CT, home, home maintenance, real estate, Stamford, Stamford CT real estate, Uncategorized, winterizing your home

It’s All About The Journey … Cold Weather Maintenance

Tips to Maintain Your Home During the Cooler Months

Preventing Costly Repairs and Maintaining a Healthy Home When It’s Cold Outside

 

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

 

Now that the weather has turned to “winter” and regardless of your neighborhood, home size or style, maintaining your home is one of the most important things you can do. While the space that you live in reflects your lifestyle and/or personality, it is important to keep your home in good condition.

Factoring in home repairs and maintenance that will save you time and money will go a long way as the weather gets colder. While conditions may not be frightful just yet, keeping these useful tips in mind will put you and your wallet at ease.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Leaky pipes can become problematic over time and lead to flooding, mold issues, foundation trouble, and diminished water quality. Frozen pipes can lead to leaks, and even more costly problems because when water freezes within the pipe, the expanding ice can cause pressure which leads to bursting and additional costly issues.

To ensure that your pipes remain intact, it is helpful to address all areas that need fixing and winterize your outside water sources. You can call a plumber, or attempt winterizing your outside pipes by doing the following – shut off the main water valve and pump, as well as the water heater to start, this way you can drain all of the outside valves and taps which should remain open throughout the winter. You may also blow excess water out of the pipes and discharge water out of the drain taps. As an extra precaution you can add antifreeze. Don’t forget to turn the water main & hot water heater back on so the rest of your house can function.

One last thing … foam rubber-pipe insulation can be wrapped around pipes to protect them against cold weather conditions.

Replace Air Filters

There are various key benefits to regularly replacing your air filters if you have a hot air furnace. Your HVAC system will run more efficiently, air filter replacement will reduce allergy symptoms, and you will save money by properly maintaining the filters and keeping vents clean.

Changing your air filters every 1-3 months can greatly effect the quality of your home’s air. Make sure that the MERV rating of your purchased filter also correctly coincides with your home’s needs.

 

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can save your life when properly placed and it is CT State law that you have smoke & CO detectors in the home.

These alarms beep loudly to ensure that you can hear them and get to safety quickly if there is a fire, gas, fumes or other sources of heat around. Usually inexpensive and easy to install, smoke alarms can last up to 10 years.

CO detectors, on the other hand, have the potential of detecting carbon monoxide, a gas also known as, “the silent killer” due to it’s colorless, odorless quality, which can emit fumes that can cause illness or death. Carbon monoxide detectors are triggered when the gas is found within the environment and sound an alarm to alert people of danger. Unlike smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors typically last 5-7 years.

 

As we enter into cooler weather, make sure your home is prepared. Keep these sound tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier home.

 

Post Courtesy of Paul@DadKnows DIY

 

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Education, magnet schools, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey… Magnet Schools: The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering

Here is the last, but not least, of our series featuring Stamford Public Schools. 

The newest of Stamford’s three high schools, The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering (AITE) was founded in 2000 and is an inter-district, regional, magnet high school located in the Mid-Ridges. AITE has a student enrollment of approximately 700 students and draws students from the greater Fairfield County area. As a inter-district magnet, some 30% of AITE students reside outside of Stamford. Admission is based on an application and lottery system.

AITE offers educational choices through innovative programs based on theme-based instruction.  The mission of AITE is to provide our students with a multitude of learning experiences to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the challenges of the emerging global community through a dynamic, technology rich, college preparatory, small school environment.

AITE offers challenging academic courses:

  • Information Technology: Courses are designed to help students develop advanced computer skills to use in an IT related field or use technology as a tool in a broad variety of other fields. Courses include Cisco networking, computer programming, Smart Apps, and Introduction to Networking. Students have the opportunity to earn national network certifications in some areas.

  • Architecture and Pre-Engineering: Courses are designed to inspire, motivate and prepare those students interested in pursuing careers in Architecture and Engineering. The AAE elective utilizes the curriculum and materials of the nationally accredited Project Lead the Way program (PLTW). The courses are weighted as honors classes.

  • Business: Courses introduce students to skills and knowledge associated with business activities both nationally and globally. Course offerings include accounting, digital publications, business law, finance, game design, and eCommerce.

  • Biomedical Sciences: Courses in a four-year sequence, taken in conjunction with core science classes, promoting students interests and knowledge in the fields of medicine and medical technologies. Course in this PLTW program are weighted at the honors level.

  • The Fine Arts (Music and Visual): Courses promote the integration of music and art skills through traditional and digital applications. Students learn and enhance skills through practical hands-on work, digital applications utilizing current music and graphic arts software, fieldwork with video production and editing functions, and inter-active mentoring and internships. Performance and portfolio activities are incorporated.

AITE is associated with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and offers elective courses in pre-engineering and bio-medical sciences. These classes earn college credits. Additionally, all students are encouraged to complete community service hours each year, and seniors are encouraged to complete a Senior Capstone Project which is a two-semester process where students pursue independent research on a question or problem of their choice, engage with the scholarly debates in the relevant disciplines, and – with the guidance of a faculty mentor – produce a substantial paper that reflects a deep understanding of the topic.

– AITE EDGE –

Welcome to AITE student newspaper, AITE Edge. This online newspaper is a production of the Web Newspaper class.

http://www.aitemedia.net/newspaper/

– Awards –

In September 2017 the Presidential Awards of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching AITE Math Teacher Marina Giuliano was selected as one of three state finalists for the 2016 Presidential Awards of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Established by Congress in 1983, PAEMST recognition is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. The awards recognize those teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that is informed by content knowledge and enhances student learning.

 

AITE Math teacher Vincent Urbanowski has been named Stamford Teacher of the Year (2017-2018).  He also has been selected as a Connecticut Teacher of the Year (2018) Semifinalist, one of only 15 Connecticut teachers chosen from among teachers across the state.   “I’m so thankful to have been chosen to participate at the state level and am honored to be in the company of so many outstanding teachers,” said Urbanowski. “The work we’re doing for our kids in Stamford is innovative, demanding and rewarding.  I welcome the opportunity to share it as a representative of the profession and our district’s collective faculty.”

– Open House –

AITE is hosting Open Houses – Saturday, November 4 and December 2 9:30 am and 11:30 am, Thursday, January 11, 2018 6:30 pm

All Open Houses include a presentation by AITE’s Principal followed by a tour of the building.  Here is the link to AITE promo video 2017:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=VeZhJQpNZ78

– Stamford Public Schools “Tour Your Schools Day” on November 15 –

Stamford Public Schools welcomes all prospective parents, realtors and community members to learn about the educational programs in our schools on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Presentations and tours in all elementary schools are scheduled at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Secondary school presentations and tours are scheduled at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

General information sessions regarding the magnet school admissions are scheduled for December 7 at 7:00 p.m. for elementary magnet schools and December 14 at 7:00 p.m. for middle school. Both magnet school sessions will be held in the Government Center.

Click here for the flyer from Stamford Public School website.

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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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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, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

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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CT, Education, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey… Magnet Schools: Hart Magnet Elementary

Magnet Schools

As we continue looking at the Stamford Public Schools, we are now going to look at the Magnet School programs.  Each magnet school has a unique focus with innovative programs and theme-based instruction. Hart, Toquam, Westover, Rogers and Strawberry Hill are the elementary magnet schools; Scofield is the middle magnet school and AITE is the high school magnet. These schools offer admission through a lottery system, most of which concentrate on Stamford students, with Rogers & AITE being open to a larger population. We’re starting this series with Hart Magnet Elementary School.

 

Hart is one of five magnet elementary schools and their focus is on science and technology offering additional exposure to science and technology above and beyond the standard Stamford Curriculum.

At Hart Magnet School, each grade level reflects a science theme so that…

Kindergarten are Zoologists

Grade 1 are Biologists

Grade 2 are Botanists

Grade 3 are Geologists

Grade 4 are Ecologists

Grade 5 are Engineers

The school has 3 additional teaching positions, two science specialists and a technology teacher, who see every student on a weekly basis.  There are two labs with computers and several wireless links throughout the building providing fast access. There are also three unique mini-courses offered during the year where students choose a one-week long additional class to enrich and further augment the curriculum in science or technology.

The Five E’s and Science Education

The Hart program is building on the inquiry method of teaching science.

The inquiry process is driven by the learner’s curiosity and sustained by his or her sense of ownership of the process and uses the 5 E Approach. This allows learners to build or construct new ideas on top of what they already know.  Each of the 5 E’s describe a phase of learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate.

The school is situated in downtown Stamford and takes advantage of its location by sharing the diversity of arts offered within the City. Its location provides opportunities for field trips to UCONN Stamford, Stamford Hospital, the Palace Theater, and Mill River Project, to name a few. Hart Magnet is a member of the Mill River Collaboration and the students participate in outdoor classes and hands-on activities while they study the ecosystems.

 

As part of Stamford Public Schools’ STEMfest, https://www.facebook.com/Stamford-STEMfest-201557736716911/, Hart students celebrated “STEAM” – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math – with activities that include grade-level field trips to the Barlett Arboretum and Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, as well as a visit from the Beardsley Zoo. The school also hosted its third annual STEAM Night where families had the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities such as rocket building, tower building and breath-powered car designing.

The school’s philosphy is stated in their misstion statement:

 In partnership with parents and the Stamford community, Hart Magnet School provides its students with a learning environment that ensures a firm foundation in the basics and fosters respect for our diverse population. Hart focuses on technology and an inquiry-based approach to science. The theme of environmental studies allows our students to find a connection between their own community and the world in which they live, creating productive citizens and resourceful, life-long learners.

 

 

 

 

 

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