GPS District Digest

Stories, news and updates from Greenwich Public Schools

March 11, 2021

Greenwich High School Cardinal Stadium Groundbreaking

Yesterday, Wednesday, March 10th, the Board of Education hosted a Groundbreaking ceremony for Cardinal Stadium. Board Member and Cardinal Stadium Committee Member Joe Kelly shared remarks, as well as GHS PTA Co-President Stephanie Cowie, GHS Director of Athletics Gus Lindine, and First Selectman Fred Camillo.

GHS Student-athletes were joined by members of the Greenwich community for this small, socially distanced event. We look forward to the new Cardinal Stadium!

Gus Lindine shares remarks at the Cardinal Stadium Groundbreaking Ceremony

GHS Math Team Wins 12th Straight Fairfield County Math League Competition

Greenwich High School’s Math Team recently won their 12th consecutive Fairfield County Math League (FCML) title. In addition, seniors Sam Florin and Iris Shi, and sophomore Stephanie Chang were all named as individual high-scorers during the final competition.

Going into the final match, Greenwich led by 25 points, over New Canaan High School and Brunswick School, who was an additional six points behind. Led by four perfect scores from Sam Florin, Iris Shi, Stephanie Chang and the Team Round, GHS won the match, 107 to 100, over Brunswick, followed by New Canaan with 95 points. After tallying all of the points from the ongoing series of competitions, the GHS Cardinals won the title by 37 points, 589 to 552, over New Canaan High School, with Brunswick School finishing in third with 551 points.

GHS Math Teacher and Math Team Advisor Mr. Gordon Jones shared, “After losing to Ridgefield by one point on the last question of their last match in 2008, our Math Cards have conquered the toughest math league in the state of Connecticut for 12 consecutive years. It is a testament to all of the fantastic students and team leaders over that time.” He continued, “I would like to thank Sam Florin and Iris Shi for being two of the finest Captains this Advisor has ever had. It was a joy to work with them in this unusual year. Also, thanks to Taner Karakas for taking over the reins as Math Team Advisor next year. He has the dedication and passion needed to keep the Math Cards on top.”

Read their full press release.

Remote School Assembly Series Sponsored by Greenwich Alliance for Education

Thanks to funding provided by the Greenwich Alliance for Education, Greenwich PTAC has organized monthly thematic curriculum enrichment programming for our 500+ remote elementary school students.

Check out their schedule of events:

  • January
    In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Artist Hip Hop Fundamentals, Young Audiences, shared a performance which focuses on youth involvement in the American Civil Rights Movement as seen through the eyes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • February
    In honor of Black History Month, Artist Tahira, Young Audiences, shared stories of hope, triumph, and tragedy, drawn from a diverse repertoire of original works and those based on African oral tradition.
  • March
    In honor of Women’s History Month, Artist Anne Pasquale, Arts for Learning CT, will bring to life important American women who impacted history. From immigrant women to women in the wild west, to America’s first woman reporter and Annie Sullivan who taught Helen Keller, Anne delves into the history and background of each character in dramatic detail.
  • April
    In honor of Poetry Month, Artist Anthony Cascio will combine acting, mime, vocal gymnastics, humor, audience participation, and a steamer trunk full of costumes, puppets, and props to allow students to encounter poetry as an engaging and relevant art form.

Key2Ed Report & Action Items for GPS Special Education

GPS is proud of the progress we have made from the results of the Devising Seminar with educational consultants, Key2Ed, especially given that staff are working within the confines of a global pandemic. As a reminder, a few of the areas being addressed are highlighted below:

PPT Meetings

  • More Consistency for PPT Meeting Process: The first area highlight was the PPT meeting process, and the need for more consistency across the district PK-12+. To address this, the PPS Director made a short video which went out to all of her special education staff. The video reinforced the procedures that all staff are meant to follow for the meeting process. Her team also produced a hand out which went to all staff, which outlines the PPT meeting process expectations.
  • New Survey: To reinforce consistency, starting January 14th a follow up survey gets issued to the parents to ask if the process has been followed. In June, the survey results will be evaluated to see if parents are getting the appropriate calls and having input to the IEP in the way that the training video and document have communicated with staff.

IEP Implementation

  • Staffing model adjustments: For the first time in 15 years, GPS did not use one component of the staffing model called Project Evolve. Additionally, while conducting their review of the special education supports and services in Greenwich Public Schools, the Public Consulting Group members have observed classroom instruction, evaluated IEPs, administered surveys and conducted focus groups to gain more information to include in the final report and to form the basis for their recommendations expected in the spring.
  • Monthly Reporting: The Chief PPS Officer provides the Superintendent and Chief Human Resources Officer with a monthly report of caseloads for all special education and related service staff in each school so that caseloads for staffing are reviewed regularly and are monitored across the district for consistency.

Staff and Parent Educational Training and Additional Communication

  • Newsletter Creation and Distribution: A districtwide parent newsletter was started this past October and is issued every two weeks. The newsletter provides parents with workshop invitations, seminar invitations, staff introductions and shares general updates about special education services. Here are a few samples of the newsletter: First Newsletter (Oct. 2020); January 20, 2021 Newsletter; Most Recent Newsletter (March 1, 2021). There has been feedback from families that the newsletters are helpful and informative.
  • Parent Support Group: Special education staff have offered a variety of virtual parent education support groups and information sessions including a narrated introduction to the format of the IEP. Two sessions were made available to parents for live questions and answers. A more in-depth review of the IEP is being developed and will be rolled out in the spring.
  • Staff Training: Staff were trained last spring in the Facilitate IEP Meeting approach to PPTs.

  • Future Training: The Chief PPS Officer and Superintendent most recently held a conference call with the CSDE to learn about a new training program for IEP implementation and development. It was recommended that we wait to start that training until the Fall of 2021 as the training is intensive and is best approached by looking at the full year.

New Advisory Group

  • SEAC: A new advisory group, the Special Education Advisory Council, was formed and the bylaws were worked on over the summer and the Council officially kicked off in the Fall. This is another way to bring families, staff and community members together and hear their input on strengths and challenges.

Response to Intervention

  • New Protocols: In addition to the work outlined above, we have also been working with our Response to Intervention consultant who has completed an analysis of our process across all of our K-12 schools. New protocols are being developed with a team to provide consistency across the district for interventions, which was also discussed as part of the Key 2 Ed committee work.

GHS Students Win Top Prize at National Debate

Greenwich High School Sophomores Ambika Grover and Arjun Kishore took home the top prize at the Ivy League Invitational Parliamentary Debate at Columbia University, defeating 90 other teams. In addition to their stellar team performance, they each won an individual Speaker Award; Ambika placed third and Arjun placed 55thout of 182 debaters.

Greenwich High School Debate Coach and Library Media Specialist Mr. Aaron Johnson shared, "During the pandemic Arjun and Ambika have flourished in the national parliamentary debate circuit while also participating in multiple statewide competitions. Their leadership has brought more students to the GHS debate club and increased interest in different debate formats. Their leadership is highly valued within the club and I am confident that they will remain on top of the national leaderboard."

Read their full press release.

GHS Music Departmemt

The Greenwich High School Music Department invites you to get a glimpse into the great opportunities for students who pursue music at the high school. Whether choral, orchestral, jazz band or otherwise, there are plenty of opportunities for students to find, explore and share their musical passions.

GHS Music Department Highlights Video 2021

Join the Greenwich Alliance for Education's Trivia Challenge!

Friday, March 19th, 7:00-9:00 PM

Ticket Levels (100% tax deductible):
One ticket per player, teams of up to 10 players
Singles and couples welcome; we will match you with other players to form a team

Game Details:

  • Trivia starts at 7:00 pm sharp! Login link opens at 6:45 pm
  • Six rounds of general trivia questions
  • Teams collaborate via Zoom in dedicated break-out rooms
  • Team captain submits answers to TriviaHub for tabulation
  • Winning team announced at the end of the night

Sign up today!

Greenwich Alliance for Education's "Reaching Out Grants" -- Open for applications!

Greenwich Alliance for Education’s 2021-2022 Reaching Out Grants Application is open and seeking proposals from GPS educators and community organizations who educate GPS youth.

Grant projects should “change up” the educational experience to raise student achievement and be supported by a dedicated “grant champion.” Previous grants include the "Unbound Innovations Grant" at Western Middle School. Funds from the grant have helped these middle school students explore using Virtual Reality (VR) technology (pictured below).

Deadline to submit is March 26, 2021. Applications and details about the grant program are available through the Greenwich Alliance for Education.

A student at Western Middle School wears Virtual Reality goggles funded by the Greenwich Alliance for Education's Reaching Out Grants.

Fairfield County Giving Day Success!

The Greenwich Alliance for Education would like to thank GPS, Greenwich PTA’s and Community Supporters. $12,030 was raised on February 25th, Fairfield County’s Giving Day, for the Greenwich Alliance for Education. These funds will flow back to GPS students and teachers for the many programs that we run and support from Pre-K thru college graduation and beyond. We truly appreciate all the groups that assisted us with promoting this event to make it our best year ever!

Special Education Newsletter

The latest Special Education Newsletter shared lesson highlights from New Lebanon School, provided opportunities for workshops and webinars, parent chat session information, and much more! Check it out!

Projects Update

GPS Capital Projects Update Newsletter

GPS recently launched a newsletter to provide accurate, timely and transparent updates of the ongoing major capital projects and maintenance projects underway across the District. The first issue was shared last week, and you can subscribe to receive the next quarterly issue directly to your inbox.

Around the GPS Twitterverse

Story Ideas to Share?

If you have a great story to share from our schools inside the District, please email the District's communications department with details and photos.