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.

 

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.

Rippowam 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 recently 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.

 

 

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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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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, 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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