Days after successfully defending her doctoral dissertation Tuesday, Middlesex Middle School Principal Karolyn Rodriguez had her baby a little early on Thursday and began a leave of absence for the rest of the school year, Superintendent Alan Addley announced in a letter to parents and staff. Rodriguez had been expecting the birth next week. It’s the second birth for a top Middlesex School official: on April 13, Assistant Principal Dana Hutchins gave birth to a son (Sammy Hutchins Jr.). Hutchins is now out on maternity leave. With blessed events expected, the school district came up with a plan for temporary administrators for the two positions.
Darien High School seniors Cosmo Amatruda and Thomas Cleary will be honored with Arts Awards from the Connecticut Association of Schools in April, the high school announced. Amatruda will receive an award in the music/performing arts category; Cleary, in the visual arts category. The awards will be given at the 27th annual High School Arts Awards banquet in April.
Six student athletes from Darien are among the 20 swimmers in the Chelsea Piers aquatics program in Stamford who will be swimming competitively in college this fall, the sports and fitness club announced. — an announcement from Chelsea Piers in Stamford
The swim team began in September 2012 and has grown since then. CP-AC was recognized by USA Swimming as a “Gold Medal” club in 2020 and 2021. The student-athletes who will pursue a career in NCAA athletics next fall include:
—Ryan Roberts (Amherst College)
—Kelly Dolce (Brown University)
—Alexandra “Gracie” Spataro (Gettysburg College)
—Max Scalise (Gettysburg College)
—Kaitlyn Holmes (Brown University)
—Eason Jones (Yale University)
“To have such a large percentage of our senior swimmers be recruited to compete at these world-renowned institutions is a testament to their hard work and dedication,” said Kevin Burton, athletic director of Chelsea Piers Connecticut. “They are true student-athletes and the embodiment of the greater Chelsea Piers athletics community.”
The rest of the 20 swimmers are from Greenwich (eight), New Canaan (two), Rye, New York (two), and one each from South Salem, New York and Westport.
Are art and science two completely different, unrelated areas of learning? Some people may think so, but the researchers, professors and students in the Science Technology Arts + Creativity (STAC) and WetLab programs in New York University’s groundbreaking Gallatin School of Independent Study know that art and science have been intertwined for centuries. — an announcement from the Bruce Museum
On Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022 at 7 p,m,, via Zoom webinar, the Bruce Museum will present The Future of Art/Science: Teaching in the Living Laboratory, a look at how one of America’s premier universities uses student-driven creativity and entrepreneurism as well as a makerspace, workshops, and even the waterfront of Governor’s Island in New York Harbor to explore the latest concepts in immersive art/science learning. Speakers will include three NYU professors (Cyd Cipolla, Ph.D., associate director of science, technology, arts and creativity and administrative director of the Gallatin WetLab; Karen Holmberg, Ph.D., scientific director of the Gallatin WetLab; Eugenia Kisin, Ph.D., artistic director of the Gallatin WetLab).
Masking for Darien students and school staff may be over by Feb. 28, as the school District Medical Team has recommended, but the state Legislature and Board of Education will each need to approve the proposal, Superintendent Alan Addley said in his regular Friday message to district parents and staff. Over 99% of students from ages 12 to 17 and staff in their schools have been vaccinated, and 55% of students and staff in elementary schools, Addley wrote. “Making this recommendation is only possible given the success of our mitigation
strategies, our high community vaccination rates […] the sharp decrease in COVID-19 cases; low hospitalization rates; the lack of spread in the schools; and the minimal, if any, serious illnesses,” he said. Addley indicated that even if the mask requirements go, wearing masks would be voluntary, since “some staff and students may need to or want to wear masks.”
Superintendent’s Newsletter: Vax Clinics for Kids 5-10 Start at Noon Saturday, COVID Restrictions to Ease
Students 5 to 11 years old can get their second vaccination shot — or their first — from 12 noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, Schools Superintendent Alan Addley said in his Friday newsletter to parents and staff. This coming week, some of the district’s COVID-19 restrictions will be easing as the number of identified cases continues to go down: Lunches will return to cafeterias and spectators (who must be masked) will be allowed to attend sports games, Addley wrote. Another vaccination clinic for students of any age, with no signup necessary (just walk in), will be held from 12 noon to 5 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, he said. Full Text
Feb. 4, 2022
Dear Families & Staff,
Earlier this week Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of below average temperatures.
Four Darien High School seniors have been selected as candidates for the United States Presidential Scholars Program. Anastasia Carey, Tam-Hao Nguyen, Katherine Wolters and Preston Yao have been recognized based on broad academic achievement and having scored exceptionally well on the SAT or ACT. — an announcement from Darien High School
The United States Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by Executive Order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our Nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the Nation’s highest honors for high school students. Those selected Presidential Scholars don’t get scholarship money.
There were 49 new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday among students and employees in Darien Public Schools, district officials said, and Monday’s total of 55 was revised upward to 65. In related COVID-19 news, the Darien Health Department released its weekly update on Tuesday, showing 63 new COVID-19 cases reported in the seven-day period from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3. Numbers for COVID-19 new cases reached a high point in the six days from Dec.
Total of 195 COVID-19 Cases Reported to Darien Schools Over Holiday Break, 5 Days of Self Isolation for Each
There were 195 Darien school district employees and students who tested positive for COVID-19 during the holiday break, school district officials said in an announcement Monday night. The district now has a five-day mandatory self-isolation policy, and about a fourth of the total, 55 people, whose positive-test results were reported to the district on Monday, have been told not to come to school within that period. Of those 55, a total of 39 who tested positive were already vaccinated, the announcement said. “Without doubt, the Omicron variant of COVID is affecting our school community,” said the announcement from Schools Superintendent Alan Addley and School Nursing Director Alicia Casucci. On Monday, the district was informed of 31 Darien High School students or employees who been tested positive, and 22 of them (more than two thirds) had been vaccinated, the announcement said.
Superintendent: This New Explanation of Revised Protocol for COVID-19 Cases ‘Essentially Reflects’ Last Week’s
On Sunday afternoon, Schools Superintendent Alan Addley sent parents and staff a description in chart form of the state’s latest policy on school protocols for students or staff who test positive for COVID-19. “This is just a brief update to the communication sent to families on Thursday, Dec. 30 [on] Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and Department of Public Health (DPH), testing, and contact tracing policies for schools,” Addley said. The superintendent said the district’s “revised policies,” which follow state education and health department policies, “essentially reflect” what the District Medical Team devised and told families about on Thursday, Dec. 30.
Darien schools reopen this Monday, Jan. 3, although on a two-hour delayed opening, Superintendent Alan Addley announced late Thursday in a message to parents and school staff. Addley also said that five days of remote learning will be available to students tested positive for COVID-19 or who have symptoms of it or who have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or who have been in contact with a household with a COVID-19 positive resident. The two-hour delay, Addley said, would “provide teachers with the opportunity to prepare remote and in-person learning for their students.” A total of 78 students and/or staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in the eight days since Addley’s previous message to parents and staff, he said.
For the 20th year in a row, Ox Ridge Elementary School in Darien again this holiday season supported Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) and the young people in the organization’s Foster Care program. — an announcement from Family & Children’s Agency
FCA provides services for children, families, adults, and seniors, including specialized foster care, which is designed for children with serious medical, emotional, and behavioral disorders. More than 60 kids from Ox Ridge School’s Kids Care Club gathered before school to create holiday cards for youth in Foster Care using colored paper, stickers, crayons, and other art supplies. “It has been our privilege to work with Family & Children’s Agency for the last 20 years,” said Lauren Stisser of the Kids Care Club. “Through Ox Ridge Elementary School’s Kids Care Club and Hope Chest, we have been able to teach our kids the importance and true joy of giving back, and that even small hands can make a big difference,” Stisser said.
Stamford Symphony is launching Play, Sing, Listen! The Education Fund of Stamford Symphony, a new initiative focusing on education and youth engagement across Fairfield County.
The program is meant to ensure that all youth in local communities have access to high-quality music education opportunities encouraging them to explore, appreciate, perform, and create music. At the same time the program should nurture important life skills, including creativity, listening, problem-solving, and self-esteem. — an announcement from Stamford Symphony
One of the program’s goals within the next five years is to “have at least one educational program (instrument bootcamps, chamber performances, masterclasses, etc.) in every town across Fairfield County.” Stamford Symphony is continuing to raise money for the project.
As Darien School COVID-19 Cases Ramp Up, Officials Plead to Parents: Keep Kids With Symptoms at Home
Faced with a flood of new COVID-19 cases, Darien school district officials are sending general messages to entire classrooms of students when they may have been exposed to someone with COVID, the district’s nursing director and superintendent said in an announcement to parents and others in the school system. The nursing director, Alicia Casucci, and Superintendent Alan Adley pleaded with parents to keep their children home if they show signs of COVID-19:
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of keeping any individual who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID AT HOME. These symptoms may be very mild and include a sore throat, headache, cough, congestion, mild runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Anyone experiencing symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should seek the advice of their primary care provider and testing as soon as possible. (Boldface and italics in original announcement.)
The state Department of Education and other state authorities are reviewing the state’s contact tracing procedures. If the procedures are then changed, Casucci and Adley said, employees and families of those in the school system will be told.
Superintendent: School District Might Return to Remote Learning as Omicron Variant Spreads More COVID-19 in Darien
While there’s been no decision made, Darien schools may again change from in-school teaching to remote learning because of the “significant increase in COVID-19 cases” in Darien and the region, schools Superintendent Alan Addley said Tuesday — but he added that doing so is “unlikely.” “Over the next few days, as prudent planning, the District will make any necessary preparations in the unlikely event the District needs to transition to remote learning after the break,” Addley wrote in a message sent to school district staff and parents of students. “This will include students taking home their devices and any potential remote learning materials on Thursday as they leave for break.” The winter break is scheduled to end on Monday, Jan. 3, the earliest day that the district might switch to remote learning, largely conducted over the Internet.
TikTok and other social media posts about possible violence on Friday in Darien schools are not credible, according to a statement released by Darien Police Department. “At this time, there are no credible threats to any school in the Connecticut school system including Darien,” said the statement from Sgt. Dan Skoumbros, the department’s public information officer. “As always, we will have police personal around our schools in town as a precautionary measure.” In a separate announcement, Schools Superintendent Alan Addley said: “The District has discussed this social media posting with the Darien Police Department.