GPS District Digest
Stories, news, and updates from Greenwich Public Schools
The Most GPS News Ever Seen. Enjoy Issue Sweet 16!
It's Thursday. You are ready to take your lunch break, but it's no ordinary lunch break. It feels like a Friday, doesn't it? The weather app says 70 degrees and Spring Recess is upon us. If that doesn't put a smile on your face, maybe nothing will. Give it a shot!
Most loyal readers of the GPS District Digest have noticed that we always say the current issue is "packed" with great stories. This issue might be the most packed. Tips from around the District were pouring into the newsroom. The editorial staff had to work overtime just to keep up.
Sit back, read all that is good around Greenwich Public Schools, and when you are done, maybe it's time for you to share your good news with us too. Give it a shot!
Enjoy Issue 16!
GPS District Digest
Can we be any prouder of GHS juniors Maddie Malone, Tori Ware, Sarah Borba, Juliana Contadino, and Melissa Abanil? We already know the answer: nope!
Their proposal, “Graduate, Stronger,” was one of 59 state-wide pieces that emerged victorious in a first-of-its-kind campaign by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) that was announced in November. It empowered students to decide how American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds are spent.
“Students across Connecticut have demonstrated that they are not only our future leaders, but today’s changemakers,” Commissioner of Education Charlene M. Russell-Tucker said. “The Department looks forward to bringing the winning proposals to life in collaboration with students and districts, and we congratulate all who participated in Voice4Change for demonstrating civic engagement.”
After 150 proposals were voted on across the state, the 54 victorious proposals and specially-selected Commissioner’s Choice Awards were announced live on YouTube (below).
Included in the 150 finalists, GHS junior Joaquina Mendive and seniors Angelica Veronis and Caroline Yu crafted, “Kids, Keynotes and a Conversation” after hearing about Voice4Change in the student government’s leadership committee. They are pretty cool too!
Together We Ride
GPS' own Ms. Valerie Bolling's newest children's book, "Together We Ride," is set to be released on Tuesday, April 26 by Chronicle Books.
Learning to ride is no easy feat! But with a little courage, a guiding hand from her dad, and an enthusiastic bark from her pup, one brave girl quickly learns the freedom that comes from an afternoon spent outside on a bike.
Experience the fear, the anticipation, and the delight of achieving the ultimate milestone in this energetic, warm story that celebrates the precious bond between parent and child.
Ms. Bolling's 28-year educational career has been in Greenwich, starting as an elementary teacher and then on to middle school. She currently is an instructional coach, collaborating with teachers on implementing a variety of instructional strategies designed to increase student performance.
👍 Spelling Bee 👍
What did we do before spellcheck? I guess we opened a dictionary, but we also relied on people like Glenville fifth-grader Ian Naik, who on March 27, courageously went into into the fifth round of the 2022 Connecticut Spelling Bee at the West Hartford Historical Society. He placed within the first 15 Connecticut spellers.
"This was a great experience for Ian and I can not thank everyone who encouraged him on this journey," Ian's mother, Barbara Naik said. "A special thank you goes to Principal Monaco who introduced this contest to the Glenville School. This was an opportunity that he will always cherish."
GPS Listening Community 👂
Are you familiar with the GPS Listening Community? Their mission is to offer a safe space where parents of children receiving special education support can come together, feel heard, and connect with others. Staff will guide parents through the process of exploring mindfulness, self compassion and reflection, with relation to the many emotions associated with parenting.
Sounds cool, right?
Look at the guidelines:
- Be Here: Be present in the moment, attend to whomever is speaking, judgment free
- Be Honest: Share information from your own story or experience
- Be Safe: Focus on listening without placing blame and please refrain from using specific names of persons involved
- Care for Self and Others: Respect each person's experience by actively listening and offering understanding rather than advice
- Let Go and Move On: Focus on the story or feelings being shared with you; please keep whatever is shared within this community
We can all do that, can't we?
Want more information? Read their newest newsletter for the spring.
String Festival 2022 🎻
The String Ensemble is the premier auditioned string orchestra group and is comprised of the most advanced string students in grades 9-12 at GHS. Students are selected by audition at the beginning of every year. Nearly all of the students in String Ensemble have participated in the GPS String Festival during their time in elementary and middle school.
Western Middle School's Ms. Jillian Corey and Central Middle School's Mr. Aaron Lofaro were this year's directors, putting in countless hours collaborating with the renowned composer, Brian Balmages. Ms. Corey and Mr. Lofaro worked closely with the string faculty so they could nominate students, have them record performances, and work with sound engineer Jason Zivic to bring it all together.
Also featured in the video is Hamilton Avenue School's Suzuki Strings. All students in grades PreK-2 receive Suzuki string instruction once a week during school, where they learn building blocks for playing their instructions.
2022 Fairfield Regional Contest
GHS National History Club members seniors Sophie Jaeger and Katia Michals, juniors Avery Imp and Charles Andrew Miranda, and sophomore Hanna Klingbeil placed second in the Regional Connecticut History Day competition with their documentary, "Radio Free Europe and Radio Marti: Fighting Communism in Eastern Europe and Latin America."
Connecticut History Day (CHD) is one of 58 affiliate programs of National History Day (NHD). CHD annually engages over 4,000 middle and high school students in historical research, interpretation, and creative expression through project based learning. The program seeks to bring students, teachers, museums, and scholars together to support young people as they engage in history. Led by the Connecticut Democracy Center, CHD is presented with major funding and partnership support from CT Humanities.
For GHS' documentary, students interviewed Steve Simmons, a Greenwich resident who was appointed by George W. Bush to the Board of U.S. Agency for Global Media, did extensive research, and incorporated a wide range of primary and secondary sources.
"These students completed this project entirely outside of class time, which speaks to their dedication," Social Studies Teacher Ms. Karen Boyea said. "I am very proud of them and so happy to be their advisor."
The documentary will now be submitted to the Connecticut History Day competition in mid-April. A complete list of the 2022 regional results can be found on the Connecticut History Day website.
National Nutrition Week
Last month, GPS participated in National Nutrition Month, a health awareness campaign to emphasize the importance of making food choices as well as developing and maintaining good eating habits. National Nutrition Month was initiated in 1973 in response to growing interest in nutrition, to spread the message of good nutrition and the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle for all.
"At GPS, we celebrated a 'World of Color and Flavors,' highlighting the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to students on a daily basis in their lunch rooms," GPS Food Service Director Dave Nanarello said. "We offered different types of fruits and vegetables and a chance to taste test and build enthusiasm around trying new foods together.
"We want to help students become aware of their behaviors to nudge them toward more consistent healthy food choices," Nanarello added. "Parents are encouraged to host a home taste test, exposing students to a variety of healthy food items so they'll eat better."
Old Greenwich School's lead cook, April McMurray, serving with a smile, is pictured on the left.
Greenwich United Way Reading Champions Return to Schools
Greenwich United Way is proud to report that its Reading Champions program is back to work in person at Greenwich public elementary schools following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. With a long waiting list of students who would benefit from the in-school, one-on-one literacy support, Greenwich United Way is seeking more volunteer candidates interested in helping improve reading fluency among elementary students.
“The Greenwich United Way is such an amazing community partner for Greenwich Public Schools and our students,” Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones said. “For more than a decade, the organization’s Reading Champions Program has impacted the lives of so many with fantastic academic achievements and critical social interactions. We have all been living through challenging times for the past two years, and while the technology aspect of learning has increased, the return to in-person tutoring will have a life-long positive effect on each life they touch.”
“Many of our former Reading Champions volunteers have, understandably, not come back to in-person tutoring. At the same time, our students need the in-school literacy support more than ever,” CEO of the Greenwich United Way David Rabin said. “For those in Greenwich looking to give of their time and talent for worthy causes, Reading Champions provides rewarding, fulfilling work that directly impacts students’ long-term academic potential.”
Reading Champions thoroughly vets all candidates and provides them with the necessary skills and preparation to provide dedicated reading support, fostering literacy skills and a love of learning in students. Interested volunteers can contact Greenwich United Way program coordinator Cecile Meunier at cmeunier@GreenwichUnitedWay.org or (203) 869-2221.
Central Middle School Grade 6 Gallery Walk
Aren't you are at Central Middle School all the time? You attend the BOE meetings, the RTM meetings, and all of the other acronym meetings we have to offer. But did you stop to look at the the CMS Grade 6 Gallery Walk?
Team 6-1 science students showcased the scientific thinking behind their build projects to answer the unit driving question, "How do people use technology to survive in regions with extreme climates?"
The Project was split into two parts: 1. To provide background on a chosen location, scientifically explaining why the area receives the extreme climate they do; 2. Coming up with a device that would help people "survive" more comfortably in that climate.
"As a science teacher it makes me so happy to see students truly engaged in the learning process," Ms. Tracey Ann Ferguson said. "Allowing students to choose their own location and delve into research and reasoning, before the build stage, really gave them purpose and drive when coming up with their devices.
"They showed ownership and interest from start to finish and loved viewing and voting for other student projects in our culminating gallery walk," Ms. Ferguson added. "I look forward to seeing them continue to apply their knowledge as we progress to the end of the year."
Interim Title, Gone!
Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones announced last week the appointment of Ms. Annamaria McCarthy as assistant principal at Hamilton Avenue School, removing her interim title.
Ms. McCarthy, who has served as Hamilton Avenue’s interim assistant principal, partnering with Principal Dr. Shanta Smith, since December 6, 2021, has been supporting the entire Hamilton Avenue community, assisting in the development and achievement of school goals and objectives, while advocating on behalf of all students.
Ms. McCarthy has brought more than eight years of educational experience to GPS from the Fair Haven K-8 School in New Haven, CT and holds a bachelor’s in sociology, with a minor in Spanish, a master’s in teaching, a Connecticut 092 Administration & Supervision Certificate, and a Sixth Year Diploma in education leadership from Quinnipiac University.
It Was My Understanding That There Would Be No Math...
But then we got word that the GHS Math Team finished second overall in the Fairfield County Math League's regular season and then won their State match a week ago.
Senior Steven Blank, juniors Stephanie Chang, Noah Kim, Alan Shu, Brandon Yu, and Jason Zhong, and sophomores Isaac Dcruz and Kyle Nadel had calculated performances. Stephanie was the top overall performer in the state with a perfect score of 18 in the individual round.
"I am extremely proud of the team because we are transitioning from Mr. Gordon Jones' run of success over the past decade. Mr. Jones retired last year and was able to work with me to allow for a smooth transition so that I was able to step in seamlessly," Mathematics Teacher Mr. Taner Karakas said. "The students do all of the work and they are very talented, I am merely a facilitator."
Turn Back The Clock 🕰
As sad as the research department of the Digest gets when an unused postcard that failed to fulfill its purpose makes its way into our offices, it does give the staff photographer a reason to walk outside on a chilly spring day to stand on Greenwich Avenue and appreciate the blue skies and daydream of warmer weather. All of a sudden, the grass has turned green, but the leaves have yet to appear.
This is the eighth postcard of the Havemeyer Building to be featured in this space. Can there possibly be more out there? 🤷♀️
Around the GPS Twitterverse
Click on the images below to see what our administrators, teachers, and others in the community have been sharing on social media!
Are you one of the 1,649 amazing folks following @GPSDistrict? Are you following your favorite school or community partner?