Imagine A World Where Everyone Could Read

A roundup of Greenwich Public School news: school calendar and vacation discussions to continue.

Calendar Options Continue

Among the topics before the Board at Thursday's Board of Education Meeting at  is yet another discussion of the school calendar.

With spring starting tomorrow and snow days seeming unlikely for this school year, there will be an update to the 2011-12 calendar with greater clarity around end of year and graduation dates.

With respect to the 2013-2014 GPS Calendar, the administration conferred with the GOSA and GEA unions, and PTA Council in developing its recommendation to the board. It is is expected the administration will support schools being closed on Election Day 2013 and a repeat of this year's practice of the February break being scheduled pre-Presidents' Day.

As this is a public business meeting, anyone wishing to address the Board on an agenda or non-agenda item can speak publicly at 7:00 p.m.

Be a champ, walk a dog ...

is the motto of the 5th grade, who have organized a dog walk to raise money and awareness for The Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS) organization.

The dog walk will take place on Sunday, March 25, from 9 a.m. until noon at . There will be a 2-mile course set up for people to walk with or without their dog. Park passes are not required. To raise funds for CHAMPS, the students will be collecting a suggested donation of $10 per family. All money raised will be donated to the CHAMPS organization.

CHAMPS is a student-lead program of The Marshall Legacy Institute, a nonprofit, international organization. The goal of the program is to protect people in mine-affected countries by training detection dogs to sniff out landmines for safe removal. The threat of landmines is evidenced by the esimated one thousand people who are involved in landmine accidents every month, roughly one victim every 40 minutes. Most accident victims are killed.

The cost of acquiring, training, and delivering a certified mine detection dog to a contaminated country is approximately $20,000. To date, the Marshall Legacy Institute has successfully trained and deployed over 140 dogs to Afghanistan, Iraq, Thailand, and several other countries.

Participants also will have a chance to meet a retired mine detection dog and see a demonstration. Dog treats will be rewarded to all dogs completing the walk.

Honoring Their Own

The Greenwich PTAC Essence Award recognizes an outstanding PTA member of the Greenwich Public Schools' PTA communities who, through exemplary achievement, has inspired others, demonstrated selfless spirit and made a significant difference in our school community (individual school or district wide.) Applications are now available on their website.

The award looks to recognize an individual who is is a willing member of a team, whether in a leadership role or in the trenches performing thankless tasks that need to be done. The devotion to the goals and values of the Greenwich PTAs is demonstrated in this individual’s ongoing involvement and willingness to make our school community better for all constituents.

Any individual must be a member in good standing in one or more of the 15 Greenwich PTAs in order to be eligible for this award, howevere members of the PTAC Executive Board and the Selection Committee are not eligible.

Parents, teachers, staff, students, principals, administrators, or members of our Greenwich community may submit nominations. A 500-word maximum nomination narrative addressing the award criteria above should be submitted to Leslie Z. Breck, Chair of PTAC Essence Award Committee, at TLBreck@aol.com no later than April 27.

A Treat of a Retreat 

The BoE and the cabinet retreated last Thursday to the Board Room at the Havemeyer for a special meeting focused primarily on improving board performance and establishing board goals. Along with Dr. Roger Lulow, the 8-member board was joined at the table by Director of Communications Kim Eves, Managing Director of Operations Ben Branyan, Director of Pupil Personnel Services/Special Education Mary Forde, Director of Human Resources Dr. Bob Lichtenfeld and Special Projects Manager John Curtin.

The meeting was used as an uber working session to also discuss legislative goals, analyze past and projected district performance and undertake a review of options for goal setting and what is required to achieve them. Lastly, the board discussed articulating an "aspirational goal" as compared to benchmark districts.

Board Chair Leslie Moriarty began the session with a tenor-setting statement that the primary purpose of the evening was for the Board and Cabinet to review the necessary background information needed in order for them to set their goals. 

What would the world look like if everyone could read?

Cos Cob School students went global and celebrated the power of literacy on March 7th as they participated in World Read Aloud Day  inspired by LitWorld, a non-profit literacy organization that supports the development of sustainable literacy practices throughout the world.

The purpose of the day was to show the world that literacy is a right that belongs to everyone. The theme for the celebration was “Imagine a world where everyone can read”  and addressed questions such as "What can we do to make a difference in global literacy?" The CCS PTA  will be making a donation to LitWorld.

Leading up to this day, students considered the impact of a world where everyone could read and write. “At Cos Cob School, we are teaching what it means to be part of a global society and having a responsibility to people around the world,” said Cos Cob School Principal Kimberly Beck. “We recognize the gift of literacy and hope to share that message with our entire learning community through our celebration of World Read Aloud Day. We are building awareness of social issues in the hope of inspiring our students to take action.”

In addition to the discussions, parents from various countries read classic stories from their homelands in the individual classrooms. The World Read Aloud Day celebration culminated with a school-wide assembly at which point Dr. Seuss’ masterpiece, Cat in the Hat, was read aloud to the entire student body in 12 different languages (from Romanian to Chinese). Students were able to follow along with the story as the English version was projected onto a large screen. 

ESL Classes to begin in Byram this week

The Byram Family Enrichment Program is announcing a 10-week English as a Second Language (ESL) Program to begin at the on March 21, from 5:30-7:30 pm. 

The Byram Family Enrichment Program is a newly-formed collaboration between the Greenwich Department of Social Services (GDSS), , Literacy Volunteers of Stamford/Greenwich, Inc., Greenwich Board of Education, and Byram Archibald Neighborhood Center. It was developed in response to a growing need for educational support services in the Byram Community.

At the registration on March 7, 43 residents, many whose children already attend the BANC After School Program, were assessed for one of the three ESL classes to begin on March 21. The free classes are taught by trained literacy volunteer staff.

“We see the large turnout as proof of the parents and residents desire to enhance their reading and language skills and reflects the Greenwich community response to improve the quality of life of Greenwich residents” said Dr. Alan Barry, GDSS commissioner. In addition to the ESL classes, dinner will be provided along with childcare and additional enrichment/educational opportunities for the children. 

The ESL classes will be held at the Byram Archibald Neighborhood
Center at 289 Delevan Ave. For additional information, call Monica Bruning, LCSW, (203) 622-7793.







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