The Board of Education unanimously voted to hire David Roach of Southbury to fill a vacant assistant principal position at Newtown High School during its meeting on July 15. Mr Roach has been working for the past decade-plus as a social studies teachers at neighboring Pomperaug High School, where he has also served as the head football coach for three years.
Also on Tuesday the school board voted to name Keith Alexander as its new chair, filling the position vacated by Debbie Leidlein two weeks earlier. A member of the board for 3½ years, Mr Alexander was nominated for the position by Ms Leidlein, who pointed out Mr Alexander's ability to work well with others, gain support, and respect the opinions of others during his tenure.
Students in this year’s Summer Youth Employment Program began their work for the summer of 2014 on Monday, July 7. A grant through the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board provides the program, according to Peg Ragaini, the school to career coordinator at Newtown High School. Students apply for a position in the program and are placed into a position to work 20 hours a week for six weeks throughout the summer. The program, Ms Ragaini said, offers participating ninth to eleventh grade students a chance to develop work habits while earning money. Students in the program earn minimum wage, according to Mimi Riccio, who oversees the Summer Youth Employment Program with Ms Ragaini.
Adults and children gathered at a Newtown home during the evening of Wednesday, July 9. Children played between chairs and towels or ate alongside the adults in attendance for the culminating celebration of this year’s Newtown Poetry Project accomplishments. Carol Ann Davis, a Newtown resident, author, and professor in Fairfield University’s creative writing program, said the event went very well despite having to be moved indoors due to rain. This is the second year the Newtown Poetry Project has produced a collection of poetry, created by local children and parents.
Newtown High School World Language Department Chair Paula Greenfield has announced that host families are still being sought for NHS Chinese guest teacher Amanda Zhang, who is set to arrive on August 1. Ms Zhang is 34 years old and has a master’s in education and a certificate in English proficiency, according to Ms Greenfield. Host families receive a stipend of $150 a month to supplement spending on food. Host families are expected to provide room and board for a year or for part of a year.
Newtown resident Katherine Doerr Morosky, who teaches with Connections Education, was one of nine educators from across the country who were nominated to participate in the National Education Association (NEA) Raise Your Hand: Empowered Educators event, held July 2 at the Colorado Convention Center. Ms Morosky and her colleagues represented New Voice Strategies as VIVA (Vision Ideas Voices Action) Teachers, past participants of a VIVA Idea Exchange.
Parents can never be sure how their children will react to their first day of kindergarten. Some children hop on the bus without hesitation, and maybe slow down long enough to give a wave to their anxious parents before starting a new adventure with future friends. Others will cling, or cry, or worse, making the first day difficult for everyone involved. A five-day, ten-hour program being offered this month by Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) hopes to make that big transition much smoother for parents and children alike. Safety Town will be offered at NYFS during the weeks of July 21–25 and July 28–August 1. It will meet Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 am each day. Safety Town was developed in 1964 as a national program to teach young children important lessons on traffic, fire, water, bus, and bicycle safety, awareness of medicine and poison, and awareness of strangers. But it has an added benefit.
Sabrina’s Encore Productions announced Summer Follies 2014, starring the youth of Newtown and neighboring towns, will be held at Edmond Town Hall’s Theater July 25 and July 26. More than 75 cast members will bring to life numbers from 12 Broadway hits, including A Chorus Line, Matilda, Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, and Newsies. For tickets and further information visit sabrinasencoreproductions.com.
“You’re going to hear me say two things, ‘Watch the tail,’ and ‘You’re working yarn,’” said Nicole Christensen to her Knitting Camp students. The Knitting Camp for kids ages 7 to 12 is just one of the many Newtown Parks and Recreation summer programs. The camp ran from Monday, June 23, to Friday, June 27. Kids who took the camp picked out their own color yarn, learned how to put stitches on their needles, and were taught how to cast on.
Just a few days before they cheered for the end of the school year, Middle Gate Elementary School students spent the day cheering for each other during the annual daylong day in the sun that is Field Day. Having been postponed from a rainy June 13, all of the school’s students and most faculty members instead spent a sunny Monday, June 16, outdoors at the Cold Spring Road school. At least ten activity stations were set up in the playground and field areas behind the school, and students were able to participate at each one. The Buddy Walker Relay was not only a challenge for pairs of students against other teams, but also a study in coordination.
Following an executive session on Monday, June 30, the Board of Education announced the unanimous selection of James Ross as Newtown Middle School’s new assistant principal. Mr Ross, who has been teaching seventh and eighth grade math at NMS since 2008, was welcomed by school board Chair Debbie Leidlein and applause from the audience after the unanimous vote. CABE Student Leadership Award winners, the Newtown High School Odyssey of the Mind team and General Electric team member Joni Capoccitti were also honored.