Dear Danbury Staff, Parents and Supporters,
Welcome to the 2012-13 school year. I hope you enjoyed a refreshing summer of fun activities with family and friends.
For new staff members and parents, we look forward to your involvement in our Danbury educational family. Your work in our schools and communities will immerse you in an educational system that is improving dramatically because of the team-based philosophy of quality service. We are looking forward to all the contributions you will make to our students and school teams. To our returning staff members and parents, welcome back to another year of continuous and exciting progress.
There are several highlights to share with you as we begin the new school year. Our district newsletter, the Danbury Digest, will be posted on our website in October, January and April. You can find it at www.danbury.k12.ct.us, and it will have details and updates about our progress and coming events. You can also view Hatters TV, which highlights district events and activities. There are several highlights to share with you as we begin the new school year.
Our most exciting news is the implementation of full day Kindergarten. The first phase of the program will happen this fall at 5 of our elementary schools - Great Plain, Hayestown, Morris Street, Park Avenue and Pembroke. Implementation at the remaining schools will occur over the next three years. We anticipate universal all day kindergarten in all schools by the 2014-2015 school year.
During the summer, we completed work on many school renovation and construction projects. All the windows and doors have been replaced at Danbury High School, and Energy Conservation rooftop solar panels have been installed at Park Avenue and Ellsworth Avenue schools. Additionally, these two elementary schools have received a student energy computer data monitoring system to enhance their science program. A new roof sits over both Pembroke School and the Alternative School for Excellence. ACE also received an update to the entire brick facade. Almost all the work will be near completion by the time school starts in August.
Over the past few years, the continued student population growth in the district necessitated the Mayor to institute a 2020 Committee, charged with looking at space allocation and facility growth across the District. The committee completed its work last Spring and proposed to the Mayor the addition of 16 elementary level classrooms, and the creation of a third middle school. If approved, the proposal would result in the expansion 3 elementary schools (Shelter Rock, Park Avenue and Stadley Rough Schools), and the remodelling of the closed Mill Ridge Intermediate School to convert it to a smaller 600 student themed middle school, which would be open to the whole district. Danbury residents are scheduled to vote on this proposal this coming November.
Staff continues to improve student performance, and make progress under a new State of Connecticut accountability system. Following the results of the 2012 CMT and CAPT tests, we remain as a School District in Need of Improvement (Alliance Network school); however, we did see important growth in most tested areas, and at all grade levels. I am confident that last year’s student performance growth will continue. We are preparing for the implementation of the new Common Core Curriculum Standards that have been approved by Connecticut and most other state education departments. Our curriculum work will continue at the secondary level under the direction of Dr William Glass, whose leadership has resulted in continued improvement in student results. We must simultaneously prepare for the next generation of state assessments that are also coming to schools. We know that these assessments will be challenging, and will require that teams of teachers work in interdisciplinary teams to best prepare our students. We must do this while incorporating several legislative changes, including changes to the teacher and administrative tenure laws, all of which are part of the Governor’s educational reform package.
This year, like every year, we will commit ourselves to providing the best educational experience possible to all. When it comes to public education, there’s a lot to celebrate. Educators, students, parents, policymakers, and communities are working together to achieve great results. The commitment to improvement must be a shared goal in which the educators, students, parents, policymakers, and communities are all engaged. We encourage the public to see what’s really going on in our schools, and to witness the high quality, innovative work and commitment of our staff that happens every day in our classrooms. We invite you to learn more about how everyone can play a role in ensuring future growth and success in schools everywhere. Once you see for yourself, you just may become a public school partner – even a champion – ready to work with us on our goals, and build on efforts that are already showing great results in student achievement.
In the Danbury School District, the Board of Education encourages community members to be a part of local education every day. Take a look inside our work and accomplishments; become a student mentor through our DSABC program to make a meaningful and long-lasting impact on a student’s life; attend a performance, PTO activity or athletic event; visit a school governance council meeting; or simply stop by your local school to see for yourself what’s happening in classrooms—we are always in need of volunteers.
Please join us this year for all of the excitement. We will keep you informed through conversations, newsletters, web sites, forums, open houses, phone messages, and special announcement flyers. I eagerly anticipate collaborating with staff, families and community members on behalf of Danbury children, to have a productive and pleasant school year.I look forward to seeing you in our wonderful schools.
Dr. Sal Pascarella
Superintendent of Schools