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

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

 

Dolan Middle School was founded in 1948 (the year the first polaroid camera went on sale!), and is located on the border of Springdale and Glenbrook.  Dolan has evolved over the years from a traditional junior high to its more recent middle school curriculum model.  Like the City of Stamford, the school is diverse in its racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic student population.  Many students have more than one language spoken at home, and a high percentage have one hour of Spanish instruction included in their daily schedule.

Dolan offers numerous programs – The Scholar Academy, Dolan DASH afterschool program to name a few.  There is upcoming production of “Shrek the Musical Jr.”, Dolan Baseball Team is City Champion 2016.  Go Raiders!

Students participating in the Dolan DASH program will receive academic support and homework help in literacy and math, then break into enrichment clusters of their choice.

The mission of Dolan Middle School is to educate all students to the fullest extent of their individual talents and abilities. To that end, they provide a safe, nurturing environment that fosters social, emotional, and physical health. The school’s instruction focuses on the acquisition of skills necessary for students to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and communicators in our rapidly changing technological society. By personal example, and in partnership with family and community, they encourage lifelong learning, appreciation for diversity and respect for all.

 

 

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

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

 

This middle school has been recognized by College For Every Student (CFES) as a “School of Distinction” for its programs to promote student mentoring, community service and college-path emphasis.  Cloonan is the only school in the country to receive this national honor seven years in a row!

Located in the Mid City section of Stamford within close proximity of downtown setting the school’s urban vibe, with its economically and ethnically diverse community.  Cloonan is a short walk to downtown, making for easy access to what our great City offers and allowing students to enrich their learning experience through relatable field trips. The school also backs up to Scalzi Park which gives access to wonderful playing fields. In fact, the Bulldogs ended the 2016 campaign a perfect  7-0, they also defeated New Haven TWICE. What a FANTASTIC accomplishment … 9-0 … Congrats !!!

Cloonan offers numerous programs to the students.  Scholar Power Series, after school STEAM Academy, after school clubs, intramural competition in eight sports and participates in the Special Olympics plus music and arts programs.  Cloonan also participates in many community service projects, and their student-designed anti-bullying program has become a model adopted across the country by CFES.

Cloonan science teacher, James Forde was honored by the White House, being selected as “Champion of Change for Computer Science Education” last year.  He is a former Stamford Public School’s Teacher Of the Year and an active science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education advocate. The school was also home to the famous Stamford egg-drop experiment where students’ goal was to find a way to keep an egg from cracking  after being dropped from a fire truck ladder. This annual event was orchestrated by former teacher Sal Buchetto who was best known for his “Pop-up” style of science education, in which he strove to make the material he taught pop up off the page, favoring experimentation over textbooks. These are just 2 examples of the innovative teaching that takes place at Cloonan.

“Cloonan Middle School recognizes that in our diverse community, each child is an individual and has an inherent capacity for learning. Cloonan’s mission is to create a safe and nurturing environment of learning excellence for early adolescents in which all stakeholders work as partners to equip students with the knowledge, skills, character, compassion, confidence and desire to build successful lives and communities.”

Go Bulldogs!

 

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

It’s All About The Journey … Your Neighborhood School Profile: Stillmeadow Elementary School

Welcome to Stillmeadow

Roaring With Pride!

color-pencils

Stillmeadow elementary School is nestled in the residential neighborhood of Westover.  Stillmeadow employs Positive Behavioral Instructional Support programs to build a positive school culture.

Mission Statement

“To read, to write,

To think critically, to learn deeply,

To reason, to analyze and evaluate information,

To communicate effectively in a variety of forms

And for a variety of purposes,

To inquire systematically into any important matter.”

classroom

At Stillmeadow, collaboration exists between administrators, teachers, parents, community, and students. This partnership helps to provide all students the ability to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful and lifelong learners.  Stillmeadow is a school where each child is treated with dignity and respect, and children are taught with the future in mind. Staff ensures that each child has the opportunity to be happy and successful every day.

Stillmeadow also participates in instructional data teams (IDT) to analyze and monitor student performance. Through these analyses, teachers identify student strengths and weaknesses, discuss strategies and determine a plan of action to increase student achievement. The IDTs, along with the School Governance Council, focus on district and school goals and initiatives to update the School Improvement Plan annually. In addition, the literacy coach and math liaison provide continuity in the reading and math programs by planning and participating in staff development. Student intervention programs include Leveled Literacy Instruction, Recipe for Reading, Read180, and Read About.

After school programs include tutoring, chess, recycled art, and other recreational programs.

One of the most outstnading features of this school is Twin Meadows, a boundless playground.  Bright colors, wheelchair accessible bridges and ramps, and tube slides make this playground a fun place for any child. When a Stillmeadow family had difficulties finding a playground where their twin daughters could play together – one of their daughters suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy from birth, they decided to build a boundless playground. The idea came to them after reading about another boundless playground in West Hartford. At Twin Meadows, there is something for every child. High back and seatbelt-equipped swings allow children with physical disabilities to swing next to children on typical swings.  This playground opened October 2003 assisting and educating students with special needs, and it’s been the pride and joy of the school since then.

 

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CT, real estate

It’s All About The Journey … 30 Mind-Blowing Sceneries That Totally Define Connecticut

Connecticut scenery is arguably some of the best in the United States. From mountains, to rivers, to rolling plains, Connecticut has a little bit of everything. In fact, we are known for having back roads so lush with greenery that you forget you’re on your way to work! See the beauty come to life on screen in these gorgeous photos captured by photographers during their travels through the Constitution State.

 

 

1. Mystic River

 

2. Wadsworth Falls, Middlefield

3. Litchfield

 

4. Short Beach, Branford

 

5. Fairfield Country Club

6. Hartford

 

7. Farmington River Valley

 

8. Southport Beach

 

9. Pine Creek

 

10. Indian Well State Park

Trenten Kelley/Flickr

 

11. Buttonwood Farm, Griswold

 

12. Old Saybrook

 

13. Collinsville

14. Kent

Jaine/Flickr

 

15. Lighthouse Point

16. East Granby

 

17. Pine Orchard Pier, Branford

18. Rocky Neck State Park

19. New Haven

 

20. Tod’s Point, Greenwich

21. Talcott Village

22. Pequonnock River Rail Trail

kenneth casper/Flickr

 

23. The view from Cobble Mountain

24. Sleeping Giant State Park

25. East Rock Park

 

26. Quinnipiac River

27. Avon

 

28. Compo Beach, Westport

 

29. West Cornwall Bridge

30. Hamden

Connecticut’s beauty is definitely worth talking about. Is it as pretty as you remember?

 

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real estate, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About The Journey … Spring Market 4-1-1

Are you thinking of becoming a

Spring Success Story?

 

The 2016 spring market’s biggest challenge for the real estate industry seems to be the lack of available housing inventory for sale. Here are a few experts and their thoughts on the subject:

David Crowe, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders:

“Many sellers may not have an absolute decision as to whether to buy an existing home or a new home. So the low inventory of existing homes is locking them in place.”

Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist with Trulia:

“We are in a time of short supply, which is great news for sellers because they will likely be faced with multiple offers due to the little inventory out there…Buyers will be up against a lot of other people and against a short supply of existing homes.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist with NAR:

“First-time buyers in high demand areas continue to encounter instances where their offer is trumped by cash buyers and investors. Without a much-needed boost in new and existing-homes for sale in their price range, their path to homeownership will remain an uphill climb.”

Fitch Ratings:

“One important issue that has restrained sales and starts is inventory. On an absolute basis, inventory has not expanded as much as in past recoveries, leading to less selection for buyers. This is especially true for existing home sales but is evident for new home construction as well. When it comes to U.S. housing inventory, more is better.” 

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com:

“The increase in sales is resulting in continued tighter-than-tight supply—measured by NAR to be four months in January.  For you non-economists out there, that metric measures the number of months it would take to sell the current inventory of available homes, at the current pace. Got it? Six to seven months’ worth of homes on the market is considered normal; four months is cray-cray.”

It could be the perfect time for you to get in on the action-Spring market is in full swing now-don’t wait too long!

Courtesy of KCM
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real estate, Stamford

It’s All About the Journey … Finishing off – In the Basement!

Finishing a basement can bring you a double bonus.  It provides additional living space for a fraction of the cost of an addition to the house – the walls are already there, electrical and plumbing lines are easily accessible, and no additional foundation supports are necessary to start construction.  Also, a well-finished basement can add value to your house when you go to sell it – just don’t expect to get back all the money that went into it.

The average basement remodel recoups about 69% of the original cost, according to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of Realtors.  As with most remodeling projects, rarely does anyone get a 100% return on their investment.  Improvements should be done to both enhance your lifestyle and to increase your homes’ selling potential.

Finished basements are particularly conducive for use as  media rooms, music rooms, a home office or a recreation room.  In all of these spaces, separation from the main living areas can be a plus!

Before you get started on your renovation, here are several things you need to know:

Know the Code

 

It would be great to convert unused space to additional living space, but does your basement meet the building code requirements for livable space?   You must be in compliance with codes for ceiling height, and egress windows and/or doors.    It’s also time to check with your local municipality to see if you’ll be required to get any permits. This is particularly important if you’re planning plumbing, heating and electrical work, which most likely will need to be inspected.

Keep It Dry

Check for any water issues in your basement before beginning the planning process. Obvious signs are pools of water or drips coming through the below-grade walls or around windows and the bilco door. Check outside to make sure the ground is graded away from your foundation. Also look for cracks in your foundation walls and repair that damage if necessary. If there is a continuing water issue, there are a number of remedies available – from sump pumps to perimeter French drainage systems.

Ceiling Heights/Options

As mentioned above, ALWAYS get necessary permits and know the building codes before you start a basement renovation (even if your contractor says it might not be necessary – it will become necessary when it’s time to sell).  If you have concerns about ceiling height, consider installing a drywall ceiling rather than a drop ceiling.  Drywall ceilings will give you a few more inches of headroom. Costs are comparable.   Inserting plastic access panels into a drywall ceiling will provide easier access to valves in the pipes above.

A drop or suspended ceiling offers a way to both conceal and provide access to electrical and plumbing lines via the removable tiles.  These ceilings will reduce the amount of overhead space available, so keep that in mind when planning.

Egress Windows and Doors

Basement living space requires emergency escape and rescue openings. Whether it is an egress window or an egress door, it has to open to the outside and open easily without the use of keys or tools.  It must also follow code requirements for the height and width of basement egress windows.

Keep Out the Cold

Even after taking care of any moisture issues, your basement can become a damp place. Check with your contractor to see if you’ll need to add a vapor barrier to the walls and/or  floors prior to framing and finishing off these surfaces.   You may also choose an insulation that includes a vapor barrier on both sides.  Adding insulation will not only help control the temperature inside your basement, it may also add another layer of moisture control.  Other options include a spray foam insulation. Be sure to check code requirements for this type.

 

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting in a basement is a good option because it doesn’t take up valuable overhead space that a light fixture would. It’s also easy to install if you decide to opt for a drop ceiling.

 

The Utility Room is Not for Finishing

Any space housing an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) unit or units and water heaters need to remain clear, open, unfinished and ventilated. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing, plus you’ll need access for inspection and/or repairs.

A finished basement can be terrific “found space” but before you start daydreaming about all its’ potential, make sure your basement is a  good candidate for renovation –  if not, there’s nothing wrong with extra storage! 

 

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CT, home, real estate, Stamford

It’s All About the Journey … A Bedroom or A Spare Room for Spare Time?

One of the first thing buyers’ mention when purchasing a home is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they want.  No matter what the preference, when considering auxilliary bedrooms, certain things remain constant. Buyers usually hope to find bedrooms that will fit a double bed, dresser, possibly a desk and as much storage space as possible!

If your bedrooms satisfy those requirements, that’s great…but what if your current living situation doesn’t require one of the bedrooms to be used on a daily basis?  Without changing structural elements, you could use that square footage to pursue personal interests or activities.   Here are some easy ideas to turn that spare bedroom into a space you can enjoy until you’re ready to sell.

Media Room

A big flat screen TV, a comfortable couch and a nice stereo system can be just the beginning of a place to get comfortable and read or watch a movie.  It can become a private space that allows you to get the television out of the living room and turns that space into a conversation and entertaining room.

Quiet Room or Library

If you’ve collected too many books over the years and have no place to put them, a library can be a good use for a spare bedroom. It can also be used as a designated “quiet room” to meditate and relax in.

Home Office

One of the most popular uses for a spare bedroom is a home office.  Adding lights, furniture and desks can convert the space into a practical home office with privacy. Make sure you have a reliable internet or WiFi connection.

Home Gym

No excuses!  It’s right next door.  Your workout routine can be personalized with any equipment you prefer.  Medicine balls, treadmills, weights, or video workout routines can all be accomplished in the square footage of a spare bedroom.

Yoga Studio

Another variation on the home gym could be turning a spare room into a yoga studio and save money by not going to someone else’s studio. Find a large mirror, bring in a fan, your favorite yoga mat and you’re ready to go.  If you want to take your home studio to the next level, add hardwood flooring, a small TV to follow along with yoga instruction videos, and a radio.

Craft Room

Whether you’re knitting, painting, working on a stamp collection or want more room to work on your favorite hobby, a spare bedroom can easily be converted into a craft room.

Guest Room/Den

It’s always great to have a dual purpose room.  A daybed or sleep sofa will easily accommodate the occasional overnight guest.  When you don’t have guests, it becomes a room to get away from it all and curl up with a good book or watch a TV show your significant other wants no part of!

Lounge/Study Area

Setting up a spare bedroom as a lounge or study area eliminates overcrowding when both these spaces are allocated to individual bedrooms.  The rooms are also dedicated for specific purposes making clean-up and organization a lot easier.

Music Room

If you’ve ever wanted space in your home that’s devoted to music, turning a spare bedroom into a music room is a good idea. It can serve as an individual’s private space to spend time practicing or enjoying their own personal musical interests.

A spare bedroom doesn’t need to become a warehouse of stuff you don’t know where else to put. The good news is you don’t need a mansion to incorporate any of these ideas.

Every room can be a place to relax, rewind, and enjoy!

 

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home, real estate, Stamford

It’s All About the Journey … Treat Yourself to a Spa Day!

With downtime at a premium, it’s no surprise that people are investing in luxurious amenities to enjoy in the comfort of their own home.  Perhaps the most common of these upgrades is the inclusion of a spa-like master bath.

Hydrotherapy, steam, light, heat, and aroma can create an experience at home that can compete with the world’s best spas. However, with so many options, it can be hard to decide where to start and what to pick.    Here are a few ideas for creating your own spa Master Bath.

LUXURY SHOWER

   A Steam Shower is one of the most enjoyable ways to de-stress and can be partnered with aromatherapy, chromatherapy (the science of the light spectrum’s improvements and positive effects on tissue and body systems).   Additional massage elements can be incorporated into the shower through body sprays and jets that can be added to shower walls and operated independently or in conjunction with other shower heads.  Overhead rainfall showers are also a popular additional to a luxury shower.

EXTRA-LARGE BATHTUB

If adding space in the shower isn’t enough, adding an extra-large bathtub will surely do the trick.  Serving as your own private oasis after a long day, homeowners can’t go wrong with this added feature. There are two schools of thought on this.   Freestanding tubs are all the rage today and can certainly create a peaceful, quiet soaking experience but built-in Modern-day therapy tubs are also a popular option.  Many luxury therapy tubs include other health enhancing features like massage, hydrotherapy, or aromatherapy.

HEATED FLOORS AND TOWEL RACKS

  Heated towel warmers and/or heated floors are a great addition. These features ensure that the relaxation doesn’t end once you leave your shower and tub, and your comfort is never disrupted by cold floors or chilly towels. Both add a luxury touch to a spa bath.

CALMING COLOR PALETTE

Since the master bath is a space that is supposed to offer serenity and calming factors, a soft neutral color palette will surely set the tone.  Warm or cool neutrals are both popular.  Warm palettes provide a more zen, organic feel, while cool palettes enhance light and airy spaces.

DOUBLE SINKS

This can be accomplished with a double vanity or two separate sink areas.  Quartz or stone surrounds and the sleek appearance of an under mount sink in square or rectangular shapes add a modern touch. Vessel sinks or large pedestal sinks are other popular options.

RAISE THE HEIGHT

 Newer toilet and vanities are a little taller now for added comfort.  Be sure to check out the difference when you visit your local home supply store.

LUXURY CAN COME IN SMALL PACKAGES

 Not every house has room for a sprawling master bath, but luxury can come in small packages, too. Glass fixed shower panels, floating vanities, and larger, light colored tile floors can open up a smaller bath.  Adding pampering shower features such as:  hand held plumbing fixtures, built in niches or a shower bench can elevate the spa experience.

Plush towels, specialty bath soaps and salts, and a large candle are quick, inexpensive accessories that add a feeling of luxury.

By incorporating some of these elements in your own Master Bath, the spa bath of your dreams could be the one you wake up to every day!

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home, real estate, Stamford

It’s All About the Journey … Retreat to the Master Bedroom

The chaos of the day has ended, all the your chores are finished and you’ve watched just enough TV to put you to sleep.  It’s time to retreat to your private sanctuary, the Master Bedroom.  Ah, the thought of a perfect, serene haven with everything just so, sounds enticing doesn’t it?  You walk down the hall ready to snuggle up in your cozy lair, and the reality smacks you in the face. Where is my serene sanctuary?

You’re not alone, Master Bedroom updates often take a back seat to other rooms, which becomes evident when it’s time to prepare your home to sell (kitchens and bathrooms usually get the most attention). The fact is buyers scrutinize the Master more so than any of the other bedrooms. “Does the closet have enough storage space? Will it fit my bed? Is there room for my double dressers? etc.”

Taking some time to make the most of this space will help create a restful environment your  buyers will appreciate.

  Here are some ideas to help get you started:

Paint the Walls

A cool and soothing color palette creates a relaxing atmosphere.  Soft blues, greens and creamy whites give the bedroom a fresh and airy feel.

Add Wall Decor

Once you’ve got your walls painted, add some decorative accessories.  Things like mirrors, wall accents and photos can add more character to your bedroom.

Arrange Furniture 

When you walk into a bedroom, especially the Master, the bed should be one of the 1st things you see.

Start with learning standard bed sizes, and which one will work in your plan. Other bedroom furniture comes in all kinds of sizes. Once you determine your room and bed dimensions, you can make good decisions about dressers, chests, nightstands and so on. Pay attention to scale and avoid over sized furniture that doesn’t fit the space.  You want to make the bedroom feel airy and comfortable.

The ancient Chinese method of Feng Shui helps to balance our homes.  Following some simple feng shui strategies can turn your chaotic and uninspiring bedroom into the serene  sanctuary of your dreams.

If you have a large Bedroom or a Master Suite

Benches and/or chairs

Add  a bench at the foot of your bed; it’s a perfect spot for putting on your shoes and socks without disturbing a freshly made bed.

Small, comfortable upholstered chairs provide an added dimension to a bedroom. It is easy to overlook this element, but it shows the bedroom can become a nice retreat from the rest of the household.

Whatever the size, make sure you don’t overcrowd the space – as in all rooms, less is more.

Lighting

As with any space, lighting plays an important role in delivering the desired atmosphere. After all, it’s hard to have a romantic environment with a fluorescent light flickering overhead. Consider adding a ceiling fan as well. Despite the fact that some people say ceiling fans are unfashionable, many home buyers appreciate their energy savings.

Upgraded Electronics

Wall mounted TV’s are a popular feature, and can help your space to appear larger, especially if your bedroom is on the smaller side.

Luxury

 A touch of luxury gives the master bedroom refined elegance that can bring a soothing note to the space.  Sumptuous bedding, plush pillows and a beautiful chandelier all add luxury, which can be quite serene.

Combine Masculine and Feminine Details

Neutral palettes and clean lines are appealing to all.  Stay away from window coverings and bed coverings that scream “I am woman hear me roar” or “It’s a man’s world”!
Both individuals need to feel comfortable  and that the environment suits them.

Closets

A master Bedroom with a walk-in closet is always the most preferred option but organizing a smaller closet can also have a dramatic effect.  Good wall closets include: Spaces for long and short hanging items, several open shelves of varying heights, a bank of drawers (optional), a spot for shoes, places to hang ties and belts, and to stow handkerchiefs and scarfs.  The most important thing to remember on closets is that your buyer will remember what they see.  Try to keep hangers all the same with space in between and floors free of clutter. A general rule is that you should only have shelves filled to approximately 1/3 of their height.

These tips can transform your Master Bedroom into the oasis you’ve always envisioned and create a retreat buyers will remember.

Sweet dreams!

 

 

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