Saturday, December 20, 2014

So Many Topics

There are many topics available for comments. To suggest several:

Interim Superintendent Connelly (former Bridgeport Superintendent with stints all over as Interim)

New Superintendent Search Team (at almost twice the cost)

Desired Qualifications for New Superintendent

Rumored Changes in Administrators

Laid off Administrators (?)

Rivera's Legacy , real change or hypothetical change

Board of Education Leadership and Solutions for Peacemaking

2014-2015 Budget

.....and so much more

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Board of Ed duties according to CT Statutes

      Sec. 10-220. Duties of boards of education. (a) Each local or regional board of education shall maintain good public elementary and secondary schools, implement the educational interests of the state as defined in section 10-4a and provide such other educational activities as in its judgment will best serve the interests of the school district; provided any board of education may secure such opportunities in another school district in accordance with provisions of the general statutes and shall give all the children of the school district as nearly equal advantages as may be practicable; shall provide an appropriate learning environment for its students which includes (1) adequate instructional books, supplies, materials, equipment, staffing, facilities and technology, (2) equitable allocation of resources among its schools, (3) proper maintenance of facilities, and (4) a safe school setting; shall have charge of the schools of its respective school district; shall make a continuing study of the need for school facilities and of a long-term school building program and from time to time make recommendations based on such study to the town; shall adopt and implement an indoor air quality program that provides for ongoing maintenance and facility reviews necessary for the maintenance and improvement of the indoor air quality of its facilities; shall adopt and implement a green cleaning program, pursuant to section 10-231g, that provides for the procurement and use of environmentally preferable cleaning products in school buildings and facilities; shall report biennially to the Commissioner of Education on the condition of its facilities and the action taken to implement its long-term school building program, indoor air quality program and green cleaning program, which report the Commissioner of Education shall use to prepare a biennial report that said commissioner shall submit in accordance with section 11-4a to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education; shall advise the Commissioner of Education of the relationship between any individual school building project pursuant to chapter 173 and such long-term school building program; shall have the care, maintenance and operation of buildings, lands, apparatus and other property used for school purposes and at all times shall insure all such buildings and all capital equipment contained therein against loss in an amount not less than eighty per cent of replacement cost; shall determine the number, age and qualifications of the pupils to be admitted into each school; shall develop and implement a written plan for minority staff recruitment for purposes of subdivision (3) of section 10-4a; shall employ and dismiss the teachers of the schools of such district subject to the provisions of sections 10-151 and 10-158a; shall designate the schools which shall be attended by the various children within the school district; shall make such provisions as will enable each child of school age residing in the district to attend some public day school for the period required by law and provide for the transportation of children wherever transportation is reasonable and desirable, and for such purpose may make contracts covering periods of not more than five years; may place in an alternative school program or other suitable educational program a pupil enrolling in school who is nineteen years of age or older and cannot acquire a sufficient number of credits for graduation by age twenty-one; may arrange with the board of education of an adjacent town for the instruction therein of such children as can attend school in such adjacent town more conveniently; shall cause each child five years of age and over and under eighteen years of age who is not a high school graduate and is living in the school district to attend school in accordance with the provisions of section 10-184, and shall perform all acts required of it by the town or necessary to carry into effect the powers and duties imposed by law.

      (b) The board of education of each local or regional school district shall, with the participation of parents, students, school administrators, teachers, citizens, local elected officials and any other individuals or groups such board shall deem appropriate, prepare a statement of educational goals for such local or regional school district. The statement of goals shall be consistent with state-wide goals pursuant to subsection (c) of section 10-4. Each local or regional board of education shall develop student objectives which relate directly to the statement of educational goals prepared pursuant to this subsection and which identify specific expectations for students in terms of skills, knowledge and competence.

      (c) Annually, each local and regional board of education shall submit to the Commissioner of Education a strategic school profile report for each school under its jurisdiction and for the school district as a whole. The superintendent of each local and regional school district shall present the profile report at the next regularly scheduled public meeting of the board of education after each November first. The profile report shall provide information on measures of (1) student needs, (2) school resources, including technological resources and utilization of such resources and infrastructure, (3) student and school performance, including truancy, (4) the number of students enrolled in an adult high school credit diploma program, pursuant to section 10-69, operated by a local or regional board of education or a regional educational service center, (5) equitable allocation of resources among its schools, (6) reduction of racial, ethnic and economic isolation, and (7) special education. For purposes of this subsection, measures of special education include (A) special education identification rates by disability, (B) rates at which special education students are exempted from mastery testing pursuant to section 10-14q, (C) expenditures for special education, including such expenditures as a percentage of total expenditures, (D) achievement data for special education students, (E) rates at which students identified as requiring special education are no longer identified as requiring special education, (F) the availability of supplemental educational services for students lacking basic educational skills, (G) the amount of special education student instructional time with nondisabled peers, (H) the number of students placed out-of-district, and (I) the actions taken by the school district to improve special education programs, as indicated by analyses of the local data provided in subparagraphs (A) to (H), inclusive, of this subdivision. The superintendent shall include in the narrative portion of the report information about parental involvement and if the district has taken measures to improve parental involvement, including, but not limited to, employment of methods to engage parents in the planning and improvement of school programs and methods to increase support to parents working at home with their children on learning activities. For purposes of this subsection, measures of truancy include the type of data that is required to be collected by the Department of Education regarding attendance and unexcused absences in order for the department to comply with federal reporting requirements. Such truancy data shall be considered a public record for purposes of chapter 14.

      (d) Prior to January 1, 2008, and every five years thereafter, for every school building that is or has been constructed, extended, renovated or replaced on or after January 1, 2003, a local or regional board of education shall provide for a uniform inspection and evaluation program of the indoor air quality within such buildings, such as the Environmental Protection Agency's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program. The inspection and evaluation program shall include, but not be limited to, a review, inspection or evaluation of the following: (1) The heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; (2) radon levels in the air; (3) potential for exposure to microbiological airborne particles, including, but not limited to, fungi, mold and bacteria; (4) chemical compounds of concern to indoor air quality including, but not limited to, volatile organic compounds; (5) the degree of pest infestation, including, but not limited to, insects and rodents; (6) the degree of pesticide usage; (7) the presence of and the plans for removal of any hazardous substances that are contained on the list prepared pursuant to Section 302 of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, 42 USC 9601 et seq.; (8) ventilation systems; (9) plumbing, including water distribution systems, drainage systems and fixtures; (10) moisture incursion; (11) the overall cleanliness of the facilities; (12) building structural elements, including, but not limited to, roofing, basements or slabs; (13) the use of space, particularly areas that were designed to be unoccupied; and (14) the provision of indoor air quality maintenance training for building staff. Local and regional boards of education conducting evaluations pursuant to this subsection shall make available for public inspection the results of the inspection and evaluation at a regularly scheduled board of education meeting and on the board's or each individual school's web site.

      (e) Each local and regional board of education shall establish a school district curriculum committee. The committee shall recommend, develop, review and approve all curriculum for the local or regional school district.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The New Norwalk

There are named educator victims in THE NEW NORWALK WAY. whether deserved or not. The Justice system in this country has laws that protect victims, namely 'The  right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.' Groups of parents, individual parents and perhaps even some members of the BoE have not afforded these educators these rights. Rumors are now spreading about the ending of careers of some of thoselong time educators  who have been named (and called names) publicly.  It appears that those who have posted here have been privy to what should have been kept confidential, considering the comments that have been made. Should we be ashamed of the way this went down? Ashamed that there lurks evil in the hearts of NORWALK residents, especially at this time of year? Or should we gloat that loss of dignity, respect and privacy for educators  led to this victory for certain groups?  You tell me.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

No Respect

What do you think of all the people who have joined the bandwagon to tar and feather three Board members, "old time" administrators and others? The superintendent gets some of it too. I wonder when parents and perhaps staff has crossed the line. A parent is now guessing the identities of the "old timers" with what they think is a clever way (using *** in place of letters) and NON is allowing it. At what point is all of this slander? We have had some very dedicated people who are now openly being "taken care of" by the Board. Is that what we have come to? Is that the job of the Board?

These are questions worth debating. HOWEVER, feel free to continue with your own comments about the NPS as well. Anything goes?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New News All Yours...

You are the creators of this blog. This is the public forum for questions, suggestions, praise or complaints. Go to it......

Sunday, November 2, 2014


We average 100 page views a day! Thank you, Norwalk, for making NorwalkSpeaks an important place for you to hear what is going on in the school system. You, the taxpayers, the staff and others are making a difference.

Please continue to add your comments and questions. They are being read!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Comments and Questions

By now you know this blog remains completely anonymous. It is here for you. It is here to separate truth from fiction. It is here to provide transparency in the school system. Add your comments and questions freely and without worry.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Any Comment Will Do.......

Your comments and thoughts about any education related topics are welcome.

As you know, the administrators' contract has been approved. The health insurance plan will change as of January 1st to an HSA. While this is not the only topic in this thread up for discussion, we thought one definition of what this change would mean is appropriate.

'To get the benefits of an HSA, the law requires that the savings account be combined with a qualified high deductible health insurance plan which can cost less than other health insurance plans. In 2014, the minimum annual deductible of a qualified HSA plan for an individual is $1,250 and $2,500 for a family.' 

Please add your comments on this or any other topic below.................

Friday, October 3, 2014

Informal Evaluation

It has been brought up in the comments that staff was never asked to participate in the evaluation of the new superintendent. If you are brave enough, please let us know what you would have said, positive or negative, as an evaluation. Will you comment? Anonymity is guaranteed by this site. We will never disclose your identity. We don't even know who you are unless you identify yourself.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Optimists and Pessimists

All comments welcome.........
Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, let us know why you are thinking that way.
Questions, comments and/or opinions are always welcome.

Friday, September 5, 2014

All Yours, again!

Topics and questions of your choice. Keep commenting. We believe in full transparency.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Blank Slate

As per usual, things slow down during the summer months. Here is a blank page for you to fill with questions, topics, compliments or complaints. The contents of this thread is yours.......

Friday, June 20, 2014

You, the People......

You are doing a great job keeping this blog active. Thank you! I think this blog belongs to you, the people......

Your topics continue....

Friday, May 30, 2014

New Topics

A continuation of your topics....

The Norwalk Public School system is enjoying a quiet period.  Manny Rivera is enjoying a good year, teachers and administrators seem content and the Union appears to be content. As the moderator for this blog, I am delighted. Nevertheless, this blog continues to stay available for questions, comments, suggestions and/or your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Math -Daddona - Questions

(1)The new math program, Go Math, has a problem from what I hear. It does not chunk skills. What is your opinion?

(2) what has happened to Daddona? What is he doing, if anything?

(3) Share your questions or topics. I've already started you off with two of my questions.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

All Posts Are Open

While we are opening this section up for your topics, other posts below are still available for comments. You are welcome to post your topic or choice of questions here, or add to topics below.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Racism in Norwalk?

There have been reports of condescending behavior towards recent representatives of the South Norwalk community, emanating from certain BoE members and from certain people who attend the meetings. There has been a push to segregate minority students in a school in South Norwalk. There are certain organizations who want to make decisions for what happens in South Norwalk. There are whispers of racism floating around. Those who support the above mentioned comments,  state all of this is in the best interest of the students. I am NOT stating that racism in Norwalk truly exists. I am asking. What do you hear and what is your honest opinion? Here, at Norwalk Speaks, we ask the questions no one else asks. Let's clear the air and respond to these whispers and allegations before they escalate and become real.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Communications Problem?

There was a heated discussion at the Board Meeting on Tuesday night. Does this superintendent have a communications problem? It appears that South Norwalk is not happy that they have not been brought into the early discussions about a school in South Norwalk.  What are your thoughts?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

School in South Norwalk?

The superintendent announced that he is seriously considering putting a school in South Norwalk as a neighborhood school for those who live there. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Briggs and Mosby Comments?

We would like to bring up Briggs and Mosby and the complaints/praises coming from all sources. Perhaps a good discussion with suggestions can take place here. What do you think?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Too Much Too Fast?

Slow down implementation?

New York Times

Common Core Curriculum Now Has Critics on the Left

But the newest chorus of complaints is coming from one of the most liberal states, and one of the earliest champions of the standards: New York. And that is causing supporters of the Common Core to shudder.
Carol Burris, an acclaimed high school principal on Long Island, calls the Common Core a “disaster.”
“We see kids,” she said, “they don’t want to go to school anymore.”
Leaders of both parties in the New York Legislaturewant to rethink how the state uses the Common Core.
The statewide teachers’ union withdrew its support for the standards last month until “major course corrections” took place.
“There are days I think, ‘Oh my God, we have to slow this thing down, there are so many problems,’   ” saidCatherine T. Nolan, a Queens Democrat who is chairwoman of the State Assembly Education Committee.

The objections in New York have become so loud, and have come from such a wide political spectrum, that even the governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, has become a critic. Governor Cuomo has called the state’s execution of the standards “flawed” and appointed a panel to recommend changes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

All is that good?

All is quiet in the Norwalk Public Schools. Is that good? Let us know what you think. Any topic is fair game here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Great Managers are Scarce

If great managers seem scarce, it’s because the talent required to be one is rare. Gallup finds that great managers have the following talents:
  • They motivate every singleemployee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They make decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.
Gallup’s research reveals that about one in ten people possess all these necessary traits. While many people are endowed with some of them, few have the unique combination of talent needed to help a team achieve excellence in a way that significantly improves a company’s performance. These 10%, when put in manager roles, naturally engage team members and customers, retain top performers, and sustain a culture of high productivity. Combined, they contribute about 48% higher profit to their companies than average managers. (by Randall Beck and James Harter, Harvard Business Review))

Thursday, March 6, 2014


The pen is passed to you.......

What will you write? Or question? Or comment on? Or praise?

It's up to you.....

Friday, February 28, 2014


The Superintendent's choice is.........JOURNEYS.

Please weigh in. Hopefully teachers will also.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More from you

What topics or questions do you want to bring up? Once again, no one knows who you are if you post anonymously.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

To Common Core......OR NOT?

From The Hour: Cafero is not the first Connecticut politician to raise concerns about the Common Core. Earlier this month state Senate Minority Leader and gubernatorial hopeful John McKinney, R-28, called for Pryor's resignation over the Common Core and educator evaluation plans.
In late January, Gov. Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly's Democratic leadership said a work group would be convened to discuss Common Core implementation and would solicit input from educators.
Nationally, the debate has spilled over from more Republican-leaning states into more liberal ones. Opposition to the Common Core is mounting in New York, where in January, the New York State Union of Teachers withdrew its support for the Common Core "as implemented and interpreted by New York State" in a unanimous vote of no confidence from the union's board in Albany.

Common Core or not? At least Connecticut is asking teachers what they think. What do you think? What do you think about how our Board is implementing it? 

Teachers, how do you feel? Parents?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Interesting Questions Around the City

Many questions have been floating in the air in Norwalk. Rather than let the rumors grow roots, I thought this might be a good place to find out what is rumor only and what is factual. If you know, please separate fact from fiction. Here are the questions being circulated:

(1) It appears that there are many consultants in the public school system making decisions. Why are we paying Manny Rivera a large salary if he is not capable of making these decisions on his own?

(2) Manny Rivera continues to work in his consultant capacity per his contract. Are any of the consultants hired by Norwalk a part of his firm?

(3) The newly hired Human Resource person is being paid $155,000 with an opportunity to work an additional 11 days. So what does that make the real salary of this new hire?

(4) Did the Board interview the new HR hire?

(5) Why is Mike Lyons always on Nancy on Norwalk? Does he answer Board members questions there? Is it his role to answer questions in the media or should Manny Rivera be answering these questions?

Yes, those are questions many people have asked. Do you have answers, or will these questions continue to be heard at dinners and around town?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thoughts for an Open Discussion

What is it that influences how a child does academically? Yes, there have been the nature vs. nurture argument. Research points to a lack of vocabulary development before three years old. Then there's the argument of 'Most never leave poverty who were born into poverty.' Have we done an injustice to our students by trying to push everyone academically instead of teaching a trade? What do you think about the lack of parent sacrifice these days to create a better future for the next generation? Germany sacrificed and now they lead the European nations. What does sacrifice mean to you?  Money? Time spent with children? Time educating children to give them a heads up in school? Are we failing our children? Let's explore what it is that is missing.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Six Month Mark

What has been accomplished in six months? That is how long the new superintendent has been here. The budget is a given. Anyone want to share?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Your turn

Budget was presented last night. Apples have been very quiet, but then they control the Board so they don't need to be vocal. Are S. Harris and a former Board member (and Apple ) BFF now or is SH learning how to vote the Apple way through the former Board member? Will the new superintendent's budget go through with the requested % increase or will further cuts be required? These are some of the topics in question around the city. You can certainly bring up your own topics.....your turn!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 What Will YOU Do to Help Education in Norwalk?

How about a New Year's resolution that is worthwhile keeping? Let's improve education from the crib through school years. What will you resolve to do? Read aloud to your child at least three nights a week? Help your child more often with homework? Discuss current events at the dinner table? Introduce a vocabulary word a day and make a game out of using that word during the week? Business owners, will you provide books for schools? Books in restaurants for children to read? (Place your advertisement or business card in the book). Mentor a child? (this is a long term commitment). Will you ask your school how you can help?  Teachers, what will you resolve to do better? Board of Ed members? Let's create ideas and share them. Commit to your resolutions and we can change test scores and education! It's up to you!