SHAPING THE FUTURE Stamford Public Schools Annual Report 2015-2016
MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
It is my privilege to serve the Stamford community as Superintendent of the Stamford Public Schools. Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to learn about the City of Stamford, our schools and the many community agencies that support and complement our work. Stamford has a great deal of which to be proud in its civic life, its schools and its young people, and I hope you enjoy reading about some of our achievements in this report.
If our schools are to continue to serve students well, we need to continue to adapt to the demands of an ever-changing world. To guide us on our path of continuous improvement, we have begun an inclusive process to articulate a shared strategic vision, mission and set of core values for our system. By summer, we expect to operationalize these aspirations into concrete goals and plans that will guide our work over the next three to five years. By fall, we will begin executing these plans and delivering on the promised system improvements. Exciting work! I have been encouraged through this process by the commitment and involvement of so many members of our community. Educators, parents, alumni, students, civic and business leaders—more than 400 in all—have contributed. Our plans are more robust thanks to their insight and feedback. We all know the value of great schools, but “greatness” is something that requires continual reinvention to maintain. Conveying all that is wonderful in our schools for those we serve is critical to our success. Please join me in supporting our district by attending events that celebrate our students’ many talents: in our classrooms, on our stages, and on our playing fields and courts. Become an ambassador for our district by attesting to the talent that you see and sharing the many success stories with others in the community and with those considering moving here. Stamford is a fantastic city in which to live, work and learn. We are proud to be a part of this wonderful community and pledge to continuously do our part to provide rich learning opportunities to all of Stamford’s young people.
Earl Kim Superintendent Stamford Public Schools
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Stamford Public Schools: Who We Are ......................... 3
Part One: Talent .............................................................. 9
Part Two: Academics ........................................................ 13
Part Three: Climate .......................................................... 19
Part Four: Operations ....................................................... 23
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 2
Stamford Public Schools
Excellence is the Point in WHO WE ARE
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 3
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 4
The Stamford Public Schools (SPS) prepares each and every student for higher education and success in the 21st century.
SPS is proud that our district is as rich in diversity as it is in talent. We have students from many cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic and geographic locations. In 2015-2016 some 13% of our students were English Language Learners and 67 different languages were spoken in the homes of our families. Additionally, 52% of our students qualified for the free/reduced lunch program. SPS offers our students a learning experience rich in cultural diversity and reflective of the global society in which they will work and live. Rogers IB Magnet and Rippowam IB are International Baccalaureate schools. Rogers IB Magnet and AITE are interdistrict magnet schools, which are required to accept 25% of students from outside of Stamford. In the 2015-2016 school year, SPS comprised more than 16,000 students, more than 1,550 professional staff members, and 20 schools, including six magnet and two International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. In September 2016, SPS opened a new elementary school, bringing the district total to 13 elementary* schools, five middle schools, and three high schools. *Rogers IB Magnet is a K-8 school and is counted as an elementary school.
National Honors Cloonan Teacher Jim Forde named White House Champion of Change for Computer Science Education.
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Four teams qualified for Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.
AITE Senior Tanusri Balla named U.S. Presidential Scholar.
Eight National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists and 10 Commended students named.
Cloonan Middle School was a six-time School of Distinction awardee.
SHS Media Specialist Mary George and Rippowam teacher Jimmy Sapia named LearningMedia Digital Innovators. SHS The Round Table student newspaper two-time Gold Medal from Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
WHS student Brian Kaether qualified for NAfME All-National Orchestra.
AITE students Nina Bellusci and Peter Pawelski and Teacher Vin Urbanowski selected for NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program. AITE Student Juliana Burke in National Honor Society for High School Students of German. Hart Magnet Teacher Susan Christiano earned Air Force Association Educator Grant.
Toquam Teacher Mary Enright earned Fulbright-Hays Scholarship.
Scofield Teacher Louise McMinn named a 2016 Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow.
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MEET THE ADMINISTRATORS
Joe O’Callaghan Department Head, Social Work 2016 NASW/CT Clinical Social Worker of the Year Graduated: B.A., Social Work and Religious Studies, Sacred Heart University M.S.W., Fordham University 6th Year, Educational Leadership, Southern Connecticut State University What makes SPS your ‘district of choice?’ I came to Stamford 22 years ago because I wanted to work in a community that honors diversity and values all students. I found that in Stamford. What makes SPS one of the best small urban school districts? Stamford is a community that is committed to all its students. We work hard to create opportunities for students to grow no matter the circumstances –that makes us special. Stamford Roots: 22 years in SPS
Tina Rivera Principal, Academy of Information Technology & Engineering (AITE) Graduated: B.A., English, Southern Connecticut State University M.A., Exercise Science, Southern Connecticut State University 6th Year, Educational Leadership, Southern Connecticut State University What gets you up in the morning? The knowledge that what we do for our students helps to shape who they become as adults as well as prepares them for college and careers. I consider it a privilege and an honor that parents have selected AITE to help prepare their children for their future. What makes SPS one of the best small urban school districts? What makes SPS one of the best urban school districts is its commitment to providing a first-class education as well as opportunities in music, arts, and athletics for all students. SPS is also committed to hiring the best professional staff and its employees represent the diversity of this district. What are your goals? My goals are the same for myself, my students, my staff and the district: Always strive for excellence in all things and give your best at all times. Stamford Roots: 16 years in SPS
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In the 2015-2016 school year, the SPS staff comprised 1,387 teachers, 381 parapro- fessionals and 101 (total) counselors, social workers and school psychologists. Together, nearly 95% of our teachers, instructors and counselors held a Master’s Degree or higher. SPS is impressed by and grateful to the many corporate and private partners that support our schools through grants, donations and volunteerism. The Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) is a not-for-profit partner whose mission is to support our students and teachers through community collaboration and philanthropy. Additionally the work of the Parent Teacher Council of Stamford is essential in bringing the parent organizations of our schools together and strengthening family involvement. SPS is an integral part of Stamford Cradle to Career, a communitywide partnership implementing the nationally recognized Strive Together Cradle-to-Career Framework, under the direction of the United Way of Western Connecticut. Their mission is to align community resources, data and goals so together we can increase the likelihood of success of all Stamford’s youth.
NEW HIRE PERCENTAGE MINORITY STAFF
22% Minority Professional Staff
78% Majority Professional Staff
Earl Kim was named Superintendent of Stamford Public Schools in July 2016. Most recently, he served as Head of School, Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama, and prior to that as Superintendent of Schools in Montgomery Township New Jersey from 2008 to 2012, and in Verona Township New Jersey from 2003 to 2008. Mr. Kim grew up in Hawaii. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He was subsequently commissioned as a lieutenant in the Marines where he served for four years. In 1988, through the Alternate Route Program, he began teaching and coaching in Trenton, N.J. He left his position in Trenton to attend the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, where he graduated with a Master of Public Affairs degree. Again, through the Alternate Route Program, he became a teacher, an assistant principal and principal in a number of New Jersey school districts before his first role as superintendent. He was a Founding Member and Trustee of the Foundation Academy Charter School in Trenton, N.J., from 2006 through 2012, and a Founding Member of the New Jersey Network of Superintendents. Mr. Kim has earned New Jersey Best Practices, New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Star Schools, National Blue Ribbon Schools, and New Jersey Principal of the Year awards.
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Geoff Alswanger, President David Mannis, Vice President Mike Altamura, Secretary Andy George, Assistant Secretary Betsy Allyn Jennienne Burke Jackie Heftman Antoine Savage Nicola Tarzia Mayor David R. Martin (non-voting)
Academy of Information Technology & Engineering (AITE)
1,720 2,090 4,496
*The grand total excludes those students who were registered in alternative and out-of-district programs.
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Stamford Public Schools
Excellence is the Point in TALENT
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MEET THE ADMINISTRATORS
David Tate Principal, Cloonan Middle School Graduated: B.A., Communication, UCONN M.S., Communication Disorders, Southern Connecticut State University 6th Year, Administration and Supervision, Southern Connecticut State University Stamford Roots: 27 years in SPS What makes SPS your ‘district of choice?’ I have always believed Stamford is a microcosm of America. We have a rich tapestry of diversity and cultural resources plus the whole range of challenges and blessings that can be found anywhere in the country. I believe making education work for all kids in Stamford will provide a model to make education successful for all kids everywhere in the U.S.A. What makes SPS one of the best small urban school districts? The fact that we embrace our diversity as a strength is very important. We are a city of all socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, languages and creeds. In Stamford we have opportunities to learn from each other, to broaden our thinking and to develop creative new approaches to age-old problems. What gets you up in the morning? Every day is a chance to make a difference in someone else’s life. No matter whether that person is a student, staff member, parent, colleague or a stranger, we affect other people every day through our interactions. Most times we do not know what effect we are having. However, if we care about how we affect others, most times that effect will be positive. Every day I get up with the intention to end the day having made the world a better place for someone.
Laura Lynam Assistant Principal, Springdale Elementary School
Graduated: B.S., Human Development and Family Studies, UCONN M.A., Elementary Education, University of Bridgeport 6th Year, Administration, University of Bridgeport
Stamford Roots: WHS Class of 1993 19 years in SPS, Son attends APPLES PreK program
What stands out about your SPS experience? I’ve made lifelong friendships with peers at all levels. I was enriched through the opportunity to play on teams, study alongside, and interact with others who looked differently, thought differently and viewed the world differently. What are you most proud of about the district? I think that SPS supports the growth of their own. When you look at the teachers and administrators on staff, a large number are either products of SPS themselves, or began their careers here.
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As always, SPS is committed to attracting, developing and retaining talented and diverse staff members to help our district meet its goals. We are proud that many of our current employees are graduates of SPS, who have chosen to return to our district to pay it forward to succeeding generations of Stamford graduates.
During the year:
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Hired 135 new teachers. Added two new (to the district) administrators. Hired 32 paraeducators. Ratified the teacher contract.
State Honors SHS seniors Kaitlyn Hutter and Gilmar Barrios named CIAC Scholar Athletes. AITE Cara Emano, Nicholas Ricci and Brianna Soto earned perfect scores on National Latin exam. Two SHS students earned Outstanding Actor Awards and two WHS and three SHS earned All Connecticut Cast Awards at the Connecticut Drama Association Festival. SHS senior Gilmar Barrios earned an individual medal in the State Open Cross Country Championships. AITE juniors Andrew Brito and Jessica Ulbrich placed first and second respectively in Fairfield Regional Connecticut History Day contest. Westhill-Stamford Co-op Hockey team won the state title and named USMC Team of the Year. SHS Girls Basketball Teamwon the division title, city championship, FCIAC and CIAC championships. AITE senior Stephanie Walsh named runner up in the Connecticut Bar Foundation Essay Contest.
Providing relevant and effective professional development opportunities for our staff members throughout the year and all through their careers is one critical component of our commitment to continuous improvement and achieving excellence in talent. We are particularly proud that: New teachers participate in TEAM, an induction program in which trained teacher-mentors work with new teachers to ensure a smooth transition to the district. The district provides six school-based and six district-based professional development opportunities for teachers each year. Every teacher has been trained by professors from Southern Connecticut State University in strategies to enable English Language Learners access to effective academic instruction. Teachers, social workers and ~ ~ ~
psychologists received training on a range of mental health topics. (More details are provided in the Climate section of this report.)
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Each year SPS recognizes outstanding teachers in the district through its Teacher of the Year and Spotlight Awards Program. Teachers are nominated by their peers for consideration. The program committee members evaluate all submissions based on four criteria: Outstanding Teaching, Exceptional Student Support, Exemplary Community Involvement and Positive Influence on School Culture. The committee chooses a select group to receive Spotlight Awards, and an even more exclusive group to be considered for Teacher of the Year. Specifically: The district monitors and supports implementation throughout the year. Every new teacher and administrator receives small-group instruction on PGDE. Each building has a designated PGDE liaison as a resource. The PGDE committee trained 25 administrators and teachers in mediation and dispute resolution processes. ~ ~ ~ ~ Gloria Sinaguglia, Stamford High School music teacher, as the 2016-2017 SPS Teacher of the Year. George Beratis, Stamford High School band director as First Finalist and Chandan Sarkar, Westhill High School mathematics and computer science teacher as Finalist. Jacquelyn Clucus, Cloonan Middle School English/ language arts teacher and Maria Miraballes, Westhill High School social studies teacher as Teacher of the Year Nominees. 17 individual teachers and three teams of teachers for Spotlight Awards. All Spotlight Winners, Teacher of the Year Nominees, and the Teacher of the Year were celebrated at an awards event during teacher appreciation week in May 2016. ~ ~ ~ ~ SPS’s Professional Growth, Development and Evaluation (PGDE) Plan for teachers and administrators, which was developed by teachers and administrators, provides a process by which the evaluator and the teacher have on going discussions around improving teaching and learning. From among 60 individuals and teams who were nominated, the committee selected:
EVALUATION PLAN PROGRESS
RECOGNITION OF OUTSTANDING TEACHING
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Stamford Public Schools
Excellence is the Point in ACADEMICS ACADEMICS
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 13
MEET THE TEACHERS
George Beratis Stamford High School Band Director 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year First Finalist
Graduated: B.A., B.M., Jazz Studies, Western Connecticut State University M.S., Education, University of Bridgeport
Stamford Roots: SHS Class of 2002 7 years in SPS Mother has worked at Westover for 20+ years
What stands out about your SPS experience? During my sophomore year, my band director suggested some friends and I perform in the SHS “Battle of the Bands.” It was in that moment I knew that music was something I wanted in my life forever. If it wasn’t for that experience, and that teacher, I don’t know where I would be today. What motivates you? My students motivate me. There is a positive energy in the music program at SHS. The students are eager to learn, work hard and continuously improve every year. They are so bright and optimistic about their future, and it makes me want to do everything I can to be a small part of making their dreams a reality.
Rebecca Wilson Curriculum Associate for Data Monitoring 2015 NCC Distinguished Alumni Award Graduated: A.G.S., Norwalk Community College B.S.W., Sacred Heart University M.S.W., Fordham University
Stamford Roots: SHS Class of 1993 15 years in SPS
What makes SPS your ‘district of choice?’ I decided to go into education as a career because being well-educated influences one's life trajectory. The thought of helping my community made SPS the most ideal choice. What gets you up in the morning? I remember my days as a student, I loved school! I still do! Each of the students that I have worked with have contributed to shaping me as much as I have hopefully contributed to shaping them. What makes SPS one of the best small urban school districts? You will find that many former students reinvest in the community by returning to SPS as educators.
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The number of high school students taking AP courses and exams has been increasing consistently – from 674 in 2010 to 975 in 2016. The percentage of SPS students taking AP courses increased from 41% in 2010 to 50% in 2016. The percentage of Hispanic students participating in AP courses tripled from 2010 to 2016. The number of high school students recognized as AP Scholars, for exceptionally high achievement by the College Board, has been increasing consistently from 192 in June 2011 to 243 in June 2016. The overall graduation rate for students in SPS increased from 85% for the Class of 2011 to 87.5% for the Class of 2016. Graduation rates for Black students increased by six points (from 81% to 87%) and for Hispanic students by two points (from 79% to 81%) from the Class of 2011 to the Class of 2016. Approximately 80% of SPS graduates go on to postsecondary education. The percentage of SPS students taking AP courses increased from 41% for the Class of 2010 to 50% for the Class of 2016. The percentage of Black students taking AP classes tripled from 11% for the Class of 2010 to 33% for the Class of 2016. Eight SPS students were named National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation; 10 seniors were named Commended Students. AITE was ranked number one among magnet high schools in Connecticut by Niche Rankings for the second year in a row. Westhill High School was recognized by the College Board for the high participation rate of a diverse student population in AP exams.
The Smarter Balanced Assessments, introduced in spring of 2015, are aligned to the Connecticut Core standards in English/language arts and math. These assessments are the summative measures used by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) to gauge student achievement. For the second year, students in Grades 3-8 participated in the spring 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment administration. With a waiver obtained by Governor Malloy, eleventh graders in Connecticut were permitted to substitute the SAT for the Smarter Balanced Assessment. We are proud that SPS students outperformed students in English/language arts and math in all of the eight towns in Stamford’s Reference Group, which comprises towns that are demographically similar to Stamford. Additionally: 60% of K-3 students in eight of our schools and 50% in two of our schools scored at/above proficient in reading. 50% of Grade 3-5 students scored at/above proficient t in English/language arts. 42% of Grade 3-5 students scored at/above proficient in math. 49% of Grade 6-8 students scored at/above proficient in English/language arts. 40% in Grade 6-8 students scored at/above proficient in math. Students take academically challenging classes and demonstrate success at many levels, including performance in honors courses, Advanced Placement (AP) courses and graduation rates. In core courses, 70% or more of Grade 8 students in College Prep classes achieved a final grade of A, B or C. In honors courses, which comprised 50% minority students, more than 90% of Grade 8 students achieved a final grade of A, B or C. Spring 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment Grades and Graduation Rates
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MEET THE TEACHERS
Chandan Sarkar Westhill High School Math and Computer Science Teacher 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year Finalist Graduated: B.S., Computer Engineering and M.E., Electrical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute M.B.A., Information Technology, New York University
Stamford Roots: 6 years in SPS Two daughters graduated SPS Wife volunteers at WHS
What motivates you? When you love what you do, motivation comes from inside … I feel it is an honor and a privilege to be a public school teacher. This remains the most fun job I have ever had. What makes SPS one of the best small urban school districts in the country? The AP scores stand out at our school. This is one of the best and most objective indicators.
Gloria DiCamillo Sinaguglia Stamford High School Choral and Orchestral Director 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year
Graduated: B.S., Music Education, University of Hartford, Hartt College of Music
M.S., Education, University of Bridgeport M.S., Learning, Sacred Heart University
Stamford Roots: WHS Class of 1973 38 years in SPS
What gets you up in the morning? The anticipation of seeing my students each day, watching them develop as musicians and fine human beings, and hearing the music we create together is what motivates me and brings me joy. What do you think makes SPS one of the best small urban school districts? The dedication of its teachers makes Stamford one of the best urban school districts. The inclusiveness of its diverse population is a highlight that has been recognized as an asset by both staff and students. For 38 years, I have worked with and observed talented, caring and dedicated teachers at all levels and across all subjects tirelessly work to communicate with, motivate and educate the whole child.
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Next Generation Accountability Report
• Math Performance Index (All Students) • Math Performance Index (High Needs Students) • Science Performance Index (All Students) • Science Performance Index (High Needs Students) • Chronic Absenteeism (All Students) • Chronic Absenteeism (High Needs Students) • Preparation for College/Career, Taking Courses • Preparation for College/Career, Passing Courses • Six-Year Graduation (High Needs Students)
In 2014-2015, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) introduced a Next Generation Accountability Report for all schools and districts. This report measures indicators in 12 areas including academics, attendance, arts, physical fi tness and post-secondary plans. Preliminary highlights for 2015-16 include the following: The overall Accountability Index for Stamford at 73.0 is very comparable to the overall Accountability Index statewide at 73.1. SPS demonstrated growth (an improvement of 1.0 or more points) in nine indicators from 2014-15 to 2015-16: ~ ~
Graduation Rates of SPS Students by Race/Ethnicity
Percentage of SPS Students Taking AP Courses
2010 Class of
2011 Class of
Black Hispanic District
Black Hispanic District
Notes: Includes all graduates who had an AP final grade recorded. The percentage of SPS students taking AP courses increased from 41% in 2010 to 50% in 2016. Black and Hispanic students participating in AP courses increased by double digits across these years.
The overall graduation rate for students in SPS increased from 85% for the Class of 2011 to 88% for the Class of 2016. In the same time period, graduation rates for Black students increaed by 6 points (81% to 87%) and Hispanic students by 2 points (from 79% to 81%). Note: The "gap" is defined as the difference between the lowest and highest group graduation rates.
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MEET THE STUDENTS Mariel Barocas SHS Class of 2017
Stamford Magazine “Top Teen” Yale University Class of 2021 Academic and Extracurricular Activities: National Merit Commended Student National Honor Society Mayors Youth Leadership Council member Treasurer Class of 2017 Opinions Editor, Stamford High School The Round Table Schools Attended: Davenport Elementary, Westover Magnet, Rippowam Middle and Stamford High Future Plans: Ethics, Politics and Economics, or Political Science How has your extracurricular participation influenced you? The opportunity to work on The Round Table as the opinion editor and staff writer has given me a taste of a viable future career path, an outlet of expression and a way to refine my writing skills outside of the classroom environment. What are some of the benefits of a public school education? I am grateful for the educational, extracurricular and social experiences I received from attending SPS for my entire life. I have crossed paths with thousands of different people, received access to countless resources and developed a complex understanding of the world.
Mischael Anilus AITE Class of 2017
Stamford Magazine “Top Teen” Tufts University Class of 2021
Academic and Extracurricular Activities National Honor Society WHS Track and Field, FCIAC and CIAC Qualified Mill River Collaborative Steward City of Stamford Engineering Department Intern
Schools Attended: Stark Elementary, Roxbury Elementary and Scofield Magnet Middle Future Plans: Mechanical Engineering Please share a positive SPS experience. In 5th grade I participated in the Odyssey of the Mind team. It was an amazing experience, as I was able to exercise my creativity and lateral thinking. My team came in second in the state for our division, and then came in fourth in the World competition in Michigan. How has your extracurricular participation influenced you? Track and Field, specifically pole-vaulting, has been a positive experience for me. Not only does it feel good to move my body, but I enjoy overcoming obstacles and setting goals to reach. For each new height I cleared, I could only look forward to the next one.
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Stamford Public Schools
Excellence is the Point in CLIMATE
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The district recognizes that school climate can significantly impact learning. As such, for the second consecutive year, SPS worked with an independent agency to administer the Comprehensive School Climate Survey (CSCI). The CSCI survey is designed to assess perceptions of students, parents and staff regarding the school environment. The survey questions cover areas of safety, relationships, learning and communication. Each school received an extensive school climate report and established a School Climate Committee to consider the results, develop strategies to foster improvement in specific areas, and incorporate those strategies in their annual School Improvement Plans. Diversity, and Social Support by Adults are consistently rated high by students, parents and staff, across the elementary, middle and high schools. The ability to develop well communicated and well understood rules and norms. Foundational strengths for SPS include Safety, Teaching and Learning, Respect for Diversity, and Social Support by Adults. Parents are often the most positive about School Connectedness/Engagement, meaning they identify positively with being a member of the school community. This is a key strength. Social-Emotional Safety (sense that students feel safe from verbal abuse, teasing, or exclusion) is an area of opportunity for the school district to address. Results of the Spring 2016 CSCI indicate: Overall ratings in the areas of Safety, Teaching and Learning, Respect for
High School Call to Action The High School Call to Action Committee (HSCAC) was created in 2013 to raise the bar for all students, accelerate the growth for struggling students, evaluate the high school experience in SPS, and ensure that all graduates are prepared for the academic, social, technological, economic, and global demands of the 21st century. In 2015-16, the HSCAC continued its work to redesign the high school experience for the benefit of all students. The committee: Amended the high school attendance policy to reflect a loss of course credit and not failure of a course due to excessive absences. This incentivizes attendance, encouraging students to continue to attend class and earn a passing grade. Although the students will not earn course credit, they will not be required to retake the course. Planned for the creation of a Senior Internship Experience Program, which will be launched in Spring 2017. High school seniors will have the opportunity to do an internship in a career field of interest during the last month of the school year. Is in the process of designing a Senior Capstone project for implementation in the 2017-2018 school year. Planned areas of focus for the future are revisions to the high school schedule, high school transition programs and AP summer prep programs.
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MEET THE STUDENTS
Ismael De Los Santos SHS Class of 2017 National Hispanic Recognition Program Honoree Cornell University Class of 2021 Academic and Extracurricular Activities: Math Team Captain, Frisbee Club Co-President, Cancer Club member
Schools Attended: Toquam Magnet, Rippowam Middle
Future plans: Mechanical Engineering
Please share a positive Stamford Public Schools experience: In September I participated in SPS’s first-ever high school hackathon. Students competed in a timed app-building event. The event offered a great opportunity for students to explore STEM subjects while meeting people who share the same interests. The effort put into the event has shown me that SPS has embraced the future of education, which involves technology. How has SPS prepared you for your future? SPS has helped prepare me by promoting a healthy learning environment. The support of teachers throughout the years has fermented a strong interest in my education and has made me appreciate all the hard work they do for their students. The vast number of courses offered along with extracurricular opportunities helped me decide what I would like to do after graduating.
Vivek James WHS Class of 2017 National Merit Scholarship Finalist National AP scholar
University of Pennsylvania Class of 2021 Academic and Extracurricular Activities National Honors Society Vice-President, Debate Team Captain, Model United Nations Club Founder and President, Math Team Captain, Pianist, Orchestral violinist, Stamford Youth Philharmonic,
Schools Attended: Westover Magnet, Cloonan Middle
Future plans: Computer Science How has SPS prepared you for your future? The motto of SPS holds: excellence is the point. Its diverse curriculum has taught me about addition and multivariable calculus, Christopher Columbus and microeconomics, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Invisible Man . I could not have received a more comprehensive or unique education. Stamford Public Schools has given me numerous opportunities to apply the lessons learned in school to internships, competitions and tutoring. SPS has made me a student ready for success in college and beyond. What are the benefits of a public school education? This exceptional experience, one full of different perspectives and diverse backgrounds, is what distinguishes a public school, especially one in a community as socioeconomically diverse as Stamford, from a private school.
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Communication Ongoing communication with stakeholders is critical to the success and perception of our district. The Board of Education (BOE) holds monthly meetings to address day-to-day business as well as to celebrate the success of our outstanding students and staff. The district reaches out to local media outlets on a daily basis to share positive news stories or bring clarity to education issues. Specific initiatives to improve the effectiveness of district communication in 2015-2016 include: Created the Annual Report to the Community, which earned a communications award by Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), and was distributed to some 8,000 community members, including doctor’s offices and real estate offices. Personalized website by adding profiles of select student, staff and alumni from award-winning SPS Annual Report to engage visitors. Encouraged stakeholders to sign up for web-based subscription News and Alerts function that provides automatic notification. • Increased number of subscribers to District News and Announcements from 2,000 to more than 3,000. • Reached 6,500 subscribers for District Alerts, used for emergency situations, such as school cancellations or delays. Continued to build relationships with local media by regularly promoting positive school stories. • Issued 54 Press Releases and 98 Media Advisories that resulted in about 76% positive or neutral online local media coverage, 66% positive or neutral broadcast coverage, and 85% positive or neutral social media coverage, according to a news monitoring service. Upgraded district website to make it mobile-device friendly. Increased number of Twitter followers to more than 2,500.
Mental Health Mental Health is an ongoing public concern that SPS takes seriously. We have a comprehensive mental health plan that focuses on ways to identify and address the mental health-related issues that affect our students’ learning. During the 2015-2016 school year we focused on developing and implementing evidence-based mental health interventions for students who have experienced traumatic stress. The district: Garnered recognition by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for our efforts and was invited to participate in an intensive collaboration cohort. Received funding from DCF for a position for the 2016-2017 school year to support Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), which is a well-regarded evidence-based 10-week group intervention for children who are experiencing symptoms of traumatic stress. Trained all school social workers and psychologists in CBITS. We began implementation in the spring and ran nine groups with 40 students. Trained health teachers, social workers and psychologist in the use of the skills component Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This therapy has been adopted around the country as a classroom model to teach specific skills, in emotional regulation, resilience and overall coping with stress. We implemented the class with 12 students at AITE. Trained more than 50 staff members in psychological and physical management training, a crisis intervention program that teaches how to deescalate situations in a safe manner. Trained some 45 psychologists, social workers and guidance staff on crisis intervention, suicide prevention and intervention.
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Stamford Public Schools
Excellence is the Point in OPERATIONS
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Brian Kaether WHS Class of 2018 Stamford Magazine “Top Teen”
MEET THE STUDENTS
Academic and Extracurricular Activities Stamford Young Artist Philharmonic Concertmaster Chamber Institute for Young Musicians Chamber Musician Conn. Western Regionals Concertmaster and Assistant Concertmaster, Conn. All-State and All-National Orchestra Assistant Concertmaster, Westhill High Orchestra violinist Schools attended: Stillmeadow Elementary, Cloonan Middle Future Plans: Violin Performance and/or Aerospace Engineering How do extracurricular activities positively influence you? Through collaborative programs between the SPS and the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, I have had the opportunity to perform side by side with the talented musicians of our city’s orchestra. As a violinist, it is an exciting and rare opportunity to perform as a soloist with an orchestra and I was given that opportunity through this SPS program. The knowledge I gained through these programs has made me a better musician, and I will remember these experiences for the rest of my life. Why SPS? I have been fortunate enough to have been taught by many dedicated and caring teachers while being guided by administrators who went above and beyond to provide me with a unique education and learning environment.
Emily Romero AITE Class of 2017 Harvard University Class of 2021
Academic and Extracurricular Activities National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, COLT Representative, Neighbors Link Youth Link Ambassador, Connecticut Students for a Dream, Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council, Ferguson Library Summer Teen Volunteer, Stamford Hospital Junior Volunteer
Schools attended: Stark Elementary, Toquam Magnet, Scofield Magnet Middle
Future Plans: Government and Law
Please share a positive SPS experience. My Stark Elementary School third grade teacher told me I could go to Harvard. She inspired me to work hard and apply myself in middle school and high school. She indirectly helped me achieve my goal of getting into Harvard. How has SPS helped to prepare you for your future? SPS has provided a pathway for me to get a higher education and impact the world in a positive way. The diverse public school setting has exposed me to many things, which I will use when I go on to college and discover another world.
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 24
2015-16 WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
• Supplies, Materials & Heating Fuels 2.1% ($5,278,378) • Building Upkeep & Repairs 2.2% ($5,619,574) • Employee Benefits 18.1% ($46,208,244) • Educational, Rehabilitative & Legal Svcs 3.5% ($8,852,658) • Out of District Tuition & Other Svcs 5.3% ($ 13,601,090) • Transportation 6.0% ($15,278,429) • Salaries 62.6% ($159,822,593)
• Dues & Fees 1.0% ($144,908) • Equipment 1.0% ($307,568)
WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM
• Federal Grants 3.3% ($9,438,352) • State Grants 6.3% ($17,661,772) • Private & Other Grants 0.1% ($157,972) • Other Income <0.1% ($102,000) • State Entitlements 2.9% ($307,568) • City of Stamford – Operating Budget 87.4% ($246,727,547)
Ensuring the smooth operations of all 20 schools through fiscal responsibility and educational integrity, while addressing our growing population, were priorities for the district during the 2015-2016 school year.
Achieved 2015-2016 Operating Budget surplus of $266,032 (.1%) on a budget of $255,572,612.
Developed and approved 2016-2017 Operating Budget of $263,903,563 (3.45%) to accommodate an anticipated 1.3% student enrollment growth, the opening of a new elementary school and the addition of 6.6 positions.
Obtained $845,677 settlement for district Medicaid reimbursements.
Completed the extensive work necessary to open a new school, an extension of the Rogers International School, in August 2016.
Obtained Connecticut State Department of Education funding.
Worked with city departments and contractors to ensure all facility and educational requirements were addressed to meet project timeline.
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 25
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Identified appropriate attendance zones to address crowded schools as well as accommodate area residents. Hosted several recruitment and orientation meetings to encourage applications and generate the necessary out-of-district ratio. Established lottery registration system to ensure socioeconomic balance. Appointed a principal, hired staff and established curriculum.
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Received a $2.68 million grant to address repair and maintenance projects not covered in the operation budget. Initiated the installation of LED lighting in 15 schools.
Awarded $31,866,361 in state, federal and private funding for the 2015-2016 school year. Managed and coordinated the District Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. Partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Computer Connections to distribute refurbished computers to 50 SPS third graders. A three-year technology plan was approved by the BOE in June 2015. The plan has five goals designed to help ensure all students have equitable access to rigorous, standards-based education enhanced through the use of technology. Key accomplishments in the past year are:
Updated the district Acceptable Use Policy and provided g-mail addresses for all high school students.
Piloted a digital learning experience with 12 high school teachers utilizing google apps, digital curriculum content, collaboration tools and online assessments.
Implemented online collaboration tools with a majority of schools.
Piloted online midterm exams with some high school and middle school teachers.
Hosted districtwide technology professional development for all middle school teachers providing 40 different learning opportunities.
Provided bus service to more than 11,500 elegible students:
Achieved 99% on-time rate.
Enhanced routes for safety and efficiency.
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 26
PROFILE Christopher Kremer Graduate Student, Stanford University Stanford University Class of 2015 B.S., Geology AITE Class of 2011 Schools Attended: Stillmeadow Elementary, Scofield Middle and AITE
What is the greatest benefit of a public school education? A public school education teaches a child to interact with people of every kind of background and character. I don’t think there is a better way to make a child adaptable, empathetic and outgoing. Please share a positive SPS experience. My history teacher and debate coach Claude Morest taught me to think quickly, speak clearly, and write well. I use the skills I learned from his classes every single day: in my university courses, in my research and in nearly every other intellectual facet of my life. Mr. Morest taught me that the value of logical thought extended far beyond any particular academic discipline and far, far beyond the classroom.
Alexa Petersen Policy Analyst, One Acre Fund Tufts University Class of 2013 B.A., Political Science, Peace and Justice Studies SHS Class of 2009
Schools attended: Springdale Elementary, Dolan Middle School and SHS
One of my favorite classes at Stamford High was senior seminar. Writing a manifesto for that class was a unique and challenging opportunity and definitely pushed me to begin formulating opinions on areas of politics that I had not considered before. How has SPS prepared you for your future? I took multiple Advanced Placement and honors classes in a wide range of topics. My experience was academically rigorous and prepared me well for college. Also, Stamford High School offered extra-curricular opportunities to participate in community activism, which fueled my passion for public service and helped shape my career. What is the greatest benefit of your public school education? SPS provided a meaningful nexus between academic excellence and cultural diversity. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world.
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY 27
PROFILE Gary White Judge of the Superior Court, Stamford/Norwalk Judicial District
Harvard Law School Juris Doctor Degree College of the Holy Cross
B.A., Philosophy SHS Class of 1972
How has SPS prepared you for your future? The wide range of courses I took piqued my intellectual interest and helped me to develop better analytical skills. The academic growth I experienced was vitally important in preparing me for college level work and in helping me to graduate from law school. What stands out as a positive influence? In addition to the academic benefit I received as a student, my SHS basketball career taught me to become a team player who works toward a collective goal. Whether in the classroom or on the court, my tenure as an SHS student played an important part in my personal growth and maturation. I am extremely fortunate and proud to be a SHS graduate.
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Nine SHS qualified to perform at the CMEA Western Regionals and nine Rogers students at the Middle School Festival. TOR Maddie Martignoni and Zoe Kallenekos qualified for the Fairfield County String Festival.
AITE Adriana Gambino earned Jack Keegan Award, the 2015 Allyson Rioux Award, named softball 1st Team All-FCIAC, 1st Team Academic All-State, and Scholar-Athlete. Local Honors Stamford High sophomores Nikhil Rao, Scott Krupa and Katherine Reiter were recognized for their work in the development of a food pantry through the SHS Gives Back program. Cloonan Middle School student Aline Correa selected as finalist in the Optimum Community Black History Month Essay Contest. AITE Juniors Andy Anorga and Alexandra Walker were recognized as Outstanding New Individual Youth Volunteers by the United Way.
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Regional Honors SPS Social Work Department Head Joseph O’Callaghan named Clinical Social Worker of the Year.
WHS Aaron Pettiford awarded the UCAN Inspire Award.
WHS Intern Mindy Midy named School Counseling Intern of the Year.
WHS Rachel Burston earned a historic four consecutive FCIAC diving championships.
AITE Dylan Martin took first place and WHS team of
Brookelyn Conte, Caitlin Cooney, and Paige Sottosanti took second in Fairfield County Regional Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Fund for Teachers awarded nine Stamford teachers grants totaling more than $25,000.
WHS boys basketball team earned its second consecutive FCIAC title.
The SHS Co-Ed Cheerleading team won its third consecutive FCIAC title. Five SHS and three WHS students recognized at the 26th Annual Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Award.