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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It’s All About Journey … Magnet Schools: Rogers International School

Rogers Internation School (RIS) is located a mile from Long Island Sound and built on an existing urban brownfield site which was formerly an R&D facility for Proctor and Gamble.  RIS is an inter-district magnet school for PreK-8th grade servicing students from Stamford and surrounding towns with a focus on environmental studies.

This urban school has received multiple awards including the LEED Silver Certification, AIA Connecticut Design Award and the CT Green Building Council Most Intriguing Institutional Award.

The green building, which is integrated into the school’s curriculum, also teaches an awareness of the students’ connection to the earth and their responsibility to care for it.

The design creates a vibrant sense of place and demonstrates ecological stewardship through its four prominent environmental demonstration components: a large intensive green roof for educational use; a rain garden demonstrating the natural filtration process; a rain and stormwater collection system; and wind turbine demonstrating ‘free energy’.

RIS is a community with active volunteers – The Green Team and The Green Action Squad, The Community Pantry.  The Green Team is a group of volunteers who are interested in maintaining the unique environmental features of the school.  They work closely with The Green Action Squad which consists mostly of 3rd & 4th graders. The children develop their own projects based on environmental interests. In the past they have developed programs to educate their peers about recycling, tick identification, and birds on our campus. The Community Pantry is set up to support Roger’s families by providing supplemental groceries. Collections are accepted all year long.

RIS is an authorized participant in the world renowned International Baccalaureate World School working with students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade. The school offers the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). In 2007, the International School at Rogers Magnet received the Lone Pine First Annual Fairfield Academic Gain Award.

The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), founded in 1968, is a nonprofit educational organization based in Geneva, Switzerland which provides a broad and challenging education. The programs enable students to acquire important academic skills and to develop an international perspective and a commitment to their communities.

There are three programs:

The Primary Years Program (PYP)  for students aged 3 to 12. Click here for more information.

The Middle Years Program (MYP) for students aged 11 to 16. Click here for more information.

The Diploma Program (DP) for students in the final two years of school before university which we will cover when we take a look at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE).

The 2018-19 lottery for this, and other magnet schools, can be accessed through the Stamford Public Schools website after the 2017-18 school year has begun.

 

For a tour of the school, or to answer any questions on Rogers, or any of the Stamford Schools feel free to contact me.

 

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

Westhill High School (WHS) started construction with the vision of two separate schools: freshman and sophomores in one building and juniors and seniors in the other. The thought was to separate the four year program into two, more “intimate” settings housed in the Finch and Raynor buildings.  The plan changed and school opened in 1971 as a traditional high school with all students having classes in both buildings. Now the Westhill campus, the city’s largest high schools also features an agricultural science facility, two all-sports artificial turf stadiums, and a 35-classroom building which houses the Freshman Academy. The school colors, purple and gold, and the mascot, the Viking, were borrowed from the Minnesota Vikings, the new NFL team that season.

Four decades later Westhill High School is thriving. A student body of roughly 2,500 students and nearly 200 certified staff work tirelessly to improve the teaching and learning environment for all learners. A multitude of AP course offerings, numerous electives, a JROTC program, an agricultural science program, dozens of clubs and numerous sport offerings have Westhill High School the place to be now  and for decades to come.

There’s so much going on here:

Columbia Press Awards and The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) which is affiliated with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism recently awarded Westhill High School’s student-run publication, The Westword, a Silver Crown Award during the 93rd annual Scholastic Convention in the category of Hybrid Newspaper. According to CSPA, publications are judged on design, photography, concept, coverage and writing. Crown Awards demonstrate overall excellence in the entire publication.

The Westword has a history of winning CSPA awards, and has earned commendations from the American Scholastic Press Association. Though the majority of the work done on The Westword is completed after school hours, many of the articles are written by students in Westhill’s Journalism and Communications classes. “The Westword’s mission, ‘the test of good journalism is the measure of its public service,’ is something that we truly strive for at all times,” said Lauren Schechter, Editor-in-chief (print). “To be commended for that effort only encourages us to push ourselves further.”

Creative Connections, an International Cultural Education Organization, selected WHS as the “2017 USA Art Partner of the Year.” The artwork of all the WHS AVID students participating in the ArtLink International Exchange Program was recognized by a jury of educators and artists as an outstanding collection of work. According to Creative Connections, the WHS students’ artwork, which reflected the theme “TEAM Up,” was selected based the cultural insightfulness, quality and uniqueness of the work.

 

The WHS theater program, Northstar Playmakers just wrapped up their Spring Musical, Guys and Dolls.  For more information on the theater program, check their website: http://westhilltheater.org/home

Westhill is a diverse high school representing more than thirty-five distinct nationalities within it’s student body. In Westhill’s media center, flags from around the world are hung from the ceiling to representing Westhill’s diversity and welcoming environment.

Westhill is about to come to the end of an era & the begin a new chapter with Michael Rinaldi  taking over as the new Principal on July 1, 2017.  Both a Stamford native and Westhill alum, Mr. Rinaldi has been serving almost 30 years in the Stamford School system.  It was the first time in nearly two decades that the board chose a new principal for WHS. The retiring Principal, Camille Figluizzi has been at WHS since 1998.

Rinaldi decided he wanted to become an educator while still a student at Westhill.  “It changed my life,” he said, “Westhill is where I discovered my passion for this work. I would not be a teacher today if not for the fact that I had the opportunity to work with special-needs students as a teenager.”

The Vikings are set to embark on a new era, continuing to support it’s diverse population and commitment to excellence

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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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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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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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