build a home, CT, customize your home, home, lots for sale, new construction, real estate, smart home, Stamford, Uncategorized, Westover

It’s All About The Journey … Should You Build Your New Home?

Have you been looking for a new home and are tired of estimating the cost of renovations or reworking a floorplan to suit your lifestyle? Maybe it’s time to entertain the idea of bulding the home of your dreams!

Since a home is usually your largest investment and you can spend lots of time and energy searching for or designing “the perfect home”, building may be an option you should consider, especially if you have a wish list that includes specific needs (the things that you absolutely must have-like a 5 car garage or a gourmet kitchen) and wants (the features that you would like in your new home, but could do without if necessary) building may become an exciting option. While the home buying process involves a number of important choices, one of the very first decisions buyers need to make is whether to shop for an existing home or build a new one.

Building a Home

 

The big advantage of new construction is that you are more likely to get exactly what you want. For many, this factor alone is enough to choose building over buying, but there are other advantages too. A new home is more efficient, especially with the new energy codes which are both better for the environment and can save you money on your utility bills.

 

Another perk? A new house may literally be better for you.  A new home is less likely to have the health concerns or toxic materials such as asbestos and lead paint. You can build with environmentally friendly materials, green Energy Star rated appliances, plus you have the option to outfit your home with future technology in mind such as home automation and solar.

Even though the upfront costs of building can be higher, it may be easier to recoup your investment.  A newer home is typically more appealing than an older home to most people and a new home will require fewer repairs and less maintenance, which can save both money and time.

Money and features aside, building a house can lead to a level of satisfaction that you can’t achieve through buying an existing home. There is a definite feeling of an emotional connection to living in a new home that you have created.

If this option sounds enticing, check out these wonderful, level lots located in the prime Westover neighborhood.  Located on a convenient cul-de-sac, the hook-ups for City Water, City Sewer, electric & cable are already there!  With 3 lots still available, this could be the perfect fit for you!   

Contact me for more information.

 

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Education, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey… Magnet Schools: Scofield Magnet Middle School

Scofield Magnet Middle School (SMMS) is one of 5 middle schools in Stamford, and continues the magnet philosphy found in the elementary schools.  Admission to Scofield is through a lottery process and offers an innovative program of educational choices through theme-based instruction.

SMMS is located on Scofieldtown Rd in the heart of North Stamford, at the former UCONN Stamford campus.

Each grade consists of 2-3 Teams with approximately 100 students each  Students travel with the same group for all three years at Scofield which bonds them into a family type atmosphere.

Scofield was founded as a magnet middle school with an emphasis on science, technology and math. The goal of the Magnet Middle School is to involve students in a learning partnership with the school, home, and community in order to insure success for all students. The Magnet Middle School is comprised of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students and is based on the following beliefs; high standards for all
students, trust, respect, and collaboration.  The school philosophy is that students need to learn to think critically, master an appropriate
body of knowledge in new and unfamiliar settings, and to develop a constant desire to learn something new if they are to succeed in their adult lives. The students acquire an appreciation for science as a critical inquiry across the subject areas so they are able to have the necessary skills for employment. The staff and parents work collaboratively on ensuring the success for all the students. The curriculum is delivered mainly through interdisciplinary topics and project usually with heterogeneous and homogeneous groupings of students. Teams of teachers are responsible for scheduling and grouping students within blocks of time. Assessment of students is an ongoing process. Evaluative measures used by the teachers are observations, portfolios, performance-based assessment, and testing.

One of the unique programs at SMMS is Exhibition. It is the culminating activity for SMMS students where they are required to demonstrate the skills mastered during the middle school years by preparing a multi-faceted Exhibition at the end of the eighth grade. They will choose a particular technology and thoroughly investigate it. This leads to in-depth student presentations  made to teachers, classmates, parents, and community. All SMMS students are required to complete the Exhibition and are guided through the whole process: the research, scheduling & time management and presentation with visual & creative pieces.

 

“In its original form, the Exhibition is the public expression by a student of real command over what he or she has learned.”

–Theodore Sizer, Chairman of the Coalition of Essential Schools

 

Scofield offers a unique environment for both independent and cohesive learning.

 

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CT, Education, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey… Magnet Schools: Westover Elementary School

Westover  Magnet is tucked between the beautiful “country” neighborhood of Westover and the exciting Downtown neighborhood known as the West Side, in Stamford.  What makes this school unique as a magnet school?  The focus on Arts and Problem Solving (APS) plus the Mastery Learning program which encompasses flexible grouping based on ability level, combined with “looping”.

Westover’s Showcase, a theatrical production done by grades 4-5, where each grade works together combining  their studies in dance, art, music, gym and drama.

Key Elements of Mastery Learning are:

  • Flexible grouping for instruction in Reading & Math. Students with similar learning needs and skill levels are grouped together.

  • Adjustable class size. Class sizes can be adjusted through the addition of teacher-specialists in reading classes.

  • Good teacher/student ratio. Students who need more individualized instruction and support are in smaller classes for reading and/or math.

  • Looping. (Same teacher, same students for 2 years) in grades 1 & 2 and 3 & 4.

 

Arts & Problem Solving (APS)

At Westover, a basic curriculum is enhanced with rich experiences in cultural arts.  APS Team is comprised of a group of teacher-specialists – Art, Dance, Drama, Music, Physical Education, Problem Solving, and Technology.

Westover students experience 4 kinds of APS activities – Basics, Focus, Culminating Activity and Showcase.

  • Basics APS to learn basic skills. The students cycle through each of the disciplines with their homebase classmates.

  • Focus APS course to explore in an intensified focus course based on their interests.

  • Culminating Activity is the presententation – parents are invited to see what the students have been learning and creating at the conclusion of each focus course.

  • Showcase to perform a full-scale productions (4th & 5th grade). These performances integrate all of the APS classes from scenery designed and executed by the art students to music, dance, gymnastics, and acting. Past productions includes classic children’s stories, like “The Jungle Book” and   “Through the Looking Glass”.

 

Westover also incorporates programs such as “Talents Unlimited” – the thinking skills that people need in order to be successful in the world of work, and “Teaching/Learning Styles” – 4 innate learning and teaching styles based on how a person perceives and organizes the world.

 

 

 

 

There are 13 Elementary Schools in Stamford,  5 of which are Magnet Schools.  The Magnet Schools enroll students from all parts of Stamford by a lottery process.  Each school is centered around a unique, theme-based instruction.

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CT, Education, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey… Magnet Schools: Toquam Elementary School

Toquam Magnet Elementary School is located in a residential area of Springdale, tucked behind Dolan Middle School. Toquam just welcomed two new administrators:  Dr Shawn Marinello as Assistant Principal and Jamie Fisco as Administrative Intern.

As one of four magnet elementary schools in the district, their instruction is based on Bank Street Philosophy.  The mission of the Bank Street Program at Toquam is to promote excellence through academic success, positive character development and responsible citizenship for all students.  At Toquam, the key word is RESPECT: respect for yourself; respect for others; respect for your environment. Toquam strives to accomplish this mission through a supportive partnership with the Stamford Public Schools, the home and community.

Social Studies/Science content integration is the core of the Bank Street curriculum.  The study of social studies and science curricula are integrated with literacy and technology throughout the field of study.  Research skills, hands-on activities and educational trips are utilized to enhance our students’ depth of study. Classrooms are child-centered and structured to promote cooperative learning.

BANK STREET PHILOSOPHY

The foundation of Bank Street Program comes from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. The program has been functioning and expanding in Stamford since 1972.

The Bank Street Program at Toquam School encourages individuality, creativity and critical thinking. Our goals are to develop inquisitive, lifelong learners who have the skills necessary to pursue their questions and work towards possible solutions. Toquam aims to provide the children with basic inquiry and research skills. The program also individualize instruction to meet their varied needs and levels of development when appropriate.

In order to help the students broaden their talents and gain confidence in their special abilities, classroom teachers and specialists offer varied opportunities for the children to express themselves through writing, speaking, art, vocal and instrumental music, creative dramatics and physical education. Children learn to express themselves in classroom communities where group discussions expose them to ideas and different ways of thinking. Class meetings build a sense of community and cooperation. A meeting area in each classroom is designed for this purpose.

 

Some of the extra curricular school-wide programs include an Author & Artists Assembly and the Apex Fun Run Marathon.

Go Toquam Tigers!

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CT, Education, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About The Journey … Your Neighborhood School Profile: Stamford High School

Stamford High School (SHS) stands majestically on Strawberry Hill Avenue and offers a rich history.  As the city’s oldest secondary school, SHS enjoys the benefits of traditions, well-known alumni, vigorous school spirit, and an ongoing commitment to academic excellence.

SHS opened in 1874 and started as a one-room high school.  In 1881, four highly educated young women comprised the first graduating class. Since then, SHS  has evolved into an expansive learning facility of approximately 150 classrooms accommodating 2,000 students.  After a few moves and growing enrollment, SHS relocated to the present site on Strawberry Hill Avenue in 1928 and was the largest high school in the state costing more than a million dollars at that time.

In 1934, an artist from Weston, James Daugherty, was commissioned by the New Deal’s Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to paint seven murals for the octagonal music auditorium at Stamford High. The PWAP was created to help keep artists off the relief roles during the Depression. Daugherty’s murals ran more than 1,000 feet around the room and depicted 200 historical figures from the fields of music, industry, film and science since the time of the Puritans, many with the faces of Stamford High staff and students who served as models. The murals took four months to complete. The paintings were removed from SHS during a 1970 renovation and discarded. Thankfully, the City of Stamford was able to recover and purchase back four murals. Two others are in the hands of private collectors. Two of the city’s murals have been restored and now are on display at the University of Connecticut’s Stamford campus and the Ferguson Library. The other two murals require expensive restoration. Replicas of the murals have been installed on Stamford High’s hallway walls and in the renovated auditorium, mementos of that important period in U.S. history.

One of Stamford High’s gems is Boyle Stadium. Home to the Stamford High Black Knights, Boyle Stadium was chosen by Gametime CT as one of the Connecticut High School Sports’ ‘Bucket List’ fields, calling it a monument of Depression-Era workmanship. Tucked away between meandering suburban Stamford streets and the glass and steel of the nearby cityscape, Gametime CT says that you feel like you’re in a colosseum rather than a high school facility, with the gorgeous rock-faced granite edifice adorned with Baroque-accented parapets that were carved by local masons under the Works Progress Administration, yet it still feels as intimate as a Rockwell painting. Everything about watching a game here just feels right.

SHS was once a football powerhouse. With a nationally renowned winning record, the Black Knights team and beautiful stadium were the envy of Connecticut. The stadium was named for Michael A. Boyle, the Black Knights’ coach from 1907 to 1938, who had 229 wins, 40 losses and 14 ties, earning him a nationwide reputation for excellence.  Stamford High has won 20 football state championships, the last in 1971 – the same year former Black Knight and N.Y. Giants great Andy Robustelli was inducted in the National Football League Hall of Fame. The playing field, which was one of the first to feature AstroTurf and was recently resurfaced with modern synthetics, bears Robustelli’s name. So does the Wall of Honor.

The stadium can fit approximately 10,000 fans, which was confirmed in 2008, when the FCIAC football championship was moved to this site. That, and Boyle’s ancient aesthetics, is the reason why the league prefers to hold all of its finals there. Boyle Stadium was the stage of the league’s — and Connecticut’s — greatest games. It’s a special place awash in memory.

SHS curriculum now includes 15 Advanced Placement (AP) classes, a number of Early College Experience (ECE) courses, and several school-to-career academics that augment regular studies. Students also gain marketing and business experience by operating two stores between class periods. Profits help support student activities, including annual trips to China by the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter. SHS features a school-based health center and a career center that offers vocational (including a work and internship program), college and scholarship resources. SHS also provides SAT preparation opportunities in both English and Math. Stamford High has 25 sports teams and more than 60 student-operated clubs.

SHS continues its strong tradition in academics, athletics, the arts, community service and leadership. The student body is more diverse than ever, enriching the environment. Approximately 90 percent of Stamford High’s graduates go on to higher education, including Ivy League schools, with the remaining majority going into the military or jobs.

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CT, Education, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About The Journey … Your Neighborhood School Profile: Rippowam Middle School

 The school derived its name from the Native American tribe that inhabited Stamford and the surrounding area before European settlement.

Rippowam

Located on High Ridge Rd, at the center of the City of Stamford, Rippowam Middle School has an interesting history.  The school opened in the fall of 1961 as the second high school in the city.-Go Warriors!, (Baseball star Bobby Valentine was a standout football & baseball athlete and I went there too!). The high school remained open until 1983.

It’s building has served different educational age groups over the years. The building has been used for adult education, and was the home for the Magnet Middle School before the school moved to Scofieldtown Rd and was a temporary location for the Hart Elementary School.

The campus became the site of Rippowam Middle School in 2001.
The Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE), a regional magnet high school shared the building with Rippowam Middle School until August 2007, when it moved to its own building behind Rippowam.

IB programRippowam is an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) school.  IB program is founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968, the IB offers high quality programs of international education to a worldwide community of schools. There are three key concepts of the IB program used to plan the curriculum:

  • Holistic Learning: Teachers work together to design interdisciplinary unit planning, leading students to see learning as interrelated.

  • Intercultural: Students learn about their own culture and society as they learn about others.

  • Community: Rules and Regulations for students are shared with parents and the community. Rippowam supports inquiry, reflection and expression in multiple forms, and promotes community and global awareness.

The Connecticut State Department of Education recentlyCTDE awarded the prestigious 21st Century Community Learning grant s to the Rippowam Middle School.  The grant is intended to help students through the use of science-based practices and extended learning time.  Rippowam is to receive $807,500 over the next five years, the money is intended to serve 110 students per year.

Rippowam has a large, well-equipped auditorium and is home to its own drama group. High School Musical 2 is announced as their 2017 production.   Rippowam also hosted for All School Musical several years, presenting the young talents from every school in the city.

High School Musical 2

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CT, Education, home, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About The Journey … Your Neighborhood School Profile: Turn Of River Middle School

This is my junior high alma mater!

An increasing population in the late 1950’s and 1960’s necessitated the opening of Stamford’s fourth junior high school, Turn of River (TOR) which officially opened in September 1963.

The school is located on Vine Road, hidden in a quiet suburban neighborhood, yet close to the hustle bustle of the City.  The neighborhood features many different personalities and home styles and TOR students reflect this with a rich mixture of nationalities.  TOR students learn from one another’s backgrounds and cultures, and thrive in a dynamic, all-inclusive school setting. TOR offers a comprehensive educational program as well as a nurturing environment for students.

TOR aims to help children acquire academic skills as well as to become life-long learners. In partnership with home and community, TOR is dedicated to the goal of academic, artistic, athletic, and character education, as well as developing children into responsible and caring individuals. The school continues to set high standards of academic excellence, community responsibility and a sincere concern for its students. TOR is committed to teaming, interdisciplinary instruction, and a 21st Century Curriculum, all designed to meet the needs of the early adolescent.

Turn of River offers a diversified program of extracurricular activities: intramural sports, community service, specialized instruction in art and music, world languages, yearbook, and a wide variety of after school clubs – yoga, student council, Rachel’s Challenge, Soul Writers, and Math Counts—to name a few. The school also offers an after-school tutorial program in reading and math, as well as providing an environment for students to complete homework with assistance four times a week. One of the many features of the school are it’s outstanding athletic fields.

Across from TOR, is the Harry Bennett Branch of the Ferguson Library, which is a great place for students to do their homework, research for a project or just sit down to enjoy great books in their collection. The Ferguson Library offers classes and programs including after school homework help, book group and craft class plus Teen Cooking Class whose topics range from  baking your own pizza to learning about nutrition and healthy eating.

Talents ♦ Opportunities ♦ Responsibilities

Go Titans!

 

 

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