Superintendent's Newsletter 2022

Summer Version

A Recognition of Students and Staff

As we near the conclusion of the 2021-22 school year, the Newtown staff and administrative team across the district would like to recognize our staff and students - all of whom have worked tirelessly throughout the year. We are looking forward to celebrating our middle school students at the Moving Up on June 14 and our seniors at graduation on June 15 before we depart for a much-deserved summer break.

At our recent BOE meeting on June 7, we had the opportunity to honor our staff retirees, top 5% of the 2022 graduating class, CABE award winners, George Coleman Equity Award, Congressional Art Award, and Western CT Superintendent Award recipients. We couldn't be prouder of our students who have worked hard and demonstrated commitment to their studies.

Best of luck goes out to all of our staff retirees as well. You have dedicated much of your career in the support of our students, staff, and families here in Newtown. Enjoy the next chapter of your journey. We will miss you!

Hawley Project Update

We have finalized our plan for the final move of Hawley Elementary to Sandy Hook Elementary, Reed Intermediate, and Head O' Meadow (pre-school only). On June 7th, the Board heard details from Jenna Connors (Reed Ass't Principal), Carla Tischio (Hawley Lead Teacher) and Kelly Maclaren (Sandy Hook Lead Teacher), who shared a comprehensive plan of action for the Hawley move, which they have worked on collaboratively with staff and leaders throughout the year. Together with building principals, they identified areas at Reed and Sandy Hook for classrooms, resource rooms, and other spaces to accommodate Hawley students and staff. Hawley teachers have had the opportunity to visit spaces they will be moving into next August, and custodians will be supporting the move once school ends.

The renovation project is scheduled to begin immediately following the end of the school year and is expected to continue for much of the 2022-23 school year. A very important part of the plan is ensuring the "welcome mat" is rolled out at each of the buildings for the Hawley school community. The goal is to support staff and students in each of their new buildings while maintaining Hawley's identity. This has been an integral aspect of the plan. Schedules for instruction, arts and music, and lunch will be in place to accommodate Hawley students. While school events will still be coordinated specifically for Hawley, there may be other events that include the entire school. More specific details, including parent drop off and pick up, instructional schedules, support services, lunch and more will be outlined to parents before the start of the school year.

In addition, transportation will be working on bus routes early this summer. Routes will be reviewed and finalized, and these will be shared just prior to the beginning of the new school year. Since elementary and Reed students ride together, we are confident the transportation changes will have a minimal impact.

We are excited that Hawley Elementary will finally have a new HVAC system that will improve the quality of air and ventilation. A huge thank you must go out to the entire school community for investing in our students and staff by supporting this renovation project. The environment for teaching and learning is critical for students' health, emotional well-being, and ultimate success.

Summer School, Enrichment, and Other Events

Newtown Continuing Education offers summer enrichment opportunities for students in grades K-8, along with academic enrichment programs for K-8 and summer school/credit recovery programs for middle and high school students. Our summer enrichment programs are designed to foster creativity, promote exploration and encourage social opportunities. To enroll in a program, or for our full listing, visit our webstore.

K-6 Summer Enrichment Programs Include:

SMART Camp (K-6) SMART Camp cultivates a child's inner artist by encouraging imagination, creativity, and exploration through various art programs. Art not only awakes the inner artist, but allows a child to practice self-expression through movement, music, painting, and more. At SMART Camp, we believe in creating a safe and fun environment, while fostering social and emotional well-being for all campers.

Passport to Art (exiting 5-8 gr.): An extension of our SMART Camp. Our camps for students exiting 5-7 grades allow students to continue expressing themselves through art, while also completing more advanced projects.

Cartooning & Manga (exiting 5-8 gr.):In this workshop, students will learn how to draw in the popular Japanese art style, known as Anime. They will learn/explore inking, watercolor, anatomy and how to design their own manga/cartoons. Taught by an instructor with an MFA in Fine Art-Illustration.

Fused Glass Art Camps (5-8 gr)

Outdoor Explorers (K-6) : This is a hands-on program that will bring children closer to nature; opening up a new world, while giving them life-long skills, knowledge, and experiences. In this camp, campers will meet and handle live animals, explore woodlands, streams, and wetlands, play, observe, build, and create in the natural world. Studies suggest this form of exploring can make children healthier, happier, and even smarter! Our main goal is to give children an opportunity to explore the outdoors, while maintaining a safe and healthy environment.

Knit & Chat (exiting 1-6 gr)

Summer School Programs:

Elementary Academic Enrichment : Instruction in our academic enrichment programs is planned in accordance with the demonstrated needs of your student in the areas of Language Arts, Math, Reading, and or Writing; depending on the program. Integrated activities, peer interaction, and a safe environment nurture the social and emotional well-being of the children in the program and provide for a fun, learning experience.

Intermediate Academic Enrichment

Summer Splash Academy - Extended Day for K-6 - Bridging academics and enrichment in partnership with the Newtown Community Center. At the Community Center, children will enjoy a camp-like day of art activities: swimming, sports, and outdoor play! This program allows students the opportunity to receive their summer academic support, while also attending a camp-like experience that they may otherwise not have the opportunity to attend. The program fosters creativity and provides for social-emotional learning and opportunities for purposeful play. It also allows parents more flexibility in their schedule.

Middle School Academic Enrichment/Credit Recovery: Opportunities to recover an English, Math, Social Studies, or Science credit are provided for students who did not successfully complete their course during the regular school year. Additionally, an academic enrichment program, using the i-Ready program, designed to specifically provide individualized academic support to students in English and or Math is provided as an option for students recommended to attend such program.

High School Credit Recovery: Opportunities to recover credits in English, Math or Social Studies are provided for students who did not successfully complete the course during the calendar school year.

Advancing Women and Girls in STEAM Portal

The Governor’s Council on Women and Girls Education and STEAM Subcommittee has launched the centralized Advancing Women and Girls in STEAM Portal in an effort to keep young women and girls engaged in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. This portal provides a “one-stop shop” for parents, educators, students, employers, and researchers connecting many educational STEAM programs and activities. You can access the portal here:

Health & Wellness Tips for Summer

The weather is warming up. The days are growing longer. The summer solstice is almost here. What will your children do on those long days of summer? Here are a few ideas to keep your family happy and healthy all summer long!

  • Encourage active play. Get out the jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, bikes, scooters & balls. Turn off the TV and send your kids outside to play!

  • Stay cool. Newtown has great access to water fun in the summer. Family memberships at Treadwell pool and Eichler’s Cove Beach are reasonably priced and will bring hours of fun on hot summer days. Newtown Community Center has a kid friendly splash area as well as a large therapeutic pool - perfect for rainy days! A sprinkler will also do the trick to cool off hot kids, or have them wash the car.

  • Swim Lessons are a great investment for any child. Swim lessons can open the door for a lifetime of activity on the water, from swimming and diving to kayaking, snorkeling and water skiing.

  • Get the whole family involved. Family hikes and bike trips are good for everyone’s health and encourage a lifetime of active fun. Newtown is full of beautiful hikes that all family members can enjoy. Try the trails in Paugussett State Forest or one of Newtown Forest Association’s many trails.

  • Serve healthy snacks. It’s easy in the summer. Try freezing grapes or put a popsicle stick in a cup of yogurt and freeze it for a cold and tasty snack. Fill half your child’s plate with fruits and vegetables each day. Choose fruits & vegetables that are in season. They are cheaper and they will taste better too.

  • Be sun smart. Make sunscreen application a daily routine. Hats and sun shirts give added protection for days of extended sun exposure. Look for sunglasses with UV protection. Did you know that cataracts later in life are almost completely preventable with protection from the sun?

  • Relax and enjoy! Fun is good for everyone’s health.

COVID Vaccine Clinics: For anyone looking for COVID vaccines or boosters, there are 2 local clinics scheduled in June: Wednesday, June 15th at Newtown Community Center from 3 - 7 pm and Thursday, June 30 at Newtown High School from 3 - 7 pm.

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Thank You from the Superintendent

As I approach my retirement, both the challenges we have faced together and the beautiful memories we have shared come to mind. I have been truly blessed to work in a school district that cares deeply for students and staff, is committed to high expectations for teaching and learning, and believes that everyone deserves a safe, welcoming and inclusive place of learning.

Thank you to the wonderful parents, staff, Board of Education, students and leaders - both past and present - who have made this such a special community in which to work.

I will miss you all!

Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue