Please:

  • Consult with your health care providers regarding flu vaccine for you and your children. The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.
  • Be knowledgeable regarding Enterovirus D68 and influenza. For current information, see enterovirus/about EV-D68 .
  • Make plans for child care in the event that your child becomes ill.
  • Teach your children preventive strategies, such as: avoiding close contact with others; covering their mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing/coughing (or coughing/ sneezing into an elbow rather than hand); disposing of used tissue into a wastebasket; frequently washing their hands (or using an alcohol-based sanitizer if hand washing is not feasible); and not touching their eyes, nose or mouth. 
  • Keep your children home when they have early symptoms indicative of illness (e.g., fever, headache, runny nose, extreme fatigue, and cough, sore throat, muscle aches. Individuals may be contagious for at least one day before the onset of symptoms and to up to seven days after getting sick. 
  • Keep your children home until they are fully recovered from the illness  (e.g., have had   no fever, vomiting or diarrhea for at least 24 hours ; are no longer significantly fatigued or in need of extra sleep; and have significantly reduced respiratory symptoms).
  • A normal temperature in the morning does not indicate the end of fever or illness. It is not unusual for fever to be absent in the early morning hours but appear (or reappear) in the afternoon or evening hours.  
  • A minimum of a full 24 hours of normal temperature - without Tylenol or other fever-reducing medication - is essential before a child returns to school.   Recovery from the acute phase of the illness may require seven or more days of rest and care at home ; full recuperation may take two weeks or more.  
  • Consult with your child's physician should you have questions regarding the prevention and treatment of flu and flu-like illness in your family.   See the websites referenced above for flu symptoms that should be reported immediately to your child's physician.
  • Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms - and particularly fever - without first speaking to your doctor because of the risk of Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease.

If parents and staff members follow the above guidelines and collaborate in teaching children effective prevention strategies, we may succeed in decreasing the spread of flu and other illnesses within the school community.  In turn, we may succeed in protecting some of our more vulnerable community members.

Thank you in advance for your collaboration in prevention efforts this year.

9/15/14 > NCHS Summer Art: Trying Something New


Ms. Kaitlyn Sandvik who is the NCHS Courant Arts and Entertainment Editor and also student intern to the NCPS Public Information and Communication Specialist wrote the following article. Photos provided by Ms. Hannah Kirkpatrick who is the NCHS Courant Art Director.


Giving the Chance
to Try Something New
and Share it with Peers

From eccentrics to the secretly talented, the New Canaan High School art scene is comprised of students with passion and skill sets that transcend the work they create. From painters to filmmakers and potters to photographers the summer art gallery offers student artists the opportunity to showcase collections of pieces they worked tirelessly on over the break. The gallery is currently open and is decorating the school lobby with color and a variety of media. 

As someone who has taken part in the annual summer gallery, I can recall the pride of walking through the school and seeing your work and even having fellow peers compliment your piece. The gallery also allowed me to discover those artists who normally wouldn't display their work or had only just begun exploring a realm of visual art. Having a collection that is diverse and reflects members of the school community certainly brings along an aspect of unity and pride to those involved. Even those who are admirers of the creations look on with respect during a free period or lunch. 

The gallery is open to all grades which means students new to the school such as freshmen are encouraged right away to get involved with what the school has to offer. The high quality of work that is put on display speaks volumes to the talent that students at the high school possess. Some students involved even have work showing from their time at pre-college programs. 

For those students in which art is their primary outlet and creative passion, the school art galleries are a crucial form of expression and exploration. Providing students with the space to show their work in a positive environment enables further progress within the school as a whole. While we strive to foster the interests of students, giving the chance to try something new and share it with peers opens the doors of art to all students at the high school that might want to try something new.

9/05/14 > NCHS Model UN Program Expands to Saxe


Former New Canaan High School Senior
Heads off to College
After Spearheading
Joint Model UN Effort at Saxe

By Deborah Line 

Last year, Saxe Middle School kicked off its maiden involvement with The Middle School Model UN under the guidance of New Canaan High School senior, Connor Gress. Deborah Line, 6th grade Social Studies teacher and Allison Freeman, 8th grade Social Studies teacher acted as faculty advisors for the lower and upper divisions respectively.  NCHS has been involved with the Model UN for five years, and currently ranks among the top 20 of over 100 participating North American high schools. Last year Saxe principal, Greg Macedo, noted that the International Club, run by Deborah Line, could be an excellent feeder opportunity for the High School Model UN.  When this was discussed with Paul Phillips, faculty advisor at the high school, he enthusiastically agreed and appointed Connor as student liaison. After an extremely successful first year, Connor has now headed off to college leaving NCHS senior, Jayne Wixtead, to fill his shoes along with Connor's younger brother, Quentin Gress, now a NCHS junior.

Since its kick-off last fall, Connor provided expert leadership for both the lower and upper divisions by attending weekly meetings for each. He also provided invaluable guidance to those students who chose to participate in a scrimmage with New Fairfield in March. Additionally, he created a mock scrimmage; specifically for Saxe students, that was attended by New Canaan middle school and high school delegates alike. Former NCHS Model UN Captain, Jack Ludtke, now at Georgetown, along with high school co-captains, Alejandra Zamora and Danny Konstantinovicled attended the proceedings last spring.

Eighth grader Erin Spiess, had the following to say about Connor and his leadership, "Connor showed me how the Model UN can help you, not only in school, but in life. Through this program that he helped introduce me to, I have been able to meet new people, conquer my fear of speaking in front of huge crowds, and learned that organization is key. I will never be able to pay him back for how much he has helped me."

Seventh grader Greg Korsun, whose older brother Daniel, has been a member of the high school MUN for two years, commented, "Connor Gress was an extreme help to my learning experience in the Model UN. Without him, I wouldn't have had such an amazing time debating life problems with such a fascinating group of people."

Vanessa Kantor, a member of last year's Middle School Model UN, and current freshman at the high school added, "Connor is AWESOME! He helped me with the whole process of writing my speech and position paper. He always answered our questions, even if they were irrelevant to what we were talking about.  During the scrimmage I nearly drove him crazy because I sent so many notes to other participants about the different ideas I had and wanted to discuss.  He made sure everyone had a good time at the scrimmage, and it was a blast!  Thanks Connor, for what you did for all of us at the Middle School Model UN!!"

This year, Saxe students will be attending scrimmages at both New Fairfield and New Canaan High Schools. In addition, we hope to have the opportunity to attend our first conference at Horace Mann this fall, and an Ivy League multi-day conference at Dartmouth College in the spring. Clearly, Saxe Middle School students will arrive at the high school well prepared to help build on the club's success.

Pictured above: Connor Gress with Izzy Carpenter (right) and Skye Risom (left)

8/26/14 > NCPS Faculty Convocation 2014

Since the New Canaan Public Schools don't open for students until Wednesday, August 27, drivers, walkers and runners passing by NCHS early Monday morning may have wondered why the parking lots were full. The explanation is simple - NCPS Faculty Convocation.

Convocation is the opening event of the new school year, a gathering of more than 400 NCPS faculty members, administrators and various elected town officials that takes place two days before schools open for students. On Monday at 7:30 a.m. educators and administrators had the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues over a delicious breakfast buffet organized by PTC parent volunteers, Bruce Gluck, and his NCPS food services team. At 8:00 a.m. Gary Kass, Director of Human Resources, opened the program with a welcome and introduction of new staff. First Selectman Robert Mallozzi followed with a welcome from the Town of New Canaan. Board of Education Chair Hazel Hobbs offered greetings from the Board of Education and NCEA President Vivian Birdsall presented a message from the New Canaan Education Association. In his role as the new Interim Superintendent, Dr. Bryan Luizzi delivered the opening school message. As convocation concluded with closing comments from Gary Kass, the new school year began with energized faculty and a renewed collective commitment to students, families and the entire New Canaan Public Schools community.

8/19/14 > Welcome to the New School Year from Dr. Luizzi

August 2014

Dear students and parents,

I hope that you and your loved ones are enjoying the remaining days of a wonderful summer. In these last months, faculty, staff and administrators have been busily preparing our facilities, curriculum, and technology departments for a great school year.  As the summer begins to wane and opening day approaches, I hope you share our eager anticipation of another year full of exciting opportunities and limitless possibilities. 

For the past three years, I have had the honor of serving as the principal of New Canaan High School.  This year, as superintendent, I look forward to learning even more about the entire district, K-12, and to working with all stakeholders as we continue the tradition of excellence that has come to define the New Canaan Public Schools.  We are very proud of the great work we do each day with our students, and we look forward to even greater things in the future. 

The excellence of the New Canaan school system does not exist in isolation or by chance: it is an explicit goal in all that we do. As a result, student performance in academics, athletics, the arts, and other worthwhile endeavors are consistently the strongest in the state and, often, the nation.  As we continue to look forward to the challenges and opportunities in store for our students, we gladly accept the awesome responsibility of preparing every child to succeed, and excel, in the dynamic and complex world ahead. 

One of the things I've learned throughout my career is that the strength of a school's culture flows from a shared vision among staff, students, parents, and the community.  I believe the same holds true at a district level.  Here in New Canaan, it is quite clear that our entire community honors and celebrates students as individuals, values the passion and dedication of the staff, welcomes the partnership between parents and teachers, and respects the community as collaborators in the educational process. In such an environment, incredible things are possible - as we see each and every year - and as I am confident we will see again throughout 2014-15. 

Our first day of school for students is Wednesday, August 27, 2014.  Until that first day, I hope you and your family enjoy each of the remaining days of your summer vacation.  

I look forward to another wonderful school year together! 

My very best,                                                         

Bryan D. Luizzi, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools (Interim)

7/14/14 > NCPS Announces New K-8 Math Coordinator


Ms. Zoe Robinson has been appointed K-8 Math Coordinator for the New Canaan Public Schools. She has served as the Math Specialist at West Elementary School since August 2012.

Prior to joining New Canaan Public Schools Ms. Robinson was employed as the Numeracy Instructional Coach for the Mathematics Department at Bryant School in Bridgeport. While at Bryant she implemented the Bridgeport coaching model utilized by all Bridgeport Public Schools PreK-8 level teachers. She has also taught first grade at the P.L. Dunbar School in Bridgeport and worked as a Fourth Grade and Mathematics Specialist for the NYC Department of Education, P.S. 203 in Brooklyn, NY.


Zoe earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College and her Masters of Science in Curriculum Instruction and Assessment from Walden University.

6/16/14 > Bedard Named NCHS Acting Assistant Principal

Steven R. Bedard Named Acting Assistant Principal
at New Canaan High School

The New Canaan Public Schools is proud to announce the appointment of NCHS faculty member Steven R. Bedard as Acting Assistant Principal of New Canaan High School for the 2014-2015 school year when current Assistant Principal Dr. Veronica LeDuc will become Acting Principal. Mr. Bedard will begin his new position at NCHS on July 1, 2014.

An enthusiastic and energetic educator, Steve has assumed multiple roles at New Canaan High School. He has been a Health and Physical Education Teacher and Head Boys Track and Field Coach since 2004, serves as a Class Advisor and is the Director of Alternative Learning Programs. He is also certified as a TEAM Mentor and TEAM Reviewer.

Steve earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and an additional eighteen graduate credits in school counseling from Syracuse University. In 2010 he received a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of New England in Portland Maine and in 2014 was awarded a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Leadership, Ethics and Change.

Dr. Bryan Luizzi expressed his support of Mr. Bedard, "Steve's depth of experience working with students, parents, and faculty, coupled with his unwavering commitment to doing whatever it takes to help each student succeed, provide an excellent foundation for his transition into this new, expanded role." 

6/12/14 > A Student's Response to Publication's Ranking

The following opinion piece was written by Ms. Kaitlyn Sandvik, a sophomore at New Canaan High School, staff writer for the NCHS Courant and student intern to the NCPS Public Information and Communication Specialist.

In Response to NCHS Ranking

As a product of New Canaan Public Schools and a current sophomore at New Canaan High School, I believe it is my duty to respond to the 2014 ranking we received from U.S. News & World Report. The notion that such a one-dimensional system of numbers and plain statistics can be looked upon with such weight is troubling. When I think about my experience at the high school thus far in my career as a 21st century learner, I recall mentors, opportunities outside of the classroom, and a place that fostered my desire to learn.

New Canaan High School staff gives students the tools they need to succeed because of the trust they place in us and freedom we receive. Using social media to expand our knowledge of classroom topics and broaden our sense of understanding of real world dynamics is encouraged by the librarians. Teachers give us the chance to utilize the advancing technology that is so familiar to us to become closer to history lessons or biology labs. I have received mentorship from my English teacher and have been inspired to take part in the school literary magazine, Spectator or attend Poetry Fest. I watch my fellow students prosper too as they challenge themselves in academics while managing to impress on the sports field and gain valuable insight into what it means to be a team player. The theatre department has become a family unit that graces our school with stunning productions and we reflect on those students who take the initiative to go beyond in their services through school clubs like Pura Vida. Creativity is ignited in the galleries, musicians communicate in jazz band, international night merges cultures - all of these opportunities and more surround us here. The concept of learning in an educational institution should not be limited to what students achieve merely within the classroom setting. The faces of New Canaan High School tell a story of the future and of the diversity in learning styles. 

People tend to desire generalizations, simplifications of matters that are far too complicated to break down into pure numbers. I think the value of an educational institution such as New Canaan High School is found not only in the rigorous classes and test scores but rather in the bigger picture of NCHS as an environment for learners - whether they are discovering themselves on the stage or in a math classroom, the abundance of passion and learning taking place here is only fully understood when you come inside and begin to look.

6/10/14 > South Window Project Meeting for Parents

An informational meeting regarding the South School Window Project  will take place on Thursday, June 12, from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m., in South School room 102.

The Project Manager along with the Environmental Consultants and members of the building committee will provide a project status update, describe the two phases of the project, explain abatement work to be done this summer, and answer questions.

6/06/14 > Dr. LeDuc Named NCHS Acting Principal

Dr. Veronica LeDuc has been chosen to serve as Acting Principal of New Canaan High School for the 2014-2015 school year when current NCHS Principal Dr. Bryan Luizzi will begin his term as New Canaan Public Schools Interim Superintendent. Dr. LeDuc will begin her new role at NCHS on July 1, 2014.  

A search committee comprised of NCPS and NCHS administrators, NCHS staff, Board of Education members and NCHS parent representatives chose Dr. LeDuc for the position. According to Gary Kass, NCPS Director of Human Resources, "The search committee was very impressed by Dr. LeDuc's extensive experience and expertise, her professionalism and her commitment to students and staff. Additionally, Veronica has served enthusiastically as a co-chairman of the district's Crisis Advisory Board."  

As an educator Dr. LeDuc has acquired all of her extensive professional experience in Connecticut. She came to New Canaan from Brookfield where she taught Chemistry, Physics and Science at Brookfield High School. Prior to Brookfield she served as Principal and Assistant Principal at Torrington High School and as an Assistant Principal at Thomaston High School. She earned classroom experience as a teacher at Thomaston High School and Notre Dame Academy in Waterbury.

Dr. LeDuc earned her Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her educational background includes a Sixth Year Certificate in Administration and Supervision from Southern Connecticut University, a Masters of Science from Central Connecticut State University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Regis College in Weston, MA.

6/03/14 > Maura Fruin: East’s Next Assistant Principal

Ms. Maura S. Fruin has been chosen by the New Canaan Public Schools to serve as the next assistant principal of East Elementary School. Ms. Fruin will begin her new role at East on July 1, 2014.

Maura Fruin was most recently employed by the Westport Public Schools where she has served as a Literacy Specialist at Greens Farms Elementary School and as a Third Grade Teacher at Long Lots Elementary School.  As an elementary level educator in the Boston area, Maura has taught various grade levels and in a variety of disciplines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Assumption College in Worcester, MA and received her Masters of Arts in Education from Lesley University, in Cambridge, MA.  

Speaking on behalf of the New Canaan Public Schools, Director of Human Resources Gary Kass said, "We are very excited to welcome Maura to our district. In addition to bringing an extensive background in literacy and experience as a coach to other teachers, she will be sharing her warm and inviting can-do attitude with the East School community." 

6/03/14 > Ashley Furnari: West's Next Assistant Principal

The New Canaan Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of Ashley F. Furnari as the next assistant principal of West Elementary School. Ms. Furnari will begin her new position at West on July 1, 2014.

Ashley Furnari comes to New Canaan Public Schools from Fairfield Public Schools. She is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education. She holds a Master of Science in Reading from Southern Connecticut State University, and a 6th Year Certificate of Advance Study in Administration from Sacred Heart University. Ms. Furnari's background as an educator includes experience as a PreK to Grade 3 Summer School Principal, Instructional Improvement Teacher, Gifted and Talented Teacher, Language Arts Specialist and Elementary Teacher for grades 2 and 3.

Upon Ms. Furnari's acceptance, Director of Human Resources Gary Kass said, "Viewed as highly collaborative, Ashley is a gifted instructional leader who will bring energy and enthusiasm to her new role as assistant principal at West School."

5/27/14 > BOE Update: 2015-2016 Calendar

Since implementation of the CT legislation mandating a uniform regional calendar has been delayed until 2016-2017, the Board of Education has approved the NCPS calendar for 2015-2016 which may be viewed by clicking here.

Please contact your local state representatives with questions or viewpoints on this legislation. You may find more information and your local legislator contacts by visiting Use the House or Senate pull down menu to Find Your Legislator.

New Canaan Public Schools Board of Education




5/23/14 > NCPS Receives CIRMA Award

LeDuc Kolek

The Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) recently awarded a 2014 Risk Management Achievement Award to New Canaan Public Schools in recognition of the district's commitment to Risk Management.

The NCPS Crisis Advisory Board (CAB) collaborated with local public safety officials and CIRMA risk management consultants to create a district-wide school security program. In Spring 2013, the collaborative team performed a risk assessment of all district buildings and grounds that formed the basis of an emergency action plan, implementation of best practices, and New Canaan-specific procedures that will help build a safer environment for students and staff. South School Principal Joanne Rocco and NCHS Assistant Principal Veronica LeDuc serve as Co-Chairs of the Crisis Advisory Board.

NCPS Superintendent Mary Kolek and Veronica LeDuc accepted the award on behalf of the district at the May 16 ceremony in Rocky Hill.  

Pictured in photo (left to right): NCHS Assistant Principal Dr. Veronica LeDuc and NCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary M. Kolek

5/15/14 > Share Your Retirement Good Wishes

As this school year ends, we will be saying good-byes to three esteemed NCPS administrators. Superintendent Dr. Mary Kolek, East School Principal Ms. Bunny Potts and West School Acting Principal Ms. Joanne LaVista will each retire from the district effective June 30, 2014. 

Realizing there are many members of our community who would like to share their good wishes with Mary, Bunny and Joanne, we have created a Retirement Good Wishes document that you can access by clicking here.  Just choose which individual you would like to send your good wishes to, write and submit. Feel free to write to all three!


5/12/14 > Exchange Club Donates Freedom Shrine

On February 27, four Saxe eighth grade student representatives participated in a very important decision making process.  Nominated by their teachers to represent their Social Studies classes, Sophie Price, Chase Fichtner, Emma St. Raymond and Cristobal Toro met with Saxe Principal Greg Macedo, NCPS Facilities Director Bob Willoughby and Exchange Club of New Canaan President Randall Dalia. The purpose of this meeting was to decide the future location of New Canaan's newest "Freedom Shrine" a project of the Exchange Club of New Canaan and gift to Saxe Middle School. As part of their mission to focus on Americanism, Exchange Club volunteers have installed Shrines at New Canaan's three public elementary schools. After the installation of the Shrine at Saxe, Club volunteers plan to complete their mission with a Shrine to be installed at New Canaan High School within the next two years.

According to the Exchange Club's National website, "The Freedom Shrine is an impressive display of a collection of historic document replicas that serves to remind all of us of the great efforts that have been taken to ensure our freedom. The Freedom Shrine originated with the Freedom Train that toured the nation in 1947 carrying an exhibit of historic documents. It serves as an educational tool in schools, and as a motivational display in public arenas." The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech are included among thirty documents on display. An engraved dedication plaque "Presented to Saxe Middle School by the New Canaan Chapter of the National Exchange Club April 2014" is mounted among the documents.  

The four student representatives were reminded that once in place, the Freedom Shrine would be on permanent display at Saxe for many years to come.  After weighing the pros and cons of three locations, the students unanimously chose the wall across from the auditorium entrance because "it is a very prominent spot for everyone to see."  

Mr. Willoughby's staff prepared the 28 feet of wall space in early April and during spring vacation a team of Exchange Club volunteers arrived at Saxe. Armed with drills, screwdrivers and levels, the team meticulously installed the plaques within the two sections of the black-framed, birchwood-backed homage to our nation's history.

On April 22, a special dedication ceremony was held in the Saxe Middle School main lobby. Principal Greg Macedo opened the ceremony with a welcome and introductions followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a dedication speech by Mr. Dalia. The foureighth grade student representatives offered their comments to the assembled group that included Exchange Club members and Saxe administrators. Dr. Mary Kolek shared her final thoughts to close the ceremony. And now, thanks to the Exchange Club of New Canaan, thirty reminders of our country's proud history remain permanently on display in a very prominent spot at Saxe Middle School.

5/09/14 > Multiple Factors to Consider

The following letter was written by Dr. Bryan Luizzi, Principal of New Canaan High School. Relevant informational data may be viewed by clicking here

Dear NCHS Community, 

Once again, U.S. News & World Report has released their "Best High Schools Rankings" article.  As in the past, the authors use a single indicator, Advanced Placement test information from 2011-2012, as the sole criterion for the ranking. No other qualitative or quantitative factors are used to derive this score and while this is not an insignificant measure, it certainly should not be the only factor considered when determining school quality.

It is important to probe underneath a headline.  When we do, we see that New Canaan High School is one of the strongest in the state and nation.  For example:  NCHS was first in the state in Reading and Math in 2012; we ranked 2nd in the DRG in these two areas on the SAT; Connecticut Magazine ranked NCPS the #1 educational system in the state for towns with 15,000 - 25,000 residents; Forbes Magazine judged the New Canaan public schools to be the second-best school district in the country with homes averaging $800,000 or more; every year, our students are accepted into the most competitive and challenging universities; over 70% of our students are involved in our interscholastic and co-curricular programs which are recognized regionally and state-wide…  the list of accolades and recognition for our school goes on and on.  Although it is tempting to be drawn in by a headline, it is the substance of a report that truly matters.  And the substantive success that New Canaan High School has demonstrated throughout the years is irrefutable. 

That being said, it is our responsibility as educators to look closely and deeply at available data as a means to reflect upon and refine our program on behalf of our students.  The data point used, AP participation and results, is something we have been looking at and increasing in recent years.  Recently, the high school began diversifying our program of studies to include several new and exciting AP courses, and we are committed to providing even more.  We believe it is our responsibility to maximize the opportunities available to our students, and to encourage them to challenge themselves throughout their high school experience. 

As educators, we pride ourselves in preparing our students to excel in the complex world ahead of them.  We focus on teaching all students to be responsible producers and discerning consumers of information, while providing them with the skills and understanding necessary to successfully problem solve, collaborate, reflect, contribute, communicate, all while respecting themselves and one another.  In my experience, I have learned that the most successful high schools are those that are unwaveringly committed to encouraging each student to strive, learn, grow, and succeed, in all ways, as they prepare for what's ahead.  That's what we're doing at New Canaan High School, and we are all very proud of our results.

Warm Regards,

Bryan D. Luizzi, Ed. D.
New Canaan High School

5/05/14 > NCPS Nurses: Measles Awareness

The NCPS Nurses share information on measles symptoms and treatment at The Nurse's Office.

4/29/14 > Dr. Luizzi Named Interim Superintendent

Dr. Bryan Luizzi Named
Interim Superintendent of New Canaan Public Schools

The New Canaan Public Schools Board of Education has unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Bryan Luizzi as the Interim Superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools, effective July 1, 2014.  Dr. Luizzi replaces Dr. Mary Kolek, who is retiring on June 30, 2014.

Dr. Luizzi lives in Brookfield, CT and has 18 years of experience in education, serving the last three years as the Principal of New Canaan High School.

Board of Education Chairman Hazel Hobbs said, "We sought to build upon what Dr. Kolek and the school district have created.  We are excited to have an interim superintendent who can lead our high-performing school district in the continuous pursuit of excellence.  Dr. Luizzi is an experienced leader with the skills and passion required to lead the district."

"I am honored to be chosen by the Board for this exciting opportunity," Dr. Luizzi said.  "I feel it is essential for an interim superintendent to engage in a collaborative fashion with the school board, community, administrators, and staff to ensure a productive and successful school year.  I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I look forward to the great work that the New Canaan Public Schools will continue to accomplish going forward."

Dr. Luizzi currently serves as the New Canaan High School Principal.  He began his teaching career at Newtown High School as an English teacher.  He then served as the Manager of Technology Operations for the Newtown school district.  In this role, he used a systems-thinking approach to successfully design and implement technology initiatives to enhance student learning district-wide.  He then progressed through a number of administrative positions in the Brookfield school system, culminating in his appointment as the principal of Brookfield High School, a position he held for 5 years. 

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Luizzi has been engaged in higher education.  In 2006, he completed his Doctor of Education degree at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Soon thereafter, he began teaching as an adjunct professor at Central Connecticut State University and at the University of Connecticut.  In this role, he taught classes in School and District Leadership, Curriculum Development and Design, School Climate and Culture, and Educational Policy, among others.

In 2011, Dr. Luizzi was selected as the Principal of New Canaan High School, where he has proudly served since.

Dr. Mary Kolek will be retiring effective June 30, 2014. Dr. Kolek stated, "Dr. Luizzi has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the core beliefs and vision that define and guide the New Canaan Public Schools. His strong working knowledge of the culture and strengths of the district and community will allow him, working in concert with the Board and leadership team, to enhance, expand and create initiatives designed to support and grow student well being and success.  That Dr. Luizzi is willing to assume this responsibility on behalf of the community says much about his professionalism, work ethic, and dedication to New Canaan.  I am confident his leadership will invigorate and inspire students, staff, and families as together all pursue next generation educational goals."

The Board would like to thank Dr. Kolek, who has served New Canaan Public Schools for ten years, joining the district in 2004 as Assistant Superintendent. Ms. Hobbs noted, "Dr. Kolek has played a key role in many New Canaan success stories, including continuous gains in student achievement, all day kindergarten, expansion of the visual and performing arts, Chinese language study, Foreign Language in Elementary Schools (FLES), and an expanded use of technology.  Dr. Kolek has played a pivotal role in growing a mindset of collaboration and continuous improvement."

The Board of Education will determine the process, which will include community input, to fill the permanent superintendent position in the fall.  Gary Kass, Director of Human Resources, will immediately begin the process to appoint an Interim Principal for New Canaan High School.

4/28/14 > Kristine Woleck Appointed Principal at East

Kristine R. Woleck Appointed Principal at East Elementary School

New Canaan, Connecticut - April 28, 2014 - The New Canaan Public Schools takes great pleasure in announcing the return of Kristine Reed Woleck to East Elementary School. On July 1, 2014 she will assume her new role as East Principal replacing Ms. Alexandra Potts who will retire effective June 30, 2014.

Highly regarded throughout the district for her many contributions, Ms. Woleck has served as Assistant Principal at West Elementary School since October 2013 and Assistant Principal at East Elementary School from August 2011 until her move to West.  With an extensive background in mathematics education, she joined New Canaan Public Schools as the Mathematics Specialist at South School in 2002 and served as New Canaan's Elementary Mathematics Coordinator (K-5) from 2004 to 2011. Prior to joining NCPS Kristine was a staff developer in Hudson Massachusetts and first grade teacher in Wilton.  

In addition to instructional and administrative roles within New Canaan Public Schools, in 2009 Kristine was selected as one of ten Classroom Teacher Fellows nationally in conjunction with the United States Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellowship program. She is also a published writer.  

Ms. Woleck is a graduate of Tufts University where she holds a B.A. summa cum laude in Child Studies, a M.S. in Education from Bank Street College and a Sixth Year Diploma in Educational Administration from the University of Connecticut.  

The appointment of Ms. Woleck is the result of a process that included East parent, faculty and staff focus groups and the formation of an elementary principal search committee. Led by Gary Kass, NCPS Director of Human Resources, the search committee was comprised of representative members of the school community including the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, the Assistant Superintendent for Pupil and Family Services, the K-4 Language Arts Coordinator, two principals, teachers from East School, PTC members from East School, and a member of the Board of Education.

Mr. Kass expressed, "I know I speak for many when I say I am very excited to welcome Kris (back) to East and the new opportunities available to her as its principal. She has been an exemplary educational leader and has consistently demonstrated her dedication to excellence on so many levels."

4/28/14 > Jan Murphy Appointed Principal at West

Jan M. Murphy Appointed Principal at West Elementary School

New Canaan, Connecticut - April 28, 2014 - The New Canaan Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of Jan M. Murphy as the next principal of West Elementary School. Ms. Murphy will begin at West on July 1, 2014.

Jan Murphy comes to New Canaan Public Schools from Wallingford Public Schools where she most recently served as Principal K-2 at the Cook Hill School. Prior to taking a sabbatical leave, Jan served as Principal at Cook Hill School from 2008 to 2012. Her sabbatical year was devoted to exploring 21st Century Innovation as part of a team for the Wallingford Public Schools.

Ms. Murphy is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State College where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree. She holds a Masters of Education from the University of Houston, a 6th year degree from University of Connecticut and 7th year degree from the University of Bridgeport. Her education includes an emphasis on Mathematics Education and Gifted/Talented Education. Ms. Murphy's professional background as an educator includes experience as a STEP Teacher (Gifted/Talented Gr. 3-5), Math Specialist (Gifted/Remedial) and Grade 5 Teacher. She has been recognized as Wallingford Administrator of the Year 2009, Connecticut State Teacher of the Year Semifinalist 2005-06 and Wallingford Teacher of the Year 2005-06.  

Upon Ms. Murphy's acceptance Dr. Mary Kolek said, "we are excited to welcome such an accomplished educational leader as a member of our district. Jan has been consistently characterized as a caring, highly effective, innovative educator and highly collaborative team member and promises to be a strong fit for a leadership team that values such attributes and efforts."

Gary Kass, NCPS Director of Human Resources, led the elementary principal search committee. The committee was comprised of representative members of the school community which included Jill Correnty, Assistant Superintendent Curriculum and Instruction; Darlene Pianka, Assistant Superintendent Pupil and Family Services; Greg Macedo, Principal of Saxe Middle School; Joanne Rocco, Principal of South Elementary School; Glenda Green, Language Arts Coordinator; Scott Gress, Board of Education member; Janet Fonss and Caryn Kelly, West School PTC Presidents; Joanna Tamburro and Francine Gurtler, West School teachers; Courtney Langford and Patty Zoccolillo, East School PTC Presidents; Anne Gesauldi and Claudia Monaco, East School teachers.

4/23/14 > NCHS Panel of Hispanic Professionals Friday

On Friday, April 25 the NCHS World Languages Department will host its annual Panel of Hispanic Professionals. The program is for the benefit of the AP Spanish, Honors Spanish 4 and Culture & Conversation classes. Typically panelists give a brief individual presentation then rotate among smaller groups of 15 to 20 students for informal question and answer sessions -  conducted entirely in Spanish,

This year's panel participants include Alex J. Martínez, (Law offices of Alex J. Martínez), Ivone Zucco (Executive Director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center), Officer Adriana Molina (Stamford Police Department), Sharia Cohen (Norwalk Hospital Oncology Nurse & Master Zumba Instructor), Enrique Lopez (Legal Assistant, Law Offices of Alex J. Martínez), Valerie E. Lopez (Early Childhood Education Specialist), Andrea Lopez (UCONN Graduate 2014 accepted to Harvard College), Jenny Reinoso-Castellano (Special Assistant to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal) and Yolanda Vilchez (Brand Manager at SUN Products Corp). The program will be held in the NCHS Wagner Room from 9:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

4/11/14 > Board of Ed to Name Interim Superintendent

New Canaan Public Schools Board of Education to Name Interim Superintendent 

Since the announced retirement of New Canaan Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mary Kolek, effective June 30, 2014, the Board of Education has been preparing to find her replacement. Members of the Board of Education held a special meeting on March 17th at which time they voted to appoint all Board members to serve on the Superintendent of Schools Search Committee.

The Search Committee has met to examine the requirements of the role and desired timing of filling the position. Given the fact that the Board of Education would like a superintendent in place by July 1, 2014, the Committee has decided to name an interim superintendent. The Committee is now in the process of identifying a candidate to fill the position.

Dr. Kolek has served the district with distinction for ten years and will be relocating to North Carolina with her family.

4/10/14 > 73 NCHS Seniors Prepare for Internships

Pictured (Left to Right): Stephanie Scoon, Executive Recruiter for The Hartford,
Susan Singer, Owner of the Closet Curator, Nathalie Borsey, Kate Dahlia,
Alyssa Berry, Alexandra Savoca, Dan Finn, Connor Gress, Courtney Blayloack,
Isabel Lawrence, Lisa Smith SIP Committee Member and Dan Mulhern
 SIP Committee Member and Owner of MMilestones.
(Picture Credit: Martie Mackay)

On April 9, seventy-three New Canaan High School seniors attended training workshops on dressing for success, resume writing and workplace expectations. The students are participants in this year's NCHS Senior Internship Program (SIP). The four-week internships begin May 19 and conclude at the end of the school year. The students pictured above will intern at Nielsen located in Wilton.

4/06/14 > NCPS & the Uniform Regional School Calendar

New Canaan Public Schools and the Uniform Regional School Calendar

In the past, members of our Board of Education have developed the annual school calendar in accordance with criteria listed in New Canaan Board of Education Policy Item 6010 The School Year, the School Calendar and the School Day . Included within these considerations are the Number of School Days, Closing Date, Vacations, Professional Learning, Holidays, and Graduation Date. The Policy also instructs, "When practicable, the Board shall enact a two-year school calendar. By May of each year, the Superintendent shall recommend a third year." 

This year, our Board must review and consider how they may modify our existing school calendar policies and future calendars to align with the Uniform Regional School Calendars proposed by our Regional Educational Service Center (RESC). 

Introduced by the Municipal Opportunities & Regional Efficiencies (M.O.R.E.) Commission as a cost-saving measure for the state, the Connecticut State Legislature passed Public Act 13-247 during their 2013 session. This established the Uniform Regional School Calendar Task Force to develop guidelines for use by each Regional Educational Service Center (RESC). Connecticut is divided into six regions and New Canaan belongs in the C.E.S. RESC. Click here to view the April 2013 M.O.R.E. Commission's presentation and RESC map.

As required, by January 2014 the Uniform Regional School Calendar Task Force submitted their guidelines for a Uniform Regional School Calendar to each Regional Educational Service Center and the joint standing committee of the General Assembly. The guidelines include but are not limited to the following: at least 180 days of actual school sessions during the school year, a uniform start date, uniform days for professional development and in-service training for certified employees, not more than three uniform school vacation periods during each school year, not more than two of which shall be a one week school vacation period.

At the present time, each RESC is required to submit their region's proposed calendar by April 15, 2014. A local or regional Board of Education may adopt the uniform calendar by July 1, 2014 and shall use the uniform regional calendar beginning July 1, 2015. 

In response to concerns raised by districts, the State Task Force made a recommendation to "…amend the current legislation to extend the implementation of the guidelines within each region to the 2016-2017 school year to maximize success" and to "…allow for a waiver request from districts for one year on the 2017-2018 school year to give flexibility." (Uniform Regional School Calendar Task Force Final Report, January 2014, p. 6). 

According to the regional representative to the Task Force, House Bill #5559 (to delay the implementation of the Uniform School Calendar from 2015-16 to 2016-17) has been passed by the Education Committee then forwarded to the Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis for review. The Bill will now proceed to the legislature. There does not appear to be opposition, but until Bill #5559 passes through the legislature to become a revised law, the NCPS Board of Education will continue to consider calendar options that take the current law into account. 

In anticipation of the legislature's approval of Bill #5559 by the end of May, an option for our Board of Education is to develop a draft calendar for 2015-16 consistent with existing BOE policy, even if it does not completely align with the C.E.S. uniform calendar, and delay approval until the legislature acts on the Bill. If the legislature does not approve Bill #5559 in May, the Board must then consider the impact of new legislation on our district's existing policy and proposed calendars.

Click to view:
NCPS 2015-16 Draft Calendar
C.E.S. Regional Uniform School Calendar 2015-2016
C.E.S. Regional Uniform School Calendar 2014-2015

4/03/14 > 2014-15 Budget Information & Summary Notes

Click to view  summary notes  from the April 2 Town Council (TC) meeting (BOE Budget Follow- up/Q&A).

The final Town Council vote on the budget will be Wednesday, April 9 (6:30 pm at the Nature Center). 

2014-2015 NCPS Budget information is listed in the drop-down menu under the District tab and can be found by clicking on 2014-2015 Budget.

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4/01/14 > South School Building Committee Formed

The South School Building Committee has been formed as a Town Committee. The five-member committee is comprised of New Canaan Town Council member Joe Paladino, BOE members Gene Goodman and Penny Rashin, NCPS Manager of Facilities Operations Robert Willoughby, and NCPS Interim Director of Finance & Operations Nancy Harris. The Committee has been charged with the oversight of building repairs and renovations to South Elementary School. 

The South School Building Committee begins its tenure with a Special Meeting on April 1, 2014 at which time members will walk around the school to observe glass block and windows.  Additionally, a temporary Secretary will be elected and members will review existing project materials.  A second Special Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at the NCPS Central Administration Office. Following is the April 3 meeting Agenda. 

1.   Introduction of all Committee members
2.   Review status of project
3.   Review status of open purchase orders
4.   Review of architectural renderings
5.   Select and approve project materials
6.   Determine and approve project schedule
7.   Review and approval of meeting calendar

Information about the South School Facilities Project can be found on the NCPS website (District > Facilities > South School Facilities Project) or by clicking here.

3/28/14 > Thank You Board of Ed Members!


March is School Board Recognition Month in Connecticut,
but we think our Board of Education members should be recognized
and appreciated all year long.

Next time you have the opportunity, please thank Sangeeta Appel, Alison Bedula, 
Dionna Carlson, Scott Gress, Gene Goodman, Hazel Hobbs, Penny Rashin,
Jennifer Richardson and Sheri West
for the countless hours they volunteer in service
to the children and adults of New Canaan.

 If you would like to learn more about our New Canaan Board of Education, click here.

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3/25/14 > BOE to Vote on NCHS Graduation Date

New Canaan High School Graduation is usually held the day before the last day of school. This allows for the last day of school to be used as the rain date if necessary. The Saxe Eighth Grade Graduation is held on the last day of school. As of today, March 25, 2014, the last day of school is tentatively scheduled for June 18.

On April 7, members of the Board of Education will vote at their regular scheduled meeting to determine the 2014 high school graduation date. This year's official NCHS graduation date will be reported to the community after the BOE vote.

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3/21/14 > Search Has Begun for East & West Principals

The search has begun for two new elementary school principals. With the goal of welcoming two outstanding new principals to East and West Schools on July 1, 2014, the elementary principal search committee has been assembled. Led by Gary Kass, Director of Human Services, the committee is comprised of representative members of the school community including the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, the Assistant Superintendent for Pupil and Family Services, the K-4 Language Arts Coordinator, two principals, teachers from East and West Schools, PTC members from East and West Schools, and a member of the Board of Education.

In an effort to include stakeholders in the process Mr. Kass has already conducted focus groups at both schools. On March 6th he met with parents, faculty and staff at East School. On March 12th and 19th he met with West School faculty and parents. The intention of these focus groups is to examine and explore the answers to two seemingly simple questions - What makes your school special and/or unique? What qualities and characteristics are you looking for in a principal? The search committee will use focus group feedback to inform the search and selection process.

The first round of interviews is tentatively planned for the first week in April. The search committee will conduct second round interviews as appropriate. Finalists will participate in interviews with Central Office administration. The goal is to complete the selection and appointment process by mid-spring. The new principals will officially join the leadership team July 1, 2014.

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3/11/14 > Dr. Kolek Announces Decision to Retire

New Canaan Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mary Kolek
Announces Her Decision to Retire

New Canaan, Connecticut - March 11, 2014 - Dr. Mary Monroe Kolek, Superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools, has announced her retirement effective June 30, 2014. Following is Dr. Kolek's letter, which was presented to the Board of Education.

Dear Mrs. Hobbs,

After much deliberation and extended discussions with family, my husband and I have decided to relocate to North Carolina and, as a consequence, after 38 years as a CT public educator, with the last 10 spent in the proud service of the New Canaan community, first as Deputy Superintendent and currently as Superintendent, I plan to retire effective June 30, 2014.

As you might imagine, the decision to transition from a career and community that I love and to which I am deeply committed has been difficult. It has, however, been made easier because of my understanding that the New Canaan Public Schools is, by design, a system; one whose strength lies not in any few individuals but in the collective power generated and sustained by a culture and set of structures and processes that reflect a long standing commitment to excellence, dedication to service and an abiding respect for learners and learning as the community's most valuable asset and key strategy for success.

I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to work with and for some of the finest human beings ever amassed under the umbrella of any district, including Board members, educators, staff members, students and volunteers. New Canaan is an extraordinary place that stands as a model for what public education can and should be if we value each individual as a learner and work purposefully to grow intellectual curiosity, scholarship, innovation and a collective commitment to others and to community. There has not been a day when I have failed to reflect on the how fortunate we are as a school community to be able to offer our students a high quality education and expansive opportunities to explore, learn, serve, connect and lead.

The privilege of leading this district will no doubt stand throughout my life as the pinnacle of my career. I will carry forward with me the many lessons I have learned as the result of my work in New Canaan knowing they will serve me well no matter what is over the next horizon. Most importantly, I will cherish the relationships that have been forged with Board members, staff, town leaders, parents and community members as a result of working together on behalf of New Canaan's children and citizens. It is my great honor to serve as Superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools and I look forward to working with the Board and leadership team in order to ensure a smooth transition to the next school year.

Mary Monroe Kolek

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3/07/14 > Interim Asst. Supt. Correnty Now Permanent

Interim Assistant Superintendent Jill Correnty Becomes Permanent

New Canaan, Connecticut - March 7, 2014 - In her email addressed to district staff with the subject line "Good news" Dr. Mary Kolek, Superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools, announced Interim Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jill Correnty "… has agreed to let us drop Interim from her title and effective today is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction."

Dr. Correnty had served as principal of West Elementary School since 2005 and then in October 2013 was appointed Interim Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the duration of the 2013-2014 school year. In the announcement of Dr. Correnty's new role as Interim Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kolek wrote, "Since assuming the principalship of West School in 2005, Jill has not only demonstrated highly effective instructional leadership but has also made significant contributions to the overall district program. She has a background in literacy and is certified in special education. Jill has been a key contributor to the development of professional learning community practices, serving such initiatives as Response to Intervention and Teacher Evaluation and Professional Growth."  

Today's announcement of Dr. Correnty's permanent role as Assistant Superintendent will initiate the search for a permanent West School principal. Director of Human Resources, Mr. Gary Kass will be leading the search and selection process. In addition to a representative interview committee, this inclusive process will gather input from a variety of constituents from the West School community and throughout the school district.

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3/06/14 > West Acting Principal Joanne LaVista to Retire

West Elementary School Acting Principal Joanne LaVista to Retire

Dr. Mary Kolek, Superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools, has announced the retirement of Joanne LaVista, acting principal of West Elementary School. The effective date of Ms. LaVista's retirement is June 30, 2014.

Ms. LaVista began her career as a teacher at New Canaan's Center School in 1980 and has taught at Saxe and West School. She became West School's assistant principal in 2001. Joanne assumed the role of acting principal at West in September 2013 upon the appointment of Dr. Jill Correnty as NCPS Interim Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the 2013-2014 school year. Ms. LaVista has served as Chair of Tech Council and member of the Crisis Advisory Board and Planning Committee.

In a letter written to West parents announcing her decision to retire Ms. LaVista shared, "… I have always felt fortunate to be connected to such a special community of learners, educators, and families. With a career spanning 34 years, one of the most wonderful experiences I have had is seeing my former students as parents and being involved in the education of their children!"

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3/05/14 > Dr. Luizzi: Technology for Learning

Technology for Learning
By Bryan Luizzi, Ed.D.
Principal, New Canaan High School

Without question, we have entered into a technological age that has changed the way we live, work, and learn.  Thanks to the rapid explosion of personal, mobile devices and the seeming ubiquity of wireless coverage, we are now a part of an interconnected world - with its benefits and banes - no matter where we go.  The rapidity of this infusion of mobile technology into our lives is unprecedented.  Consider, for instance, that it took 75 years for the telephone to reach 50 million users; 38 years for Radio; television took just 13 years; and, remarkably, it took only 3 years for Apple to sell 67 million iPhones (MIT Technology Review, 2012).  And that's just the hardware!  It's equally important, and stunning, to consider the explosion of software distribution.  Within 3.5 short years, Facebook reached 50 million people.  Just recently, Angry Birds "Space" hit the same mark - in 35 days! 

This ever-increasing access to mobile technology, coupled with the pace of change, presents incredible opportunities for our students and our schools.  Using today's technology, we are able to powerfully improve the educational experience for all of our students. As a result, we've begun to explore fundamental questions about the effective use of technology for learning.  For instance, consider a classroom of students with mobile devices instead of a class textbook designed to last 8-10 years; given the fact that these students would have practically instantaneous access to the collected knowledge of the ages, we ask ourselves, how would the experience of teaching and learning be improved as a result?   

Mobile technology in the classroom provides never-before access to information, and the skills required to locate, evaluate, and utilize this information are the keys to success.  Instead of dispensing knowledge, in this technology enriched environment teachers are implementing instruction designed to prepare and empower students to ask, and answer, questions relevant to the discipline. In this environment, teachers are teaching students the skills necessary to be discerning consumers and responsible producers of information, and they are working as instructors, coaches, mentors, and guides.  And all students are engaged, independently and collaboratively, in utilizing appropriate technology as they are researching, collaborating, creating, communicating, and evaluating relevant and meaningful works, within and across the disciplines.  Classrooms are active, students are engaged, information access and knowledge creation is prized, and learning occurs everywhere, in real time, for everyone.   

As we look to integrate today's technological tools into classroom pedagogy and our school-wide environment, there are important questions we must keep in the forefront along the way.  For instance, we must continuously reflect upon and evaluate our short and long-term goals to ensure they are aligned with our central mission.  As we consider these questions, we continue to be inspired by the vast and powerful opportunities available to enrich the educational experience for our students, today and in the future.  Through this process of reflecting, evaluating, planning, and implementing, we are continuously improving in our ability to differentiate instruction and personalize the learning experience as we prepare each of our students to excel in the dynamic and challenging world ahead.

The underpinnings of a first class learning environment for students in today's mobile world are quite different from the requirements of yesterday's classrooms.  Currently, our network infrastructure is well designed for a world where a teacher plugs a computer or two into each classroom, sometimes uses the technology for instruction, and occasionally brings students to a separate, "computer-lab" environment, to perform various tasks.  When it was first designed over a decade ago, that was "best practice" in schools.  With today's potential, it is inadequate, and our infrastructure is increasingly becoming an impediment to reaching our students' educational goals.   

As mobile technology has become integrated into our lives and technology has enriched the educational experience, the needs of the system have changed as well.  Where a network of the past may have had to support a few hundred devices at any given time, today networks are required to simultaneously support thousands of devices.  We are pushing data through the network, wired and wirelessly, at incredible speeds and with stunning frequency.  In order to capitalize on the myriad opportunities for enhancing and enriching learning experiences for our students, we must begin by designing and implementing a network infrastructure that will support today's needs, provide for tomorrow's possibilities, and enable us to continuously improve in the future.  Thus empowered, educators can create and leverage policies, protocols, and practices that make such a system meaningful and appropriate to our educational mission and community.

We are in the midst of a technological revolution that continues to change how we live, work and learn.  By thoughtfully approaching these opportunities with the appropriate goals in mind, we can help ensure that the changes brought about by these new technologies are improvements that help all of our students excel, for today and tomorrow.  By shifting from technology for instruction to technology for learning, we are encouraging and empowering students to be actively engaged in their own educational experience, and preparing them with the character, competence, and courage to positively impact the dynamic and unpredictable world ahead.

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2/25/14 > 2013-14 School Calendar Adjustments

For your planning purposes, the Board of Education is providing the following information relating to 2013-14 school calendar adjustments.

As of February 25, the current last day of school is June 18, 2014. Per Board of Education policy, school cannot be extended beyond the third week of June (June 20, 2014). In the event of more than two additional school closures the BOE has approved the following contingencies:

1. First, reduce the total student instructional days from 182 to 181, then to 180 if needed. State law requires only 180 instructional days.

2. Second, shorten April vacation beginning with April 14, and on through the week if needed, excepting Good Friday.

NCPS Board of Education

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2/24/14 > East School Principal Alexandra Potts to Retire

Dr. Mary Kolek, Superintendent of the New Canaan Public Schools, has announced the retirement of Alexandra "Bunny" Potts, Principal of East Elementary School. The effective date of Ms. Potts' retirement is July 1, 2014.

Ms. Potts has served as an educator in New Canaan for more than 25 years. Bunny first began as a substitute teacher in 1986, then joined the staff of East Elementary School as a third grade teacher in 1989. She has served as the Principal of East since 1999. 

Beloved and highly respected by students, staff and East families, Bunny has championed numerous programs and initiatives to enrich the learning opportunities for students of East School. Her contributions extend beyond her school community as she has served for many years as a key contributor to overall district initiatives. Dr. Kolek noted Ms. Potts is renowned for her skilled and caring leadership, consummate professionalism, intellectual curiosity, humor and can-do attitude.

Director of Human Resources, Mr. Gary Kass will be leading the search and selection process. In addition to a representative interview committee, this inclusive process will gather input from a variety of constituents from the East School community and throughout the school district. 

2/06/14 > Two South Fourth Graders Win Art Award

The following news was submitted by South Elementary School Principal Joanne Rocco.

Congratulations Katerina Root and Lukas Brown!

Two South School fourth graders received an award at the Elementary Celebration of the Arts Banquet at Aquaturf in Plantsville, CT on February 4. Katerina Root and Lukas Brown attended the ceremony with their parents, South School administrators Joanne Rocco and Matt Kascak, art teacher Megan Kimball, music teacher Michael Messina and their classroom teacher Michael Herold.

The Elementary Celebration of the Arts provides elementary schools the opportunity to recognize students who have demonstrated outstanding artistic ability in performing or visual arts as well as citizenship and cooperative skills. Congratulations to Katerina and Lukas!

1/31/14 > Feb. 4: South Window Project Info Meeting

An informational meeting regarding the South School Window Project has been scheduled. The purpose of the meeting is to provide a status update on the project, describe steps already taken and to discuss the project moving forward. Our Project Manager along with the Environmental Consultants and members of the building committee will be present at this meeting to answer any questions that you may have. 

The meeting details are:
Date:   Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Time:   1:15 p.m.
Place: South School, South Hall
1/29/14 > BOS Meeting Rescheduled to Thurs. 1/30


The Board of Selectmen have rescheduled their meeting in which they will review and submit a recommended FY2015 budget to the Board of Finance. This meeting is scheduled for tonight,   January 30, 2014   , at  7:30 p.m.    in the Police Training Room at the Police Station.

1/28/14 > 1/22 BOE Budget Presentation to BOS

On Wednesday, January 22, Board of Education Chair Hazel Hobbs and NCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Kolek made a budget presentation to the Board of Selectman at the New Canaan Nature Center.

Click to view summary notes from the January 22, 2014 Board of Selectmen and Board of Education meetings. 2014-2015 Budget information is listed in the drop-down menu under the District tab.

1/28/14 > Maren Sussman Receives Presidential Award

Earlier this month, East School's math specialist Maren Sussman was congratulated by U.S. Rep. Jim Himes for being one of two Connecticut teachers to receive the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. According to Danielle Legnard, K-5 Mathematics Coordinator, "Maren went through the nomination and application process while she was a teacher in Ellington and just found out she is the winner for the state of Connecticut!" 

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion.  Maren is invited, along with the other 101 science and math teachers from across the country, to receive her award at a ceremony at the White House. According to the White House press release, recipients will enjoy " several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration."

Click on this link to view the official White House press release announcing Maren's selection.

1/21/14 > It’s Not Cool to be Cold

It's not always easy to decide what to wear to school, especially on days when the temperature can drop as much as 50 degrees. When the temperature will be well below freezing, we offer this fashion advice … more is better than less. 

Forecasts for the next few days are for single digit temperatures and wind chill factors in the negative numbers. We would like to remind parents and students to dress accordingly, whether waiting at the bus stop or walking from the parking lot into school, frostbite is a real concern during extreme weather conditions. 

Parents may wonder if younger students will continue to play outdoors for recess during these very cold days. New Canaan Public Schools Nursing Supervisor  Sue Cesareo, R.N. offered the following information regarding students and recess during times of extreme temperatures. "I think it is always a bit unsettling to hear the short length of time required for the development of frostbite under certain weather conditions. I know this is also an issue for recess. All assistant principals and nurses have a chart that addresses all weather conditions (including wind chill and humidity) and indicates the safe, cautionary and unsafe temperatures for outside play. I recommended that this chart, developed by the Iowa Dept. Of Health be used to make district wide decisions about safety and outside play about 6-7years ago. I know the nurses refer to it frequently."

To learn more information about frostbite Ms. Cesareo suggested a visit to

We also found an interesting video by ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser. Dr. Besser uses images from a thermal camera to illustrate How to Avoid Getting Cold in Freezing Temperatures.

1/21/14 > BOE Meeting Rescheduled for Wednesday 1/22


Due to today's predicted snowstorm, the Board of Education meeting originally sheduled for Tuesday evening has been rescheduled for Wednesday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will take place in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.

1/21/14 > South Informational Meeting on 1/23 Postponed

The informational meetings regarding the South Window Project have been postoned due to this week's weather issues. Originally scheduled for Thursday, January 23, meetings will be rescheduled for some time next week.

1/15/14 > January 17: Half Day for Students

Friday, January 17, will be a half day of school for NCPS students. Teachers will meet in the afternoon for professional development sessions. Following is the Planned Half Day Dismissal Schedule for students:

New Canaan High School: 11:30 a.m.

Saxe Middle School Gr 7/8: 11:30 a.m.

Saxe Middle School Gr 5/6: 12:20 p.m.

South Elementary School: 12:15 p.m.

East Elementary School: 1:05 p.m.

West Elementary School: 1:05 p.m.

Schools will be closed on Monday, January 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The Planned Half Day Dismissal Schedule follows the same dismissal times as the Alternate Early Dismissal Schedule #2. The schedule of school hours for 2013-2014 can be found on the district website.

1/13/14 > Updated Curriculum Contact Directory

Who to Call:  Questions about your child's program or the curriculum?

In the event of a question regarding curriculum or assessment we encourage parents and community members to contact the appropriate curriculum leader.  Click here to access our updated quick guide that will help you decide who to contact. You can find the quick guide on the district website by going to CURRICULUM > CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION > CURRICULUM CONTACT DIRECTORY.  Principals are instructional leaders and are also available to you. A number of parent and community education sessions are held throughout the year. These are communicated through the schools and PTC/PFA sites. 

1/10/14 > Tighe & Bond Testing at South on Saturday

Tighe & Bond, the environmental consultants hired as part of our South School Windows Project, will be at South Elementary School this Saturday, January 11th to complete the testing process begun back on November 2nd on the selected exterior and interior window frames, paint, caulking and glass block, some of which were delayed because of weather. 

Their staff will be registered with NCPS in accordance with our security procedures.  All appropriate testing protocols will be followed throughout the test day.

As you may know, these tests will help us determine the scope of the project and inform our scheduling and funding needs. 

We expect to receive a test report from Tighe & Bond in January.  The results of the testing will be reported to all concerned.  We have now set a tentative date for the meeting for January 23, 2014, but no later than the end of January.

Please hold that date. 

Detailed information regarding times and specific location of the meeting to come.

1/07/14 > Whether to Delay, Dismiss Early, or Cancel School.

Although today's meteorologists utilize sophisticated technology to compile and analyze data, they can only supply us with weather forecasts and predictions.  Since weather forecasting is not yet an exact science, school superintendents must depend on their own information networks to supplement the multiple reports they follow, gathering all available data and determining the inclement weather call for their district. How does the New Canaan Public Schools Superintendent decide whether to open at regular time, delay, cancel or call for an early dismissal?

According to Dr. Mary Kolek, "I coordinate my decision with at least 15 other superintendents in a 4:15 am phone call that is informed by conversations with weather service experts, local highway departments, and the district facilities and transportation managers. Information gathering and sharing usually occurs late in the evening before a predicted storm and again prior to the 4:15 am phone call. In the event of a delayed opening, the conditions that exist between 5:00 am and 6:00 am and predictions for conditions between 6:15 and 8 are most critical in making the determination of start time. If the bad weather occurs during the day, we use the same resources on a different time line to put an early dismissal into play.

"We are usually consistent with the majority of districts that have terrain and circumstances similar to ours - for instance I always consult with Wilton, Weston, Darien, Ridgefield, Easton Redding and Norwalk. Districts like Westport, Greenwich and Stamford are on the shoreline and do have different considerations, as do Norwalk and Darien in some cases." 

Timing, temperature and terrain are important considerations as these effect the condition of roads and sidewalks. This in turn impacts the challenges walkers, bus drivers and high school age drivers encounter on their way to and from school. Many of our employees commute to New Canaan from considerable distances so we also evaluate and predict travel conditions before and after school hours. We want to allow sufficient time for staff to arrive at school safely in order to greet children. In the case of our bus drivers that window is extended.

When inclement weather is forecast to occur midday, it is especially challenging to predict safety conditions at times of dismissal. The middle of the day is the window during which we dismiss students to buses, drivers and as walkers. Given our 3-tier schedule, the window for dismissal time can span over 2 hours or more if drivers are delayed due to deteriorating road conditions. We also have a number of students with special needs who are transported across the CT and NY region by New Canaan district vans and parents.

Thanks to tutorials from Mose Sacary, head of town highway department, Dr. Kolek acknowledges she now has a much better understanding of how conditions combine to impact the effectiveness of different types of road treatments. The colder the temperature the greater the challenge regarding treatments of roads and walkways. New Canaan's terrain varies between areas with conditions similar to the shoreline and hilly areas that may experience completely different weather.

"On mornings when the day's weather will be a factor, we try to alert families and staff around 5:00 a.m., however, there are times we delay the decision a bit in order to watch developing weather reports. Our goal is to create as little disruption as possible to the instructional day and our families' routines."

How Cancellations Affect This Year's School Calendar

The Board of Education created and approved the 2013-2014 calendar based upon previous years' weather events and anticipated construction at South School. August 26 was the first day of school and June 9 would be the last day of school if there were no unplanned school closures. The Board, based on its policy, included allowances for 9 unplanned school closings. As of January 6, 2014 there have been 3 weather related school cancellations, moving the last day of school to the current date of June 12. For each day school is cancelled, the last day of school moves forward by one day. If we exceed 9 unplanned school closures, any additional days may shorten the April vacation.

Inclement Weather Procedures

Established procedures and schedules for delayed opening, early closing and cancellation are posted to the district website. In order to avoid complete cancellation of a day we have created several variations of delayed opening and early closing; click here to access these schedules. * We will indicate which schedule is being used as part of our announcement for each event.

On rare occasions, an unusual circumstance related to safety may require an adjustment to our established protocols. Registering for our emergency contact system ensures receipt of notification for any such adjustments.

Communication Modes Available to Parents

Text Message Opt-In:  Parents may choose to receive NCPS notifications via text messages to their cell phones. An email is sent to all parents at the beginning of each school year offering the text message opt-in. Parents of NCHS students are encouraged to also provide their child's cell phone number for the purpose of NCPS/NCHS-originated text messaging.

Registering Phone Numbers and Email Addresses:  Parents are asked to review and update their contact information annually during May and June. Parents may provide updated contact information to their school secretary at any point in the year.

Additional Sources for School Delay, Closure and Early Dismissal Information:
NCPS Website: | |  Local TV and Radio Stations

*Located on the district website under District > About Our District > Hours

12/20/13 > NCPS Adds Keyboard Skills to Curriculum

Pencils and pens have always been essential tools for students. In recent years the keyboard has gained momentum as an additional tool to be mastered. Just as children have traditionally received instruction to learn writing with pencil and pen, today's children benefit from instruction to learn proper keyboard technique.

Recognizing the fundamental importance of keyboard skills to 21st century learning, Dr. Robert Miller, Director of ICT for the New Canaan Public Schools has announced that the District is introducing keyboarding skills as part of the elementary school curriculum for grades 2 through 4.  Students will receive classroom instruction to develop correct ergonomic technique, accuracy and speed.

According to Dr. Miller, the District has subscribed to EduTyping, a web-based keyboarding software subscription program.  All NCPS students in grades 2 through 8 will receive access to an EduTyping online account so they may learn and practice keyboard technique at home. As with traditional typing programs of the past, practice makes perfect, so Dr. Miller encourages home use of the program to get up to speed.

12/19/13 > Tighe & Bond Testing at South on Monday

Tighe & Bond , the environmental consultants hired as part of our South School Windows Project, will be at South Elementary School this Monday, December 23rd to complete the testing process begun back on November 2nd on the exterior and interior window frames, paint, caulking and glass block. 

Their staff will be registered with NCPS in accordance with our security procedures.  All appropriate testing protocols will be followed throughout the test day.

As you may know, these tests will help us determine the scope of the project and inform our scheduling and funding needs. 

We expect to receive a test report from Tighe & Bond in January.  The results of the testing will be reported to all concerned.  We have set a tentative date for the meeting for January 14, 2014.

Please hold that date. 

Detailed information regarding times and specific location of the meeting to come.


UPDATE: The New Canaan High School Rams football team has won the state title! Find out more at Congratulations NCHS RAMS!!!!  

Today the New Canaan High School RAMS are playing Darien for the Class L State Championship Football Game at Boyle Stadium in Stamford.

12/13/13 > CIAC Football Games This Weekend



Dear Ram Fans,

Thank you Mother Nature!!!!!!!!!!!! As you all have probably heard by now Saturday's Class L State Championship Football Game has been moved to Boyle Stadium in Stamford. Needless to say we are very happy that the game is going be played in Fairfield County. Kickoff is scheduled for  11:05 .

 The CIAC decided to make the venue change based on Saturday's weather forecast. The LL game scheduled for  7pm  has been moved to  2pm  at Central Connecticut State College. The logical solution was to move the New Canaan-Darien game into Fairfield County.. We appreciate the thoughtful decision made by Paul Hoey and the CIAC Football Committee.

Tickets will be on sale at NCHS  today [Friday, December 13] from 9:00am-4:00pm  in the athletic office. All tickets are $10. 
The CIAC sets the ticket prices for their championships. 
We hope to see you all  on Saturday ……

Jay Egan, Athletics Director  

12/10/13 > NCHS/Saxe Gr 8 Orchestra Concert on 12/11

Due to Tuesday's school cancellation, the NCHS/Saxe Eighth Grade Orchestra Concert scheduled for December 10, has been postponed and will be  performed on Wednesday, December 11, at 7:00  p.m.

11/19/13 > Tighe & Bond Testing at South on Saturday

Tighe & Bond, the environmental consultants hired as part of our South School Windows Project, will be at South Elementary School this Saturday, November 23rd to complete the testing process begun on November 2nd on the exterior window frames, paint, caulking and glass block. 

Their staff will be registered with NCPS in accordance with our security procedures.  All appropriate testing protocols will be followed throughout the test day.

We expect to receive a test report from Tighe & Bond in mid December.  The results of the testing will be reported to all concerned. 

These tests will help us determine the scope of the project and inform our scheduling and funding needs.

11/17/13 > South Staff & NCPS Custodians Offer Support

Pictured below: NCPS Custodians Juan Ochoa and Wayne Lewis with 
South School collection organizers Megan Kimball and Dianne Rearick.

In an effort to show support to their fellow educators, the South School staff sponsored a collection to provide a luncheon for the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School  on December 2. Hearing of this collection, the NCPS custodians and maintenance staff joined in this effort and presented a check in the amount of $437.00 to support the Sandy Hook staff luncheon. This generous amount, combined with the donation from the South School staff, will show our support to the wonderful staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 - Joanne Rocco, South School Principal

11/14/13 > Saxe Presents Disney Sleeping Beauty Kids


Saxe Middle School fifth and sixth graders will present Disney Sleeping Beauty Kids this weekend. On Friday, November 15, the evening performance will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Saxe Middle School auditorium. There will also be a matinee performance on Saturday, November 16, at 2:00 p.m.

The 5/6 Musical is an annual autumn tradition at Saxe, offering many middle school students their first opportunity to perform onstage or discover stagecraft skills backstage. More than one hundred students are participating this year as performers and crewmembers, dedicating three afternoons of their time each week since the early part of this school year.

According to Visual and Performing Arts Director Alan Sneath, this year's 5/6 musical is also an opportunity to raise awareness within the community of much needed upgrades and renovation to the Saxe Middle School auditorium. "The aging auditorium and substandard stage do not reflect the high quality of our educational programs. Our kids would have a better learning experience if upgrades were made to the auditorium. The middle school auditorium is a classroom that serves every Saxe band, orchestra, and choir student, students who participate in the musicals and the community organizations who use the auditorium." An informational kiosk will be set up in the Saxe lobby.


11/11/13 > South School Honors Military Veterans

South School Prinicpal Joanne Rocco submitted the following
Veterans' Day news item and photos.


South School honored fourteen veterans who represented all branches of the armed services. Assistant Principal Matt Kascak and committee members Dianne Rearick, Diane Cooper, Allison Bouffard, Jeff Kohn, Paula Passero, Laura Devine, Joanna Lacomis, Michael Messina, Megan Kimball, Jessica McCurdy, Vicky Coburn, Amy Thorsen and Chris Tensen organized a tribute for the veterans in attendance.

Students greeted the veterans with a standing ovation, sang patriotic songs, and presented the veterans with homemade flags. Army veteran Mr. John Calitri shared the history of the American flag while United States Army Sergeants Israel Guarzado and Hendrick Sorensen demonstrated the proper way to fold the American flag. The students and staff of South School were pleased to show their appreciation and respect for all the men and women who have served our country and fought for our freedom. 

Guests included: 

Mr. Frank Gallo  Army  Veteran, Grandfather of South School Counselor, Mrs. Danielle Maslar 

Mr. Kenneth Heim  Navy Veteran, Grandfather of South School  students Emma and Anna Grzymski

Mr. Peter Bilden Army Veteran, Father of South School student Benjamin Bilden

Mr. Edward Douglas Active Navy Reserve Personnel and Mrs. Autumn Douglas Army Reserve Veteran, Parents of South School students Reagan and Ethan Douglas

Mr. John Ryan Army Veteran, Father of 4th Grade Teacher Mrs. Laura Devine

Mr. Ed Carlson  Navy Veteran, Father of  1st Grade Teacher Mrs. April Colon

Mr. Steve Holly Army Veteran, Neighbor of Science Teacher Mrs. Dianne Rearick

Mr. John Milton Word Army Veteran, Brother of NCPS Custodian Fred Word

Mr. John Calitri Army Veteran & VFW Post Commander

Mr. Israel Guarzado Sergeant United States Army

Mr. Hendrik Sorensen Sergeant United States Army

Mr. Joshua MacDonald Air Force Veteran, South School Physical Education Teacher

Mr. Richard Nicholson Air Force Veteran, South School Teaching Assistant 

11/07/13 > Welcome & Appreciation for Service of our BOE


On November 5, 2013 the voters of New Canaan elected three new members and two returning members to the nine-member New Canaan Board of Education. Sangeeta Appel, Dionna Carlson, and Jennifer Richardson will soon begin their terms as new members of the Board. Re-elected Board members Sheri West and Penny Rashin will continue to serve with Alison Bedula, Scott Gress, Gene Goodman, and Hazel Hobbs. Kathryn Smith, Mary Kelly Freiberg and Amy Rochlin will complete their tenures later this month. Following is a letter to the members of the New Canaan Board of Education written by Dr. Mary Kolek, Superintendent of Schools.

 November 5, 2013

On behalf of the administration, faculty and staff, I welcome the new Board members and thank them for their willingness to serve their community. Since joining the district 10 years ago I have consistently and constantly been impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the Board members.  Each individual member spends countless hours preparing for and engaging in the work of the Board--which at its heart is all about achieving the community's lofty vision of  providing a world-class education for each and every child while caring for their well-being and developing them as citizens and leaders. I know each of our new members brings a history of service to the role and will continue to serve to the high standard of their exiting colleagues.

Perhaps as important as the work the Board undertakes are the lessons that Board members teach others by virtue of their service. Each of the exiting Board members has left a powerful legacy for our students to emulate.  I know the new Board members will follow their lead and will contribute to the quality of the district and to the good of the community.  The educators of the district are deeply appreciative of the New Canaan Board of Education and the way in which it represents and promotes the value this community places on education.

Mary Monroe Kolek, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools


11/04/13 > Tuesday Election Includes Board of Education

On Tuesday, November 5, New Canaan's registered voters have the opportunity to elect three Republican and two Democratic candidates to five open positions on the New Canaan Board of Education. Lawn signs and news stories offer evidence of an election process begun months ago. Less obvious are months of preparation by candidates and Board members to support a smooth transition. On November 18, less than two weeks after their election, new members will be sworn in and the new Board will elect its officers. 

According to Board Chair Alison Bedula, "Board members don't just show up" on the first day of the new school year.  The nine unpaid members of the New Canaan Board of Education sign-on for a four-year term that requires participation twelve months of each year. The Board meets twice a month throughout the year and is responsible for creating long-term policy, which includes recognizing and analyzing trends in education that will help prepare students for the future. Ms. Bedula said, "A lot of planning and prep work occurs over the summer for the Board and its committees." Planning and preparation includes offering support to potential new Board members. Interested candidates begin their education well before Election Day by attending meetings and workshops that introduce them to the role and responsibilities of the members of the municipal body within New Canaan that governs public education in our Town.

Extensive information about the New Canaan Board of Education, election of members, governance and Board policies can be found on this website under the District Tab or by clicking New Canaan Board of Education.

11/01/13 > South Windows Project Initial Tests November 2

Tighe and Bond, the environmental consultants hired as part of our South School Windows project, will be at South Elementary School this Saturday, November 2nd to perform initial tests on the window frames and glass block. 

Their staff will be registered with NCPS in accordance with our security procedures.  All appropriate testing protocols will be followed throughout the test day.

As you may know, these tests will help us determine the scope of the project and inform our scheduling and funding needs.

10/29/13 > 8 Saxe Singers Perform in ACDA Honors Choir

Eight members of the Saxe Middle School Eighth Grade Chorus were selected to represent their school in this year's Connecticut ACDA Middle School Honor Choir. Caroline Callahan, Will Dooley, Lauren Ferrara, Kaitlyn Piotroski, Claire Leville, Logan Otis, Natalie Rau, and Lauren Smith are students of Saxe choral director Sarah Gleason who is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Connecticut chapter.

The student performance was part of the ACDA Fall Conference that took place at Manchester Community College on October 19. The Honor Choir was comprised of one hundred middle school singers from all over Connecticut. Each student had been nominated by their school's choral director and participated as part of a quartet (Soprano 1, Soprano 2, Alto, Baritone) representing their school.  

According to Mrs. Gleason, "The students prepared four challenging pieces of music in the month prior and traveled to rehearse on Saturday with conductor Marcos Carreras, who is nationally renowned for his work with middle school singers. That afternoon they performed at the college to a sold-out audience of state music officials, regional composers, choral directors from across Connecticut, and their families.

"The songs they performed were by four remarkable and well-published contemporary composers: Amy Bernon, Robert Hugh, Jim Papoulis and Rollo Dilworth. Most impressive was that all four composers were at the conference to work with the students on their particular piece of music and speak with them about the creative process of composing and performing. This was truly an incredible opportunity for these eighth grade choral students to sing with and for the composers of each of their songs, with such a talented ensemble. Our school and its choral program were well represented by this talented group of young musicians. Congratulations!"

Alan Sneath, NCPS Director of Visual and Performing Arts, added his congratulations and praise. "These eight middle school singers were nominated by their teacher Sarah Gleason and had to meet some very strict requirements in order to participate. They had to be strong music readers and ensemble singers, devote rehearsal time at home and at school to learn four challenging pieces of music and they had to rehearse much of the day of their performance. Prior to the performance day they had not practiced with the other ninety-two members of the choir. And to make this an even more incredible experience, our students were given the opportunity to sing to the composers who had actually written the music they were singing!"

10/25/13 > First Selectman Visits South First Graders

Thank you South School first grade teacher Joanna Lacomis for submitting the following news story and photos.


This past Monday, first graders at South School had an assembly with a very special guest speaker ... New Canaan's very own First Selectman, Rob Mallozzi. Mr. Mallozzi has come to visit South School's first graders for several years now. Each year he happily agrees to come speak to the students about his roles and responsibilities in town. His visit ties in nicely with the first grader's study of our town, members of the community and how they contribute.

After sharing information about his roles and responsibilities, representatives from each class asked questions that allowed students to learn more about Mr. Mallozzi and how he helps lead the town of New Canaan. The assembly ended with Mr. Mallozzi asking questions to see what the first graders liked about living in town. Needless to say, they loved everything about New Canaan!  What a great way to start the school week. Thank you, Mr. Mallozzi!

10/22/13 > NCHS Fall Musical Tom Sawyer This Weekend


Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, Huck Finn and a colorful cast of Mark Twain's characters will be singing and dancing across the NCHS auditorium stage this weekend when the New Canaan High School Theatre presents their fall musical production Tom Sawyer. Based upon the beloved American classic, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, this production features music written by brothers Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman and promises to be entertaining for all ages.

The fun begins Friday night, October 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the NCHS auditorium. There will be an afternoon matinee on Saturday, October 26, at 2:00 p.m., followed by an evening performance at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are available online at TomSawyerTickets or may be purchased Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the NCHS lobby. Tickets will be also sold in the NCHS lobby one hour prior to show times.

Tom & Becky's Bayou BBQ: NCHS Theatre will be hosting this special event for a limited number of guests prior to the Saturday matinee. Find out more at T&BBBBQ.

Many thanks to Mary Bar for her photos.

10/18/13 > NCHS Band Students Perform with NSO


New Canaan High School Band Director Scott Cranston is proud to announce ten of his students will participate in a very unique performance given by the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, October 19. According to Mr. Cranston, "Ten members of the NCHS Band will perform in this concert centered on the epic 'Mahler's 1st Symphony, the Titan.'  NCHS Band members will be part of a cast of choristers and musicians from the Fairfield County Chorale, Staples High School Choir, and the Norwalk Community College Choir." 


NCPS Visual & Performing Arts Director Alan Sneath offered congratulations to Mr. Cranston and his students. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to perform alongside professional musicians and experience how music can create a sense of community."


The concert will take place Saturday, October 19, 8:00 p.m., at Norwalk Concert Hall, 125 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT. Additional information may be found at


10/15/13 > South School Walk to School Day

We would like to thank South School Principal Joanne Rocco who was very happy to share the following story and  Joanna Marsh  for her wonderful photos.

South School Walk
to School Day

The threat of rain couldn't dampen the spirits of South School families and staff on Walk to School Day. 87% of South School families chose to come to school by foot, bike, scooter, or skateboard on October 10.

Participants were greeted by staff members who were stationed around the neighborhood to cheer on the families. Once the walkers made it to school, they were greeted by the staff musicians who entertained them with music.  It was a lively and spirited start to the school day!

Special thanks to Tiger Mann and all of the town volunteers who helped everyone to cross the streets safely.   

10/01/13 > NMSC Names 15 as Commended Students

New Canaan High School Principal Dr. Bryan Luizzi announced today that fifteen NCHS seniors have been named Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit® Scholarship Program.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, "About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2014 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2014 competition by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®)." 

NCHS seniors named as Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program:

Gita Abhiraman

Samantha Ashley

Courtney Blaylock

Jeffrey Chen

Theodore Christian

Nathalie Deney

Virginia Farley

Alexandra Klapper

Isabel Lawrence

Olivia Oehmler

Caroline Owen

Kenneth Pascal

Elizabeth Perry

Harriet Prior

Alejandra Zamora

Each student will receive a Letter of Commendation presented by New Canaan High School and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in recognition of their outstanding achievement and demonstrated potential for future academic success.

8/21/13 > Dr. Kolek Welcome to Parents and Students
Mary Monroe Kolek, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools

August 2013

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to the 2013-14 school year. While summer is a time to savor moments with family and friends, to pursue new adventures, and even occasionally sneak in some quiet time, we know that, come late August, you are ready for a new school year and the possibilities and endless opportunities it offers. Many in our organization have been preparing all summer in anticipation of our students’ arrival on August 26. The Board of Education and all staff welcome families new to our district and along with them I invite you to be an active member of our school community.

We are proud of the comprehensive and robust program we have designed to engage all learners academically, emotionally and socially while challenging them to develop the skills to think critically and creatively. Students in all grades apply inquiry and learn to use information-communication technologies safely and effectively. To prepare our students to be confident, capable and contributing members of a global society, we purposefully integrate effective communication skills, responsible citizenship and collaboration into and across learning experiences. From the earliest grades, students are encouraged to contribute to their school community and beyond as positive and ethical citizens and leaders.

As a district, New Canaan’s standing in academics, arts and athletics continues to be among the strongest in the state and often nationally. Evidence of student achievement in both traditional testing and through an array of performances reflects our commitment to rigorous and relevant student learning, placing us in a very strong position as the state and nation transition to updated learning standards and expectations. We are responding to these revisions in a customized and thoughtful way, having already expanded and deepened our curriculum to meet student needs and family and community aspirations.

Administrators, curriculum leaders and teachers have devoted much of the summer to analyzing student work and performance data, updating curricula and preparing Professional Learning for teachers in support of coherent, consistent, responsive and effective instruction. Schools will continue to nurture a positive school climate; to this end we will engage the community in partnership as students benefit when teachers, parents and the community work in concert. The district’s Positive School Climate Committee will be leading this work – look for the updated link on our website in the next few weeks or follow updates in school newsletters.

As educators, we deeply appreciate that the New Canaan community views its children and youth as its most prized asset. Our commitment is to honor your investment in education by achieving our motto: “Continuously Working to Develop Learners and Citizens who have the Competence, Character and Courage to Change the World.”

I extend my best wishes for a positive, productive and rewarding school year,

Mary Monroe Kolek, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
8/07/13 > Aug 8 Drill at Saxe MS

TEL: (203) 594-4101

August 7, 2013

Good Evening,

The Town of New Canaan will be conducting a training exercise, tomorrow, August 8, 2013 at Saxe Middle School. The exercise will take place between the hours of 7am and 2pm, during which, the Saxe campus will be closed. This drill has been organized as part of an ongoing effort to train our public safety agencies and our public and private school administrators. This simulated emergency will assist school personnel, as well as public safety personnel, in implementing and enhancing the policies and procedures designed to keep our schools and town safe. During the hours of the exercise, you will see numerous emergency vehicles, as well as public safety personnel within the perimeter of the Saxe Middle School property. In addition, we will be simulating gunfire, but I assure you that no live ammunition is being fired and that the safety of our personnel is our top priority. On behalf of your elected officials, public and private school staff, Police, Fire, EMS, CERT, the YMCA, members of the clergy and the Office of Emergency Management, I thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact me at (203) 594-4101.


Michael Handler
7/10/13 > South Student's Recipe Wins at White House

The following news was submitted by South Elementary School Principal Joanne Rocco.

South School student, John Breitfelder, created a recipe for the White House Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. John's recipe was selected as the state winner from Connecticut and he was invited to attend a Kids' State Dinner at the White House, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. John had the opportunity to meet President Obama and the First Lady, and was also given a tour of the White House kitchen vegetable garden and Julia Child's kitchen exhibit at the Smithsonian (where some of the winning dishes will be displayed with the exhibit in the fall). Congratulations, John!!!

Click on recipe challenge to  view the announcement about the winners of this challenge.

6/26/13 > August 5, 2013 BOE Meeting Cancelled


The Board of Education, at its June 24th meeting, cancelled the  August 5, 2013  meeting. The next regular scheduled summer 2013 Board of Education meetings are: July 8 July 22 and August 19 .

6/20/13 > Year End Update: School Safety and Security


As we approach the final days of the 2012-2013 school year, students, parents, teachers, administrators, staff and members of our community may feel compelled to end the year with a sigh of relief. This school year has been particularly trying on many levels. As a community we were thrown off course by naturally occurring weather events and human inflicted tragedies. Our daily routines and yearly schedule were disrupted. Our collective sense of safety and security was shaken.

Despite it all, New Canaan Public Schools continues to stay the course, maintaining its long established dedication to providing a sensibly balanced learning environment appropriate to growing children. The district plans for school safety and preparedness continue to evolve as necessary to provide a safe, secure and protective infrastructure enabling each student to flourish intellectually and emotionally. 

The origin of our district's school safety and preparedness plan began in 1999, shortly after the Columbine High School incident. [Then] NCPS educators Colleen Girard and Mary Coakley began to explore "responses to crisis preparedness in our schools" as the topic for their administrative certification projects. Together they compiled information related to safety and crisis scenarios into a "notebook" which evolved into the New Canaan Public Schools Crisis Preparedness Manual. Their efforts provided the foundation for our present day Crisis Advisory Board (CAB) and individual school-based crisis teams.

The district has taken a proactive rather than reactive approach to school safety and preparedness for the unexpected. As part of our ongoing initiative, existing policies and procedures are assessed regularly and new initiatives are implemented as needed. Some of these updated procedures are obvious. For example, visitors must now buzz-in, sign-in, and present identification to the campus monitor stationed at the main lobby entrance, now the sole entry point for visitors, of each school.  Other visible initiatives include more grade-level safety assemblies and the array of emergency drills practiced by students at each school. We believe age appropriate information and more and varied practice drilling enables our students to build confidence in their ability to respond to any type of emergency circumstance. We maintain solid relationships with both the New Canaan Police and Fire Departments and are very appreciative of their continuing support. For many years the NCPD has assigned a School Resource Officer (SRO) to New Canaan High School. More recently, weekly school walk-throughs by police officers have helped familiarize the NCPD with our school buildings while also helping to build relationships with staff and students. Visiting police officers have become a reassuring presence to our students and staff who perceive their visits as an ordinary occurrence. In regard to the district's relationship with the New Canaan Police and Fire Departments, NCPS Superintendent Mary Kolek stated, "I am proud of and grateful for the collaboration that continues to be the hallmark of our efforts around safety."

Not all initiatives and training are as visible. When speaking with Crisis Advisory Board Co-Chairs Joanne Rocco and Veronica LeDuc, and Director of the New Canaan Office of Emergency Management Michael E. Handler, the consensus seems to be that one of the most positive outcomes of recent events is the level of co-operation and sharing of crisis preparedness information between town, state and federal agencies. The adoption of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) is considered one of the most productive crisis preparedness initiatives in New Canaan. According to the FEMA website, "The National Incident Management System (NIMS) identifies concepts and principles that answer how to manage emergencies from preparedness to recovery regardless of their cause, size, location or complexity." By implementing NIMS, communication between personnel from all town agencies and schools (public, private and pre-schools) is more efficient and effective because they have received the same training, they are speaking the same language.

To further prepare and protect our community, emergency responders from all New Canaan town agencies will participate in live emergency exercises on August 8th. As we complete our summer safety drills and town-wide practice we will apply new learning to the upcoming year, continuing to keep safety, security and positive climate central to our mission.




6/19/13 > Seniors Succeed in Internship Program

The following news story was written by NCHS senior intern Abbie Stone. Photos provided by Jane Beiles and Abbie Stone.

For thirty-nine New Canaan High School seniors, May 18th was their last day of classes. Unlike the rest of their peers who finished out high school in classrooms, they spent the next four weeks leading up to graduation in internships. The Senior Internship Program (SIP), only three years old, has given high school seniors an opportunity to explore and learn about future careers by experiencing the "World of Work" first hand. "Kids are not only provided with the opportunity to find out what they want to do, but it's also helpful for them to learn about what they don't want to do, which is very important as well," says Tucker Murphy, a former Board of Ed. member, and Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. "A lot of what comes of the program is basic job skills: showing up on time, dressing appropriately, cell phone use, deadlines, and in general, learning about being responsible."

The program also provides businesses with motivated and eager workers as well as a potential pool of future employees. "Companies find that we are adding value to their companies, while the interns get so much out of their experience. It's a win win for everybody!" Mrs. Murphy says. Oomph, a local luxury furnishing company had an intern this year, and was more than pleased. "As one of the newer businesses in New Canaan, the Intern Program was a great way for Oomph, to involve the business in the community, and mentor the next generation of design aficionados.  For two years now, we have been hugely impressed with the exceptional work ethic and great character our interns possess," says Whitney Childs, head of PR at Oomph. Students interested in the program apply in the winter, and soon after, they find out where their worksite will be for their last four weeks of high school until they graduate with the rest of their peers. To the extent possible, students are matched to an internship that matches their skills and interests, ranging from working at the elementary schools, to local banks, to testing water quality in rivers for Earthplace.

"I never imagined I would be doing this type of work for my last four weeks of high school. At first, I wasn't sure if I should apply for the program, but now I'm so glad I did, especially after looking back at all that I've learned about the workplace," says Emilie Kushner, an intern working in the buying office at Darien Sport Shop. "It's very fun and exciting because I'm actually working towards something. It's super rewarding to know that what I have been spending my time on is going to be used and looked at by other designers and possible clients!" says Jaclyn McCurdy, a senior working at the local Oomph Furniture office in town.

Students are exposed to a new way of learning and working through their unpaid internships. "The experiences and learning I've done at Earthplace is hands-on and experiential. Rather than passively reading about a waste water treatment plant, I toured one and ran similar tests for bacteria as they do. I've had the opportunity to do real science that affects and has an impact on the local communities," says Molly James, an intern at Earthplace, a nature discovery center in Westport. "Each day, I collect and test water samples from local rivers or go out on a boat to estimate the populations of benthic fish in Norwalk Harbor."  

Interns work on site 20-30 hours a week, roughly the same amount of time that would be spent in school, and have reflective journaling assignments to complete each week. They are all assigned a faculty mentor from the high school who meets with the work site supervisor, and communicates on a regular basis with the intern. "My fondest hope is that the interns learned how important it is to love your job and look forward to Mondays! The lessons that the interns have learned will mean that they have an advantage over their college classmates. They know how to interview for a real job, dress wisely, and interact with older and more experienced co-workers," says Jane Mitchell, an NCHS guidance counselor and mentor of three years in the internship program.

It is not very often that high schoolers are provided with the opportunity to intern at real, running businesses like the ones that are involved in the program. The NCHS College and Career center works hard to place students in real, valuable internships through which they learn about the many different aspects of businesses. "It's very important that we maintain the integrity of the program and for it to remain worthwhile. We're not just looking for 'time-fillers' for the kids, and we don't just want it to be a numbers game of how many kids participate. The overall goal is to have quality situations for both worksites and interns," says Mrs. Murphy.

At first glance, the SIP might seem like an easy way out of taking finals and finishing classes early, but the interns agree that the work is not for those students looking for an easy way out. "The work is sometimes difficult, but it is much different than solving trig problems in math or staring at the stars in the planetarium. I have gotten a better understanding of marketing skills and how to attract customers. I have also developed better communication skills in the workplace through making phone calls and talking with other designers," Jaclyn McCurdy says. Molly James notes, "Initially the work was hard, but after the first week I developed a routine in the lab and remembered the procedures of the equipment. There are also seven other interns from other high schools so the work is fun and done in groups."

Sue Carroll, head of the College and Career Center at NCHS as well as the SIP, hopes that "students who participate do it for positive reasons and not just to get out of exams. It is such an opportunity to learn about themselves and the world around them. But that takes an open heart, and an open mind and some energetic motivation!"

Though only just having finished its third year, the program is on an upward trajectory, and more and more students are expressing interest each year. Sue Carroll says, "In its growth, I hope that we can always provide training workshops to make sure we send out to the world the most prepared interns who represent themselves, their schools and their town with intelligence and poise."

6/14/13 > NCHS Athletics Wins 2012-2013 F.C.I.A.C. Cup

NCHS Director of Athletics Jay Egan is very proud to announce New Canaan High School has been awarded the 2012-2013 F.C.I.A.C. Cup. This prestigious award presented by the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference recognizes the most outstanding high school athletic program in Fairfield County.

According to Mr. Egan, judging is based upon academic performance, athletic accomplishment, service to the F.C.I.A.C. and percentage of student body participating in athletics. NCHS has won the F.C.I.A.C. Cup three out of the past four years. Jay stated, "This is great recognition for our dedicated coaching staff."

NCPS Superintendent Mary Kolek offered her congratulations to Jay, all the coaches, athletes and steadfast fans and added, " Our community will be so proud."

6/12/13 > NCHS Theatre Students Dominate Halo Awards

Thank you to NCHS Theatre parent and Halo Awards attendee Patricia Oxman for her reporting on the evening's events and Mary Bar for her photo.


On May 28, New Canaan High School Theatre students attended the Halo Awards at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury, Connecticut. NCHS Theatre received twenty-five nominations in numerous categories for its two entries - the musical "Beauty and the Beast"' and the play "All in the Timing". Ultimately NCHS Theatre received more awards than any other high school entered in the night's competition.


Students, family and friends of the NCHS Theatre program were joined at the black tie awards evening by NCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Kolek and NCPS Visual and Performing Arts Director Alan Sneath. 


New Canaan High School students won awards in the following categories:


Outstanding Leading Actress in a Musical:

Christy Coco (as Belle, Beauty and the Beast)


Best Supporting Actor in a Musical:

Daniel Klingenstein (as Gaston, Beauty and the Beast)


Best Featured Actress in a Play:

Isabelle Lawrence (All in the Timing)


Best Dancing:

for Beauty and the Beast


Best Lighting Design:

Thomas Evans (Beauty and the Beast and All in the Timing)


Best Properties:

Bridget Dougherty and Lauren Peet (Beauty and the Beast)

6/11/13 > NCHS Students Introduce Chinese to 3rd Grade

On May 24, New Canaan High School World Language teacher Linda Rosenthal accompanied her Chinese language students on an in-district community service field trip. The high school students visited East, South and West Schools to introduce NCPS third grade students to the Chinese language. In addition to teaching basic Chinese characters, the high school students presented lessons they had prepared that included pictures, songs and activities relating to the Chinese culture.

photos: Chris Russo

6/10/13 > Telephone and Network Outages
NCPS is currently experiencing sporadic telephone and network issues. You may experience difficulty calling or connecting to the schools. The town is working to resolve this technical issue.
6/06/13 > New Canaan Town Green Survey

The New Canaan Conservation Commission is conducting an environmental survey. Following is an informational flyer submitted by NCHS Science teacher Christian Dockum.

6/04/13 > Oliver! the NCHS Musical Opens Thursday

The award-winning New Canaan High School Theatre program will present "Oliver!" as this year's spring musical. Based upon the Charles Dickens classic novel Oliver Twist, the musical version features a cast of classic Dickens characters, including the Artful Dodger, Fagin, Nancy and Mr. Bumble. 

Opening Thursday, June 6, there will be two additional shows on Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8. All three performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in the NCHS auditorium.

Tickets are available for purchase online at Oliver!tickets  or in-person this week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the NCHS lobby. Tickets will also be on sale at the NCHS lobby box office one hour prior to each performance.

Photos: Kathy Klingenstein

5/23/13 > A Field Trip to Explore the Construction Field

On May 16, NCHS teacher Ashley Maltagliati of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department accompanied her Engineering and Woodworking students to the Construction Pro Rodeo held at the Durham (CT) Fairgrounds. According to Ms. Maltagliati, "The "Construction Pro Rodeo is a two-day expo that features a hands-on career day for high school students and impressive skills competitions for pros and amateurs. The event started last year to promote the different fields in commercial and residential construction within New England. It is run by Associated Builders and Contractors of CT, the Construction Education Center and the Utility Contractors Association of CT." This year she also invited students in related Math classes and students with vocational interests in this area to join her group.

Ms. Maltagliati added, "Each year the Rodeo gets larger and larger with more construction companies and technical schools promoting all fields within commercial and residential construction. Students have the ability to enjoy all different types of fields by using the equipment both large and small as well as using simulators to experience the different skills needed in these fields."


5/21/13 > NCHS Senior Art Exhibit Opens May 23

The following was submitted by NCHS Art teacher Jeanne McDonagh.

ART Attack: New Canaan High School's 26th
Annual Senior Art Exhibition

Thursday, May 23 to June 13, 2013
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 23, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The night of May 23rd marks a very special moment for a group of New Canaan High School seniors: "ART Attack" the 26th Annual Senior Art Exhibition. The New Canaan High School gallery will exhibit senior work and feature nineteen one-person retrospectives, in a variety of media including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, graphics, and video. The Opening Party will include live music and complimentary refreshments. ART Attack will open at 6:00 p.m.

The Senior Art Show allows students to generate a one-person exhibit that is entirely their own creation. NCHS's senior show is unique in that it challenges any senior to present his or her work inside their own space as a one-person "retrospective" of art that can be drawn from anything the student has created throughout their high school years. The organization of this exhibit is meant to draw attention to each student's individual portfolio and distinctive artistic style -their personal "voice".  The challenge of evaluating and displaying one's own work is exciting and demanding to the artistically talented students. Many of these students will be attending art school in the Fall.

The students are responsible of planning and organizing the event with the advice given from their art teachers, Jeanne McDonagh and Lisa Floryshak-Windman. The student responsibilities include creating the exhibit's logo and title to the general publicity of the show. The senior exhibit will also give three seniors an opportunity to have their work selected and purchased for the NCHS Fritz Eager Art Collection.  These works of art will then be on permanent display throughout the high school and the NCPS district offices.  This art collection began in 1969 in the memory of New Canaan High School art student Fritz (Frederick) Eager.  The selection committee is comprised of members of the high school staff and a committee of professional artists.

The following students will be presented in One Person Exhibits in New Canaan High School's 26th Annual Senior Art Show: Jack Barfuss, Alex Brannan, Olivia Donner, Erin Dunstan, Elizabeth Emond, Anne Fox, Kristi Gallup, Birna Gustafsson, Louis Hagopian, George Harvey, Meredith Jonker, Evelyn Luchs, Grady Lynch, Kalan Lysenko, Katie Melland, Anna Nguyen, Tucker Radecki, Isabelle Schipper, Sophie Zannini

ART Attack will be on display in the NCHS Lobby Gallery through June 13  and is open to the public during school hours 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

5/20/13 > What Do You Stand For?

There's a revolution taking hold at New Canaan High School. As with generations before them, a group of NCHS students are challenging the status quo. Known as the NCHS Ram Council, this student-run organization was organized at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. Active membership includes more than forty like-minded students in grades 9 through 12 on a mission to promote independent thinking and change attitudes towards underage drinking and substance abuse. According to NCHS parent and Ram Council co-advisor Matthew Maddox, although the group is like-minded in their attitude towards independent thinking and substance abuse, the Ram Council consists of a fascinating cross section of students with diverse interests and involvements in a variety of cocurricular activities.

Since September, Ram Council members have been meeting one evening a month under the guidance of advisors Matthew Maddox and Joyce Sixsmith. While enjoying a parent-provided dinner, Council members discuss topics related to alcohol and drug avoidance, independent thinking, how to conduct yourself - within the context of their guiding question "What Do You Stand For."

In March, Council members presented a program to their own parents, but on Wednesday, May 29 the NCHS Ram Council is presenting their most ambitious initiative to date. Safe Summer Rollout is a NCHS Ram Council organized event for both students and their parents. Challenging the long accepted myth that drinking and substance abuse are "a rite of passage" Council members have organized a panel of well respected guest speakers from the community who will join the students in promoting the revolutionary concept that teens do not have to drink to have fun! According to Ms. Sixsmith, the students are very motivated to make their voices heard.

Safe Summer Rollout is an opportunity for parents and students to learn from the younger generation. Council members and guest speakers will provide parents and students with a toolbox of ideas and information to help empower and support everyone to make their own healthy decisions. 

Safe Summer Rollout
Wednesday, May 29 @ 7:30 pm in the NCHS Auditorium

Because the NCHS Ram Council is a student run and self-funded organization, there is a $5.00 suggested donation for individual adults; $10.00 suggested donation for families. Everyone who donates will receive a Ram Council "What Do You Stand For" bracelet. 

For more information please email Matthew Maddox:  

5/18/13 > May 31: Aerodrome Day at Saxe


Don't be surprised if you drive past Saxe Middle School on Friday, May 31 and see a World War I aircraft on the lawn - it's just Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Day at Saxe. The visiting vintage flying machine will be one part of a very unique day for Saxe students brought to them by Vivian Birdsall and the Saxe Tech Team. Throughout the day students will be given the opportunity to meet and speak with the President of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and pilots who actually fly antique aircraft from the early days of flight.

In the evening, the entire community is invited to attend Saxe Family Night, a special Saxe Tech Team fundraising event featuring dinner and a movie. Tickets are priced at $25 per person and proceeds from the evening event will benefit the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, a museum featuring WWI and Golden Age aircraft located in Red Hook, NY.

According to Lisa Jarosik, "The Saxe Tech Team is partnering with the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and will become young 'Docents' and help out with aircraft care and maintenance this season.  The Team has some surprises to show at this year's fundraiser."

Click for more details about this very exciting Saxe Family Night on May 31 and also to learn how you can help donate to the Saxe Tech Team Aerodrome Fundraiser.

5/17/13 > NCHS Choral Concert on Wednesday, May 22

New Canaan High School Choir Director David Gomez invites all members of the New Canaan community to come and enjoy the annual NCHS Spring Choral Concert on Wednesday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. The  performance will take place  at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 111 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan.

5/10/13 > Read-A-Thon Results from East School

The following news comes from Jennifer Valiante and the East Reading Team.

From East to East Rockaway!

We are thrilled to report that once again, East School has done an outstanding job in helping their neighbors!  East Read-Away for East Rockaway was a Read-A-Thon to raise money for Rhame Avenue Elementary School in East Rockaway, NY.  Rhame Avenue Elementary was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy and many classrooms lost their libraries.

Our students read as much as they could for four weeks and were pledged by their families for each minute read. During each week of the Read-A-Thon, East had a goal for the number of minutes to be read.  Many individual classrooms set their own goals and competed with other classrooms for most minutes read. A few classrooms even had 100% participation!  Many parents shared stories of how their children were suddenly reading before school, in the car, at restaurants and with flashlights under the covers!

Along with the at-home reading and pledges, we also collected gently used books to go directly to Rhame Avenue Elementary classrooms. We collected more than 22 heavy boxes of books for their various classrooms and they were hand delivered by our reading and writing team. The Read-A-Thon concluded with more than 340,000 minutes read by our students and staff and over $7,300 collected, going towards new books for Rhame Avenue Elementary. That amount far exceeded our goal and the teachers in East Rockaway are thrilled with the generosity and passion of our readers and their families.

5/07/13 > West Students Prepare for Art Show May 8

Students of West Elementary Art teacher Elizabeth Zeiss have been preparing for the annual West School Art Show, which takes place on May 8 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. One piece of art from each student will be displayed on bulletin boards throughout the gym.

Ms. Zeiss commented, "It's exciting for me to see all the art together collectively and observe the progression of knowledge and development from one grade to the next." Liz has shared the following images of recent art from K through 4th grade students and also photographs of first grade students as they draw the tricycle set up in the center of the room.

5/05/13 > South Walk to School Day a Sunny Success


The following news article was submitted by South School Principal Joanne Rocco.
Photos were taken by South School Physical Education teacher Josh MacDonald.

The beautiful weather resulted in the largest turnout ever for a Walk to School Day at South School. 86% of the families walked to school and enjoyed the great weather, morning exercise, and school spirit. The streets surrounding South School were filled with families who enjoyed a great start to the day. The South PTC sponsored a "Coffee and . . . " for parents who stayed and socialized while students had fun with line dancing on the playgrounds. Special thanks to the town's Senior Engineer, Tiger Mann, and all of the town employees and volunteers who helped everyone to cross safely at all street corners and intersections.

5/03/13 > Bonarrigo Receives Susan Goldberg Award

Congratulations to NCHS teacher Christine Bonarrigo who is the 2013 recipient of the Susan Goldberg Memorial Teacher Award. The award was bestowed on Ms. Bonarrigo by the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center in New York at a reception held at Iona College.

According to Christine, "Susan Goldberg was a middle school English teacher from NY who devoted her career to teaching others about social injustices, past and present. Each year a teacher is selected who exemplifies the goals and aspirations of this award. My name was submitted to this organization by the Jewish Historical Society of Stamford who knew of my Literature of the Holocaust class, a senior elective. They felt my goals within this class matched Susan's and so paperwork was submitted in January to HHREC along with a box-load of student work. Notification arrived in late March that I would be the 2013 recipient of this award! The event occurred [...] Thursday, April 18."

5/01/13 > 24th NCHS Drama Fest: Harry Potter Theme

On Thursday, May 2, the curtain will rise at 7:00 p.m. for the 24th NCHS Drama Festival featuring "The Unofficial, Unauthorized and Unabridged Versions of Harry Potter". An annual spring tradition at New Canaan High School, Drama Fest offers all NCHS students the opportunity to participate in this student managed production of one-act plays performed for three evenings on stage in the NCHS auditorium.

Each year the festival begins as a competition sponsored by the Theatre department, but open to all. NCHS students are invited to write and submit a one-act play based upon the festival's theme. This year's theme is "Harry Potter". A judging committee selects the winning entries which are then directed, produced, cast, costumed and teched by NCHS students who also perform as the actors.

The 24th NCHS Drama Festival winners are:

1st Place:  Lizzy Emond presents "15 Minutes"

2nd Place: Charlotte & Lillian Engel present "Don't Mix Muggles with Magic"

3rd Place: Rachel Guth & Nancy Leville present "Platforms"

4th Place: Molly Festo presents "A Day with Ron"

Honorable Mention: Arianna Ross presents "Harry's Ego"


Performances take place on May 2, 3 and 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the NCHS auditorium.

Tickets are available for purchase in the NCHS lobby this week from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm or one hour prior to show time. New this year, tickets may be purchased online by clicking Drama Fest Tickets.

4/29/13 > NCHS Students Selected for Music Festivals

The following news comes from New Canaan High School Music teacher Scott Cranston.

Kneeling left to right:  Ryan Callahan, Julian Hough, Harrison Besser
Standing left to right:  Chazz Lucenti, Rebecca Trinklein, Alexis Collins, Alexandra Kudrzycki, Emily Azzarito

The New Canaan High School Music Department is proud to announce that Harrison Besser, principal oboe and Julian Hough, principal clarinet were accepted to the 2013 National Association for Music Education Association's All-Eastern States Orchestra. They rehearsed for three days in Hartford and performed at the Bushnell Auditorium in Hartford, Connecticut on April 7.

Emily Azzarito, principal cello/orchestra, Alexandra Kudrzycki, viola/orchestra, Chazz Lucenti, bass trombone/orchestra, Rebecca Trinklein, flute/band, Alexis Collins, flute/band, and Ryan Callahan euphonium/band, were accepted into the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) All-State Music Festival.  The students spent two full days in rehearsals in Cromwell, Connecticut before concluding with a concert featuring all ensembles held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, on April 4.

4/24/13 > Director of Finance Announcement of Vacancy



Announcement of Vacancy | April 24, 2013

The New Canaan Public Schools seeks a successful and experienced school business leader for our high performing school system. It is an opportunity to further enhance and manage the already well run support functions that enable our teachers and students to concentrate on academic achievement, creative expression, athletic accomplishment and social emotional learning important to their development.

Desired Qualifications
The New Canaan Public Schools seeks a Director of Finance and Operations with unquestioned integrity, financial and budget skills, management savvy, understanding of business operations, ability to communicate effectively with a variety of constituencies, and a commitment to the education of all our students that will enable the successful candidate to assist this leading school system in utilizing its resources efficiently and effectively on behalf of our children and the community as a whole. The next Director of Finance and Operations should be collaborative, able to foster positive relations with the community and various employee groups, and have a proven track record of leading by example using standards of best practice in school performance and operations.

About the New Canaan Community
New Canaan is a suburban, lower Fairfield County community of 20,000 located 40 miles northeast of NYC. It serves 4000+ students in a five school district. It is widely recognized as one of the leading school districts in the tri-state area. The Director of Finance and Operations efforts are supported by an exceptional management team, a Board of Education focused on advancing the quality of our school system, a town government and a community that values its schools.

This position commands a competitive salary and benefits package for 2013-14.  The start date is expected to be no later than July 1, 2013. To apply, complete the on-line application on our district website, HR Dept > Employment Opportunities , and upload a letter of interest, a current resume, three letters of recommendation, and a copy of Connecticut certification or eligibility for certification, transcripts, and other supporting materials.

New Canaan Public Schools is an Equal Opportunity Employer


39 Locust Avenue • New Canaan, Connecticut 06840
(203) 594-4000 • Fax: (203) 594-4035 

4/16/13 > Mr. Joseph X. Meehan to Retire



Mr. Joseph X. Meehan, Director of Finance and Operations, Retires

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Monroe Kolek announced today that Mr. Joseph Meehan, Director of Finance and Operations, after sixteen years of dedicated service will be retiring from New Canaan Public Schools effective June 30, 2013. Noting that Mr. Meehan has served the district in numerous capacities since 1997, Dr. Kolek added that, "Mr. Meehan's dedication to the New Canaan Public Schools and his work ethic set a standard for all to admire and emulate. He has been tireless in his service to the schools and community and has contributed significantly to the success of the district. Although his title as Director of Finance and Operations emphasizes the business nature of his broad responsibilities, what sets Mr. Meehan apart and makes him a true asset to the community is that he never fails to put students at the center of all of his decisions."

Previous to serving in New Canaan, Mr. Meehan enjoyed a career in finance and management in the private sector. In 1997 he brought his extensive corporate experience to New Canaan when he was hired as Financial Services Coordinator. In 2005, he was named as Budget Director and in 2011 Mr. Meehan was again promoted, assuming the role of Director of Finance and Operations. In this capacity he has overseen a broad array of domains including food services, transportation, finance, school nurses and facilities.

In his letter of retirement Mr. Meehan stated, "I am truly thankful for the opportunity given to me to play such a significant role on behalf of students, staff and the people of the New Canaan Public Schools and Town for over 16 years. The Board and Town have provided tremendous resources and together we have used them to the best of our abilities. It has been both challenging and fun; the years have certainly flown by quickly. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, they were very good years!"

Dr. Kolek added she is certain members of the school system and greater community share a deep appreciation for Mr. Meehan's service and wish him well as he looks forward to spending time traveling and enjoying life with his family. She also noted the district is grateful for Mr. Meehan's willingness to assist in any transition period as a new Director is hired.



4/04/13 > CHARGED Art Gallery Exhibit Now at NCHS

CHARGED, a New Canaan High School Art exhibit opened in the NCHS Lobby Gallery Wednesday evening. According to the press release,  "... the show features artwork that communicates the concept of energy in art. Student artists have interpreted the concept of energy in a variety of ways in an all media exhibition. Their personal voice can be seen in space, line, color, texture, light, sport, the environment and all things that inspire action an motion."

CHARGED is one of five art exhibits during the school year presented by a Gallery Committee. A different Gallery Committee is chosen for each show. One of three NCHS Art teachers acts as faculty advisor. The committee collaborates on selecting a theme, creating a logo, curating show entries, hanging the show, publicizing the event, and organizing the opening reception.

The purpose of these exhibits is to promote student art. Call for entries are open to all NCHS students in grades 9-12. Students do not have to be enrolled in NCHS Art classes, although whenever possible the Art teachers offer support to their students by assigning class projects related to the exhibit theme, if it aligns with the established Art curriculum.

Wednesday evening's gallery opening featured music performed by Gabby Balzano and Dan Getz. The exhibit is on display in the NCHS Lobby Gallery until May 15, 2013.

4/03/13 > East Students Celebrate Reading for a Cause

East Elementary School students are sharing their love of books with students impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This year, the annual East School Reading Celebration is a four-week Readathon. Since March 14, East students have been tracking the minutes they read each week. East has set a school-wide goal of 300,000 reading minutes (75,000 minutes per week). The Readathon will end on April 11. 

The East Readathon will raise funds to purchase new books for classrooms at Rhame Avenue Elementary School in East Rockaway, New York. Rhame suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy and many classroom books were lost. East students are also collecting "gently-used" books to donate to Rhame's K-2 classroom libraries. 

Pictured above: East School 3rd grade students Carolina Dawson, Claire Mahoney and Keira Cooney pack donated books for Rhame Avenue Elementary School in East Rockaway. Brenda Mahoney photo.

4/02/13 > Special Ed Roundtable for Parents April 25

Please join us in April...

The NCPS Special Education Department invites all parents of

Special Education Students pre-K through grade 12
to attend a Special Education Roundtable.


Two groups led by New Canaan Public Schools' Clinical Team staff
will discuss Executive Function/Working Memory and
Development of Social/Independence Skills.


April 25, 2013
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
 New Canaan High School, Wagner Room

3/28/13 > Once Upon a Mattress Coming to Saxe


The Saxe grade 7 and 8 cast, crew, and orchestra are in rehearsal for their upcoming musical production of "Once Upon a Mattress." A humorous spin on the classic fairy tale The Princess and the Pea, "Once Upon a Mattress" is a laugh-out-loud show for children of all ages.


This hilarious musical comedy is scheduled for three performances in the Saxe Auditorium on Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 pm; Friday, April 5 at 7:00 pm; and Saturday matinee on April 6 at 2:00 pm.


Tickets are available for purchase online by clicking Once Upon a Mattress tickets (NCPS district website>Parents>Purchase Theatre Tickets). Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door one hour before each performance.

3/26/13 > Wednesday Evening is Career Night at NCHS

The New Canaan High School PFAand its many volunteers present Career Night on Wednesday evening, March 27, at 7:00 pm. This biennial event is open to NCHS students only and all grade 9-12 students are invited to attend. More than 65 guest speakers representing a broad spectrum of professions will share their personal career stories and insights during this interactive evening.

According to Susan Carroll, Coordinator of the College and Career Center, "Career Night first began in 2001 and is held every two years so that NCHS students have two opportunities to experience it during their time here. It is organized through the NCHS PFA.

"We are blessed to have the treasure of talent of alums as well as NCHS parents who are willing to share their careers with high school students. By attending Career Night, students will have a glimpse of what is possible for their own futures as well as glean information on what an industry or particular career might look like by the time they graduate college."  

Click on NCHS Career Night 2013 for a list of guest speakers and the careers they represent.

3/25/13 > A Saxe Virtual Art Show is Now Online

The Saxe Art Department has expanded its technological reach by posting a "Virtual Art Show." With the help of Saxe Secretary Lisa Jarosik, a sampling of 70 pieces of student artwork from grades 5 - 8 now appears online.

All five Saxe Art teachers have contributed to the collection of more than 300 pieces of artwork that illustrate the diversity of their teaching. According to Art teacher Deb Bennett, "Having this posted online is our attempt to reach a broader audience with what we do. We rotate our art shows at least every 10 weeks to inspire our students, generate community interest and showcase the depth of our program."

To view, click Saxe Virtual Art Show, which is visible after scrolling down the Art page of the Visual and Performing Arts Department section on the district website.

The Saxe Art teachers have also created a blog which is located at .

3/20/13 > NCHS Beauty and the Beast Opens Thursday


Thursday evening at 7:00 pm, the talented Theatre students of New Canaan High School will open their three-day run of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast". Evening performances will take place in the NCHS auditorium on Thursday, March 21, Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. A Saturday matinee will be presented in the auditorium at 2:00 pm.

Online Tickets:
Tickets may be purchased online up to two hours prior to each individual performance: 5:00 pm on Thursday for the 7:00 Thursday show; 5:00 pm on Friday for the 7:00 Friday show; 5:00 pm on Saturday for the 7:00 Saturday show; 12:00 noon on Saturday for the 2:00 Saturday matinee. Click here to buy tickets online.

Box Office Tickets:
Tickets may be purchased  one hour prior to each performance at the NCHS Theatre box office located in the NCHS lobby. Tickets are also on sale Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm in the NCHS lobby.

3/15/13 > NCPS Information Update


As we come to the end of the day, we wanted to let you know that the school day at Saxe went well. The environment was calm and positive and attendance was good.  Mr. Macedo sent a mid-day and end of week message to the Saxe parent community.  He and his team have and will continue to reach out to and speak with any parent who has a question or information to share.  The most important message we  hope parents have received during this time is that student safety is our first priority and focus. During and immediately after an event our attention must be on the needs of the students and school.  When we can provide more information or details we take that opportunity, which is the intent of this update.

 Due to the constraints of an ongoing investigation, this is an especially challenging situation regarding parent communication. We appreciate the desire for detailed information and to that end we are working hard to be as communicative as possible.  When details are not being provided it is not because we are trying to hold back information but rather it is because we need to ensure that the police can conduct an effective investigation.

At this time I can share that the events yesterday were initiated because of a document found in the school by an adult. Because it was considered to be of a potentially risky or threatening nature, the administration contacted the police .  The details of the document are not being released as they are a matter for investigation; however, what is important to emphasize is that the police examined the document and assessed that there was no current or imminent risk. They also determined, and we concurred, that for overall safety and security a check of the school and grounds was appropriate. As a result, additional NCPD and emergency responders were called to assist. As we learned, the level of their response - including their equipment and the use of dogs- is standard to any situation to which they respond. It is not a measure of the level of threat in that moment but is indicative of their role as emergency responders. We are grateful to have such resources available to us.

The teachers and staff used the district crisis plan to guide them-which in the moment helped maintain a controlled environment and allowed for supervised dismissals- a step that the police determined was both safe and important in order to be able to do a thorough check of the school. Because everyone cooperated and followed protocol, the NCPD and the special response team members concluded by early evening that the school was safe and secure. We maintained officers at the school overnight and today to provide for additional follow up and support.

 I understand and share your concern for the well- being of each and every student. Every decision we make has student safety at its core and we will continue to do all in our power to keep our schools safe, secure and caring. We continue to cooperate with the police as they investigate this situation as part of our safety measures.  Thank you for your understanding and should you have questions or concerns about your child or for the school, we invite you to call as personal connections are important to us and to school safety.

3/12/13 > Science Fair at South a Big Success!

On Thursday evening March 7th, more than 120 students presented their investigations at the South School Science Fair. According to South Science teacher Dianne Rearick, among the evening's presentations were a water clock, lava lamps, tornadoes, conditions needed to grow mold, an exploration of the question "does brushing our teeth really kill germs" and surface tension demonstrations.

"The Science Fair was really great," said South School Principal Joanne Rocco. "I enjoyed seeing the projects and hearing the kids explain how their projects work. They all had a really good understanding of the science behind their projects or experiments and all of the projects were 'kid' projects ... The participation was unbelievable and the kids were so excited to participate. So many of them were talking about the Science Fair during the week and looking forward to it ... I thoroughly enjoyed the hour of listening to great scientists explain their work!"

Ms. Rearick concurred, "A great time was had by all!" 

Many thanks to third grader Bridget Keogh for sharing her photographs from the evening. 

3/11/13 > Secure at Saxe

On Thursday, March 14th, early in the afternoon a staff member at Saxe Middle School found information inside of the school that was considered to be of a potentially threatening nature. The New Canaan Police Department was contacted and immediately responded to the school to conduct an investigation. The school was placed into a precautionary lockdown and, as the police determined there was no current or imminent threat, students were released through a controlled and supervised dismissal.  At the same time, consistent with district protocol, the other school administrators were notified and responded with precautionary procedures. New Canaan Police Officers as well as other outside police resources searched the school and campus and determined it to be secure and safe. Police officers will be on the Saxe Campus overnight to insure the school remains secure. Classes will go on as scheduled Friday, March 15th with an additional reassuring police presence on the school campuses.  We are thankful for the cooperation of the community and for the ongoing collaboration of law enforcement and the schools.

3/06/13 > Generosity Funds Scholarship Foundation

NCHS Scholarship Drive committee member Anne Trinklein contributed the following article and photos.

Frank and Mary Fetchet, Trustees of the Bradley J Fetchet Memorial Foundation, recently presented a check for $10,000 from the Bradley J Fetchet Memorial Foundation to the New Canaan High School Scholarship Foundation, chaired by NCHS Principal, Dr. Bryan Luizzi. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fetchet established the Bradley J Fetchet Memorial Foundation as a charitable scholarship fund in their son Brad's memory after his death in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  The purpose of the foundation is to make grants to enable need-based scholarships at Brad's alma maters, New Canaan High School and Bucknell University.  More information about the Bradley J Fetchet Memorial Foundation can be found on its website,

Over the last decade, the Bradley J Fetchet Memorial Foundation has donated over $100,000 to the NCHS Scholarship Foundation.  "Once again this year, the Bradley J Fetchet Memorial Foundation inspired us with their overwhelming generosity towards the NCHS community," said Dr. Luizzi.  "Through their continued support of the NCHS Scholarship Foundation, Frank and Mary Fetchet have helped countless students pursue their dreams and their futures."

Each year, the NCHS Scholarship Foundation raises about two-thirds of its scholarship funds from local businesses and organizations.  According to Dr. Luizzi, "[The Fetchet family's] gift to the NCHS Scholarship Foundation serves as a launch point for our efforts, all of which are dedicated to helping NCHS students and graduates in need.  Their gift is a model of generosity and compassion, one that we hope others will be inspired to follow." 

Mr. Fetchet is confident that the New Canaan community will rise to the challenge again this year.  "New Canaan is a special place with families eager to help families, and individuals ready to help individuals.  We all can give time, talent or treasure to any given cause.  The people of New Canaan continue to step up and we know this will continue for the NCHS Scholarship Foundation." 

Since 1967, the NCHS Scholarship Foundation has provided financial aid for NCHS graduates pursuing higher education.  Last year, the Foundation distributed over $200,000 in the form of 81 need-based scholarships.  Awards range from $500 to $10,000 based on financial need, with an average distribution last year of $2,533 per student. 

The rising numbers of grant applications each year serve as a potent reminder of the rising costs of college tuition coupled with increased financial hardship in our community.  Mary DiCosmo, NCHS Scholarship Drive Committee Co-Chair, recognizes the importance of the scholarships, and said, "there are many people in need in our town who would really benefit from a scholarship to defray tuition costs.  As parents, we know these kids have worked so hard to get into college.  To be unable to attend due to cost would be a shame."

As part of its annual fundraising effort, the NCHS Scholarship Foundation is hosting Scholarship Sunday on April 7.  On this day, NCHS students will go door to door in New Canaan to collect donations for the NCHS Scholarship Foundation.  Please give generously to the NCHS Scholarship Foundation.  Donations may be handed to the student volunteers on Scholarship Sunday, sent by mail to the NCHS Scholarship Foundation, New Canaan High School, 11 Farm Road, New Canaan, CT 06840, or made online at .  Checks should be made out to "NCHS Scholarship Foundation."

3/05/13 > Special Ed Presentation for Parents March 26

Please Join Us!

We would like to invite all Parents of Special Education Students,
Pre-K through Grade 12, to attend a presentation by
the Special Education Administration on the
2013 Extended School Year (ESY) Program in New Canaan.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
9:30 a.m - 10:30 a.m., East School Galley

Planning ESY is an integral part of the IEP and a team decision.
This meeting will review eligibility, the kinds of services that can be provided and the types of programs that will be offered this summer. 

3/04/13 > Win for NCHS Civil Engineering & Architecture

Six students of New Canaan High School teacher Ashley Maltagliati participated in a Student Home Design competition in Hartford this past weekend. Ms. Maltagliati is a teacher in the Career and Technical Education Department. Seniors John Barfuss and Steven Nilla, juniors Colette Pellegrini and Matthew Toth and sophmores Alex Ellsworth and Tage Liland are enrolled in the department's Civil Engineering and Architecture classes.

The competition was sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Hartford County, Inc. and took place at the Connecticut Convention Center. The students' house models and drawings were on display at the Connecticut Convention Center from Friday through Sunday.

Steven Nilla won the Best First Time School Entry Award for his design. United States Senator Richard Blumenthal presented the award certificate to Steven on Friday. In addition to the certificate, Steven will receive a plaque from the Home Builder's Association of Hartford County and a $500 check for the NCHS Career and Technical Education Department.

The students' drawings are now on view at New Canaan High School, mounted on the walls in the lower level hallway near the Engineering Lab.

3/01/13 > NCHS Film: Student Video in Top Ten


The Connecticut State Department of Motor Vehicles is sponsoring a video contest to promote safe teen driving. A video created by students of New Canaan High School Art teacher Greg Scalzo has been selected as one of 10 videos, from 138 submissions, to advance into the final round of the statewide competition. Winners will be announced in April.

NCHS students Sam Reynolds, Brandon Pak, Colin Ahrens and Daniel Redman produced their video in Mr. Scalzo's Advanced Filmmaking class. The thirty second public service announcement "highlights the dangers of distracted driving, an issue for everyone on the road, especially teenagers."

You can help! 

In addition to the state competition, according to Mr. Scalzo, "now the video is in another kind of competition. [The video with] the most views on YouTube gets a special recognition for getting the message of the contest out most successfully."

Mr. Scalzo suggests that anyone wanting to help the NCHS students in the YouTube competition click on this link: NCHS Safe Driving Video. "Any exposure we get for the video will be a great way to share the information and bring home the win for our extremely talented students."


YouTube Video:


2/28/13 > NCHS Theatre Students Return with Awards

The following report and photos were submitted by
NCHS Theatre Parent Patricia Oxman.

The award winning New Canaan High School Theatre program just added more credence to its fine reputation. On a five-day trip to The Musical Theatre Competitions of America in Anaheim, California the NCHS group came back with a trunk full of trophies. Alongside students from many states, 39 NCHS students in the theatre program participated in a large variety of competitive categories.

New Canaan High School Principal, Dr. Luizzi said, "It is a testament to everyone's hard work and dedication. I continue to be incredibly impressed by our program and everyone in it."

The competition was held partly at facilities of Fullerton College and then had workshops and an awards ceremony in nearby Disneyland. In an action packed weekend with a very full schedule the students came home with the following awards :

Musical Revue Category
2nd Place for the "George M. Cohan" Revue by NCHS

Triple Threat Award - Daniel Klingenstein
Outstanding Female Vocalist - Christy Coco
Outstanding Female Dancer - Anna Oxman

High School Advanced Ensemble Category
2nd Place - "Chicago" Revue by NCHS

Outstanding Female Vocalist - Eliza Ranieri
Outstanding Female Dancer - Sara Gessinger

Vocals Categories:
9th Grade Division
Ist Place Soloist- Jen Daly
2nd Place Soloist- Peter Thunem
3rd Place Duet- Berlin Charles & Jacob Freedgood

10th Grade Division
1st Place Soloist - Nancy Leville
1st Place Duet - Liz Koennecke & Anna Oxman

11th Grade Division
1st Place Soloist - Rachel Guth
4th Place Soloist - Daniel Klingenstein

12th Grade Division
4th Place Soloist - Cami Allsteadt

Technical Categories
Costume Design
1st Place - Delaney Davidson

Set Design
2nd Place - Rachael Mathis

And the following students were selected from NCHS to participate with students from other schools in a special "Footloose" production number:
Rachel Guth (Vocal Soloist)
Berlin Charles
Liz Koennecke
Anna Oxman
Ryan Prindle

2/27/13 > Local Artist Visits West Second Graders

The following story and photos were submitted by West Art teacher Elizabeth Zeiss.

2nd Grade Drawings
with Visiting Artist
Lynn Stephens Massey

Every second grader at West School had the experience of working with a local award winning artist, Lynn Stephens Massey. Ms. Massey is a watercolor artist whose current work combines art with ecology and recycling.  She uses natural, found objects as the subject of her art, often painting on brown paper bags and recycled papers. This PTC funded event provided the opportunity for Ms. Massey to work individually with each second grader to create a drawing of found objects.

Second graders brought in recycled brown paper bags from home to use as the foundation of their art.  We then looked at found objects, which were mostly shells, to draw from observation.  We used black and white pencils as well as a limited palette of orange and blue crayons as our drawing materials.  Ms. Massey encouraged students to look closely at the objects to capture lots of patterns and details.  She also challenged students to draw the objects larger than life size to fully use the whole paper.

We hope you like the variety of our work!

2/25/13 > Proposed Changes 2013-14 & 2014-15 Calendars

Click on this link to view Proposed Changes to District Calendars.

2/24/13 > Update on 2012-13 Student Calendar Year


N ew C anaan P ublic S chools

David E. Abbey, Ph.D.

Mary Monroe Kolek, PH.D.

Superintendent of Schools



February 12, 2013



Update on the NCPS Student Calendar Year



The adjusted 2012-13 school calendar is posted on the district website .


As of February 12, 2013, the last day of school for students is June 21, a half day. School will be in session for full days on April 15 and 16. 


In the event of additional cancellations, subsequent days will be taken from April break. Should the number of required days exceed the remaining days in April vacation, we will use the last week of June to ensure we meet the state guideline of 180 days. 


Parents and students who have questions regarding attendance on February 15 (half day)  and April 15 and 16 due to commitments scheduled earlier in the year should speak directly with their school principal about their unique circumstances. 

The date of graduation will be determined at the first BOE meeting in April (April 1, 2013), as per Board policy.

Click this link to view the updated calendar.



2/13/13 > Tech Night 2013 is Coming on February 26

Tech Night 2013
Tuesday, February 26
6:30 pm @ NCHS

What do the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome App, a Robotic Arm, Hydroponics, Hansel and Gretel Claymation and Books in the Blogosphere have in common? These are just a few of the many projects to be presented by students in grades K-12 at the New Canaan Public Schools Tech Night 2013 on February 26. This year's event includes more than forty submissions demonstrating technology as part of our students' daily lives.

Now in its seventh year, Tech Night provides both students and educators the opportunity to showcase how technology enhances and encourages learning. In addition to demonstrations of curricular uses of technology within the New Canaan Public Schools, this event includes extracurricular projects created by students outside their classrooms.

To participate in Tech Night, students must submit an application for review by a committee composed of faculty and staff. Each student submits their project idea, describes its use of technology, and provides a reason for sharing their idea. Once accepted, faculty and staff are available to provide support to student presenters as they teach and inspire others with their ideas and creations

Tech Night 2013 is scheduled to take place at New Canaan High School on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm. Attendees will also have the opportunity to view a showing in the High School Planetarium.

If necessary, Thursday, February 28, 2013 is the scheduled snow date.

Thanks to Ronna Van Veghel for her photos from Tech Night 2012.

2/11/13 > Two South Students Honored at Arts Banquet

The following was submitted by South School Principal Joanne Rocco.


Congratulations to South School Students
Valentina Zamora and Reid Brown

Each year, the Connecticut Association of Schools recognizes students with outstanding citizenship, cooperative skills, and artistic ability in performing or visual arts at the elementary level. This year South School fourth graders Valentina Zamora and Reid Brown were honored at the 14th Annual Celebration of the Arts Banquet on February 6, at Aqua Turf in Southington.

Valentina was nominated by South School Music teacher, Mr. Michael Messina, and Reid was nominated by Art teacher, Mrs. Megan Kimball. Valentina and Reid were accompanied at the celebration by their parents and siblings, along with teachers Mr. Messina, Mrs. Kimball, Principal Ms. Rocco and Assistant Principal Mr. Kascak.

Congratulations to Valentina and Reid on their terrific accomplishments in the arts and their outstanding character!

2/11/13 > Dr. Kolek's Letter to Parents 2/11/13

New Canaan Public Schools

David E. Abbey, Ph.D.

Mary Monroe Kolek, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools


February 11, 2013

Dear Parents:

I am aware that we are in an extraordinary year and that the effects of weather alone are resulting in significant anxiety and hardship, never mind the disruptions to schedules associated with it.  

Interrupting the school schedule is one of the most difficult decisions a superintendent has to make.  As is the case with all superintendents, the concern for student well-being - both safety and learning - is my top priority. Given the unique conditions that exist across districts, our decisions may vary but that commitment to principle never does.

Cancelling school today, February 11, was the last thing I wanted to do. However, operating today without the assurance that we could provide safe and dependable transportation was not only the wrong thing to do based on district principles, it was not possible based on state requirements, which I reviewed not only with fellow superintendents in Connecticut but with attorneys as well.To open with "parent only" transportation was not an option.  As to the reason why other districts were able to provide transportation while in this unprecedented incidence New Canaan could not, the explanation has to do with the location of residences of employees and the impact of the storm on those communities. Living in one of the affected towns, I can personally attest to the fact that even with extraordinary effort, it is not possible to get plow service or even to arrange for alternative transportation, especially on the day after the storm when government and businesses are employing all available crews to clear essential areas.

As superintendent of the district, I have to consider an array of factors that are not necessarily evident when thinking about just one school, one tier of schedules or one area of the community. 

These factors include:

Weather - predicted time and probable impact across several hours in the morning, mid-day and afternoon; 

Driving conditions for drivers - students, parents, teachers and bus drivers, some of whom must be on the road for extended periods before and after school begins and dismisses;

Laws and regulations - safe transportation must be provided by the district, limiting the option of running without buses or with highly interrupted routes; and

Communication - time is needed to notify staff that has to be in work up to an hour before and after bus routes begin as well as to notify families who have to make arrangements for childcare and school pick up and drop off.  (In service of the community, we are also in touch with local after school providers and child care centers and private schools.)

·   With regard to timing of the call, I try to make the call in the evenings or early mornings whenever possible.  If a decision is made or changed at the "last minute," you can rest assured that conditions are changing rapidly or have developed in unpredicted ways. 

·   What precedes all weather related decisions are numerous reviews of forecasts, consultation with a weather service specific to New Canaan, including the range of weather and road conditions across varied topography.  As many are aware, there can be diverse conditions depending if you are near the Merritt or at the NY border. (This is why, given recent weather patterns, New Canaan has been more in line with Wilton and Ridgefield rather than towns along the Merritt like Norwalk and Darien.)

·   Time of pick up and drop off matters, and given our 3 tiers of transportation, a 3 hour window often needs to be considered.

·   I discuss conditions with the highway department, the First Selectman and/or police and with superintendents across the region. In the case of severe storms, as was the case yesterday, the Commissioner of Education and State emergency personnel conferenced with all area superintendents on the phone. 

·   Input from our district transportation coordinator is also considered - not only about transportation within New Canaan but also with regard to our students who are transported to and from schools that can be up to an hour away. 

In the spirit of continuous improvement, I do reflect on and debrief each decision with colleagues and read and take seriously all community feedback. I wish I could promise we will not have another delay, early release or cancellation, but I cannot; however, I can offer assurance that any decision will be made in a careful and studied way with safety and learning as the cornerstones. 

I thank you for your understanding and ongoing support.

Mary Monroe Kolek, Superintendent

2/10/13 > NCPS Closed for Students Monday 2/11

Northern Fairfield County, including Fairfield, Trumbull, Bridgeport and Stratford continue to suffer the aftermath of a storm that had a significantly different impact in those communities than in Southern Fairfield County.  As a result, many of our employees have been impacted to the extent they will not be able to get to work tomorrow. In particular, this shortage of staff is severely impacting our transportation system to the extent that I have been notified that we will not be able to operate  tomorrow. Safe transportation is a requirement for districts and as a result NCPS will be closed tomorrow.  


School offices and central office will be open on a 90 minute delay, for those able to get to work. We anticipate that all schools will be open on Tuesday February 12. I will provide an update mid day tomorrow. 

2/09/13 > Sunday 2/10: Dr. Kolek Communications Brief

Communications Brief NCPS

In the spirit of providing ongoing communication, I thought NCPS families and staff would appreciate an update on the status of NCPS.  Although we are all working hard to resume our regular school sessions, as of 4:30 PM no decision has been made about Monday.  Because this is such an unusual situation I want to provide you with some additional insight so you can understand what is informing our decision making.  

Reports indicate that New Canaan fared well and that the town is in good condition. This is a credit to all who take care of roads, walkways and the school facilities.  Unfortunately,  a number of other towns  continue to experience extraordinary difficulties - people have not been able to get out of their drives or get access to cleared roads. Reports in some cases indicate access may take at least another day. 

These are towns in which a number of our staff, including teachers and bus drivers live.  We are working to monitor and assess this situation to determine the extent of impact.  In addition, weather bulletins are indicating there may be frozen precipitation impacting early morning travel. Again this is a situation that I am closely monitoring. 

Given the complexity of the circumstances,  I ask families and staff be prepared for several scenarios or changing conditions, including a regular opening, a 2 hour delay or, in the worst case scenario, a closing. We will all do our best to resume our instructional program as soon as is possible, knowing safety must the priority. 

I anticipate making the final decision tomorrow morning by 5:30 AM, but will alert you earlier if more definitive information becomes available. 

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Mary Monroe Kolek, Ph.D.
New Canaan Public Schools

2/08/13 > Buy Tickets Online for Beauty and the Beast

Belle (Christy Coco) from NCHS Theatre's upcoming
Beauty & the Beast reads to lucky South School students

New Canaan High School Theatre has something new to share with the community. Tickets will now be available for purchase online beginning with their upcoming production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. "We are moving into the 21st Century with our online ticket initiative," said Alan Sneath, Director of Visual and Performing Arts. "This will be a great convenience to the parents as well as the general community." According to Mr. Sneath, after much research the VPA Department chose Vendini as their online ticketing service based upon the company's intuitive interface, outstanding customer service and dedication to excellence.

As this year's NCHS Theatre Winter Musical production, Disney's Beauty and the Beast is a modern classic that will dazzle children of all ages. There will be four performances in the NCHS auditorium on March 21, 22 and 23. Tickets may be purchased by clicking on Purchase Theater Tickets . The Purchase Theater Tickets link can also be accessed on the district website from the drop down menu under the Parents tab.

In addition to the scheduled performances, NCHS Theatre is offering a very special event for fans of Belle and the Beast. On Saturday, March 23 Belle's Banquet will take place in the Wagner Room prior to the 2:00 p.m. matinee performance. Light lunch and dessert will be served, along with craft projects, a Beauty and the Beast preview and visits by characters from the show. Belle's Banquet begins at 12:30 until 1:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by clicking on Purchase Theater Tickets.

Beauty and the Beast Performances at the NCHS Auditorium
Thursday, March 21 @ 7:00 p.m. | Friday, March 22 @ 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 @ 2:00 p.m. | Saturday, March 23 @ 7:00 p.m.

Belle's Banquet Prior to Matinee Performance
Saturday, March 23 @ 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the NCHS Wagner Room

Many thanks to NCHS Theatre parent Patricia Funt Oxman for her photo and contribution to this article.

2/07/13 > Message Re: Possible Snow Event Friday


Message From Mary Kolek re: Possible Snow Event for Friday, February 8

Knowing that families appreciate having information as far in advance as possible, I am providing the following update in anticipation of tomorrow's anticipated storm:

I expect the decision about our schedule to be made early tomorrow morning.Because of our location and geography, this call may once again be a challenging one due to the track and timing of the storm.  The decision has to be made by 5:30 AM to allow sufficient time for buses and staff to respond.

At this time the predictions still contain much variation.  However, if it is determined that an early dismissal will allow for safe travel for students and staff, we will use the following schedule:

Early Early Dismissal

NCHS   10:30


Saxe 7/8   10:30


Saxe 5/6   11:15


South   11:15


East & West 12:00




This schedule is also posted on our website. 

Please be aware that on some occasions, rapidly changing conditions require us to make last minute adjustments. When there is a delay, cancellation, early dismissal or change in schedule, we will use our BlackboardConnect system and website to communicate with families.

2/03/13 > NCHS Honors & AP Night February 7th

New Canaan High School

Honors & AP Night


Thursday, February 7, 2013

7:00 - 7:20 PM, NCHS Auditorium |  Program Overview & Panel Discussion:

differences between an Honors and an AP class

other opportunities for students to earn college credit while in high school

workload and expectations in a typical Honors or AP class

characteristics of a successful AP student

why students have struggled in Advanced Placement classes

the basis for recommending a student for Honors or AP classes 

the appeal process and the factors considered for entry into advanced courses

where students go if an AP course proves too overwhelming

the impact of taking AP courses on the college admissions process

the national AP exam and the benefits of taking the exam


7:25 - 8:20 PM | Program Information:

Teachers will give brief presentations on specific course offerings within their disciplines. Students and parents are invited to attend up to four different presentations, and each course presentation is offered during each of the periods. 

School counselors will also be available to answer questions, as will students from the National Honor Society who will be on hand to guide you.


7:25 - 7:35 PM          Period 1

7:40 - 7:50 PM          Period 2

7:55 - 8:05 PM          Period 3

8:10 - 8:20 PM          Period 4


New Canaan High School strives to provide each student with a program of study that fully engages the individual and encourages a lifetime of further learning. Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses - offered in English, World Languages, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Music and Art - are designed for students whose academic performance demonstrates the capability, self-discipline, and commitment required to meet rigorous challenges in particular areas of study. AP courses provide students with the opportunity to earn college credit through successful performance on the College Board's Advanced Placement exams in May of each year, for which students registered for A.P. courses are expected to sit. Within the Career and Technical Education program, there are additional opportunities to earn college credit through any of the courses in the Engineering (Project Lead The Way) sequence and through the UCONN course, Individual & Family Development.


Because different disciplines draw upon differing talents, placement prerequisites and criteria for these courses vary somewhat from discipline to discipline. Specific variations - including those pertaining to 9th Grade placement - are described in department listings within the Program of Study (available through the high school website). 

1/30/13 > NCHS Music: an Evening of Masterpieces

History will be revisited in the New Canaan High School auditorium on February 5th when the NCHS Concert Band, Concert Choir and Orchestra perform together for the first time in a very long time. Although each group performs regularly throughout every school year, not in recent memory have all three joined together in one concert presentation.

NCHS Music teachers Scott Cranston, Leo Ficks and David Gomez have been working with their students during the past two months preparing for this concert that will feature approximately 100 of our high school musicians performing solos, duets and full orchestra/chorus arrangements. The students will perform several excerpts from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana and George Frideric Handel's Messiah.

Messrs. Cranston, Ficks and Gomez have selected two of the most celebrated orchestral masterpieces for this historic performance. Orff's Carmina Burana was composed in 1937 and is frequently performed by major orchestras throughout the world. The Orff selection is familiar to many as it has been featured in numerous films and television commercials. Handel's Messiah, composed in 1741, is one of the most performed choral works in Western Music. It includes one of the most recognizable pieces known to mankind, the "Hallelujah Chorus." 

The New Canaan High School Concert Band, Concert Choir, and Orchestra will perform together on Tuesday, February 5 at 7:30 p.m., in the NCHS auditorium.

1/23/13 > NCHS Theatre Students Heading to Disneyland!


On February 7, thirty-nine NCHS students will travel to Anaheim, California to compete in the Musical Theatre Competitions of America. MTCA sponsored workshops and the awards ceremony will take place at the Disneyland Resort.

In September the New Canaan Board of Education approved travel plans presented by NCHS Theatre Coordinator Dee Alexander and supported by NCHS Theatre parents and students. After months of preparation the NCHS students have chosen to compete with musical theater selections from "Chicago" and "George M. Cohan." Some students will also compete in solo and duet vocal categories and technical theater categories. 

A fundraising event for the NCHS Theatre program is scheduled for Saturday evening, January 26, at NCHS. Students will present an advance performance of their two numbers from "Chicago" and "George M. Cohan." The New Canaan audience will also be privy to a sneak peek performance from the upcoming NCHS Theatre production of "Disney's Beauty and the Beast." 

Saturday's 7:00 p.m. performance will be held in the NCHS auditorium, followed by a dessert reception in the Wagner Room. Tickets are $20 each and may be purchased at the door prior to the show. 

Many thanks to NCHS Theatre parent Patricia Funt Oxman for her photo and contribution to this article.

1/18/13 > Two Interim Assistant Principals for Saxe


New Canaan Public Schools


Appointment of Two Interim Assistant Principals at Saxe Middle School


New Canaan Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of two Interim Assistant Principals at Saxe Middle School. Ms. Lisa Strom will be assuming the role of grade 8 assistant principal replacing Michael Woods, who recently has accepted a principal position in another district. Ms. Mimi Maniscalco will be serving as the grade 5 assistant principal replacing Wendy McConaghy, who is going on a maternity leave.


Ms. Lisa Strom holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Appalachian State University as well as a Master of Science degree in English Education from Southern CT State University. She also earned a Master of Education in Public School Leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University. Ms. Strom has over 15 years of experience teaching high school English at schools including Wilton High School and Stamford High School. Her most recent position was Chairperson, Department of English at Westhill High School. Ms. Strom will formally assume her position on January 22, 2013.


Ms. Mimi Maniscalco received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Curry College as well as a Masters in Teaching from Sacred Heart University. She earned her certificate in School Administration from Sacred Heart University in 2008 and expects to receive her Sixth Year in Administration this spring. Ms. Maniscalco has served various roles in the Fairfield Public Schools over the past 13 years, including early literacy tutor, elementary teacher (grades 1, 2 and 6), Summer School Special Education Principal, and Grade 3-5 Principal of Summer Enrichment. Ms. Maniscalco will formally assume her position on February 4, 2013.


1/03/13 > Second Annual VPA Stringsfest on Friday

The New Canaan Public Schools Visual and Performing Arts Department will host its second annual Stringsfest concert on Friday, January 4, at 4:00 in the NCHS Auditorium.  Stringsfest provides Strings students in grade four from East, West and South Elementary Schools the opportunity to perform with grade five Strings students from Saxe Middle School. The Saxe Cello Choir, which is comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, will also perform.

Under the direction of Saxe Orchestra instructor Kate Dorfman and Elementary Strings instructor Ilya Levitin, the goal of Stringsfest is to introduce elementary students to the middle school orchestra experience. VPA Director Alan Sneath explained, "This is a wonderful opportunity for our elementary students to meet Mrs. Dorfman and experience being part of a larger ensemble. Performing with their peers from across the district and with the Saxe fifth grade Strings students provides a clearer picture of what they can look forward to next year, while also having some fun in the process."

VPA Stringsfest | Friday, January 4 | 4:00 to 5:30 PM | NCHS Auditorium  

Many thanks to Cindy Ording for the photos.


12/21/12 > NCPS: A History of Preparedness


In the wake of last Friday's unfathomable events in Newtown, it is natural for a community to seek reassurance that such an incident could not possibly occur in one of their schools. Although the sad reality is that tragedy can occur anywhere, at anytime, it is important that our community feel assured that New Canaan Public Schools has maintained a long-established commitment to safety and crisis preparedness for administrators and staff. 

According to South School Principal Joanne Rocco, who co chairs the Crisis Advisory Board (CAB) along with NCHS Assistant Principal Veronica LeDuc,  there is an interesting history behind our district's safety and crisis program and procedures. Ms. Rocco, who has been chair of CAB for many years, explained how the Crisis Preparedness Manual began as the brainchild of two NCPS Assistant Principals in pursuit of administrative certification.

Shortly after the Columbine High School incident in 1999, as their administrative certification projects, Colleen Girard and Mary Coakley chose to explore "responses to crisis preparedness in our schools" and began development of a "notebook." Consulting with then Superintendent Gary Richards, other administrators and various consultants, Mses. Girard and Coakley created flowcharts and compiled information related to safety and crisis scenarios. Their "notebook" evolved into the district's Crisis Preparedness Manual. All district administrators received professional development in the area of crisis training from the Yale Crisis Team.

This early effort provided the impetus for creating a district-wide Crisis Advisory Board composed of administrators from each school, members of the Central Office, the New Canaan Youth Officer and representatives from town emergency services. The program expanded into individual school-based crisis teams under the CAB umbrella, allowing for consistent practices and communication about important safety and crisis procedures within and between each school.

Since 1999, the district has supported the Crisis Advisory Board and its programs by providing speakers, training, seminars and workshops to district personnel, keeping them current with crisis preparedness and procedures. The district Crisis Manual is continually reviewed and updated based upon consultation with town emergency services, trainers, social workers, psychologists and counselors. The Crisis Advisory Board and school-based crisis teams work collaboratively with the Town Emergency Preparedness Committee. The Board and teams meet on a regular basis, and as was the case on Friday, December 14, on an emergency basis as needed.

While crisis training and planning is essential, it is also important to the New Canaan community that students learn in a comfortable school environment. Ms. Rocco said, "We must take whatever reasonable safety precautions possible while still maintaining a sense of community within a school. We want students to feel safe. Teachers know their students so well. We provide opportunities for children to feel connected to adults.  Our teachers have a connection to the kids and connections to parents. Our parents feel welcome, respected and part of a team."

In New Canaan, administrators and staff appreciate the value of trust. Joanne Rocco shared her insights into experiences of the past week. "Parents trust that we are responding. The parents trust that our teachers are trained to handle problems, that's what teachers do. They handle every situation that comes at them. On Monday, when parents dropped their children off at school, that really said something."

From our archives:

Click to view Safety in NCPS (also printed in current parent handbooks).  

Click to view former NCPS Superintendent Dr. Gary Richards'  Crisis Letter.

12/21/12 > December 21 Letter from Dr. Kolek


Mary M. Kolek, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools



December 21, 2012



A Message to the New Canaan Community


Although this week our hearts and spirits were tested beyond what we could have imagined, together we were able to provide New Canaan children and each other with the sense of care and comfort that allows hope and strength to prevail and a belief in goodness to flourish.


I want to extend a personal thank you for the support the schools have received from the community. Your kind words and deeds were comforting and encouraging.  I also want to publicly commend our administrators, teachers and staff for their compassion and commitment; their demeanor and leadership offer students assurance that schools are caring and safe places where all can grow and learn together. 


Principals have been communicating directly with their families about school-specific procedures, but I thought it might be helpful to provide a quick summary of some of the ways in which we are addressing school security and safety as we move into the New Year:


~ We continue to work with the police department and Office of Emergency Management to review and update previously established procedures.  When we return from vacation, New Canaan police will be a visible presence as they patrol the community and stop by our campuses. 


~ We have modified some of the current security practices in place: Staff will pre-register expected guests with the main office. Anyone coming to our doors will be asked to indicate the purpose of their visit, which will be verified.  All visitors will need to present identification upon signing in. Your cooperation in this regard is much appreciated.


~ We will continue to practice emergency drills with students on a monthly basis. This includes procedures for evacuation as well as various types of shelter in place and lockdowns. Several drills that had been planned for this week were delayed since we felt it would be disconcerting to students and parents given the circumstances.


~We are testing and making some upgrades in our technology systems to improve responsiveness in and between schools and with town communications.  This includes cooperative work with private schools and pre-schools. The police, fire and emergency response teams are working collaboratively with us in this regard.



The administrators and I will continue to work with the PTC/PFA groups to keep you informed and updated, not only on this vital topic, but also about all of the wonderful opportunities and achievements that make this an extraordinary and successful school community. 


Highlighting and celebrating all that we have accomplished as a community and the successes students have achieved as learners is the best gift we can give our children.



With warm regards,


Mary Monroe Kolek

Superintendent of Schools


12/18/12 > Updated: Sample Resources for Parents

Sample resources for parents have been compiled on the Parent Resources page located in the District tab, under the About our District heading or by clicking here: Sample Resources for Parents

12/17/12 > Important Message from Dr. Kolek


The New Canaan Police Department has informed us of an ongoing investigation in Ridgefield, CT. While there is no report of any threat to the New Canaan Schools,  as a precaution we are keeping our students inside the schools. As was already planned for today,  the police are present on and around campus and we have reviewed safety procedures with our staff. We will keep you updated. 

Dr. Mary Monroe Kolek
Superintendent, New Canaan Public Schools

12/17/12 > NCHS Voices Perform Messiah Tuesday 12/18



The New Canaan High School Choir will perform on Tuesday, December 18, at 7:30 pm at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. The enchanting voices of the NCHS Concert Choir and Madrigal Ensemble will perform the entire Part 1 of Handel's "Messiah." Students in the ensembles focus on emotive choral singing with emphasis on blending, precise diction and elegance of tone.

St. Marks Episcopal Church is located at 111 Oenoke Ridge Road in New Canaan. Admission is free to all students and members of the community.

Following are links to past performances by the NCHS Concert Choir and Madrigal Ensemble:

"Adoramus Te Christe"

"Sanctus" from Faure Requiem

" We Remember Them " by Grantham

12/14/12 > Letter to the NCPS Community from Dr. Kolek

Our district is deeply saddened by the unthinkable tragedy that occurred in the Newtown community earlier today. We send our deepest sympathy to families, friends and children of the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the greater Newtown community.

I thought it would be helpful to provide a brief follow up to the messages sent earlier today by the district and schools: The NCPS leadership team met with our Crisis Advisory Board (CAB) this afternoon to review the status of each school, determine next steps to assist students, families and faculty, and to review our safety plans and procedures. The district crisis response and school security plans, while long standing, are designed to be customized to meet the needs of each unique circumstance. To that end, each school will conduct a staff meeting on Monday morning prior to the start of the school day to remind faculty and staff about ways to care for children, teens and adults during times of great sadness and loss.

We are aware there will be a range of knowledge of and reactions to this situation and we want to assure you we are taking care to be sensitive to the developmental stages and needs of our students. During this time we will also be reviewing the safety and security procedures in place at each school. As is our practice, we continue to collaborate with the New Canaan Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management to ensure coordinated efforts.

Additionally, principals will be in direct contact with their respective PTC/PFA presidents to gather input and share communications specific to schools. In order to assist parents in supporting their children, the school administrators and crisis teams will continue to provide information and recommend resources appropriate to specific developmental levels via school communication sites.

At times such as these I am reminded of the power of a caring community and am certain all of us will do what we can to support one another.

Mary Monroe Kolek, Superintendent

12/13/12 > Message from NCPS Superintendent Dr. Kolek


As you may be aware a tragic event has occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that is receiving extensive amount of press coverage. We have been in touch with the New Canaan Police Department throughout the day to monitor to situation. They continue to indicate there is no threat to the New Canaan community. The schools have procedures in place that guide how to respond to state or national emergencies; these include monitoring the communication to which our young students are exposed and providing support for anyone who may be distressed by these events. Please contact your school administration should you have a question. 

12/12/12 > Final Adjusted 2012-2013 Calendar
12/11/12 > Kindergarten Registration Begins January 3

Kindergarten Registration Begins January 3, 2013

Transition to Kindergarten, an informational presentation for all East, South and West School parents of next year's incoming Kindergarteners will be presented on January 10, 2013 from 9:30 -10:45 a.m. at East School.

In the event of a district snow day or delayed opening, Transition to Kindergarten will be presented on January 11, 2013.

Click here to access the Student Registration page on the district website where you will find the NCPS Registration Form. 

12/10/12 > NCHS Choir Offers Music and Grapefruit!

The New Canaan High School Choir will perform on Tuesday, December 18, at 7:30 pm at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. The enchanting voices of the NCHS Concert Choir and Madrigal Ensemble will perform the entire Part 1 of Handel's "Messiah." Students in the ensembles focus on emotive choral singing with emphasis on blending, precise diction and elegance of tone.

St. Marks Episcopal Church is located at 111 Oenoke Ridge Road in New Canaan. Admission is free to all students and members of the community.

Grapefruit Fundraiser!
If you would like to support the NCHS Choir Program, students are now selling delicious Texas Ruby-Red grapefruit from their NCHS choir room. Each case contains between 16 to 20 grapefruit and costs just $22. For more information contact NCHS Choral Director David Gomez at sales end December 21.

The grapefruit fundraiser allows students of the NCHS Choir Program to attend festivals and choir tours. Most recently, proceeds from their fundraising efforts have given the choristers the opportunity to sing in London and Spain.

11/29/12 > East School Holds a Community Drive

The following news story and photos were contributed by Sara Schubert
on behalf of East Elementary School.


The New Canaan Fire Department has been collecting items and taking them down to the affected areas in and around Long Island. East School wanted to be a part of their efforts and, in conjunction with its annual Community Service Day last week, held a drive.  These photos reflect three days worth of items collected.


In the photos are a few of the children that helped sort, move and load the items onto the fire department trucks. Small change for BIG change, a coin drive, continues at East. We understand the NCFD continues their efforts and will stay in contact with them and hope to continue awareness that there is a long road ahead for recovery.

11/26/12 > NCPS Early Dismissal Tuesday 11/27


New Canaan Public Schools willl be dismissed early today due to inclement weather.

2012-13 School Hours

New Canaan High School
Start: 7:30  End: 2:05
Early Dismissal: 11:45
Delayed Opening: 9:00 (90-minute delay) | 9:30 (2-hour delay)

Saxe Grades 7,8
Start: 7:30  End: 2:05
Early Dismissal: 11:45
Delayed Opening: 9:00 (90-minute delay) | 9:30 (2-hour delay)

Saxe Grades 5,6
Start: 8:20  End: 2:55
Early Dismissal: 12:30
Delayed Opening: 9:50 (90-minute delay) | 10:20 (2-hour delay)

South Elementary
Start: 8:15  End: 2:45
Early Dismissal: 12:30
Delayed Opening: 9:45 (90-minute delay) | 10:15 (2-hour delay)

East and West Elementary
Start: 9:05  End: 3:35
Early Dismissal: 1:15
Delayed Opening: 10:45 (90-minute delay) | 11:05 (2-hour delay)

11/21/12 > NCHS Coalition Contributes to Food Bank


As advisor to the New Canaan High School Student Coalition, NCHS Physical Education teacher Priscilla Schulz is very pleased to share the news that Coalition members just raised more than $1,800 for the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County.

Click here to learn more about the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County .

11/19/12 > Fall Art Exhibition Opens at NCHS

Due to Superstorm Sandy,
New Canaan High School art students were forced to postpone the opening
of their annual fall gallery exhibition.
Originally scheduled to open on November 7, the appropriately titled Beyond Relief: An Exploration of Visual Texture opened at 7:00 a.m. this morning in the NCHS Lobby Gallery.

According to NCHS Film and Photography teacher Greg Scalzo, " Beyond Relief is an all-media show focused on the concept of surface areas and visual textures and was coordinated by the NCHS gallery committee."

The fall gallery exhibition is entirely student run. Under the guidance of Art teachers Greg Scalzo, Jeanne McDonagh and Lisa Floryshak-Windman, the students are responsible for publicity, organizing and curating the show. Senior George Harvey designed this year's exhibition logo.

The exhibition may be viewed in the NCHS Lobby Gallery during school hours until January 2, 2013.


11/15/12 > Veterans Honored at South School

Many thanks to South School Principal Joanne Rocco
for sharing the following news story.

South School held its annual Veterans Day assembly with seven veterans in attendance. The all-school assembly was organized by Assistant Principal Matt Kascak and teachers Jeff Kohn, Dianne Rearick, Anmarie Galgano, Angela Tsiropoulos, Jaime Pawluk, Joanna Lacomis, Karen Pedicano. The veterans who were honored during the assembly are family of either staff members or students. Josh MacDonald, South School Physical Education teacher was also honored.

Each veteran told the audience about the branch of the armed forces they represented along with some details of their service to our country.

The South School students and staff look forward to the opportunity each year to show their appreciation to all veterans who help preserve our freedom by proudly serving our country. 

11/14/12 > NCPS Presents Two Disney Classic Musicals

New Canaan's young and young-at-heart theatergoers will have the opportunity to enjoy two different Disney musical productions this weekend - without leaving town! Each production is appropriate for children of all ages.

Disney's Alice in Wonderland

New Canaan High School Theatre will present Disney's Alice in Wonderland in the NCHS auditorium at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17. A Saturday afternoon matinee will be performed at 2:00 on  November 17.

Prior to Saturday's matinee, NCHS Theatre will be hosting a very special Mad Hatter's Tea Party in the Wagner Room at 12:30 p.m. Tickets to the tea party are $25 each, which includes one orchestra seat ticket to one of the three performances. For more information about the tea party, contact Lee Ann Mistretta at 203.253.5244.

Disney's Alice in Wonderland tickets and Mad Hatter Tea Party tickets may be purchased in the NCHS lobby this week between 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Orchestra tickets are $15. Mezzanine tickets are $12. Tickets will also be on sale in the NCHS lobby one hour prior to each performance.

Disney's Alice in Wonderland:
11/16 @ 7:00 PM | 11/17 @ 2:00 PM | 11/17 @ 7:00 PM
Mad Hatter Tea Party:
11/17 @ 12:30 PM

Disney's 101 Dalmatians, Kids  

Hurricane Sandy may have postponed this year's Saxe 5/6 Musical performances, but now the show will go on! Disney's 101 Dalmatians, Kids will be presented on Friday and Saturday by Saxe Middle School fifth and sixth graders.

Disney's 101 Dalmatians, Kids  performances will take place in the Saxe auditorium on Friday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 17 at 11:30 a.m.  

New this year... Click on 101 Dalmatians, Kids to purchase your tickets online.  

You can also visit the Saxe Middle School website home page or the NCPS Website under the Parents tab, pull down to purchase theater tickets then click on the Buy Now! button.

Disney's 101 Dalmatians, Kids
11/16 @ 7:00 PM | 11/17 @ 11:30 AM


11/14/12 > Project V.O.I.C.E. Comes to NCHS This Friday

NCHS English teacher Darcy Smith contributed the following news article.

It all comes down to collaboration,
a love of poetry, and doing good.

Last spring, NCHS English teachers Jessica Cullen, Susan Steidl and Darcy Smith exchanged ideas about multimedia and poetry.  That one conversation paved the way for co-directors of Project V.O.I.C.E. Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye (no relation) to be invited to perform for NCHS this Friday. 

Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression) is a national movement that celebrates and inspires youth self-expression through Spoken Word Poetry.  Conceived in 2004, Project V.O.I.C.E. encourages young people to engage with the world around them and use Spoken Word Poetry as an instrument through which they can explore and better understand their culture, their society, and ultimately themselves.  Project V.O.I.C.E. brings together performance, writing, and a supportive environment to inspire youth to recognize that their views are significant, valid, and necessary.  This assembly relates directly to The Common Core, the implementation of which is ongoing at NCHS.

In April, National Poetry Month, Mrs. Smith showed a video of Kay's performance at a TED Talk to her students.  Immediately after watching the video, Smith had students reflect in their writer's notebook about it, and everyone was sold.  According to Mrs. Smith, "In each written reflection, students conveyed in one way or another that they were impressed and inspired - to be poets, to have confidence in presenting their thoughts.  They were wowed, so I thought, wow, imagine the impact on more students if Sarah and Phil were here in person."   

Himself a former English teacher, Dr. Bryan Luizzi was instantly on board after watching Kay's TED performance online.  "As a high school English teacher, one of the greatest responsibilities is to help students find their own voices, to speak in their writing and in their lives.  Project V.O.I.C.E., and Spoken Word Poetry, help us to tell our stories, make meaning out of our experiences, and to share our voices with others.  I am thrilled to welcome Sara and Phil to our high school."  Thanks to the buy-in of Dr. Luizzi and some funding from The Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk (JLSN), the assembly is a go.

The tie-in to the local Junior League is more than a coincidence.  Smith is their communications director, and when she learned of the costs associated with the assembly, she made a request of JLSN whose mission involves the betterment and education of the local community.  Typically JLSN projects revolve meeting needs where financial hardship is evident, such as providing diapers for low-income families via The Diaper Co-Op.  Sponsoring the Project V.O.I.C.E. assembly, although not based on financial hardship per se, certainly relates to the JLSN's charitable mission, but JLSN added one condition to the sponsorship: their volunteers will have a table in the NCHS lobby this Friday to collect non-perishable food items for The New Canaan Food Pantry. 

Students, parents and NCHS staff are encouraged to bring any of the following items to the JLSN table outside the Auditorium between 9:00 and 10:30 A.M. this Friday: cereal, juice boxes, ground coffee, and laundry detergent.  Traditional holiday food is already being donated by several other organizations this time of year, and the New Canaan Food Pantry has expressed their gratitude for these items needed throughout the year.

For more information about Project V.O.I.C.E., please visit  Learn more about The Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk and its local community programs by visiting  JLSN is a not-for-profit organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.  JLSN has more than 400 active and sustaining members, all committed to building better communities. All women age 21 and older, of all races, religions, and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to voluntarism, are welcomed by JLSN.

Photo Credit: Erik Maser

11/12/12 > Saxe Fifth Annual Veterans Appreciation Day

Saxe Middle School Library Media Specialist Ramona Biondi contributed the following news story and photos.

Saxe Middle School held its Fifth Annual Veterans Appreciation Day on Friday, November 9, 2012. The day was framed by the essential questions from the social studies curriculum:

  • How does the past affect the present?
  • How does an individual impact a global community?

Throughout Veterans Appreciation Day, the Saxe Action Team student leaders, under the leadership of Ann Thommen, greeted veterans and presented certificates to the speakers. All students heard veterans speak about their experiences first hand. One of the veterans visited the Grade Five team.  Speakers included: Mr. Don Roland (U.S. Army 1962-1968); Mr. Bob Dalury (U.S. Air Force Korea); Mr. Marvin Newman (U.S. Navy Pacific: 1943-1946); Mr. Bill Sessions(WWII Naval Ordinance Officer 1943-1946); Mr. Joe Kelly (WWII Army Corporal Artillery Unit); Mr. Bob Dalury (U.S. Air Force: 1952-1955); and Mr. Michael Corey (U.S. Army Artillery 1966-1968).

Grade Six Social Studies classes met in the Library Media Center to hear veterans talk about their service to our country. Speakers included: Mr. George Brakeley III (U.S. Marine Corps 1961-1965); Mr. Mike McGlinn (U.S. Army Artillery 1968-1970); Mr. Russell Kimes III (U.S. Marine Corps: 2000-2008 Operation s Iraq Freedom) Dr. Josephine Velasquez (Doctor Desert Storm 1990) Mr. Peter Ricca (Green Beret Vietnam); Mr. John McLane (Captain 1st calvalry Division Vietnam); Ms. Dahlia Paubionsky Johnston (Sergeant Army WAC Division WWII); Mr. Nick Zaccagnino (U.S. Navy 1946-1948), Mr. James Bach (U.S. Army Korea-1952-1954)  and  Mr. William Holland (Army Iraq 1999-Present).

Grade Seven students participated in an assembly presented by U.S. Air Force Airman First Class, Mr. Dick Davies, who served as a U.S. weatherman in Greenland and in Germany. He was stationed in these areas during the Cold War from 1950-1954. Mr. Davies discussed his experiences living in the harsh environment of Greenland and told students about how his unit was only supplied by parachute. Additionally, Mr. Davies discussed his post war experience while stationed in Germany.

Grade Eight Social Studies Workshop students heard Colonel Peter Langenus speak about his service in Vietnam from 1969-1970, as well as his nine-month tour during the Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Langenus was assigned to the 318th Transportation Agency, which was responsible for orchestrating the secret movement of all United States, British, and French forces from encampments along the Persian Gulf into the Saudi Arabia. This movement allowed a sweep of allied forces to trap the Iraqi Army. Colonel Langenus has published writings on the Gulf War for various publications and has received numerous service medals, including three bronze stars and the Legion of Merit.

During recess, students wrote expressions of thanks to veterans. The thank you notes will be distributed to the West Haven Veterans Hospital. A representative from the Cadet Civil Air Patrol was on hand to share experiences about the program.

This annual Saxe Middle School event provided a variety of different opportunities for students to express appreciation to their community's veterans.


11/11/12 > SAT Testing Rescheduled to 11/17 at Saxe

The SAT exam originally scheduled to take place on November 3, 2012 at NCHS, but cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 17, 2012 at  Saxe Middle School .

The College Board will contact those students who were registered for the November 3, 2012 test date to alert them to the change in date and location. Questions about the rescheduled date and other questions relating to the SAT should be directed to the College Board.

11/06/12 > Update 11/6: Joint Message from EOC & NCPS

Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 4:00 PM

A joint message from the Office of Emergency Management
and the New Canaan Public Schools

Based on current conditions, the New Canaan Public School district is prepared to open schools on Wednesday morning November 7 at regularly scheduled times. However, please remain alert that due to potentially stormy conditions and constantly changing ground conditions, decisions about school opening may have to be revised at the last minute. We will continue to use the district website, Ed Connect and the media to communicate school opening, delays and dismissals.

Over the next few days, each family has to make a judgment based upon their own unique circumstances regarding travel to and from school. Please plan to build in extra travel time.

We are also aware and sensitive to the fact that some families may still be away or living in homes without power. Notify the school if your child is unable to attend due to Hurricane related living or travel issues. We will be recording these as excused absences.

As part of community approach to safety we urge all families to:

  1. Supervise your child carefully through this time. For instance, monitor your child's bus stop, walking or driving route as conditions are constantly changing.
  2. Accompany children to the bus stop. The EOC advises families on walking routes to either drive or accompany their children on the route. Potential for hazards such as downed wires still exist or may still occur in some areas.  
  3. Discuss safety with your children and teens. Stress the importance of staying clear of downed wires or other potential hazards. 
11/05/12 > Update 11/5: PD on Tuesday as Scheduled

We are pleased to report that power is currently on in all New Canaan Public Schools. The Professional Development Day will take place Tuesday, November 6 as planned.

All staff scheduled to work on this day should report to their assigned schools.

11/05/12 > Update 11/5: Dr. Kolek's Letter to Parents


The following link contains Dr. Mary Kolek's November 5 letter written as an update to New Canaan Public School parents and guardians.

Link to the Letter:

11/04/12 > Update 11/4: Monday, Nov. 5 Classes Cancelled

Due to continuing power outages and concern for safe student  transportation and walking routes, New Canaan Public Schools  classes are cancelled for Monday, November 5.

We anticipate classes will resume for students  on Wednesday, November 7. A decision about Wednesday' s start time will be made at a later date as we continue to monitor changing conditions.

Tuesday is a national election day and  scheduled as a NCPS professional development day. These activities will  take place as scheduled.

We appreciate the on-going cooperation of  the community and continue to work closely with the EOC.


11/04/12 > Nov 5 BOE Meeting
The November 5 Board of Education meeting will be held as regularly scheduled, 7:30 in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.
11/02/12 > Update 11/2: Link to Dr. Kolek Letter to Parents

Update: Friday, November 2, 2012

Please click on this link to read the letter sent to NCPS parents  from Dr. Kolek, Superintendent of Schools.  

10/31/12 > Update: Schools Closed Thursday & Friday

Due to ongoing concerns with safety, including inaccessible roads and
lack of power,  New Canaan Public Schools will remain closed Thursday,
November 1 and Friday, November 2. We continue to work in close collaboration
with the Emergency Operations Center and will post and distribute
updates as new or additional information is available.

10/31/12 > Nov 3 SAT Exam Cancelled

The SAT exam scheduled for Saturday, November 3, 2012 at NCHS has been cancelled. Additional communication regarding the rescheduling of the SAT will be shared as information is made available from the College Board. If, in the interim, you have questions about alternative testing sites, walk-ins, registration, etc., please contact the College Board directly at (866) 756.7346 or (212) 713.8000 or visit their website at or using 

10/31/12 > Oct 31 Update from Dr. Kolek, Superintendent
We are aware that many members of our community continue to experience significant challenges as a result of the recent historic storm including inaccessible roads and lack of power. As safety is our first concern, New Canaan Public Schools will be closed until Monday November 5. We continue to work in close collaboration with the Emergency Operations Center and will post updates as new or additional information becomes available. We join with the community in thanking all of those who are serving the community with such dedication.

Mary Monroe Kolek, Superintendent
10/30/12 > Schools Closed Wed, Oct 31

The New Canaan Public Schools including all classes and activities will be closed on Wednesday October 31. Administrative staff will be notified via e mail later in the day regarding Wednesday's access to school offices.

We will continue to work closely with the Town Emergency Operations Center and will post updates about school and event schedules as conditions evolve. Information regarding town conditions can be found once on the site, click on the red banner.

10/29/12 > Oct 29 10:00 PM Update
The Ncps district remains closed on Tuesday. An update on the status of school for Wednesday will be provided after information on safety and road conditions is reviewed with the EOC on Tuesday. The telephones at the schools are currently not working and in some cases e mail may be interrupted; therefore, the most reliable communication remains through the district and EOC postings and EdConnect.
10/28/12 > Schools closed Monday and Tuesday

In anticipation of the forecast impact of Hurricane Sandy, the New  Canaan Public School District will be closed Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30.

We will continue to work closely with the Town Emergency Operations Center and will post updates as conditions evolve. Information regarding local conditions can be found at  Once on the site, click on the red banner.  

10/27/12 > Weather Update: Saturday 6:00 PM


We continue to remain in close contact with the Town Emergency Operations Center and at this time are planning to review conditions on Sunday afternoon . Updates will continue to be posted as noted on the website.

10/26/12 > Weather Condition Communication

The district is working in concert with the Town Emergencies Operation Center to monitor pending weather that might prove disruptive to the regular operations of the district. Updated information will be available on our website and communicated through traditional media outlets. We will use our Ed Connect system to contact families and staff in the event of school/district closings.

10/25/12 > Saturday: East School Fall Fair Spooktacular

The following was contributed by East School parents and Fall Fair co-chairs Carolyn Corcoran, Jennifer La Susa, and Cynthia Peiser.


Fall Fair Spooktacular
October 27, 2012

The Fall Fair Spooktacular will be held at East Elementary School on Saturday, October 27th from 9 am to 2 pm.  This annual family and community event is a major fundraiser for East Elementary School and helps fund school enhancements including technology, equipment, and other classroom improvements.  

Children of all ages can play carnival-style games and win tickets for prizes. They can climb through and jump in giant inflatables and walk through a haunted fun house.  Kids can also get a bandage or sling at the popular Hospital of Horrors.  Parents can participate by bidding at the silent auction. East School teachers, administrators, parents and the community have donated an exciting array of items and opportunities for fun-filled experiences. The Spooktacular also features face painting, arts and crafts activities, a fortuneteller, a cake walk, many food choices and a bake sale offering yummy Halloween snacks.  New this year, Starbucks coffee will be available for purchase.

The event, sponsored by East School and East PTC, will be held rain or shine.
Tickets are available for purchase at the door.

Reminder:  To direct traffic, Little Brook Road will be one-way during the fair. Cars will be permitted to travel westbound only, toward Route 123.

We hope to see you!

10/22/12 > South Students Show Spirit by Walking

South School Principal Joanne Rocco contributed the following news story.


Cloudy skies and the threat of rain couldn't dampen the spirits of anyone at South School. 83% of the families filled the streets as they participated in Walk to School Day on October 3. South School students walked to school with moms, dads, younger siblings, other relatives and pets, making this a much-anticipated family and community event.

Walk to School Day is part of the national Safe Routes to School initiative that began several years ago. Senior Town Engineer Tiger Mann approached the school administration as well as several town leaders with the vision of promoting healthy lifestyles by encouraging children to walk to school. This has become an annual fall and spring event at South School and helps to create an even stronger sense of community.

South School staff members are stationed on the sidewalks around the neighborhood cheering on the walkers. The police and volunteers from several agencies in town are stationed at all of the surrounding corners to help safely cross the children and families. After arrival at school, staff members lead the students in line dancing and more fun. All in all, it's a great day for children and adults alike!

10/17/12 > NCHS Theatre Opens with All in the Timing

New Canaan High School parent Patricia Oxman contributed the following
news story and Mary Bar contributed the photos.


New Canaan High School Theatre opens its 2012-2013 season Thursday evening with the hilarious play All in the Timing  by David Ives on October 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the New Canaan High School Auditorium. A total of twenty-six students in the cast and crew will present this offbeat comedy in eight acts. Each act takes a look at human relations in unique and unusual ways.

Daniel Klingenstein, who plays two different roles in the show says, "Either the settings are unbelievable and the circumstances are believable or the circumstances are believable and the settings are unbelievable." He's in a scene, which opens with three construction workers, seemingly normal, as they sit on scaffolding on a break - that is, until his character reveals that he is the long lost Lindbergh baby!

Student Production Manager  Jessica Brower says, "The show is very unusual but you can still connect with every scene." She adds, "Even in the most ridiculous situation, like flies falling in love, you can still relate to the lessons they teach you."

Alison Soderquist, a senior, is new to the school and has been "very impressed with every aspect of the drama program at the high school." She plays in an act in which she says, "A Universal language is spoken and although its gibberish the audience eventually can understand it."

Alison and Daniel both mentioned a metaphor of a Rubik's Cube in the show that speaks to the underlying meaning of the show. It's perfect and understandable until you mess it up and then it makes no sense. Says Alison, "The second somebody does some little thing it can mess up everything in a relationship." As the title reveals - it's All in the Timing.  

Tickets are available in the High School Lobby from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. October 15th through October 19th and one hour prior to show times. Tickets are $12 each.

Sponsors of the show include Ameriprise Mutual, Divaz Salon, Karl Chevrolet, Masonic Lodge of New Canaan, Milestones, New Canaan Cleaners, New Canaan Community Foundation, New Canaan Dance Academy, Parker Ear, Nose and Throat, Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan, The Studio, and Walter Stewart's Market.

10/10/12 > State Defines Excused/Unexcused Absences


In Connecticut, one of the statutory responsibilities of the State Department of Education is "to collect and publish comparable data on truancy." Connecticut law currently considers a student truant if he/she has four unexcused absences in a month or ten unexcused absences in a school year. Truancy data is used for multiple purposes including reporting to the federal government and identifying students and families in need of resources and support.

Since the definition of excused and unexcused absences had traditionally been determined by local Boards of Education throughout the state, data reported to the State Department of Education could not be measured comparably. In an act to improve consistency of collected data, the 2011 Connecticut General Assembly enacted Section 10-198b of the Connecticut General Statutes requiring "the State Board of Education, by July 1, 2012, to adopt definitions of 'excused absence' and 'unexcused absence' for use by local and regional boards of education statewide."

On June 27, 2012, the Connecticut State Board of Education adopted Definitions of Excused and Unexcused Absences. A pdf file of the definitions can be viewed by clicking the link and scrolling to the second page of the document. 

In a press release issued by the Connecticut State Department of Education, State Board Chairperson Allan Taylor explained, "Clearly, the statutory definition of truancy, coupled with divergent definitions of excused and unexcused absences by local districts, had created an uneven picture of truancy at the state level. In offering both a state definition and guidance for districts, this policy will give a clearer, comparable measure of attendance data statewide."

In New Canaan, the Board of Education is reviewing the alignment of its definitions of "excused" and "unexcused" absences with those of the State. Current New Canaan Board of Education Policies can be viewed in PDF format by clicking the link. Policies on attendance, excuses, and truancy can be found on pages 113 and 114.

10/08/12 > November 7: Meet Special Ed Administrators

Meet the Special Education Administrators:
The Nuts & Bolts of Special Education

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - NCHS Wagner Room

We would like to invite all Parents of Special Education Students to join us on November 7th to Meet our Special Education Administrators and learn details about the process of Special Education.

Darlene Pianka - Director of Pupil Personnel

Carole Pakkala -  Special Education Coordinator,
grades 6 to 12, Extended School Year

Mary Ann DeFelice - Special Education Coordinator,
grades Pre-K to 5, Extended School Year

This event is sponsored by the New Canaan Public Schools,
Department of Special Education.

  Co-sponsored by the Parent Advisory Committee to Darlene Pianka.
This year's PAC members are: Christine Yang (PreK), Kristin Angermueller,
Cynthia Peiser (EAST); Kate Kend, P. J. Marcella (WEST); Eva Kaufman (SOUTH);
Teri Reed, Kim Woodman, Meghan Cioffi (SAXE); and Peg Davidson (NCHS).

10/04/12 > New SAT Test Taking Policies & Procedures

Due to recent mandates by the College Board, now more than at any other time it is essential for students and their families to familiarize themselves with SAT test taking policies and procedures before they arrive at New Canaan High School on Saturday morning.

In an effort to reduce the stress of SAT testing, the College Board offers some great advice to students, "When test day arrives, be prepared." The new SAT policies and procedures are explained in the SAT Test day tips and policies section on the College Board's website.

According to NCPS teacher and Test Center Supervisor Christine Orlando, due to recent test taking irregularities in other communities, the College Board has made numerous adjustments to testing procedures and policies.  This Saturday's SAT testing will be the first time New Canaan is incorporating the new College Board test center procedures. Ms. Orlando said, "Cheating invalidates all tests taken within a test room. Our test room Associate Supervisors have been trained in the new procedures so we can establish an environment in which each student gets a fair shake because other students aren't cheating."  

Following are a few of the new College Board test center procedures. Complete detailed information is available on the College Board website .

Test Time:

7:00 - 7:15 am: Students arrive at NCHS to view test room assignment rosters posted outside the main entrance.

7:30 am: NCHS doors open, students enter the building, proceed through the first verification point, then will be directed by Hall Proctors to their assigned test rooms.

8:00 am: Testing is scheduled to begin.

• SAT/Reasoning testing ends between 12:30 and 1:00 pm

• Subject tests last one hour each, so a student's ending time depends on how many subject tests they are taking.

Note: Only test taking students and official SAT staff are allowed in the NCHS building (test center) during testing. Parents and members of the community will not be admitted into the NCHS building during testing. 

Two Verification Points:

• Each student must show their registration ticket and valid photo id upon entering the NCHS building and again when entering their test room.

• Expired identification is not an acceptable form of id.

• The six items printed on the registration ticket must exactly match the SAT registration roster used by SAT staff. These six items are: test center, test date, test type, date of birth, gender and name.

Note: The student's name on the registration ticket must exactly match the name on the student's valid id. For example, the name Charles Smith must appear on both his student id and registration ticket. If Charles' nickname "Chip Smith" appears on his id, but "Charles Smith" appears on his registration ticket, he would not be allowed admission into the building.

Behavior in the Test Room:

• Each student must bring pencils and a calculator. No mechanical pencils are allowed.

• Calculators are the only electronic device allowed to be active for students while in the NCHS building. Electronic devices including, but not limited to cell phones, PDAs, tablets, timers, cameras, and smoking devices must not be operational while in the NCHS building. Phones may not be turned on during breaks

• Smart phones and cell phones may not be used as calculators.

• Any behavior deemed suspicious or disruptive by the Test Center Supervisor or Associate Supervisors may lead to immediate dismissal of that student and possibly invalidate that student's test.

•Arrangements for student transportation should be made in advance of entering the NCHS building or after exiting the building. 

Break Time:

• No student may use a cell phone, even in hallways or restrooms.

• Snacks and beverages may be consumed during break, outside the test room.

• Students must carry their id and registration ticket at all times.

• Each students' id and registration ticket will be checked against the SAT registration roster upon re-entering the test room.

Waitlist Status:

• To obtain waitlist status, students must register online and in advance.

• A student's waitlist status must appear on the test center's registration roster.

• If room is available, waitlisted students will be admitted based upon their arrival time. 

Although some registration and admittance policies have changed, Christine Orlando assures students and their families that her testing staff is dedicated to creating as stress-free an environment as possible for the more than 500 students registered for Saturday's testing. Ms. Orlando suggests the best way for each student to reduce their own stress level is to prepare themselves in advance by following the College Board website checklist and "go with the flow." Christine advises families to "provide their student with a testing advantage by encouraging a good night's sleep, a healthy breakfast, hydration, early arrival and taking a deep breath when they sit down in their test room on Saturday morning."

10/01/12 > South School Fall Family Gathering

South School students
and their families
recently enjoyed the annual South Fall Family Gathering. This much anticipated Sunday afternoon tradition provides a casual atmosphere for South families to meet new friends and catch up with old friends.

 The gathering took place at South's back playground where everyone was free to run around and enjoy an afternoon of playing. The new addition to South's playground made this year's event even more exciting.

In addition to free play, planned activities included a bouncy castle, face painting, and the magic of The Amazing Andy. Families were invited to bring their own picnic foods or pre-order from Station Eats. To top off the fun there were sundaes for everyone!

Thanks to Oana Root for sharing her photos

9/27/12 > Saxe Fifth Graders Enjoy Fun Run and Walk

The following news story and photos were submitted by
Saxe Middle School Assistant Principal
Wendy McConaghy. 

On Thursday, September 20, all fifth graders and their families gathered at the New Canaan High School track for the Annual Fifth Grade Fun Run/Walk. As students transition to Saxe from the elementary schools, this event provides a relaxing, fun atmosphere for students and families to connect with familiar friends and meet new ones.  

The PTC provided t-shirts for all fifth grade students and staff. To boost spirits, everyone wore their t-shirts during the school day.

Although the weather was cool and cloudy it did not stop our energetic students from running, walking, or dancing laps around the track.  As students completed each lap, they were stamped with happy faces. After completing four laps, they earned an ice-pop. Some students completed as many as twenty laps!

The fifth grade would like to thank the PTC for sponsoring this event and committee members Janet Mitchell, Tracey Potter, Ruchi Pal, Eileen Boyd, and M.E. O'Connor for all their hard work.  A memorable evening was had by all!

9/25/12 > NCHS Names Can Hurt Assembly on 10/18


NCHS psychologist Sandra Warkentin and NCHS Counseling staff member Lori Keen have been working diligently with New Canaan High School students and staff in preparation for this year's presentation of the "Names Can Hurt" program at the high school.

Sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League's A World of Difference Institute,  the highly regarded "Names Can Hurt" program has been very well received by NCHS students and faculty in past years. More than 120 students and staff have volunteered to participate in this year's evening training sessions on September 27 and October 3.

According to Mses. Warkentin and Keen, "The 'Names Can Hurt' program, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, is a student centered program developed to teach respect for differences and to provide a safe forum where students can examine difficult issues and affect positive change.  Students and faculty will train together to prepare for this powerful assembly.  We will learn and embrace a common language as we honestly examine our roles over time as targets, bystanders, perpetrators and allies.  

"On the morning of October 18, all ninth and tenth graders will attend the Names assembly run by trained students and faculty members with our ADL leaders.  Students will have the opportunity to examine the way they treat each other and address ways New Canaan can combat bullying.  The assembly will be followed by breakout sessions where our students will have the opportunity to address this topic in a small group setting with trained facilitators.  The day will conclude with a culminating assembly where the students will be asked to formulate a school wide plan to reduce meanness and foster respect and tolerance.

"We are fortunate to have over 120 students and faculty who have volunteered their time.  New Canaan is lucky to have so many individuals committed to improving the climate of New Canaan High School."




9/21/12 > West Third Graders Paint Self-Portraits

West Elementary School Art teacher Elizabeth Zeiss shared the following photos and explanation of a recent lesson she taught her third grade art students.


"Third graders painted
their self-portraits using
a monochromatic palette.

This means that they chose one color, and then added black and white to the color to make it lighter and darker, creating tints and shades of the original color. This process requires a lot of patience."

When the self portraits were completed Ms. Zeiss said you could "look closely at all of the facial details such as eyelids, eyelashes, pupils, nostrils and hair color.

"By painting monochromatic (one color) self-portraits the students were also learning about tints and 


9/20/12 > NCHS Co-Curricular Activity Fair Friday

During the morning of Friday, September 21, New Canaan High School will host a Co-Curricular and Activity Fair. This annual event provides all NCHS students the opportunity to browse and select from the many co-curricular offerings available for them to join.

According to Webster's Online Dictionary, "Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) are activities that schools or colleges in some parts of the world (like Singapore), or individual schools, organise for students. They often serve to promote leadership skills, personal development, healthy recreation, self-discipline and confidence in pupils, and to create a well-rounded curriculum. They often take place outside curriculum hours, and may include musical groups, sports, uniformed groups or clubs and societies." 

As written to past and future NCHS activity advisors, "Our co-curricular clubs and organizations exist to provide all at New Canaan High School opportunities to pursue their interests, express their creativity and learn about or try something new, as well as a way for students and staff to find others within the high school community who share those interests and are eager to work collaboratively while having fun." 

This year's co-curricular activity categories include Interscholastic Academic Competition, Interscholastic Athletic Competition, Service, Interests and Hobbies, Cultural and Personal Awareness and Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities. There is no participation fee charged for any of these activities. 

As stated by NCHS Assistant Principal Ari Rothman, "This is an opportunity for the entire school community to come together and for students to learn about the co-curricular activities and organizations that are available for their participation. Student involvement and faculty sponsorship of co-curricular activities contributes to the culture of the school by providing all of us with new perspectives and opportunities to learn from each other."



9/14/12 > Friday 9/14: Rams Football Season Opener


The New Canaan High School Rams varsity football team will kick off their first game of the 2012 season tonight at 7:00 p.m. The Rams will face the Bassick Lions of Bassick High School in Bridgeport.

This first game of the season is also the Rams' first home game at Dunning Stadium.  Weather forecasters are predicting a picture perfect September evening so a large turnout by members of the New Canaan community is anticipated at Dunning Stadium.

Go Rams!

9/11/12 > Drama in the NCHS Parking Lot Saturday

On Saturday, September 15, students and parents of the NCHS Theatre program will hold their first fundraiser of the school year. The annual car wash and tag sale in the NCHS parking lot will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until 3:00 p.m.

According to NCHS Theatre parent Patricia Oxman, "The generous donations from drama loving supporters at the school make the sale more fun and exciting each year. The range of items for sale is tremendous - from small furniture, art, bicycles and other sports equipment to clothes, jewelry and so much more. The bargain hunters at the tag sale and car wash will not only go home with great deals and a clean car, but will support the award winning NCHS Theatre program.

"The program is gearing up for another amazing year of entertainment with three fun musicals, a fall play, and a drama festival. The program gives kids incredible opportunities in all aspects of the theater and gives the community some very fine entertainment."

Although they have already amassed a large trove of tag sale treasures, Ms. Oxman said they are still accepting donations through Friday. Those interested in contributing goods to the tag sale may contact Ms. Oxman by phone at 203.966.6160 or by email at


NCHS Theatre photo contributed by Mary Bar

9/10/12 > NCHS Social Studies Hosts 9/11 Assembly

On Friday, September 14, the NCHS Social Studies department will honor the memory of those lost and those affected by September 11, 2001 by presenting an assembly for students and members of the community. 9/11, A Call To Action will take place in the NCHS auditorium at 9:15 a.m. The assembly will include a presentation by Voices of 9/11 NCHS student interns Madeleine Diamond, Annie Fox and Jessica Karl. The students discuss the organization and their interships at

9/07/12 > 2012-13 Theater Season Announced by VPA

Visual and Performing Arts Director Alan Sneath has announced dates for upcoming NCHS and Saxe theater productions. "As is the tradition of New Canaan Public Schools, this will be another exciting year for our high school and middle school students who choose to participate in the many aspects of theater production," said Mr. Sneath. "Obviously many students are attracted to performing on stage, but as is the case in professional theater, the students who work backstage and behind the scenes are essential to the success of every show. Our programs offer all students the opportunity to be a part of the theater experience."

According to Mr. Sneath, this year's productions were chosen with both students and the community in mind. "We selected shows that will challenge and move our students forward. The process will be educationally sound and the end product will be engaging and entertaining. It is going to be a great year for New Canaan theater!"

Following are dates and times for this year's productions. Ticket information will be available closer to performance dates.

NCHS Upperclassmen Fall Play:
All in the Timing
Oct 18 - 7:30 p.m. (Thursday)
Oct 19 - 7:30 p.m. (Friday)
Oct 20 - 7:30 p.m. (Saturday)
NCHS Auditorium

Saxe 5/6 Musical:
Disney's 101 Dalmatians Kids
Nov 9 - 7:00 p.m. (Friday)
Nov 10 - 2:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Saxe Auditorium

NCHS 9/10 Musical:
Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland
Nov 16 - 7:00 p.m. (Friday)
Nov 17 - 2:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Nov 17 - 7:00 p.m. (Saturday)
NCHS Auditorium

NCHS Winter Musical:
Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Mar 21 - 7:00 p.m. (Thursday)
Mar 22 - 7:00 p.m. (Friday)
Mar 23 - 2:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Mar 23 - 7:00 p.m. (Saturday)
NCHS Auditorium

Saxe 7/8 Musical:
Once Upon a Mattress
April 4 - 7:00 p.m. (Thursday)
April 5 - 7:00 p.m. (Friday)
April 6 - 2:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Saxe  Auditorium

NCHS 26th Annual Drama Festival:
"The Unofficial, Unauthorized and Unabridged  Versions of Harry Potter!"
May 2 - 7:30 p.m. (Thursday)
May 3 - 7:30 p.m. (Friday)
May 4 - 7:30 p.m. (Saturday)
NCHS Auditorium

NCHS Spring Musical:
June 6* - 7:30 p.m. (Thursday)
June 7* - 7:30 p.m. (Friday)
June 8* - 7:30 p.m. (Saturday)
*June dates subject to change due to snow days
NCHS Auditorium

9/05/12 > NCHS Parent Open House & Art Opening

New Canaan High School administrators, teachers and staff will welcome NCHS parents to their school on Thursday evening. According to Assistant Principal Ari Rothman, "Our annual Open House will be held Thursday evening, September 6, at 7:15 p.m. with a brief introductory meeting for freshmen parents at 6:30 p.m in the auditorium. This is an opportunity to meet your child's teachers, find out about the various courses and become more acclimated with the programs and services available to all students at New Canaan High School."

During the open house the NCHS Art department will kick-off the 2012-2013 school year with its first exhibition of the year. The annual Summer Art exhibit will open in the NCHS lobby gallery and run for five weeks. NCHS Art teachers Jeanne McDonagh and Lisa Floryshak-Windman have been busy the past few days hanging artwork created by NCHS students and faculty over the summer. Ms. McDonagh said there was only one criterion for participation in this invitational exhibition,"You could exhibit any work you completed over the summer." Artwork was acceptable in 2D, 3D or video format and even as poetry or writings.

Included in this exhibition are works submitted by the following recipients of the Bernice Dobkin Hall Scholarship, sponsored by the Fritz Eager Foundation: Gina Tiani, Katie Melland, Isabelle Schipper, Olivia Donner and Alex Brannon.

NCHS faculty members Jessica Browner (Social Studies), Priscilla Schulz (Physical Education), Regina Thompson (Math), Michelle Luhtala (Media Center), Kathryn Clyne (Math), Robert Stevenson (Social Studies) Catherine Smith (Science), Lisa Floryshak-Windman (Art) and Jeanne McDonagh (Art) are also represented in the show.

The summer may have passed quickly, but evidently it was a creative and productive time for many NCHS students and faculty members. 

8/28/12 > Welcome to the 2012-2013 School Year!

Welcome Back!

First day of school at NCHS

Superintendent Mary Kolek, Assistant Superintendent Mary Beth Wilson
and NCHS Principal Bryan Luizzi

Interim Assistant Superintendent Gary Kass
with teachers at last week's Convocation

Dr. Mary Kolek addressing NCPS teachers
at Convocation on August 23

8/27/12 > Welcome from Superintendent Dr. Mary Kolek

Mary Monroe Kolek, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools 

August 2012

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the 2012-13 school year.  We are excited to be launching another productive year and have been preparing all summer in anticipation of our students' arrival on August 28. We especially welcome those families new to our district and invite you to be an active member of our school community.

We are proud of the effective and comprehensive program that we have designed to engage all of our learners academically, emotionally and socially, while challenging them to develop the skills to think critically and creatively. Students in all grades engage in inquiry and learn to use information-communication technologies safely and effectively. To prepare our students to be confident, capable and contributing members of a global society, we purposefully integrate effective communication skills, responsible citizenship and collaboration into all learning experiences.  From the earliest grades, students are encouraged to contribute to their school community as positive and ethical citizens and leaders.

New Canaan's performance results in academics, arts and athletics continue to be among the strongest in the state, and often nationally. Student assessment data and records reflect the district's commitment to rigorous and relevant student learning - placing us in a very good position as the state and nation prepare to introduce updated learning standards and expectations.  We are responding to these revisions, having already expanded and deepened our curriculum to meet student needs and community aspirations.

Administrators, curriculum leaders and teachers have devoted much of the summer to analyzing student performance, updating curricula and preparing Professional Learning for teachers to ensure that we continue to provide consistent, responsive instruction across the district. While there has always been a focus on positive school climate, this year it will be more systematic and we will engage the community in partnership so that our students encounter a consistent message in the many activities in which they participate. The district's Positive School Climate Committee will be leading this work - look for a new link on our website in the next few weeks or follow updates in school newsletters. 

As educators, we deeply appreciate that New Canaan is a community that views its children and youth as invaluable assets. Our commitment as a district is to honor your investment in education by achieving our motto of "Continuously Working to Develop Learners and Citizens who have the Competence, Character and Courage to Change the World."

Mary Monroe Kolek, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools


8/21/12 > NCHS Orientation for New Students

An invitation to students who are

new to the New Canaan

Public School District




Thursday, August 23


10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

New Canaan High School

11 Farm Road, New Canaan

8/13/12 > 2012-2013 Teacher Welcome and Agendas

New Canaan Public Schools

Mary Monroe Kolek, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools


August 10, 2012


Dear Colleagues,

Whether basking in the warmth of summer sun or chasing the glow of August evening fireflies, I hope these past few weeks have provided you with time to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.  I expect you are starting to feel the pull of the upcoming school year as the exciting promise of starting anew seems to have the same energizing effect whether we are entering year 1 or year 37 of our career. 

The New Canaan Public Schools continues to attract extraordinary educators, characterized by a passion for learning and professional expertise.  Already well-established and contributing as new members of the Central Office leadership team are Dr. Mary Elizabeth Wilson, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, and Mr. Gary Kass, Interim Director of Human Resources. Joining the Curriculum Leadership Council this year are Ms. Danielle Legnard, K-5 Math Coordinator, and Mr. Christian Dockum, New Canaan High School Science Department Chair.  To date, we have hired six new teachers: at the elementary level, one at Saxe, one at NCHS and one system wide assistive tech specialist.

The three-day orientation program for educators new to the district begins Monday, August 20, at 8:00 AM. On Monday and Tuesday, we will meet in the Wagner Room in New Canaan High School, and the third day of orientation will be in your respective schools. I am grateful to everyone who supports and participates in this important work, including administrators, coordinators and technical and support staff.  An A+ to Gary Kass and his very dedicated Human Resources staff for all their work on this vital initial event of the school year.

On Thursday, August 23, Convocation will be held at 7:30 AM in the NCHS cafeteria. A bountiful breakfast will be served, compliments of Food Service Director Bruce Gluck, his team, and PTC/PFA volunteers. Following breakfast, I will be joined by First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, Board of Education Chair Hazel Hobbs and NCEA President Vivian Birdsall in launching the new school year.

The first two professional development days of the year are scheduled for Friday, August 24, and Monday, August 27, from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. On Friday, as school faculties, we will renew our shared commitment to nurturing a positive school climate, continue to unpack, and study the Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning (TEPL) plan. TEPL steering committee members have worked industriously over the summer and, in response to your feedback from the June professional day, are crafting a system that reflects the beliefs and professionalism representative of New Canaan Public School educators. On Monday, the focus will be analysis of student performance information and responsive planning and at NCHS, NEASC.  You will receive additional information from our Professional Development team, who, together with curriculum leaders and administrators, continue to do an outstanding job of creating the conditions and learning opportunities that make us a vibrant professional learning community.

I look forward to seeing new teachers on Monday, August 20, at New Canaan High School and all of you at the Convocation on August 23.

Until then, enjoy the rest of your summer vacation.



8/03/12 > First Day of School: Tuesday, August 28

The first day of school for New Canaan Public Schools
will be on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

7/26/12 > In the event weather related conditions...
In the event weather related conditions prevent the New Canaan Public Schools from opening facilities or operating programs as usual, information will be posted on the district website.
6/20/12 > NCHS Graduates Class of 2012

6/19/12 > NCHS Students Enter Brain Dance Competition

The following was submitted by Ms. Amanda Langlais who teaches Family & Consumer Sciences and the UCONN Early College Experience at New Canaan High School.

Above: NCHS Individual & Family Development class trip to Hartford's Institute of Living.
The group is waiting to hear the grand lecture from a leading brain researcher.

Brain Dance Competition

New Canaan High School students interested in future careers in education; social services and medicine have the opportunity to take a college level human development course in conjunction with the University of Connecticut's Early College Experience Program.

As part of the unit on brain development over the lifespan, students were given the opportunity to enter Hartford Hospital's Brain Dance competition focused on reducing the stigma of mental illness. This is the third time New Canaan High School students have entered the competition.

The Brain Dance competition is sponsored by Hartford Hospital and allows students to apply their knowledge of human development to an authentic issue facing individuals with mental illnesses. The Brain Dance Competition is held at The Institute of Living in Hartford, CT which is a brain research center and health care facility specializing in neurological disorders.

The Brain Dance competition has challenged my students to take their knowledge and use it to positively impact others. I am honored to have Katie Budrawich (junior, class of 2013) win the Brain Dance competition in the multimedia category this year.

Above: Students in the museum next to an image of a brain used
for medical and mental health research.
Left to right: Cara Egan, Ashley Kong, Katie Budrawich and Catherine Leeber.


6/18/12 > NCHS Commencement on Wednesday


The following information comes from New Canaan High School Principal Dr. Bryan Luizzi.


The 2012 New Canaan High School commencement ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 20, at 5:00 p.m. on Dunning Field. The rain date for the ceremony is Thursday, June 21.

We will conduct the ceremony outdoors as long as there is no danger of lightning. If there is a passing shower or a temporary condition, we have the option of waiting it out for a short time.  However, if we definitely decide to move indoors or if you would like to check the status of graduation, we will post a message on phone number (203) 594-4000 (press option #1) and on the NCPS website by 3:00 p.m. on June 20.

Dunning Field will open at 3:30 for families and friends. The students and speakers will face the home-side bleachers. There will be ample room there for parents and other guests.

Families and guests should allow sufficient time to park and make their way to the ceremony. South School and Saxe will be available for additional parking if needed. A bus will be available to shuttle families from Saxe.

A mandatory graduation rehearsal will be held for graduating NCHS seniors on Wednesday, June 20, at 10:30 a.m.

6/15/12 > Lady Rams Lacrosse: CIAC Class M Champs

Congratulations to the New Canaan High School girls lacrosse team on their victory over the Wilton Warriors in this year's CIAC Class M championship. Following is a link to Dave Stewart's article that gives the full story on

Championship romp as New Canaan wins
Class M girls lacrosse title, 17-9

Written by Dave Stewart, 

Throughout the 2012 girls lacrosse season, the New Canaan Rams managed to pass nearly every test that was thrown their way. When the spotlight was at its brightest on Saturday afternoon, the Rams gave Wilton a crash course on why they are Connecticut's top-ranked girls lacrosse team.

With junior Olivia Hompe netting an astounding nine goals, the Rams captured their second CIAC Class M championship in three years with a resounding 17-9 victory over the Wilton Warriors at Bunnell High School in Stratford.

The win completed a 21-1 year for New Canaan, which was undefeated during the regular season. It also gave the Rams a bit of redemption after they were unceremoniously bounced from the FCIAC tournament by Darien in the semifinals. The Rams had their revenge on the rival Wave in the Class M quarterfinals, and Saturday's win over Wilton put the finishing touches on a remarkable spring.

Read more at Championship romp as New Canaan wins Class M girls lacrosse title, 17-9

6/14/12 > Impromptu Art Exhibit in the Garden at NCHS

Visitors to New Canaan High School this past week may have been a little surprised to see faces peering from the garden located at the main entrance to the school. The ceramic sculptures created by students in Lisa Floryshak-Windman's sculpture class were actually installed as an impromptu art exhibit.

According to Ms. Floryshak-Windman, "We had created these busts with the intention of putting them in the courtyard by the lounge - we tried them there and there was not much of an impact so we headed upstairs. The kids were excited about the outcome."

The following students from Ms. Floryshak-Windman's sculpture class participated in the creation of this temporary art installation: Elizabeth Crigler | Olivia Donner | Alexandra Gottlieb | Olivia Healy | Matthew Kinney | Kelsey Rowley | Corinne Vietorisz | William Young

6/13/12 > NCHS Filmmaker Wins National Recognition

The following article was submitted by New Canaan High School Filmmaking and Photography teacher Greg Scalzo.

Gita Abhiraman earned national recognition in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards of 2012, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Winning a Silver Medal for her documentary film 'Rodrigo', she has been identified by panels of professional artists as being among the most talented young artists in the nation. Gita qualified for the nationals by first winning a Gold Key and Best in Show in the category of Film and Animation at the Connecticut Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in January.

This year 20,000 works of art and writing were submitted to the Scholastic Art Awards. Only the top 1,500 entries were recognized at the national level. On June 1, 2012, Gita and approximately 800 fellow student honorees attended a ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

We are proud to have Gita represent New Canaan High School as a National Scholastic Art & Writing Award winner this year!

Click here to view Gita's video.

6/12/12 > A Memorable Day for the Saxe 8th Grade Band

Saxe Music teacher Mr. Ben Kibbey was eager to share the following account of a very special Saxe 8th Grade Band trip. The photos were contributed by Mr. Chris Coulter who is also a Music teacher at Saxe and accompanied the band on their outing.

Mr. Kibbey warming up the band prior to the adjudication.

Saxe Middle School 8th Grade Band members took part in a memorable event on Friday June 1st. The band attended its first music festival. The event was sponsored by Music in the Parks.

After a short rehearsal, the band students boarded buses at Saxe and headed for Bristol Central High School in Bristol, Connecticut. The Saxe Middle School 8th Grade Band performed two pieces for adjudication - their two premier pieces from this school year - "Encanto" by Michael W. Smith and the Freddie Mercury favorite "Bohemian Rhapsody," Arranged by Paul Murtha. 

After the competition, the Saxe Band students travelled to nearby Lake Compounce where they enjoyed a perfect sunny afternoon of rides, food, and fun. Of note to the Saxe Band members was the large presence in the park of band members from other schools.

Upon returning to Saxe, the Saxe Middle School 8th Grade Band learned they had received the first trophy in the history of the instrumental program at Saxe! Many band students commented that the event was a lot of work in preparation, but worth it when they performed on stage. "Of course the afternoon of rides didn't hurt either," commented one student upon returning to Saxe.

The event was such a success, Mr. Kibbey has already made a reservation for the 8th Grade Band to participate in next year's festival.

6/11/12 > Interim Assistant Superintendent Announced


Interim Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources


Dr. David Abbey, Superintendent, and Dr. Mary Kolek, Superintendent Elect, are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Gary Kass as Interim Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources beginning July 1, 2012. Mr. Kass will be filling the position vacated by Dr. Steven Swerdlick, who is retiring.

Mr. Kass recently retired as the highly successful principal of Burr Elementary School in Fairfield, where he served for eight years. Prior to that, he also received high praise as principal of Dwight Elementary School, also in Fairfield. Mr. Kass also served one year as the interim principal of West School in New Canaan and for fifteen years was an elementary teacher at West School. In a sense, it is a homecoming for Mr. Kass, one he looks forward to eagerly.

Mr. Kass not only brings a wealth of instructional expertise, he comes to New Canaan from a nearby community, one he understands, with knowledge that will serve him well. During his career he has also served as a curriculum leader, a district facilitator, and a mentor. As a principal, he has had responsibilities for managing labor contracts, dealing with employment issues, teacher recruitment, and the selection of non-certified staff.

Dr. Kolek is excited to have such an experienced, well regarded educator join her team and welcomes Mr. Kass on behalf of the entire New Canaan Public Schools community.

6/10/12 > Assistant Superintendent Swerdlick to Retire




Friday, May 25, 2012




Superintendent of Schools David Abbey announced today that Steven Swerdlick, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, announced his retirement yesterday, effective June 30, 2012. Dr. Swerdlick has been employed by the New Canaan Public Schools for 13 years. "Steve has done an extraordinary job. His contributions have been many and varied, including assembling a terrific faculty and staff. He has led numerous searches for key administrative positions as he worked to recruit top level talent to the district," Abbey said. Vivian Birdsall, president of the New Canaan Education Association (NCEA), offered, "People have enormous respect for Steve. He is fair, understanding and cares about the people he's entrusted with." In explaining Dr. Swerdlick's concern and connection to the teaching faculty, Ms. Birdsall specifically mentioned several occasions when Dr. Swerdlick went above and beyond to help teachers work through difficult issues that they were dealing with.


Swerdlick was hired as Director of Human Resources in 1999 and promoted to Assistant Superintendent in 2005. "Steve has a unique blend of training and experience in public school teaching and administration as well as in the private sector as a human resources executive in the corporate world," Abbey explained. He credited Dr. Swerdlick with utilizing technology in the service of building a first-rate and highly professional HR Department that has been of enormous benefit to the district. Abbey also noted that Dr. Swerdlick was instrumental in developing PEGS, the district's Professional Evaluation and Growth System, used to support and evaluate teachers and he is currently co-leading the effort to update it through the Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning (TEPL) committee.


In his letter of resignation Dr. Swerdlick wrote, "This was a very difficult decision to make because it has been a privilege to work in New Canaan. It would be hard to find another school district as close to a model of public education as New Canaan."


In addition to the splendid work that he has done on behalf of the district, Dr. Abbey is grateful that Dr. Swerdlick has offered to help out beyond his official retirement date. Abbey and Dr. Mary Kolek (current Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent as of July 1, 2012) are working on a HR transition plan for the 2012-2013 school year. Future developments will be announced to the public.


6/08/12 > NCHS Theatre Wins at Musical Theatre Awards

The fourth annual Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards were held on Monday evening, June 4, at the Palace Theater in Waterbury Connecticut.

NCHS senior Michael DeMattia received the "Student Producer Award," while Lizzie Emond received the "Outstanding Student Achievement Award." NCHS Theatre Program Technical Director Kevin Gleason received the award for "Outstanding Lighting Design." All three awards were given for work on the New Canaan High School winter musical "Sweet Charity."

Local theatre goers fortunate enough to have experienced the New Canaan High School Theatre production of "Sweet Charity" can appreciate why this stellar production was nominated for thirteen awards in this year's competition. 

6/07/12 > NCHS & Glass House Partnership Celebration

New Canaan High School Photography and Digital Media teacher Jeanne McDonagh is very proud to share that this year "advanced students exhibited 45 photographs reflecting the Educational Partnership experiences with the National Trust for Historic Preservation at The Glass House. This year's oral history projects included visits to the Philip Johnson compound and the mid-century modern homes of architects John Black Lee and Eliot Noyes. 

"Student projects are on exhibit at the Visitors Center and have a visible presence on The Glass House website in both the Educational Partnership section and the Educational Partnership blog page."

In addition to student photographs, a film interview with Fred Noyes (son of architect Eliot Noyes) by NCHS student Harrison Harkey is on view at The Glass House exhibition.

NCHS students Annie Fox and Alex Brannan with architect John Black Lee

There will be a
Community Celebration in recognition of
The Philip Johnson Glass House & New Canaan High School Partnership Tuesday, June 12, 2012 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
at The Glass House Visitor Center, 199 Elm Street, New Canaan

This event is made possible by a generous grant from the NCHS PFA


6/06/12 > A Special Visit with Walter Wick

This past spring, NCHS Art teacher Jeanne McDonagh accompanied her Advanced Digital Photo and Advanced Placement Studio Art Digital Media students on a very special field trip to the Bruce Museum in Greenwich. The Bruce was presenting a major new exhibition titled Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic.

Walter Wick is the award-winning author, photographer and creator of the Can You See What I See? books and co-creator of the very popular I Spy series. A retrospective of Mr. Wick's work from 1973 through the present, the exhibition includes photographs from early in his career as a commercial photographer, some of the actual 3-dimensional constructions appearing in his books and behind-the-scene videos of the artist at work crafting his unique photographic illustrations.

A visit to this comprehensive exhibition would have been a valuable experience for the young photographers, but this field trip was even more special. Mrs. McDonagh and her students had been invited to visit Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic by Walter Wick, who also offered to be their personal docent. According to Jeanne, the opportunity for this meeting with Mr. Wick had arisen quite unexpectedly.

Mrs. McDonagh had assigned her students a project to explore their own personal voices. As part of their exploration, she suggested they find someone connected to digital media and photography who inspires them. Each student began their personal exploration - one worked in large format film documenting skate boarders, another experimented with strobe lighting to capture motion, while another explored photographically freezing liquid in motion. One student's interest was to creatively photograph toys. Aware of the Walter Wick exhibition coming to the Bruce Museum, while knowing most high-school-aged children have grown up with his books, Jeanne suggested to her student that she explore Wick's work on his website.

Since Walter Wick Studio is nearby in Hartford, Ms. McDonagh and her student sent an email to ask if their class could possibly visit. In the email, they suggested he familiarize himself with NCHS student artwork by visiting their online digital portfolios. To their surprise, Mr. Wick emailed back almost immediately. He suggested he meet with the class at the Bruce Museum, since most of his work and constructions were in the Bruce exhibition. Jeanne has since discovered Walter Wick is often asked to speak with groups, but usually declines. He agreed to this visit because he felt the student work he viewed online in the digital portfolios was exceptional.

Walter Wick met Mrs. McDonagh and her twenty-five students at the Bruce Museum and spent two hours answering questions and discussing how he creates and prepares for a photo shoot and how he uses lighting to create different effects. He explained how he now incorporates digital technology into his creations. Most important of all, he shared that he had studied photojournalism in school, but even in his early 20's he was most interested in optical illusions and reflections, still very evident in his work today - his personal voice.

To learn more about Walter Wick visit

To view student work visit

6/06/12 > Outstanding Seniors Receive CABE Awards

Dr. Abbey presented the 2012 CABE Student Leadership Award to New Canaan High School seniors Kellianne Hickey and Doug Reilly at the June 4th Board of Education meeting. Following is a link to the complete story written by Emily Constance, editor at NewCanaanPatch.

Kellianne Hickey and Doug Reilly Grab 2012 CABE Awards
Dr. David Abbey presented the NCHS seniors with the prestigious award.
By Emily Constance, NewCanaanPatch

Two of New Canaan High School's finest were presented with the 2012 CABE Student Leadership Awards by Superintendent Dr. David Abbey at the Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Doug Reilly and Kellianne Hickey, both seniors, were honored in front of the public and the board with the prestigious award, which is available to one boy and one girl per district. 

Staff provide principals the names of students who exhibit: the capability to make difficult decisions, concern for others, the ability to work with others, a willingness to commit to a project, diplomacy, the ability to understand issues clearly, and the ability to honor a commitment.

CABE (Connecticut Association of Boards of Education) states its mission as being: "To assist local and regional boards of education in providing high quality education for all Connecticut children through effective leadership."

Read more at Kellianne Hickey and Doug Reilly Grab 2012 CABE Awards

6/05/12 > Ram Girls Lacrosse Move Past Darien in States

Congratulations to the top-seeded NCHS girls lacrosse team! On Monday, the lady Rams beat Darien in the CIAC Class M girls lacrosse quarterfinals held at Dunning field. Following is a link to the complete story from Dave Stewart of

New Canaan sends Darien packing
in State girls lacrosse quarters

Written by Dave Stewart,

Had Kristin Wood drawn up a blueprint for success for her New Canaan Rams, it most likely looked a lot like the first half of Monday's CIAC Class M girls lacrosse quarterfinal at Dunning Field.

Wood's Rams played a calm, cool, and collected game, gaining possession often, settling the pace, finding their shots, and, when needed, playing lockdown defense against one of the State's strongest teams.

The result was a 6-0 halftime lead which propelled New Canaan to a 9-6 victory in a grudge match against rival Darien. The Blue Wave handed the Rams their only loss of the season two weeks ago in the FCIAC semifinals, and this latest victory helped put some of that disappointment to bed.

"We played a with a lot of composure and that was one thing we've been practicing over the last two weeks since we saw them last," Wood said. "We wanted to play our game, settle, and score."

Read more at New Canaan sends Darien packing in State girls lacrosse quarters

6/04/12 > One of the Best Things About East

The following letter was written by East School fourth grader Alexandra to new-to-East students coming from South School. According to East School Assistant Principal Kristine Woleck, "it is a letter that captures many of the events that are held at East - some that will be familiar to those from South and some that will be new to the children."

Dear New Students From South,

I am so excited that you are coming to East! East is so much fun. I know you will love it here.

One of the best things about East are the teachers. They are amazing! The teachers are encouraging, kind, and funny. They are also willing to help you with anything you need. At East School, we hold lots of fun events like our Fall Fair right before Halloween. We have assemblies called Celebrations of Learning and we also have Pasta Night and Bingo Night. One of the most well-known activities is Field Day. We have many games out on the field and you even get popsicles.

At East, we congratulate the people that have been modeling our motto, "Work Hard, Be Kind". Those people might receive a Golden Ticket or a Molly Award at a Celebration of Learning.

Always remember that our symbol is the Eagle. I love it. I think it is really cool. You can even have your picture in the yearbook at the end of the year.

Welcome to East!

6/01/12 > NCHS Students Receive Recognition

New Canaan High School  Recognition Assembly
June 1, 2012

New Canaan High School students assembled in the auditorium this morning for the annual NCHS Recognition Assembly. During the program, outstanding seniors, juniors and sophmores were recognized for their achievements. Following is a list of the awards and recipients. A more detailed version is available on the New Canaan High School website and may be accessed by clicking on awards.

Overall Achievement Awards


Presidential Scholar Semi-Finalist: JACKSON BUSCH

National Hispanic Scholar: CHARLES LANDIS

Principal's Leadership Award: LUKE McDERMOTT | MOLLY ROBUSTELLI

Principal's Achievement Award: LEAH FLEMING | TESS LITCHMAN

Principal's Service Award: MICHAEL DeMATTIA | JULIA TUTTLE

Fairfield County Association of Secondary Schools Principal's Scholar Leader Awards: JACKSON BUSCH | MADELINE RUSSELL

AAUW Awards for Distinguished Academic Performance: HOLLY BURWICK | JARED MEICHNER

Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Student Leadership Award: KELLIANNE HICKEY | DOUGLAS REILLY

Connecticut Association of Schools Fine Arts Scholar Awards: KATHERINE BARYMOW | RYAN WALSH


Connecticut Association of Schools Governor's Scholar of CT Award: QUINN GRUVER

Art Awards 

Fritz Eager Memorial Purchase Awards: KATHERINE BARYMOW | ISABEL GLATTHORN | KATY HO


Jennifer Ann Zucco Award for Achievement in Visual Art: DYLAN NEUHAUS

Arthur Szyk Award for Commitment to the Arts: ISABEL GLATTHORN

Pennyweights Award for Achievement in Arts: CAMERON LANCASTER

Gregory Todd Memorial Award for Filmmaking: KELLEN TENSEN

Peter Kingsbury Award for Film: KATHERINE GILHOOL

Business Education Awards


New Canaan Board of Realtors Award: CHRISTOPHER GREEN

Reynolds & Rowella Strength in Numbers Scholarship: JAKE MILLER | LUCIAN SORO

Excellence in Business Education College Scholarship: JAKE SOCCI

Drama Awards

The Kiwanis Club of New Canaan in Memory of Peter B. Linden:

Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theatre: MICHAEL DeMATTIA | SAMANTHA TESLUK


The Court Miller Award for Achievement in Acting: ALEXA HOLZBERGER | ALI RUSCH

The Director's Award: OLIVIA MARCUS

English Awards

The V. Donald Hersam, Sr. Memorial Award for Excellence in English: SARAH BOCCHICHIO |ELIZABETH KILBRIDE

The V. Donald Hersam, Sr. Memorial Award for Excellence in Journalism: DANIELLE SORCHER

The Mary R. Smith Award for Literary Exploration: ANNE ACHENBAUM | LACHLAN LANCASTER

The Spectator Award: KELLY SAIZ

Department Award for Excellence in the Study of American Literature: TESS MUSKY-GOLDWYN

Family and Consumer Sciences Awards

Outstanding Achievement in Child Development & Family Studies: CAROLINE PICARD | KATE WEISENSEEL

Shirley Frank Award for Outstanding Achievement in Family and Consumer Science: GENESIS ARELLANO 

Outstanding Achievement in Culinary Arts: ABBY STEVENSON

World Languages Awards

Excellence in Spanish: JOHN SANTORO

Excellence in French: ADELYN GRAF

Excellence in Latin: MICHAEL KESHIN

Excellence in Chinese: HARRISON BESSER

The Carl Howard Memorial Scholarship: CATHERINE LANDERS

The Celine Berliet Memorial Award in Classics: GREGORY ZALES

Library Award

Mary Long Library Service Award: MICHAEL DeMATTIA

Mathematics Awards

Departmental Award in Mathematics: MAGGIE O'ROURKE

The A. K. Littlefield Award: MADELINE RUSSELL

Performing Arts Awards


Outstanding Contribution to the Band: BEN GRANATH

Excellence in the Field of Music: JACOB REISS

Louis Armstrong Award for Excellence in Jazz: GREGORY ZALES

John Philip Sousa Band Award: RYAN WALSH


Outstanding Female Vocalist: ALEXANDRA POTENZA

Outstanding Male Vocalist: ANDREW GRUSEKE

Outstanding Contribution to the Vocal Music Program: JACOB PRIEST

Outstanding Student in Music Theory: JARED MEICHNER


Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition: JAMESON FAIRCHILD | EVAN TURIANO



Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Orchestral Artistry: EMMA TOBEY

The Richard Serbagi Award for Musical Excellence: RYAN WALSH

Science Awards

Department Award for Excellence in Physics: MICHAEL KESHIN

Department Award for Excellence in Chemistry: BROOKE DECKER

Department Award for Excellence in Biology: DAVID LUCHS

Pennyweights Award for the Outstanding Student in Science: MAGGIE O'ROURKE 

Bausch & Lomb Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science by a Junior: LANA DELVECCHIO

Social Studies Awards

The Robert Gardner Award: JACKSON BUSCH

Department Award for Excellence in World History: GITA ABHIRAMAN | SAM KRAMER

Veterans of Foreign Wars for Excellence in United States History: OLIVIA HOMPE 

The Tony Pavia Award for Demonstrated Passion for the Study of United States History: KIT CLEMENTE LaBRUM

New Canaan Historical Society Award for Outstanding Achievement in United States History: ALEX YUDITSKI

Department Award for Outstanding Achievement in European History: SARAH BOCCHICHIO | DAVID LUCHS

League of Women Voters of New Canaan Award: CHRISTOPHER DIJS

Technology Education Awards

Outstanding Achievement in Engineering: PETER CASTROVINCI

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Communications: TERESA MONTANARI

Perannos Yearbook Design & Publication Award: AMANDA CHIN | KENDALL DANFORTH | CARLY DUMBAULD


Excellence in Technology Education College Scholarship: HARRISON HARKEY

Special Awards

The Richard P. Bond Award: DYLAN KAVOOKJIAN

Bradley Fetchet 9/11 Memorial Award: RAMI HAMDAN | JULIA TUTTLE




Jack Jacobs Congressional Medal of Honor Award for Citizenship: CARA EGAN

The Pheidippides Award: DENA LABRIE

Prudential Spirit of Community Award: JACQUELINE TRAGER

Melanie Weeks Sammarco Memorial Award: JON DiBENEDETTO

Leo E. Karl Sr. Community Service Award: JENNIFER CURT

Jack Dempsey Award: KALIN KILLINGER

The Suzanne Farrell Memorial Award: CATHERINE LANDERS

The Daughters of the American Revolution Award: FARAH MARTIN

Richard Frisbee Memorial Award: KATIE KRUEGER

New Canaan Community Foundation Community Impact Award: KATHERINE MONCURE

The Young Women's League Award for Community Service: LAUREN JANSEN


World Affairs Forum Future Global Leader Award: CHARLIE FREYRE

New Canaan Girl Scouts Award: KELLEN TENSEN

Gary Field Coalition Award for Outstanding Service: GREGORY BREA

Outstanding Leadership by a Junior Member of the Student Coalition: MOLLY JAMES | KATIE KUBERRA | HARRISON MILLER

NCHS Parents and Faculty Association Award for Outstanding Service and Loyalty: CHRISTOPHER DIJS | JILLIAN NEUBERGER | ZACH EDWARDS | MEGAN PAUL | EMILY LORD | JACOB PRIEST

Rotary Club of New Canaan Community Service Award: ELIZABETH JURCIK


Friends of New Canaan Library Student Volunteer Award: EMILY LAMBDIN 

Student Advocates Award: ALEXANDRIA GESING

New Canaan Library Student Award: AMANDA CHIN

The Waveny Care Center Volunteer Award: FRANCESCA DeROSA

New Canaan Administrators Association Dr. David Abbey Scholarship: CATHARINE KEEFFE

The Edwin Bennett Dixon Memorial Award given by the Gridiron Club of New Canaan: HARRISON HARKEY

Bob's Sports - The Don Guenin Award: SARAH MANNELLY | KEVIN McDONOUGH


Junior Book Awards

Barnard College: QUINN GRUVER

Brown University: MEGHAN CALLAHAN

University of Chicago: JULIA HARDY

Columbia University Club of Fairfield County: DICHEN YIN

Cornell Club of Fairfield County: SAMUEL MURRAY

Dartmouth Club of Fairfield County: HARRISON BESSER

Gettysburg College: MATTHEW WINDAS

Harvard Club of Fairfield County: SARA LEVINE

College of the Holy Cross: ISABEL HERDE

University of Michigan: QUINN GRUVER

Mount Holyoke Club of Fairfield Villages: MOLLY JAMES

Oberlin Club of Westchester and Southern Connecticut: GIULIANA SAVINI

Princeton Club of New Canaan: OLIVIA HOMPE

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: HARRISON BESSER

Smith College: ANNA KUNZ


Vassar College: JOHN LUDTKE

Wellesley College: REBECCA TRINKLEIN

The Yale Club of Lower Fairfield County: WILLIAM BURGER

5/30/12 > Oklahoma at NCHS Friday & Saturday

5/29/12 > NCHS Rams: FCIAC Lacrosse Champions!

Congratulations to the New Canaan High School boys lacrosse team on their FCIAC Championship win over Ridgefield Friday night. Following is more on the story from Dave Stewart of

New Canaan lacrosse captures first FCIAC crown since 2003
Written by Dave Stewart,

The New Canaan Rams captured their first FCIAC boys lacrosse championship since 2003 as they rallied from a four-goal halftime deficit and defeated the Ridgefield Tigers, 11-9, in the conference final Friday night at Brien McMahon High School.

New Canaan goalie Tom Carey made nine saves to finish off a fantastic tournament with MVP honors. The defense, led by Hunter Budd, Kevin McDonough, Eric Persky, and John Rhudy, also had a huge night to help nail down the win.

The FCIAC championship was the first for head coach Alex Whitten, who has been with the Rams for five seasons. Whitten's Rams reached the FCIAC final in 2010, losing to Greenwich, 5-4, and have twice been the runners-up in the State tournament.

Read more at  New Canaan lacrosse captures first FCIAC crown since 2003.

5/25/12 > NCHS Seniors Honored as Scholar-Leaders

New Canaan High School freshmen Malaki Holan, Mario Halili and Kevin Kurtzman
assisted with the awards dinner held at NCHS on May 17.

On Thursday, May 17, NCHS hosted the annual Fairfield County Association of Secondary School Principals Scholar-Leader Dinner at which two graduating seniors - one woman and one man - were recognized by each of the high schools in the conference. Honorees are selected for their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership in the school community and exemplary character and integrity. The program consists of each principal introducing his/her school's 'Scholar-Leaders' and then the two introducing each other in further, often whimsical, detail. NCHS' honorees this year were Madeline Russell and Jackson Busch. 

5/24/12 > Warm Welcomes for New-to-East Students

In response to concerns that South Elementary School is presently utilized at full capacity and cannot accommodate additional sections of K-4 classes, and after extensive research and thoughtful consideration of input from the community, on May 7 the New Canaan Board of Education voted to adopt Option #2 from Dr. John Starr's Demographic Study. Option # 2 moves elementary students from Avalon Drive East, Avalon Drive West, and New Norwalk Road south of Lakeview Drive from South Elementary School to East Elementary School. 

Quickly responding to the Board's decision, South Elementary Principal Joanne Rocco, East Elementary Principal Bunny Potts and East Assistant Principal Kristine Woleck have joined together to create and provide the smoothest possible transition for the "new-to-East" students coming from South.

On Tuesday, Joanne Rocco reported "We had a very successful transition meeting today at South for families who will be transferring to East. Bunny and Kris came over and did a great job of making the students and parents in attendance feel welcome and comfortable with the move. They talked about similarities and differences between the two schools, accentuating the similarities and talking about many of the new and fun experiences they'll participate in at East School

"Students and parents had all of their questions answered about schedules, placement, transportation, transfer of information between the two schools, before and after school programs, school events, etc. Bunny and Kris asked each student to take a form, to fill out information about themselves that they would want Bunny, Kris and the teachers to know about them. Parents were invited to send letters regarding important information about placement for their children. Each child was also given a green East School pencil with their school motto on it.

"Many parents expressed their appreciation for helping to begin the transition process for their child in such a positive way. The upbeat and welcoming demeanor of Bunny and Kris went a long way towards helping everyone to begin to feel a part of their new school. East School was offering a tour immediately after this meeting, so many of the parents followed Bunny and Kris over to tour their campus. All in all, it was a very positive way to begin the transition process."

According to Kristine Woleck, East students have been writing welcoming letters to the "new-to-East" students at South, sharing what they'll love about East. Following are quotes from some of the letters written by East fourth graders:

"Welcome to East School! Our motto is 'Work Hard, Be Kind', or try your best. East School is a school to look forward to joining. Have fun!"

"You will love East School. We have fun assemblies and yummy lunches. We have nice teachers for every subject. You play fun game at gym and recess. You will make lots of friends. You will love East School!"

"I think you will like East school for lots of reasons. We have lots of special assemblies and great opportunities to learn, like the newspaper and Wee Deliver."

"What makes East School a good school is that you will get a big playground, a good teacher, make good friends, and also have a good community and the best school year ever."

"You will love East School because there are great teachers. We have great school lunches like pizza. We also have great playground equipment. And everyone is very kind at East School. I'm sure you will love it here!"

"You are going to LOVE East School! To start, all of the kids and teachers are really nice. They will help you in any way that they can."

"East is a wonderful place to make friends … So welcome to East and have a great time with your new friends and teachers."

"We are so happy you are coming here."

"I love East and I bet you will too!"

Fourth Graders at East School
"P.S. The food is great."

East students also created this informative "Wordle" to help the South kids "know about some of what's great about East." With all the warm welcomes and sharing between staff, students and families, it sounds like there's a lot of what's great about New Canaan!

5/23/12 > Helicopter Cancelled: Veterans Assembly On

UPDATE MAY 25, 2012: Due to today's weather conditions, the Marine helicopter landing at NCHS has been cancelled. The Veteran's luncheon and Memorial Day Veteran's Assembly at 1:00 will take place as scheduled.

Don't be surprised if you see or hear a military helicopter landing or taking off in the vicinity of Farm Road on Friday, March 25. At 10:00 a.m., in honor of Memorial Day, Lt. Colonel Pete McConnell is scheduled to land a CH-53E Super Sea Stallion helicopter (known as the 'Chinook' in the Army) in the fields between the high school and the Waveny Care Center. NCHS students will be excused briefly from their classes to view the landing. The helicopter will remain at this location until 2:30 p.m. when it is scheduled to take off. Eight United States Marines will remain with the helicopter throughout its stay.

The Marines will fly the helicopter over the water towers, land in the field and shut down. About 15 minutes later NCHS students will be invited to board the aircraft to take a look, then walk out through the rear of the craft. According to Richard Webb of the NCHS Social Studies Department, "this is routine for the Marines to show off the aircraft and will have three or four Marines on the aircraft to answer any questions the students may have. The Marines do this at air shows across the country a few times a year."

At 12:00 noon the NCHS Social Studies Department will host a luncheon to honor a select group of United States Military Veterans along with the eight Marine pilots and nine panelists who will be speaking at the Memorial Day Veterans Assembly at 1:00 p.m. Social Studies teacher Stephen Vehslage explained this year's assembly will include an opening song performed by a NCHS junior, a brief film and remarks from the panelists on "Why Memorial Day." The assembly will end at 2:05 p.m.

Due to time, space and parking limitations, attendance at the assembly and boarding of the helicopter will be restricted to NCHS students only.

5/22/12 > NCPS Assistant Superintendent Selected

New Canaan Public Schools

Appointment of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

Dr. David Abbey, Superintendent, and Dr. Mary Kolek, Superintendent Elect, are extremely pleased to share the news that we have been very successful in recruiting and selecting Dr. Mary Elizabeth Wilson, a highly regarded and accomplished educational leader. Dr. Wilson is recognized across the Tri-State region as a thoughtful educational leader and is described as passionate, visionary, collaborative and hard working.  Her colleagues and those she supervises note that she is able to work effectively with others to develop capacity and to put vision into action for the benefit of students. Her involvement in STEM initiatives and experience as a researcher and science educator as well as her background with grants and community partnerships will be an asset to New Canaan.

Dr. Wilson currently serves as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Mt. Pleasant Central School District, Thornwood, New York and has previously worked as Associate Director of Applied Research, American Museum of Natural History.  In addition she has served as a District Supervisor of Science for Harrison Central District, Science Department Chair at Byram Hills High School and as a Science Middle School Dept. Chair at Horace Mann High School.  She has a doctorate from Columbia University, and an Ed. M. in both Educational Leadership and Applied Physiology. She also has a M.S. in Applied Physiology. Her undergraduate degree is in Human Performance and Physical Education.

 Dr. Wilson emerged as the recommended choice of the district search committee which was chaired by Dr. Steve Swerdlick and included teachers, administrators, curriculum leaders and BOE representatives Alison Bedula and Mary Kelly Freiberg.  Dr. Wilson impressed everyone involved in the search and was universally praised by her references.  A number of New Canaan faculty are familiar with Dr. Wilson's outstanding work as a result of her involvement with Tri-State Consortium and her recent service as co-chair of our Science Visit. Dr. Wilson is thrilled to accept the position.

Hazel Hobbs, Chair of the Board of Education, upon learning of the selection, offered high praise for Dr. Wilson, whom she feels has outstanding qualifications.  Dr. Abbey and Dr. Kolek are pleased to welcome Dr. Mary Beth Wilson as a member of New Canaan's outstanding team of educational leaders. Dr. Kolek is  looking forward with great anticipation to working with Dr. Wilson whom she describes as a student centered,  instructional leader fully committed to collaborating with others in pursuit of the district's goal of continuous improvement.

Dr. Wilson will formally assume her new position on July 1st

5/22/12 > NCHS DepARTure Sr. Show Opens May 23

New Canaan High School's 25th Annual Senior Art Exhibition
Wednesday, May 23 to June 12, 2012
Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 23, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The following artwork and article were supplied by participants in the Senior Art Show:

The night of May 23rd marks a very special moment for a group of New Canaan High School seniors: "DepARTure" the Twenty-Fifth Annual Senior Art Exhibition. This is the largest senior exhibition in the history of New Canaan High School. The school gallery will exhibit senior work and feature twenty-four one-person retrospectives in a variety of media including clay, drawing, painting, photography, jewelry, graphics, and video. The opening party will include live music and complimentary refreshments. The show will open at 6:00 p.m.

The Senior Art Show allows students, many of whom will be attending art school next fall, to generate a one-person exhibit that is entirely their own creation. NCHS's senior show is unique in that it challenges any senior to present his or her work inside their own space as a one-person "retrospective" of art that can be drawn from anything the student has created throughout their high school years. The organization of this exhibit is meant to draw attention to each student's individual portfolio and distinctive artistic style - their personal "voice". The challenge of evaluating and displaying one's own work is exciting and demanding to the artistically talented students.

Molly Fox, Max Aliapoulios and Isabel Glatthorn are coordinating the student responsibilities for planning and organizing the event with the advice given from their art teachers, Jeanne McDonagh, Lisa Floryshak-Windman and Greg Scalzo. The student responsibilities include creating the exhibit's logo and title to the general publicity of the show. The senior exhibit will also give three seniors an opportunity to have their work selected and purchased for the NCHS Fritz Eager Art Collection. These works of art will then be on permanent display throughout the high school and the NCPS district offices. This art collection began in 1969 in the memory of New Canaan High School art student Fritz (Frederick) Eager. The selection committee is comprised of members of the high school staff and a committee of outside artists.

The following students will be presented in one person exhibits in New Canaan High School's 25th Annual Senior Art Show: Max Aliapoulios, Christian Atherton, Katherine Barymow, Alexander Bordelon, Griffin Driscoll, Molly Fox, Nicole Giusti, Isabel Glatthorn, Katie Ho, Abby Hersam, Abby Hoelzer, Lauren Jansen, Cameron Lancaster, Paget Millard, Katherine Moncure, Andrea Mullaney, Dylan Neuhaus, Megan Paul, Ali Rigo, Isabella Scandiffio, Jackie Slemp, Danielle Sorcher, Kellen Tensen, Gwen Van de Graaf.

Five of these seniors, Max Aliapoulios, Christian Atherton, Isabel Glatthorn, Cameron Lancaster and Dylan Neuhaus have been honored as recipients of Gold Key Portfolio Awards at this year's Scholastic Art Awards competition.

The art show will be on display through June 12th and is open to the public during school hours 7:30 am - 4:00 pm.

5/18/12 > Oklahoma! in New Canaan June 1 & 2

Many thanks to Theatre parent Patricia Oxman for submitting the following information and photos.

The New Canaan High School Theatre department is ready to tackle one of the great American classic musicals Oklahoma! on Friday evening June 1 and Saturday evening June 2 at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a matinee performance on Saturday June 2 at 2:00 p.m. All three performances will take place in the NCHS auditorium.

"Oklahoma!" was the first musical produced by the legendary team of Rogers and Hammerstein nearly 70 years ago and it is filled with tunes that are so familiar to most of us that it has become a perennial favorite among theater-goers. If you want to see "corn as high as an elephant's eye" or "a girl who can't say no" or if you wonder why "everything's up to date in Kansas City", stop by the NCHS Lobby from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during show week or one hour prior to show time and pick up some tickets for this family favorite.

5/17/12 > NCHS Orchestra Performs Electrifying Encore


On Wednesday evening, NCHS Strings teacher Leo Ficks directed the NCHS Orchestra in a not-your-typical-high-school-strings concert. Entitled NCHS Rockestra, in addition to traditional string instruments, this electrified orchestral event included drums, bongos, chimes, tambourine, a sound engineer, lighting designer/engineer and Mr. Ficks on his electric Zeta violin.

The Rockestra program partnered J.S. Bach with Lennon/McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, and additional high-energy pieces. NCHS Assistant Principal Ari Rothman was so impressed by the Orchestra's evening concert, he requested an encore performance for NCHS students on Thursday. Following is an excerpt from Mr. Rothman's email to the NCHS staff:

"Last night, our Orchestra performed brilliantly (nothing new here)!  TODAY, during Period 5, Mr. Ficks and his ensemble have agreed to offer a command performance in the Auditorium for all interested in savoring a rockin' good time.

"I know this is last minute ... but if it's going to happen, it's gotta be today... On a personal note, I so enjoyed the performance that I believe all should have the chance.  

"If you can afford the time, PLEASE bring your class to the Auditorium and saturate yourself and your students in aural magnificence!"

Members of the NCHS Orchestra/Rockestra:

Violin: Jon Andersson|Deven Appel|Shaan Appel|Yoonkeong Chi|Mikhail Dayton|Catherine DiFazio|Tyler Edwards|Catherine Harris|Jessica Kao|Alexandra Klapper|Rachel Kortman|Catherine Landers|Spencer Lyman|Keaton McAuliffe|Kerinne O'Connor|Madeleine Prior|Alyssa Thompson|Ryan Van Vleet
Viola: Alexandra Kudrzycki|Charles Lenihan|Taylor Thompson|Edward Thunem|Johnston Tucker
Keyboard: Rachel Thomson
Cello: Emily Azzarito|Abigail Herman|Alyssa Lysenko|Katarina Wilson
Bass: Emma Tobey|Kelsey Hsu
Drum Kit: Neal Koller
Bongos, Chimes: Brendan McManus
Tambourine: Elaine Rojas
Air   by J.S. Bach:
Jessica Kao, Tyler Edwards - violin| Alexandra Kudrzycki - viola|
Emily Azzarito - cello|Kelsey Hsu, Emma Tobey - double bass

Groove Is In the Heart by Hancock, Dee Lite, Q-Tip: Kelsey Hsu - Electric Bass

No More Tears a.k.a. Stop Crying Already by Osbourne:  Robert Johnston Tucker - Electric Bass

The Principals for this concert were:
Violin - Jessica Kao, Tyler Edwards, Rachel Kortman
Viola - Alexandra Kudrzycki
Bass -  Emma Tobey

Additional talents:
Sound Engineer: Mr. Ben Kibbey
Lighting Designer/Engineer: Thomas Evans

5/16/12 > Visiting Artist Working with West Students

Artist Roxanne Faber-Savage Visits West School

West Elementary School third graders had the privilege of working with Roxanne Faber-Savage, an award winning artist and seasoned educator who came to visit West School on May 15. Ms. Faber-Savage will return on May 22 to work with the second graders. 

This PTC funded event provides the opportunity for Ms. Faber-Savage to work individually with each second and third grader to create a print.

Ms. Faber-Savage is a Teaching Artist with the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. Independently she has lead art workshops and classes in schools, museums and art centers  throughout the state of Connecticut,  including the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk.

Many thanks to West Art teacher Liz Zeiss for sharing this story and photos.   


5/15/12 > NCHS Choir & Madrigals Spring Concert May 23

5/14/12 > East Uses Books to Read, Feed & Parade

Many thanks to East School parent Heather Watchmaker
for sharing the following news and photos from East.

"Read to Feed a Neighbor" challenge was on last week at East school, and by weeks end East collected 2500 cans/boxes of food!  For every 20 minutes (K-2) or 30 minutes (Grades 3-4) of reading at home, students were able to  bring in one canned/boxed good for the food drive.  Students challenged themselves to see how much they could read and as a result how big their donation would be the next day.  In addition to promoting the enjoyment of reading, students became more aware of the needs of the less fortunate families in the New Canaan area.

In addition to our food drive, classes participated in a Book Character Parade on Monday, May 7.  Students were invited to dress up as their favorite book character and carry their favorite book in the parade. Photos from the parade were taken by Janie  Konidaris.

5/11/12 > Congratulations Saxe Choir & Band Musicians

On March 16 and 17, the prestigious 2012 CMEA Connecticut Western Region Middle School Band and Choral Festival was held at Western Connecticut State University.

Students invited to participate in the ensembles represent some of the best 7th and 8th grade musicians in the Western Region of Connecticut. Led by nationally known clinicians, student musicians rehearsed together for four hours on Friday and five hours on Saturday. Practice, combined with talent, culminated in a truly impressive concert performance from the young musicians.

According to Saxe 7th and 8th Grade Choral Director Sarah Gleason, twelve Saxe Choral students were chosen to participate in the 140-voice choir. Eight Saxe Band students were chosen to participate in the 100-piece band. It is a huge honor for any student to be selected to participate in the CMEA Connecticut Western Region Festival and the Saxe Music Department is extremely proud to congratulate each and every one of these twenty choral and band students for their dedication and success:

Saxe 2012 CMEA Connecticut Western Region Choir Members:
Lauren Carlson | Francesca Guynn | Abby Ward | Maria Fagerstal | Allary Landeck | Anna Lysenko | Giuliana Ponterotto | Ethan Landeck | Max Levasseur | David Noonan | Jack Dahill | Jack Rechterman

Saxe 2012 CMEA Connecticut Western Region Band Members:
Katherine Kuchinski | Dana Lurie | Kaitlyn Karr | Josh Klapper | Paul Gelhaus | Brian Sandor | Jake Grigsby | Claire Conley

5/10/12 > Senior Internship Program Beginning Soon

The following was submitted by Susan Carroll, Career Center Coordinator at New Canaan High School.

On May 21st, thirty two NCHS Seniors will leave the classroom to begin a four week internship at local sites in and around the greater New Canaan area. The students who applied to the SENIOR INTERNSHIP PROGRAM (SIP) in December were matched as closely as possible with possible career interests they may have and the sites hosting the seniors are as varied as those interests. This is the second year of SIP and the program has grown from a dozen interns last year.

Some students who may want to pursue a career in teaching will be working in the New Canaan Public School system helping classroom teachers at East School and Saxe Middle School. Some students who are interested in the corporate world will be interning at Nielsen in Wilton. Students have been placed at non-profits too such as the Glass House, Silvermine Art, Norwalk Hospital Foundation, and the Summer Theater of New Canaan. These are just a few of the work sites that will host interns. Others will be working in the areas of construction, law, photography, hospitality, engineering, technology, politics, marine science, public health, nursing, and veterinary medicine.

The interns attended a workshop prior to the start of the work experience where they learned interviewing skills, "wardrobing" for work, resume writing and work place etiquette. They will journal about their experiences during the four week experience and will be in weekly contact with their NCHS faculty mentor who are guiding them during this exciting adventure.

This year's interns are:
Anderson, Brock | Barymow, Katherine | Bishop, Daisy | Burwick, Holland | Canning, Olivia | Conron, Carolyn | Cromwell, William | DeMattia, Michael | Dumbauld,Carly | Fichtner, Abigail | Grandin, Nicholas | Granito, Robert | Gruseke, Andrew | Hehman, Derek | Jardon, Victoria | Lewis, Lily | Martin, Farrah | Nick Montanaro | Morgan, Georgina | Morrison, Amy | Neuhaus, Robin | O'Leary, Colleen | Potenza, Alexandra | Saiz, Kelly | Song, Jiwoo | Sweeney, Jacqui | Tensen, Kellen | Tesluk, Samantha | Trager, Jacqueline | VanNest, Nicholas | VanVleet, Ryan | Zales, Greg

5/09/12 > Option Number Two Approved by the Board

On Monday, May 7, the New Canaan Board of Education convened at 7:34 p.m. for their regularly scheduled General Meeting. Since March 19, the topic of greatest interest to community members in attendance has been the issue of Elementary School Enrollments and Contingency Planning.

Earlier in the school year South Elementary School Principal Joanne Rocco voiced concerns to Administrators and the Board of Education. Student population at South School has continued to increase in recent years. The building is presently utilized at full capacity and cannot accommodate additional sections of K-4 classes. Responding to Ms. Rocco's concerns, the Board engaged the services of Dr. John Starr to conduct a detailed elementary enrollment analysis and offer suggestions for correcting the situation. Through Dr. Starr's analysis, the intention of the Board was to help the community better understand and respond to difficult-to-predict enrollment patterns impacting school enrollment and building capacity at the three elementary schools.

The Board selected Dr. John Starr to conduct this demographic study and provide an enrollment balancing report because of his unique qualifications. Dr. Starr is a long-time New Canaan resident and knows the town very well. He served as a member of the Board of Education and chaired the previous elementary balancing committee 12 years ago. As such, he has an understanding of the New Canaan community and is familiar with its geography. Additionally, he is a professor of educational policy at Yale University.

As Dr. Starr researched, compiled data and explored options, elementary school principals Dr. Jill Correnty, Mrs. Alexandra Potts, and Ms. Joanne Rocco worked together with District administrators to explore and openly communicate issues, information and options to parents and members of the greater New Canaan community. Sensitive to the potential impact on students and their families, Administrators and Board members made a concerted effort to create and support an atmosphere of open dialogue with the community.

The Administration and Board communicated through Board of Education meetings, school meetings and appearances, letters, emails, and NCPS website postings. As Dr. Starr's initial New Canaan Demographic Study was presented to the Board of Education at their March 19 meeting, he continually responded to questions, thoughts and concerns from the Board and community by attending meetings and providing revisions and updates to his Study. At each Board of Education General Meeting since March 19, the Board has encouraged input from attendees, offering the opportunity to express views and recommendations with respect to elementary enrollment and Dr. Starr's Study.

At the April 23 New Canaan Board of Education General Meeting, after discussion, Mr. Goodman put forth the following motion: The Board of Education should consider moving a minimum of two sections from South School to East School and West School. Mr. Goodman moved to approve, seconded by Ms. Smith. The Eight Board members in attendance voted in favor of Mr. Goodman's motion.

The final decision on Elementary School Enrollments and Contingency Planning was made at the New Canaan Board of Education General Meeting on May 7. After thoughtful consideration of comments voiced by the public, the Board discussed which options they felt would work best. Mr. Goodman amended the motion to the following: Move that the Board of Education transfer students as proposed in Option #2 of Dr. Starr's report dated May 4th, 2012. Children of non-resident faculty shall move from South to either East or West at the discretion of the administration in accordance with BOE Policy 5120. Children of non-resident faculty at East and West school may be moved between those two schools at the discretion of the administration in accordance with BOE Policy 5120. All rising fourth grade students have the option of being grandfathered at their current school. Mr. Gress moved to amend the motion, seconded by Ms. Smith. The eight Board members in attendance voted unanimously in favor of the motion. Mr. Goodman moved to approve the amended motion, seconded by Mr. Gress. Again, the eight Board members in attendance voted unanimously to approve the amended motion.

Option #2 from Dr. Starr's Study, the foundation for this motion, reads as follows: Avalon apartment complex and New Norwalk Road from South School to East School. Option #2 moves students from the Avalon Drive East, Avalon Drive West, and New Norwalk Road south of Lakeview Drive from South School to East School. Option #2 would move 26 students from 21 families.

5/08/12 > Starr Study Third Revision Added to Website

A last revision PDF of Dr. Starr's New Canaan Demographic Study has been added to the NCPS website.  The third revision and updating dated May 8, 2012 may be accessed  by clicking on New Canaan Demographic Study, Third revision and update.

5/07/12 > West, South & East Strings Extravaganza

All New Canaan Public Schools third and fourth grade Strings students will join together in the NCHS auditorium Thursday evening for the annual Elementary Strings Extravaganza. As part of Spring 2012 Celebration of the Arts, Strings Extravaganza is the end-of-year concert performance for all third and fourth grade violin, cello and viola students from West, South and East Elementary Schools.

NCPS Visual and Performing Arts Director Alan Sneath explained, "The elementary Strings program is consistent across the district. The program is designed to teach students the fundamentals of Strings technique while also learning to read music. All third and fourth grade violin, cello and viola students receive the same delivery of skills and techniques taught by Strings teacher Ilya Levitin and Justin Elkins who has joined NCPS this year as a part-time Elementary Strings teacher, helping to accommodate the growing number of students studying string instruments.

"This event allows younger students the opportunity to hear the older, more experienced NCHS Orchestra students. The Extravaganza helps strengthen the Strings community across the District by introducing elementary students to NCHS Strings teacher Leo Ficks, who will be their teacher if they choose to continue their instrument." 

According to Mr. Levitin, the original goal of the Strings Extravaganza was to gather Strings students from all three elementary schools along with Strings students from the high school for one performance together, sharing one stage. This would allow everyone to see the progression that occurs from grade three through high school.

The logistics of such an all-inclusive, long performance would prevent young students from participating, so the idea for "Elementary Strings Extravaganza" as a District-wide, grade three-four Strings performance was born. Students perform on the NCHS auditorium stage with friends from the other schools in town who also play a string instrument.

Students in grade three will perform as a Beginner Strings Ensemble playing songs by memory. To showcase their individual schools, grade four students will perform as school orchestras, playing music specifically selected for more experienced students. As a warm-up to the Extravaganza, the young musicians recently presented their repertoire to the second grade students at their schools.

As part of the New Canaan Public Schools Celebration of the Arts 2012, the New Canaan community is invited to attend this ambitious performance by these accomplished and enthusiastic young musicians who will be joined by the NCHS Orchestra as their special guest. This free evening performance will take place on Thursday, May 10 at 7:15 PM in the NCHS auditorium.

5/04/12 > South School Paints the Town Blue

The theme of this year's Walk to School Day was "Paint the Town Blue". There was record high participation with 87% of South School families walking from every direction of town. South Pride was in full force with paw print apparel, blue hair, and dancing and cheering families and staff. 468 students walked to school and 35 students rode their bike, scooter or skateboard. Elvis sightings, blue dogs, and blue bouffant hairdo's added to the fun of the event. It was a great start to the morning and South Pride was at an all time high!
       - Joanne Rocco, South Elementary School Principal

5/03/12 > Demographic Study Update v2 Added to Website

In response to Board of Education members, Elementary principals and community members, Dr. John Starr has further updated the April 29 version of his New Canaan Demographic Study. Dr. Starr has revised pages 16, 17 and 18. This most recent update is available as a downloadable PDF on the New Canaan Public Schools website. It resides in the District tab, under the heading Demographic Study 2012 or by clicking on 120502 May 2 New Canaan Demographic Study Update: Second Revision.v2

At their next Board of Education Meeting on Monday, May 7, the Board is scheduled to discuss the report, options and decide upon actions to take regarding enrollment challenges. The Board of Education meeting will take place on Monday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.

5/03/12 > East and West Celebrate the Arts

The annual New Canaan Public Schools Celebration of the Arts has begun! Initiated by NCPS Visual and Performing Arts Director Alan Sneath, NCPS Celebration of the Arts is an opportunity to promote awareness of the high caliber arts programs and talented faculty supported by the community and made available to each student, in every grade, in all schools in the District. This year there are almost seventy visual and performing arts events that offer students the opportuny to express themselves creatively in art shows, band, orchestra and choir concerts, a NCHS musical and the annual NCHS Drama Festival.

On Tuesday, May 1, East Elementary Music teacher Mary Ellen Lyons and Art teachers Peggy DeSantis and Michelle Zacchia presented the annual East Arts Evening to East families. Every student exhibited a piece of artwork, filling the hallways of East School with color, pattern and creative expression. The evening also included grade-level music performances in which children sang, danced, and performed numbers on their recorders. This Celebration was very well attended by hundreds of students with their families.

West School celebrated its family invitational Arts Event on Wednesday, May 2. West Art teachers Liz Zeiss and Andrea Smith mounted an impressive exhibition of artwork, created by each student, on gallery panels and throughout the hallways of West. The hundreds of West students and their families who visited were treated to a brillant display of thoughtful expressions of youthful creativity and visual interpretation.

The visual Celebration of the Arts at the Elementary level will conclude this week when South School presents its Student Art Show on Friday, May 4, starting at 6:00 p.m. The district-wide Celebration will continue through May and into early June. Following is a list of upcoming visual and performing arts events:

Thursday, May 03 NCHS Band Concert
7:30 PM

Friday, May 04 West Strings Concert
9:30 AM


Friday, May 04 South Art Show
6:00 PM


Monday, May 07 South Strings Concert
9:00 AM


Tuesday, May 08 East Strings Concert
10:00 AM


Thursday, May 10 NCPS Elementary Strings
Extravaganza at NCHS
7:15 PM


Wednesday, May 16 NCHS Orchestra
7:30 PM  

Monday, May 21
South Kindergarten Program
9:00 AM


Tuesday, May 22 South First Grade Program
9:00 AM

Tuesday, May 22
Saxe/NCHS Student Recital  at New Canaan Inn
3:30 PM


Tuesday, May 22 Saxe Grade 7/8 Choir Concert
7:00 PM


Wednesday, May 23 South Second Grade Program
9:00 AM

Wednesday, May 23 NCHS Choir at
New Canaan Presbyterian Church
7:30 PM

Wednesday, May 23 25th Annual NCHS
Senior Art Show Opening
6:30 PM


Thursday, May 24 South Third Grade Program
9:00 AM


Thursday, May 24 Challenges in Art Exhibition at Saxe
7:00 PM

 T hursday, May 24 Saxe 5/6 Choir
7:00 PM


Friday, May 25 South Fourth Grade Program
9:00 AM


Wednesday, May 30 Saxe Grade 5-8 Orchestra Concert
7:00 PM


Friday, June 01 NCHS Spring Musical:OKLAHOMA!
7:30 PM

Saturday, June 02 NCHS Spring Musical: OKLAHOMA!
2:00 PM


Saturday, June 02 NCHS Spring Musical: OKLAHOMA!
7:30 PM


Tuesday, June 05 Saxe Grade 5/6 Band Concert
7:00 PM


Thursday, June 7 Saxe Grade 7/8 Band Concert
7:00 PM

5/02/12 > Oklahoma is Coming to NCHS June 1 & 2

"Oklahoma" will be the final production of the NCHS 2011-2012 Theatre Season. Shows are scheduled for Friday evening June 1, at 7:30 p.m, a matinee on Saturday, June 2, at 2:00 p.m and the final evening performance on Saturday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. All three performances will be held in the New Canaan High School auditorium.