From the Principal's Pen

September 14, 2018

Ringing In

This morning we welcomed our newest students to the JC Learning Community! The entire school, along with parents, friends, and family members joined us in celebrating our kindergarteners as they rang the school bell to signify the beginning of their school career here at Julian Curtiss. It is always one of our favorite events - brief, but incredibly special. Many thanks to all who joined us and congratulations to our kindergarten parents!
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PTA Presentation

Many thanks to all who attended the General PTA Meeting this past Wednesday. It was wonderful to see so many of you there! For those of you who were unable to attend, Brenda Brush and I gave a brief presentation addressing Diversity, Personalized Learning, and Social Emotional Learning here at Julian Curtiss. The presentation is available on our JC website by clicking on the link below:

PTA General Meeting Presentation - 9/12/2018

We received some questions regarding the magnet population at Julian Curtiss as it compares to the other three elementary magnet schools. At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, the following reflects the number and percentage of magnet students at each of the four magnet schools in the district. As we mentioned at the meeting, the low number of magnet students at New Lebanon and Hamilton Avenue is the result of a low number of available seats due to the large catchment area for students districted to those schools.

  • Julian Curtiss - 65 out of 340 (19% of enrollment is magnet)
  • Hamilton Avenue - 37 out of 319 (12% of enrollment is magnet)
  • New Lebanon - 7 out of 262 (3% of enrollment is magnet)
  • International School at Dundee - 132 out of 365 (36% of enrollment is magnet)

We also promised to follow up with the conversation starters we shared to ask your children about what goes on at school each day. These kinds of questions help to focus your discussion and avoid the "Yes/No" or "Nothing" kind of answers that parents usually get from their children. Below are some sample conversation starters to help you learn more about what is happening at school.

After School Conversation Starters...


  • Tell me about/teach me something you learned in class today.
  • What is something you heard today that made you think?
  • What is something you heard today that surprised you?
  • What challenged you today?


  • How were you brave today?
  • What was the hardest rule/expectation for you to follow today?
  • If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?
  • Can you tell me about an example of kindness you showed today?
  • What made you feel proud today?

For more ideas, visit 50 Questions to Ask your Kids Instead of Asking "How Was Your Day?"

Advanced Learning Program Interdisciplinary Program Update for Grades 3-5

Dear Parent,

Last week you received this message from Bonnie O’Regan:

“In 2018-2019, Greenwich Public Schools will fully implement units of study and instructional strategies aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In the Next Generation Science Standards, a comprehensive approach to concepts and expected student engagement has increased in accountability and rigor. Therefore to support the implementation of these new units ALP teachers will be collaborating this year with classroom teachers and obtaining more detailed information as to the proficiencies of the advanced students in the units being taught. As with current practice, alternate activities will be assigned to enhance the student's prior knowledge while the students with no or little prior knowledge receive instruction on the required standards. Teachers will also be able to adjust questioning techniques and higher-order questions that challenge the advanced learner. This year's model will align with the personalized learning in various settings and opportunities based on outcomes and the Next Generation Science Standards.”

What this means is the ALP interdisciplinary program is being implemented differently than in the past. All students across the district, whether identified for ALP interdisciplinary or not, will start the year launching their science notebook within their classroom.

The ALP teacher will be co-teaching with the grade level team and traveling between the different classrooms to work with the grade level teachers on personalizing the learning of students. The ALP teacher has spent the beginning of the year planning with the grade level teams on the science launch and will be entering the classrooms starting on Monday, September 17th.

After the notebook launch, the ALP teacher will meet with the grade level team to review observations and student work samples. The team will identify students that would benefit from additional enrichment beyond the added rigor that comes with the next generation science standards. The ALP teacher is co-planning with the grade level team to ensure all students receive a level of rigor appropriate to their need regardless of placement. This may mean that your child will receive instruction from the grade level teacher or the ALP teacher. It is a true co-teaching approach.

This is a change that is taking place across the entire district. All schools will be adopting this co-teaching model for ALP interdisciplinary. If you have further questions about this change, please contact Bonnie O’Regan at Bonnie_O’


Trish McGuire

Arrival and Dismissal Reminders

If you use the front circle at morning drop-off, please make sure your child is able to exit the car independently. Do not get out of the car to help your child. If your student needs assistance, please park in a safe spot and help your child exit the car. This is for the safety of both you and your child. Also, to keep traffic flowing efficiently, please pull up to the stop sign and do not stop in front of the door.

At car pick-up in the afternoon, please make sure to stay in the line even if your child has been loaded into your car. In the past week we have had instances of people passing the line. The driveway on that side of the building is two-way traffic, and we must adhere to the safety rules.

One last reminder - please make sure if you park to drop off or pick up your child that you are in a legal spot. No parking signs are posted at several points along the driveways. Cars can be - and have been - ticketed for illegal parking at those places.

Thank you for your cooperation in following our norm of "Be Safe."

For a complete review of Arrival and Dismissal Procedures please check the JC website at the link below:

JC Arrival/Dismissal Procedures

Have a Wonderful Weekend!