South Norwalk Meeting Selects Academic Focus for New School
On Tuesday, May 31, the Board of Education and Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella hosted a meeting for South Norwalk families and community members to share ideas for the future neighborhood school. In a lively and thoughtful session, ideas about the academic theme and instructional focus for the new school were discussed, as well as characteristics the community would like to see in a school leader.
Participants aligned around a schoolwide enrichment model that develops high levels of engagement through the use of enjoyable and challenging learning experiences constructed around student interests, talents and learning styles. Stakeholders in the session endorsed an enrichment model for the school that incorporates social justice and financial literacy, as well as global citizenship, arts and languages.
“We are excited by the direction that the community has articulated for the new school in South Norwalk,” said Dr. Alexandra Estrella, superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools. “The academic direction selected will enable the district to provide a high-quality educational option, right within the neighborhood. It will increase PreK opportunities for local families, eliminate long bus rides to schools in other neighborhoods, and improve engagement by providing easier access to school for families and the community.”
In May, the City of Norwalk, through friendly negotiation, reached an agreement in principle to acquire the piece of private property currently owned by the Hatch and Bailey Co. at 1 Meadow Street, Ext., for the neighborhood South Norwalk school. This new neighborhood school will allow Norwalk Public Schools to provide all South Norwalk children, ages PreK to Grade 5, with the option to attend a brand new, first-class neighborhood school once the project is complete. Once completed, the newly constructed school will have four sections per grade (two sections for PreK) with a total capacity of 682 students.
In preparation for the new building, Norwalk Public Schools will begin establishing the school immediately with grades PreK and Kindergarten, while the new facility is in planning and construction. “Incubating the school while the new location is being built allows the school to start establishing its character academic programs, and makes for an easier transition once the new school building is ready,” said Dr. Alexandra Estrella, superintendent, Norwalk Public Schools.
Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, the South Norwalk School will first be established at 46 Concord Street, which currently houses Concord K-8 Magnet School (CMS, formerly Columbus Magnet School). CMS will move over the summer to the newly built school next to Ponus Ridge STEAM Academy.
For 2022-23, the new South Norwalk school will offer two PreK and four Kindergarten classrooms. Enrollment will be available to children living in the South Norwalk neighborhood. A lottery will be held if enrollment exceeds the number of spaces available.