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Q4 2023

Stamford Public Schools Quarterly Newsletter

We’ve not yet reached the halfway point in the 2023-24 school year, but for many families it’s already time to start thinking about 2024-25. This is especially true for those families with students entering kindergarten or high school next year.  For incoming kindergarteners, families should be aware that the deadline to enter the elementary magnet school lottery is approaching on November 15 at 4 pm. Families will be notified in late January whether they will be offered a seat in one of our five elementary magnet programs for the upcoming school year. 

Meanwhile, our current eighth grade students should also mark their calendars for November 15, because Stamford Public Schools is hosting Eighth Grade High School Information Night at 6 pm via zoom. You may be surprised to learn that Stamford Public Schools offers a variety of rigorous, specialized high school programs to which eighth graders can apply for admission, regardless of their zoned high school. 

For instance, Westhill High School offers the Academy of Finance, the Regional Agriscience Program, and Junior ROTC, while Stamford High School offers the Early College Studies Program, the High School of Business, and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering – which is an inter-district magnet high school – also accepts 75 percent of its students from Stamford.  

I encourage all eighth-grade families – and anyone else interested in learning about the amazing opportunities that Stamford Public Schools has to offer – to join us for High School Information Night on November 15. 

Please keep reading to stay in the know about what’s happening in Stamford Public Schools. I hope you will share this information with your constituents, peers, and friends. And remember, you can also sign up to receive my weekly e-newsletter published on Fridays during the school year. 

Thank you for reading and for supporting Stamford Public Schools! 

 

Magnet School Application Deadlines Approaching 

The SPS Magnet School Program was developed by the Stamford Board of Education to help manage enrollment and balance all schools to the district’s +/- 10 percent integration standard while offering educational choice through unique programs and theme-based instruction. The lottery application is available online. Visit the magnet school section of our website for more information.

2024-25 Magnet School Program Key Dates

School

Application Deadline*

Drawing 

Acceptance Deadline

K-5 and K-8 Schools

November 15 at 4 pm

January 15

February 6

Scofield Middle School

March 1 at 4 pm

March 15

April 5

AITE High School

January 15 at 4 pm

February 1

February 21

 

*per BOE policy, if this date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be the next business day.


 

Long-Term Facilities Update 

Earlier this month, Stamford Public Schools unveiled a proposal to accelerate the establishment of a middle school program at Westover Magnet School and realign the middle school feeder pattern for students at Hart, Roxbury, Stillmeadow and Westover.

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Highlights of this plan include: 

  • Westover would add a grade 6 in Fall 2024, a grade 7 in Fall 2025, and a grade 8 in Fall 2026. 

  • Stillmeadow Elementary students would attend Turn of River Middle School 

  • All students zoned for Hart Elementary would attend Rippowam Middle School 

  • Roxbury Students would remain together at Cloonan until the new Roxbury K-8 opens in Fall 2027.  

Dr. Lori Rhodes, Associate Superintendent for Access and Opportunity, shared details of this proposal during a community conversation on October 24.  The webinar recording, presentation, and audio recording in Spanish are available online

There will be another community conversation on this topic on Thursday, November 2, 2023 at 7 pm via zoom.

Kindergarten Age Requirements

Kindergarten age requirements have changed. Beginning with the 2024-25 school year, children will need to be 5 years old on or before September 1 of the school year to be automatically eligible for kindergarten.CSDE Logo

Families of children who turn 5 years old on or after September 2, 2024, may apply for early kindergarten admission for their child. The early admission process will include a play-based assessment by certified Stamford Public Schools preschool or kindergarten teachers.

Assessment appointments are available monthly at APPLES Pre-K, located at 381 High Ridge Road (in the Rippowam Middle School building). To schedule an appointment, click here

To learn more about the change in kindergarten age requirements you can watch our recent community conversation on our website

Café con la Super 

Café con la Super - the District’s in-person Spanish language Community Conversation series – takes place monthly at the Stamford Government Center (4th floor cafeteria). Parents are invited to join Dr. Lucero to share ideas, concerns, and engage in lively conversation. 

On Monday, November 6 at 6:30 pm, Mayor Caroline Simmons and representatives from Building One Community and Jewish Family Services will visit Café con la Super to discuss housing in Stamford.  

Translation in English is available at each meeting. 

Stamford Coalition of Parents Expecting Success 

We are excited to announce that the Stamford Coalition of Parents Expecting Success (SCOPES), which is a committee of the Parent Teacher Council of Stamford, is being relaunched in partnership with Stamford Public Schools. SCOPES is a parent support network and community resource on special education issues.

The first meeting is Wednesday, November 1 at 6 pm via zoom. Dr. Michael Fernandes, Associate Superintendent for School Support, will moderate this meeting with panelists Meghan Osowiecki, Director of Special Education and Related Services for Stamford Public Schools, and Nicole Raucher, President of the SCOPES Parent Advisory Board.

Upcoming SCOPES meetings:

  • November 1: Introducing SCOPES

  • November 8: ABCs of Special Education: Understanding the Process

  • December 13: Getting to know your Child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP)

 

Dual Language Program    

Stamford Public Schools is exploring the possibility of offering a Dual Language Immersion Program (Spanish/English) beginning in Fall 2024. The program would begin as a kindergarten program. To learn more, please join us for an information session on Thursday, November 2 at 6:30 pm via zoom

Curriculum Dashboard 

The family and community Curriculum Dashboard is open.  Families may use this dashboard to access up-to-date information about what students are learning at each grade level and content area.  

Stamford Public Schools hosted a Community Conversation on October 19 during which Amy Beldotti provided an overview of the dashboard and answered questions.  Click here to view a recording of that meeting.   

Thank you again to the teachers, staff, members of the teaching and learning department, and the District Curriculum Advisory Committee who supported this important work.

Free Meals & More

Stamford Public Schools is participating in the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) for the 2023-24 school year, which means breakfast and lunch is FREE for ALL students.

Although families do not need to complete the Household Income Survey Application to receive free school meals, completing the application may help families get fee waivers for sports leagues and camps, internet and wifi service, AP, SAT, and ACT exams, and college applications. The application is available in English and Spanish.

Bus Transportation 

The ongoing bus driver shortage has created challenges including route changes and delays. We continue to work with our bus transportation vendor, First Student, to address parent questions and concerns. Please keep the following in mind regarding the SPS transportation program: 

  • Our bus transportation is designed as a tiered system in which each bus completes up to six routes per day.  This helps us manage costs by using fewer buses.  For instance, a bus that picks up students at a school with a 2pm end time (Tier 1) will also complete pickups/drop offs at schools with a 2:40 pm end time (Tier 2) and a 3:30 pm end time (Tier 3).  Delays in the Tier 1 route will create delays at the schools serviced by that bus in Tiers 2 and 3.  

  • Bus routes are redrawn each year to achieve maximum efficiency. Sometimes, an individual student’s time on the bus will increase from the previous year due to changes that make the overall route more efficient.  

  • Buses are considered on time for afternoon pickup if they arrive within 15 minutes of the published bell time.  If your child attends a school where the school day ends at 2:40 pm, a bus is on time for pickup if it arrives at the school before 2:55 pm       

  • Bus issues must be addressed by the district transportation office.  School principals and staff do not manage bus routes or bus drivers. 

AgriScience Program Open House and Holiday Shop

The Stamford AgriScience Program at Westhill High School is hosting its annual Open House and Holiday Shop on Saturday, December 2 and Saturday, December 9 from 9 am to 1 pm in the Agriscience Building on the Westhill High School campus. This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to experience the agriscience program and to show your support through the purchase of wreaths, poinsettias and other seasonal plants and gifts.  

Holidays in Harmony Series  

Many talented student musicians will be performing throughout December as part of the Holidays in Harmony Series at the Stamford Town Center Mall. Please mark your calendar to support our students during the following performances:  

  • December 6 at 6 pm – Roxbury Elementary Grade 4 Chorus

  • December 7 at 6 pm – Stamford High School Jazz Band, Concert Band, Choir, and Orchestra

  • December 12 at 6 pm – Westhill High School Concert Band and Orchestra

  • December 13 at 6 pm – Westhill High School Jazz Band and Choir

  • December 18 at 5 pm – Stark Elementary Grade 5 Chorus

  • December 18 at 5:30 pm – Westover Elementary Grade 4 Chorus 

All-School Musical 

This year’s Stamford All-School Musical is Legally Blonde the Musical, which follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Action-packed and exploding with memorable songs and dynamic dances, this musical is so much fun, it should be illegal! 

Sixty-six Stamford residents ages 13 through 12th grade make up the cast and crew of Legally Blonde the Musical, including 57 Stamford Public Schools students representing AITE, Dolan, Rippowam, Scofield, Stamford High, Strawberry Hill, Turn of River, and Westhill.

Now in its 16th year, the Stamford All-School Musical will be presented at the Westhill High School Auditorium as follows:

  • Saturday, December 2 at 7:30 pm

  • Sunday, December 3 at 3 pm

  • Friday, December 8 at 7:30 pm

  • Saturday, December 9 at 7:30 pm

  • Sunday, December 10 at 3 pm

Tickets are on sale now. Click here to purchase. 

Quick Takes 

  • School-Based Health Clinics Provide FREE Medical and Mental Health Services: SPS has partnered with Family Centers to provide full-service health centers at Westhill, Stamford High, Cloonan, Dolan/Toquam and Rippowam/AITE. These school-based health centers provide FREE, comprehensive on-site medical and behavioral health services to students. Parents must register for their children to use the health centers. For more information or to register, click here or view this flyer.

  •   Stamford PT Council

  • PT Council Meetings: The Parent-Teacher Council of Stamford is the 501(c)3 nonprofit umbrella organization for our school-based parent-teacher groups. The PT Council meets regularly throughout the school year to discuss topics of interest to SPS families. The next meeting is Thursday, November 16 at 7:30pm in the Government Center 5th Floor Boardroom. These meetings are open to all SPS families. Email ptcouncil@gmail.com or click here to join the mailing list. 

  • We’re Hiring! Stamford Public Schools is looking for qualified teachers, paraeducators, security staff, and substitute teachers. If you know anyone who would be a good fit for our District, please encourage them to apply.  

Thanks for reading. For more information about Stamford Public Schools and up-to-date information on events and activities, visit our website