Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Push for Parental Screening First?

There is an obvious agenda afoot with the screening process for the candidates for the superintendent's position, so I've heard. Certain parents want to be the first line of screeners for the position. Most of the RedApples want to be in that group. What's the agenda? Guess who will be eliminated first, if he is persuaded to apply for the position? I'll give you one guess, because that's all you need. On the other hand, there is a suggestion to keep the Interim one more year so that the new Board of Education (with four positions available) will be able to choose their own superintendent. Two related, but very different topics up for discussion. What do you think?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown, CT

An open forum, in the event people want to talk about the tragic shootings today. Just a cathartic place to write about your feelings.......

Monday, December 10, 2012

State Published Test Scores

please copy and paste: ------------------------

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Longer School Day?

What do you think about a longer school day? What would you like to see added to the end of the day? Do you think test scores would increase as a result of additional hours? How would this affect children? Should only the schools that are failing have longer days? What else?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

You again.....

Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with family, good times and lots to eat. Now it's back to your blog time. Choose your topic.......

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chairperson of the Board

The last thread started the conversation on the chairperson for the Board of Education. Let's continue the discussion here....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Teachers' Union Contract

NORWALK -- Board of Education members are spiking the football on what's being called a favorable arbitrated teachers' union contract. While the arbitration panel sided with the Norwalk Federation of Teachers (NFT) on keeping class size regulations in place and a three-year contract duration, the board finally got its hard freeze, which will save the board more than $3 million. The board also won some work rules rollbacks, such as giving the superintendent more leeway in transferring teachers, which the NFT also agreed to. There will also be changes to the insurance plan, though the panel chose to pick and choose between portions of the teachers' last best offer and the board's. NFT President Bruce Mellion's salary will also come off the books. The board was previously paying 40 percent of Mellion's salary. "You're never going to get 100 percent of arbitration, particularly when you have a large number of issues like this. On the big items, the ones we really considered critically important, I'd say we got 80 percent of them," said Mike Lyons, who sits on the board's Negotiations and Personnel Committee. Board Chairman Jack Chiaramonte, who was a major proponent of a hard freeze during the summer's budget crisis, called the freeze a "win for everybody" as Norwalk teachers, on average, are still some of the best paid in the state. "Had the union taken the hard freeze as we asked them to, librarians and teachers and other employees would still be working today," said Chiaramonte. "We asked them nicely. Saying no during negotiations wasn't wise, as it turns out. We told them every other union has taken a freeze, not only in the city, in every city in every state in the country." The hard freeze comes into effect for the 2013-14 school year, with salary and step increases returning for 2014-15. In 2015-16, salary and step increases will be reopened for negotiation..................................... source:This is a quote from The Hour.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Irene Sikorski's Letter in The Hour I have taken the liberty of cutting and pasting the letter from The Hour. What you are missing are the comments, especially from Mike Barbis. You can find the comments online in The Hour, Letters to the Editor.....Here is the letter....... After reading the headlines and letters to the editor, I feel compelled to speak out. I am angry and frustrated at the antics of Sue Haynie in her efforts to undermine any and all endeavors of the members of the Norwalk Board of Education. She is an obstructionist whose mission is always to cause upset. She is at the center of creating the "so-called dysfunctionality" of the board. On a daily basis, she is on a rant about every aspect of the board's work. This would be commendable if she was engaging the members of the board in productive debate; however, her venue is the press or behind closed doors. She has taken issue with the reading and math programs, the superintendent search, special education, the budget, the retreat, and especially anything having to do with Tony Daddona. In her smear campaigns, she uses half truths and innuendos. She claims that recent contracts that were negotiated for Mr. Daddona were done without transparency; however, the details of such negotiations are in the board packet. Furthermore, it is interesting to note, that Mr. Daddona's salary is NOT more than Susan Marks'. She was paid $200,000.00 plus an annuity of $30,000.00. What was not made public, however, is that Marks walked away with a severance of $90,000.00 after only a two-year term. Why didn't Haynie take issue with this outrageous sum of money? Why shouldn't Mr. Daddona receive the same salary as Mrs. Marks? Isn't he the interim superintendent? The previous interim superintendents received comparable salaries for whom they were replacing. Wouldn't it be much more productive if Mrs.Haynie worked with her fellow board members and Central Office personnel, instead of always being the naysayer and instigator of derision? These destructive witch hunts must stop. I think she has forgotten why she was elected. Remember her election slogan: Parents Not Politicians. What are her credentials to make informed decisions about the district's curriculum? For the record, she should be serving the Norwalk Family, not her own personal agenda or that of the Red Apples of which she is a founding member. Contrary to what Mrs. Haynie purports, Mr. Daddona's leadership style embraces an atmosphere of focused, calm determination, which has established accountability, transparency, and collegiality, which has not been the case in the prior administrations of Rosenstein, Herbert, Corda, or Marks. It has been a long time since Dr. Sloan's administration when just about everything was right. I move that we unite our efforts to defeat the negativity and move forward to enrich the greatness of the Norwalk Public Schools. The students, parents, teachers, administrators, support staff, and community deserve nothing less. Irene Sikorski

Friday, October 26, 2012

NEF Insults Superintendent?

One of our posters just stated that she got an e-mail from the High School from the NEF that insulted the Superintendent. it also stated that parents should insist on a new Superintendent immediately. (I am paraphrasing) Would someone kindly verify this? Also it would help if we had a direct quote from this e-mail. If this is true, I would think that this is a very serious offense and is very problematic for the district.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Facts, Rumors and Shared Thoughts...

First up, Chairman of the Board of Education. Sure looks like he is siding with the not so popular Haynie. Doesn't he realize that he is losing tons of votes by siding with her? Makes no sense to most people I have spoken to since Tuesday's BOE meeting. Jack, think twice before backing a loose cannon... Next up, a pat on the back to Heidi Keyes for being an independent thinker and voting for what is right. Folks are really happy to see that she is using her intelligence in these matters. Kudos to Superintendent Daddona for having the continued support of the major sources for funding. Grossmans, Nellie Mae, GE Capital and the Briggs' folks have faith in his leadership. This is killing Haynie, who is trying her best to undermine the Superintendent. It is rumored that she wants Bob McCain in that office. Would you care to comment, Ms. Haynie? Is it true that the NEF is almost bankrupt? That's what I heard. Parents are beginning to stand up in support of this Superintendent despite the Red Apples campaign to 'get him.' Guess Apples don't like the fact that they have fallen to the earth and are not treated as favorites anymore. So those are the rumors, facts and some rambling thoughts as heard around town........

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Everything seems to be going so smoothly that it is hard to find a controversial issue to discuss. I'll continue to leave the topics up to you............

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Here we go again.....

At tonight's Board of Education meeting, it appears that Sue Haynie was let out of her 'fill in the blank' to trash the superintendent. The woman is uncontrollably angry! In my opinion, the more she publicly opposes the superintendent in this juvenile way, the better he looks.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ask Not......

I am adopting the topic of one of the posters here and taking some license with the J.F.K. Inaugural speech____________________________ 'Ask not what your school system can do for you. Ask what you can do for your school system.' No, it is not corny. Yes, I am taking the opportunity to be a cheerleader. It is time to stop the negativity. How? Parents, take control of homework and reading with your children. Teachers, be positive about the new initiatives. Board of Ed, take back control of the angry, bitter members. Everyone, work together and watch good things happen. It will take time, but it can happen. Will you try? Norwalk hit bottom. That is what people are saying everywhere about the Marks' superintendency. Will you lend a hand to help a good system get back up on its feet? If not, my guess is we will sink below bottom......

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rosh Hashanah

A very happy and healthy New Year to our Jewish friends and families. This is the first year that the holiday will be celebrated with one school day off. How will you spend the day?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Who will be our Hero?

Will it be Jack, Chairperson of the Board who pulls together the Board and quiets the member(s) who are out of control? Will it be Mike Lyons who starts to use his own intelligence and stops supporting a loose cannon? Will it be the mayor who gets control of the out of control member(s) of the Board of Ed? Who will step up to the plate and be our hero? What's your guess?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Calling the Board of Ed.....

This is a longshot, and may even be ignored, but I would like the Chair of the Board to let us know how he plans to show the leadership needed. Jack, please respond here.....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Search

It is clear that the search is on for a new superintendent. It is clear that Haynie, for one, wants the new superintendent on the job mid-year. I am bringing this subject up again because it frightens me. Who is available mid-year to fill such an important role? Someone who is being forced out ot the job they are now in? Someone who couldn't get a superintendency for the beginning of the school year? A retired superintendent from New York who is willing to come to Norwalk?............Am I the only one who fears the choice of candidates mid-year will be the rejects?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A New Year has Begun

A new school year has begun. How is everyone doing? Is there anything you want to comment on in particular?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Convocation Day

I heard very positive reports about Convocation. The tone was upbeat and the staff seemed very happy. These are difficult times, but it appears that everyone was eager to create a positive year for the students. Nice job, everyone! A small note, and probably meaningless to all, Sue Haynie did not appear. Anyone miss her?

Saturday, August 25, 2012


We have all had our fill of Haynie, but she is up to something other than trying to make Daddona's life miserable. I am predicting that she will want Bob McCain back as the new superintendent. She needs a good friend in that position again.................... Next up, I hear the administrators are happy with the leadership style that the interim is displaying........................... Also, accountability is the word being heard everywhere. Sounds good to me............. As for the principal on special assignment, my informers believe the problem was that she had glowing evaluations for every year except the last. Her evaluators were Hugh McKiernan and Carol Maranacchio prior to last year. The Board made the decision to move her to central office. That's all the news I have for now.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to School

Class size? Libraries? Principals? How is it going? Teachers, feel free to add your comments. Obviously the cuts are final. How are the schools coping? It's back to school time, and it's crucial that the children come first. Parents, how are you preparing your children for a positive year? Share experiences, so that we might encourage others to create positive experiences for their children. This is about back to school. I've just posted some ideas. Maybe you have other ideas.....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Susan Marks Final Presents

I have read, and now heard, that Marks decided to take the Marvin principal out of the school and bring her to central office. Was there no other choice? I am vaguely aware that a paper trail is the only way to rid oneself of bad administrators. Is this an admission that the Director of Elementary Education wasn't doing her job? So why recommend that person to be interim AS? So she can NOT do that job as well? I hope this is Mark's last parting present for Norwalk.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

On Susan Marks Leaving

Susan Marks appears not to understand that she is finished.....ended her time in longer superintendent. I have heard that she is busy appointing best friends to positions (Can you believe Carol M. to the interim assistant's position) and making decisions that are no longer hers to make. She is leaving a mess behind for the Interim superintendent! Also heard was that she and Haynie have been tied to the hip making these decisions. Susan, it's over! Say good bye.......And Susan and Lisa, it has been heard that the Red Apples will be applesauce under Daddona. The party appears to be over.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Replacement for the Assistant Superintendent

A temporary replacement for the Assistant Superintendent needs to be appointed. Suggestions?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Board Restores Some Positions

Norwalk school board restores 5 teachers, 1 assistant principal - Norwalk Hour The remainder of the money went to pay down the debt incurred. Library aides were not fully restored. They will be shared between two buildings, with fewer hours.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


The budget created the need for change. As professionals, the staff must do their best for the students now. What changes would you, parents and staff, like to see happen with the new leadership? Please try to stay positive. We know how difficult the budget cuts were. Time to move on from the negatives.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Back to School

Moving on, as requested.........It has come that time to discuss back to school! What is class size looking like, libraries, etc.? We know how drastically the budget has been cut, but we need to know the final effects on classrooms. Have families moved out or are they sending their children to private schools because of the budget mess? Tell us what you are thinking......

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Interim Superintendent Appointed

Tony Daddona to take the reins as interim superintendent -Norwalk Hour ---------------------------------- Congratulations, Tony Daddona! Unfortunately, it was reported to me that Sue Haynie lost it at the Board meeting. I heard she was out of control. If so, she needs to step down. She needs to be able to support the appointed interim superintendent for the sake of the students and staff or get off the Board.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Unethical Behavior?

There was an executive session of the personnel and negotiating committee on Monday, July 23rd to discuss the interim superintendent position. Sue Haynie is the chairperson. How did the Apples find out what was discussed at executive session? Is this a violation of Board Policy? Still waiting for a copy of the letter mailed to parents at Nathan Hale. Please share it here if you have it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Conflict of Interest?

I heard something that made me think, Is that true? Tell me what your opinion is... Is there a conflict of interest for a Board member to serve the public who is also a declared member of the Apples? What if said Board member is feeding information to the Apples?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Today's Superintendents

All one has to do is Google 'failed school superintendents' or 'unsuccessful school superintendents' and there are pages of evidence that suggest that the 'answer to our prayers' superintendents don't really exist. Now the Republicans are suggesting that we appoint a candidate with a business degree for superintendent. Is this really what Norwalk needs? Or is this a knee jerk reaction to the financial mess that was created? Don't we need a Leader who makes sure the CFO does his/her job, the curriculum Dept does their job and the principals are doing what they are supposed to do? Other districts have chosen MBAs and have found out it just doesn't work. Not long ago, it was trendy to hire a business to take over schools. That didn't work either. School systems don't produce products. We have children! Will the Board make a 4 th mistake in our list of failed superintendents?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Test Scores

NORWALK -- The gap between the city's Connecticut Mastery Test results and the state's is narrowing, but the Connecticut Academic Performance Test results still lag behind state averages. Seems that,except for the high school CAPT test, Norwalk is making the right moves in curriculum. Congratulations to the curriculum department and to the teachers!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ditrio Proposes Alternate Cuts

Norwalk Hour....................... 'Union leaders, parents discuss alternative budget plan for Norwalk schools' '...removal of of a section at Columbus Magnet School that Ditrio said was made but not included in the budget, and the elimination of the Central Office grants administrator among other things at the high school level. It keeps class sizes under the teachers' union contract-mandated number by adding back 11 elementary school teachers, all the elementary school library aides at reduced hours, an outreach worker, middle school library assistants and 12 combined intervention utility aides.'

Susan Marks Letter to the Community

The Norwalk Patch has the entire letter from Susan Marks. The link is listed below. Some quotes: (to be fair, please read entire article) 'Many of the initiatives begun during this time are funded by private/public partnerships. I am proud that I have been able to bring over $1,000,000 of programs and support to our district.' 'The relationships that we have forged with other public/private partnerships have provided our students with significant resources and support' 'We continue to make progress in improving our instructional programs'

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

As Expected?

Quoting The Norwalk Hour...... Superintendent Susan Marks' released her $1.4 million restoration plan Tuesday night in an e-mail to Board of Education members. The plan restores six intervention aides, three elementary teachers, three elementary school assistant principals, middle school teams, four middle school security guards, six library aides at reduced hours, the Norwalk High School shop teacher and the planetarium at half the time. Under Marks' plan each of the library aides would be allocated to two schools with reduced library services. As far as assistant principals, all elementary schools save Columbus and Wolfpit, the city's two smallest elementary schools, would split assistant principals. Jefferson, Kendall, Brookside, Marvin, Columbus and Wolfpit would each receive an intervention aide.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Money for Budget 2012-2013

By MATT COYNE Hour Staff Writer | NORWALK -- After tonight's Board of Estimate and Taxation meeting, the Board of Education could have at least $500,000 to work back into their budget. Schools Chief Operating Officer Elio Longo said the Board of Education has a total of at least $500,000 in unexpended funds in their fiscal year 2011-12 budget. That number could be higher, according to Longo and Board of Estimate Chairman Fred Wilms, but the Board of Education still has some accounts to settle before the real number comes out. Tonight, the Board of Estimate will vote to allow the Board of Education to keep those funds and discuss other ways in which the city can extend aid to the schools. "There's a strong willingness on the city's side, the BET and the Common Council, to offer increased or further assistance to the Board of Education," Longo said. "How the funds should be spent is up to the superintendent, (Board of Estimate) and Board of Education." The $500,000 figure, Longo said, was partially brought on by the $4 million extended to the Board of Education by the Board of Estimate so the schools could cover a fiscal year 2011-12 budget overrun in certain accounts. The final number should come at the end of August.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Give it to them!

We have had a request for a space to vent. There is so much frustration and anger with the Board of Ed, Susan Marks, Moccia...... Here is your space...Tell them what you are thinking! They do read this blog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Steve's Plan

SteveColarossiJune 17, 2012 - I think we can do a better job making the cuts that need to be made. I've put together a "Kids First Alternative Plan" and circulated it to my colleagues on the Board of Education. You can read about here: My plan is not perfect, but I think it minimizes the impact on the elementary schools and offers cuts to less educationally-critical areas. Please let me know what you think ( What do you think of Steve's plan? Go to to see it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Board of Ed Meeting

Reactions to the Board of Education public hearing meting Monday night? Were they listening? Was it just another act in this political drama? Was it simply to force the unions to take a pay freeze? Will the mayor come to the rescue and be a hero once again? Is the public falling for 'cuts' that were never meant to come to pass because this is a well thought out scam on the public? Are Marks and the mayor serious or are they seriously lying? What's your guess? Then let's see what really happens....

Friday, June 8, 2012

Elementary Schools Hit Hardest by Cuts

Home News Norwalk: "BOE 'playing chicken' with budget harming elementary schools' ability to education, administrators say." Is it a coincidence that the elementary schools will be hit hardest by the cuts? Is the BOE playing a game? Why are so many of the cuts hitting the elementary schools? Perhaps the administrators have a point? Even if you don't approve of the unions, try to look at this objectively. What is really going on here? The list of cuts don't make sense now. Feel free to agree or to disagree.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mayor as Hero

'As expected, Mayor Richard A. Moccia presented his plan: $2.2 million in relief to the Board of Education, with that $2.2 million to be paid back to the city in fiscal year 2013-14. The board is expected to discuss its budget tonight during its meeting at City Hall.' - The Norwalk Hour

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Cuts This is the link for the budget cuts. Go to page 5 for the specifics. If the link does not work, go to the Norwalk Public Schools website, click on Board of Education, then go to the board meeting information for June 5th. This info is found in the board packet, page 5.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ready for Susan?

'NORWALK -- With exactly one month left before the schools budget is due, Superintendent Susan Marks is set to release her budget reconciliation plan on Friday.' -The Hour Are we ready? Here's a place for you to comment anonymously. Take advantage. We have Board of Ed members reading this blog.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Open topic

While we are waiting for the budget cuts, here is another opportunity for you to post your topic of choice...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Who's in Charge?

The budget is due June 30th. The union presidents are criticizing the manner in which the budget is being cut and, according to The Norwalk Hour, Chiarmonte said...... "We're not quite ready for it yet. We're still working on the budget plan and we didn't want to go out there in a chaotic fashion, scaring the bejesus out of people for no reason," Chiaramonte said. "We'll have a well thought-out discussion. We don't want to rush through with a list to just say here's a list, then go back and figure it out later. We don't want to work it out that way." Chiaramonte said Superintendent Susan Marks has a list of cuts, as does Finance Committee Chairman Steve Colarossi, but the board needs to "compare notes and see where we could find common ground" before holding a public discussion. The budget meeting for Tuesday night was canceled. Is there chaos in the school system? Should the bejesus be scared out of us? Is there anyone in charge?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

10 Million

Looks like no one will save the school system from a ten million dollar budget cut for the 2012-2013 school year. What are you willing to see eliminated that will affect you or your child? This budget cut will hurt just about everyone. We might as well come up with suggestions that will help those making the decisions. What would you be willing to give up to help the school system reconcile the cuts? Don't think it isn't going to happen. Sacrifice now or be told what you will lose......

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Seems like...

Seems like you all enjoy starting topics yourselves, and you are good at it. No problem. While we are waiting for budget cuts, you have the floor. Your topic of choice......Do what you do so well. What's on your mind?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Parents, Not Politicians

Many of us voted for the 'Parents Not Politicians.' Anyone want to comment on how they feel about that now? Time to evaluate the Board of Education. How do they measure up to your expectations? Have you had the transparency promised? Have you seen a change in the way the school system is handled? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

State Senate Passes Education Reform Bill

Although these bills can appear quite complicated, it is important for parents to read this legislation. There are very important paragraphs relating to school governance committees, State control of schools under certain circumstances, pilot programs for evaluations, auditing accounts, etc. etc, etc. Become knowledgable because parents will have very important roles to play IF THEY WANT CHANGE.


Norwalk Hour Headlines: 'Board of Estimate and Taxation fixes Board of Ed's $4M deficit, questions remain' Comments?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Your Turn

This is an open topic for those who want to post. All topics, comments and breaking news about the NPS are welcome. I will not delete unless there is spam, profanity, advertising, or the like. My purpose is not to judge, but to provide a space for your opinions. A good old fashioned argument arising from differences of opinion is perfectly fine. We are adults and we should be able to defend ourselves if the truth is misrepresented. Having said that, I am not responsible for the opinions of others.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Perfect Storm

Four million dollars in the red and who is to blame? It is my understanding that the insurance reserve funds are held by the city. the Board of Education draws from those funds. It is the city's responsibility to inform the Board of Education that the funds are in the red, right? It appears the City might have issued one notice just when the COO was leaving. Perhaps the notification never got to him. Should the city have issued notices when the account kept running into the red to the tune of millions? I would have thought so! Is it a coincidence that the city has always wanted to take over the BoEd's finances? Is it a coincidence that this is what happened in Stamford when the city took over their Board's finances? Is it a coincidence that there is a Republican Mayor and a Republican Board? Has the perfect storm been created?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Latest is......

I have heard that several administrators are looking for jobs in other districts. It appears that people are fed up with the Board of Ed making curriculum decisions without even asking certified educators. They are fed up with Red Apples filling the void at the top and they are fed up with the 'gotcha' attitude of some of the apples/Board. Staff throughout the district are just plain disgusted. Is this what the community really wants?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 4th and April 11th

Steve Collorassi has asked for the input from all parents, students, staff, teachers, taxpayers and citizens for the 2012-2013 budget process. This is the opportunity to do something positive for the school system. He has also posted the dates and time of the next Finance Committee meetings. They are April 4th and April 11th at 7:30 pm. He has provided you with his e-mail address in the last post. I know some teachers would love to comment on cuts that could be made, but want to remain anonymous. Here is your chance. Post here. I promise you anonymity. I don't even have a way to find out your identity.
So what do you feel could be eliminated or reduced in the system to save the jobs of teachers and to keep important programs?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Oft Repeated Topic

The Budget! Where oh where are the suggestions to cut.....what? perhaps over 5 million dollars? Will Steve do it all by himself? Anyone care to comment....again?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Who's on First?

I am assuming I am not the only one confused, so I am posting to understand what is going on. The topic is Nathan Hale. I have heard that there was a group of students who were homogeneously grouped at Nathan Hale. I have also heard that the principal was told that he needed to stop this practice of grouping mostly minority students together. Then I heard that the group of minority students no longer existed, according to the principal. Now I'm hearing the group still exists. Could someone please clear this matter up for those who are hearing two different stories?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Open Topic

What is on your mind? Time for another open topic.
In the interest of keeping everything as 'up front' as possible, the only comments that will be deleted are advertisements that promote a group. Who knew someone would use this site to do that? :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Toto, we are not in Maryland anymore!

When is Marks going to stop talking about Maryland? She has been in Norwalk almost two years now and is still referring to how Maryland does everything the 'right' way, even teacher evaluations. Norwalk can not be compared to Maryland. Someone should let Haynie and her apples that Norwalk differs from Maryland's demographics and socio-economic status.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Quoted from the Norwalk Hour:

NORWALK -- Saying "there is still unfinished work to do on behalf of the voters and taxpayers" House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero of Norwalk announced Sunday he will be seeking relection.

"I have been honored throughout my career in public life to serve all my constituents," said Cafero in a statement released to The Hour Sunday. "While I believe we have accomplished much, there is still a lot of work to do for all the people of Norwalk and New Canaan, whether it is protecting their pocketbooks, delivering quality education for their kids or making sure our streets and playgrounds are safe and secure."

What do you think? Has he delivered on the quality education thus far?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Budget Cuts

The Common Council lowered the CAP to 2.8, which could mean a $6 M cut. We are no longer looking at small cuts that will not affect programs. We appear to be looking at program cuts, teacher cuts, administrator cuts and school cuts. Unless there is a miracle looming, I don't see a way around it. If Briggs closes down, what about higher level programs? Is it fair that they go untouched? Under Special Education, there is a required maintenance of effort. It is not possible to give them less than the year before. Where will the cuts come from? Is it time to stop funding a full day kindergarten? Is the Union going to dictate the cuts? The Administrators? I believe what I have stated is accurate. Please feel free to correct anything that is incorrect.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Grievance Hearing

Does anyone know who testified at the grievance hearing where the previous Director of Elementary Ed is grieving that she should have been placed in a director's position?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

State Visit, Tenure Shakeup

A contingent of Norwalkers went to the State Department to complain about the Education Cost Sharing Formula. It would appear that Norwalk does not receive its fair share of funds for grants. I'm not sure, but The Norwalk Hour appeared to state that the Norwalk contingent went comparing Median incomes of different districts. As I recall, median incomes means one just lists the incomes of wage earners and the exact middle income reported is the median income. I would think that Norwalk, of all cities, has very rich top income earners. Is that really the best way to present the incomes of the city? Is it a fair way to present the income average of this city? What is the best way to present incomes of a city that has very rich and very poor families?
Next, there has been much discussion about tenure. In order to participate in Obama's Race to the Top funding, teacher tenure has to be revamped. Tenure will be tied to testing, observations and more. What are your feelings about possibly losing good teachers because of this new way of evaluating teachers?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stealing an Education

A $15,000 Norwalk Public School education was stolen by a Bridgeport mother. She has been found guilty and is now told by the courts to pay back to Norwalk $6,200. The case also involved drugs, but let's focus on the stolen education. Do you think the judgement was fair? Do you think other mothers will take note and remove children from our schools if they are there illegally? How did you react to the whole incident, including Reverend Sharpton, if you so choose.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Three Threads To Read

There are three threads to read today. I posted them separately to give everyone a chance to respond to each separately. Don't forget to read the next two threads down.

This thread is about the budget...or should I say the incredibly quiet budget. Why aren't we hearing anything about the obvious cuts that need to be made? We are looking at over $4 million in cuts. Who is working on it? Is the superintendent? Is the Board? What's the big secret? Is it being worked on behind closed doors? Where is it?

One more time.....

Core knowledge, a curriculum of the 1990s, is not aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The only thing that is in common is the word core. If you look at their web page, less than 200 schools use this curriculum. This is what I've been told. It appears to be the curriculum being pushed forward according to the Lion King's wishes. Comments?

Pay it Forward

I just read an interesting article in the New York Times about kidney donors who are on a list to 'pay it forward' if their kidneys are not a match for their own loved one, who is in need of a transplant. Their loved one gets a match for a kidney from a stranger if the person who is willing to donate gives his/her kidney to someone else. I got to thinking. What if a list was generated in Norwalk of people who would be willing to tutor students long term for parents in return for services provided by that parent? Bartering, if you will. Some parents can't pay for tutoring, nor do they feel adequate to tutor their own child. Some parents can't tutor their own child because the child won't cooperate with the parent. It might work....or not. It's one idea. What do you think....and please share your ideas to help get extra help for our students. All ideas are welcome. Teachers also please comment. I'll bet there are teachers who are willing to donate a session on tutoring students....Let's get the ball rolling!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Can U.S. Students Compete Globally?

We are opening this discussion up to U.S. students because what we are experiencing in Norwalk is not just about the Norwalk curriculum. We need to look at the national picture to understand the problem. The researchers ranked the U.S. 32nd out of 65 nations participating in the PISA exam for math proficiency and 17th out of 65 for reading proficiency. (Harvard's Program on Education Policy & Governance, 8/11.) The United States spends approximately 50% more per pupil than the average per pupil expenditure in Western Europe and 40% more than Japan. What is the problem? Is it the curriculum? Are we wasting our time discussing curriculum when there are much more serious problems that are not being discussed? I ask you all to think about this. Is it really about the curriculum? Why are our children not testing well?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Board vs. Central Office

Is the Board holding Central Office hostage over Core Curriculum? The State Department of Education told us we were making good progress. Why change course now? How could a superintendent allow a Board of Education committee to dictate curriculum? Did anyone ask about the cost of this drastic change? Is this curriculum being dictated to Central Office or is there any choice here? Is the Lighthouse training given by the State Department having an effect? These questions need to be answered and answered now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Best of the Best

We can't give out bonuses to staff members who deserve it, but we can award them the first annual 'Norwalk Speaks - Best staff Awards.' Let's hear it for staff members in the Norwalk Public Schools who deserve to be recognized. Tell us who you want to honor and why. The definition of staff includes anyone working for the Norwalk Public School System. Bravo, in advance, for those outstanding people who deserve this recognition.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The Finance Director announced a 3.5% increase for the Board of Education. Time to cut the budget....again. Comments?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is Norwalk Sinking?

We have a weak superintendent and a 5/4 Board of Education. Lyons has stepped up to the plate. Unfortunately his 1990s curriculum ideas are not realistic for Norwalk. They conflict with the State's wishes. So why is the Board allowing him to lead? Would any of our past superintendents have allowed this to happen? Is the role of an elected Board of Education out of date? The State Department of Education has been training the Board, but they don't seem to be learning. Lyons pushes on. What is going to happen? When, if ever, will the superintendent come forward? She is not a rookie anymore. Is she even working on the budget? What of the future for our students? Is Norwalk sinking to the bottom of the ocean?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cutting the Budget, Your Input

I've been asked to post about how everyone would feel about cutting the budget by eliminating teachers. I'll open it up even further. What cuts would you suggest and why? Please speak to positions, not individual people. If you are asking to cut teachers, tell us whether you are talking about classroom teachers or others. If you mention central office positions, tell us why the position is unnecessary, not the person. In this way, we will have credibility with the Board.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Open Forum

Every once in a while I think it's a good idea to have an open topic. It's your forum. All topics are welcome .........budget, Board of Ed, superintendent, curriculum, schools, even a topic on whether an open topic is a good idea. Just start writing....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Board of Education

The Board of Education Curriculum meeting on February 8th will be discussing Hirsch's Core Knowledge. This is coming from the Board of Education, not the superintendent. One member of the Board appears to be leading nine on curriculum changes. Lyons seems to know quite a lot about curriculum without having the certification of a superintendent. What are your thoughts on Core Knowledge (a controversial issue at the very least), the process, and even the Board?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Budgets, People Who Love Power and What's Really Good for the System

There is a great deal to discuss. We have heard comments about the H.R. position possibly going to a former employee who allegedly walked away from his last position with severance pay after 6 months of employment. We have discussed, once again, the former Director of Elementary Education because it has been stated that she is applying for the principalship of NHS. A topic that keeps bobbing up is the Red Apples and their influence on this superintendent. There is a budget that needs to be sliced and a superintendent who may or may not wield the ax in the best interest of children. These are current and important issues that require our attention. Why? Because the public (We the people...) has a responsibility for not only being aware of this, but for having input into this process. The best venue to express these views is at the Board of Education. However, at the very least, you can express your views and opinions freely on this blog. (We are aware that some members of the Board do read the blog.)
It is very easy to down mouth our comments (which may be called denial); however this is the information that we have uncovered.Blog on!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Superintendent's Supervisors

By request, a clever suggestion to speak to the groupies who rule the superintendent. (I believe this is the meaning of the request) What do you think about the three groupies? Are they working for the kids or for themselves? Are they having a negative effect on the system? Do they have too much influence in the schools? A reminder once again, your anonymity is even anonymous to me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The GE Connection

By request, it seems our bloggers want to hear more about the GE meeting. So far we understand that some of the groupies are trying to create important jobs for themselves and that there is much commotion about the 'chutzpa' of the group promoting themselves. Please add to our base knowledge while I continue to ask questions from those in the know....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's Your Pleasure?

We are talking about the Norwalk Public Schools and this is an open topic...
What would you like to discuss or let us know about?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Superintendent's New Clothes

I am taking my lead from many of the comments posted here. It appears that the superintendent likes the title of her job, but isn't doing the job itself. It is a fact that the superintendent handed the Board of Ed a status quo budget and is letting these wonderful Board members spend their time coming up with the required cuts. Susan Marks, they don't get paid to do this. You are being paid as the superintendent. Let's see if Steve Colorassi should be paid $200,000 in salary (plus those annuities) or if you earn your salary. Let the comments on the budget continue here......

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Posted Salaries

The top salaries have been posted in The Hour. This is not new to the public employees. What is new, I believe, is that the annuities that the superintendent collects were not included with her salary. She not only gets $200,000/yearly but also gets $30,000 in annuities on top of that. Confirmation of this would be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Certain Middle School...

A certain middle school has placed all low achieving students in one class, I am told. If this is true...What happened to heterogeneous grouping? What are the demographics of these low achieving students? I thought we didn't have homogeneous grouping in Norwalk. Does this mean that the Board of Education condones the practice of grouping minority students in one class? Does this mean Norwalk schools are now allowing homogeneous grouping at all levels? Would someone please educate us on what is going on?