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Top stories from 2013

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Stamford, CT | Added on January 01, 2014 At 02:46 PM

Here’s what made news in Stamford Public Schools this year.

School safety became a concern when Westhill High School's fire alarm system was apparently inoperable. 

“I probably became aware that it was not working that way it should have last may,” said Westhill principal Camille Figluizzi. “But I think it was totally not operational probably at some point in the summer.”

Although the issue was brought up immediately, Figluizzi was not pleased with how long it took the city to solve the problem. 

“It’s too long because a building of this size should have an operational fire alarm, there’s no doubt about that, so it’s too long,” Figluizzi said. “I don’t think the safety of the children is compromised at all because in place of the alarm we do have firefighters here.”

The alarm was fully operational again in late September.

After being closed in 2009, J.M. Wright Technical High School is set to reopen in the fall of 2014. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in October to celebrate the school’s return.

“This school represents 90 million dollars of opportunity, it represents 200,000 square feet of possibility for our students,” says Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor.

“This is a down payment on a very different future, for the technical high school system, for all of our high schools, for our community colleges and higher education,” says Governor Dannel Malloy. “We’re gonna get this right, we’re gonna win this battle, we’re gonna grow our economy, we’re gonna add jobs, and this is an investment that allows that to happen in the future.”

The building is being gutted and fully renovated to accommodate over 500 students. Officials say the high school will focus on STEM learning and prepare students for the future.  

“One of the things that will make this school very unique is the technology rich environment,” says Interim Superintendent of Connecticut’s Technical High School System Nivea Torres. “For the first time in our technical high schools, students will have one to one computing, a digitized curriculum, and the opportunity to explore a blended learning environment.” 

“It’s really a new vision for career and technical education in the state,” says Torres. “Our focus is on creating a career academy aligned to post secondary institutions in the Southwestern region of the state

While J.M. Wright will provide more space for high schoolers, many are concerned about overcrowding in elementary schools. Parents spoke out about the issue at a Board of Education meeting last month.

“We need a new school, we needed it three years ago,” said one parent.

“For the past three years Springdale has gone from 525 students to 710,” says parent and PTO co-president at Springdale Elementary.

Superintendent Winnie Hamilton presented a plan to solve the problem, which includes adding seats to the magnet schools.

“I’m adding two kindergarten classes to Westover in my plan, one kindergarten class to Toquam, and one kindergarten class to Hart,” says Hamilton. “And opening 75 spots at Scofield and up to 100 spots at Rippowam.”

“My summarized plan is to really give parents choice to handle a tricky situation for one year around enrollment while we come up with a long-term solution,” Hamilton says.

Hamilton’s long-term solution includes building a new magnet school for grades k through 8. Mayor David Martin said he didn’t see the need for a new school based on enrollment projections. The Mayor announced later in the month that a parcel of land at 200 Strawberry Hill Avenue may be used for a new school.

That’s what made news in Stamford Public Schools this year.  Thanks for watching It’s Relevant, we’ll see you in 2014.


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