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Education in Norwalk, Connecticut facts for kids

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There are an assortment of public, private, and parochial schools in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Post-secondary education

There are four post-secondary schools within the city of Norwalk:

  • Norwalk Community College is in West Norwalk
  • Gibbs College, Norwalk campus (Closed)
  • University of Phoenix Fairfield County campus is at 535 Connecticut Ave. Suite 400.
  • Post University opened a "regional center" in Norwalk in the Fall of 2008.

There are also other post-secondary schools in nearby towns.

The Norwalk Hospital runs an internship program associated with the Yale School of Medicine and a nursing program associated with Norwalk Community College.

Norwalk Public Schools

Quick facts for kids
Norwalk Public Schools
Norwalk Public Schools logo.jpg
Location
Southwestern Connecticut
Fairfield County
District information
Type School district
Grades K-12
Established 1678 (1678)
Superintendent Dr. Steven Adamowski
Budget $133 million (2005-06)
Students and staff
Students 11,000
Athletic conference FCIAC

Norwalk was granted a town charter by the Connecticut General Court in 1651. On May 29, 1678, town records mention the establishment of community-supported teaching activities with a passage that reads:

"At a town meeting... voted and agreed to hier a scole master to teach all the children in ye town to lerne to Rede and write; and that Mr. Cornish shall be hierd for that service and the townsmen are to hier him upon as reasonable terms as they can."

The school that was established in the 1670s was located near the Ludlow Square area of East Norwalk (near the former Roger Ludlow Junior High School).

Recent Norwalk public school graduates have gone on to attend universities such as Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, Harvard, MIT, New York University, and Wesleyan. The current superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools is Susan F. Marks, Ph.D.

In the 2005-06 fiscal year, the school system spent $26.7 million on special education services, nearly 20 percent of the total school budget.

The State Education Department announced on January 28, 2008 that Norwalk was one of twelve districts in the state that it would help to close student achievement gaps.

Low test scores of Norwalk Public Schools

Ponus Ridge Middle School is well known around the city of Norwalk, Connecticut for having some of the lowest test scores in the city. The CMT scores in 2006 through 2009 were on average 20% below state averages. For reading, the scores were about 20% below state average. For writing, the scores were about 25% below average. For math, the test scores were about 20% below average.

West Rocks Middle School is not as well known for having low test scores, but it fits the pattern most other Norwalk Public Schools. CMT scores for reading, writing, and math have steadily increased in grades 7 and 8 since 2006. The average CMT grade for a 7th or 8th grader in 2006 was a 68%. With the slight passage of time, by 2009 CMT scores for 7th and 8th graders in the fields of reading and writing have increased to an average of 70%, and the math scores have increased to an average of 80%. The state average for 7th grade reading was 84%, the average writing grade was 81%, and the average math grade was 86%. The state average for 8th grade reading was 80%, the average writing score was 84%, and the average math score was 85%. The test scores for 7th and 8th grade are generally 10 points lower than state averages. The CMT scores for 6th graders have rapidly dropped from 2006 to 2009. West Rocks' 6th grade student CMT averages in 2006 were 69% for reading, 83% for writing, and 77% for math. By 2008, the scores were 60% for reading, 62% for writing, and 67% for math. The state averages for reading, writing, and math were 80%, 83%, and 87%, respectively.

High schools

There are three high schools in the Norwalk public school district, for grades 9-12:

  • Norwalk High School is the home of the Norwalk Bears. The school was founded in 1902.
  • Brien McMahon High School, named for Senator Brien McMahon, first chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, was founded in 1960. Brien McMahon High School is also home to the Center for Global Studies.
  • Briggs High School is an alternative school.

In 2006 the state of Connecticut reported that Norwalk's 653 graduates represented a 95.7% graduation rate.

Middle schools

There are four middle schools in the Norwalk public school district, for grades 6-8:

  • Nathan Hale Middle School
  • Ponus Ridge Middle School
  • Roton Middle School
  • West Rocks Middle School

Ponus Ridge Middle School

In the 2005-06 school year 42.3 percent of the school's 640 students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. A total of 40.3 percent of students come from homes where the primary language is not English. The primary language for many students is Spanish, but students also come from homes where Chinese or Haitian Creole are spoken. The school building was constructed in the late 1950s. On May 14, 2007, several state legislators toured the school in an attempt by Fairfield County lawmakers to educate them about the need for more state education funding in the richest county in the state.

Roton Middle School

In the 2002-03 school year 27.5 percent of the school's 517 students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. A total of 34.2 percent of students come from homes where the primary language is not English. The school building was constructed in 1966.

Elementary schools

There are twelve elementary schools in the Norwalk public school district, for grades K-5:

  • Brookside
  • Columbus (magnet school)
  • Cranbury
  • Fox Run
  • Jefferson (magnet school)
  • Kendall
  • Marvin
  • Naramake
  • Rowayton
  • Silvermine
  • Tracey
  • Wolfpit

Radon levels in 2007-2008

State-mandated radon tests in early 2007 found rooms in five elementary schools with levels above the "federal action limit" of 4 picocuries per liter for the colorless, odorless gas. (The gas naturally occurs in Fairfield County and comes up from the ground from the decay of radium. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking.) The 700 tests, conducted every five years by state law, found actionable levels of radon in Rowayton, Naramake, Cranbury and Wolfpit elementary schools as well as Richard C. Briggs High School. Mitigation work, including air-suction devices, was done on just over a dozen rooms at the various schools, then a follow-up test was done which found one Wolfpit classroom located farthest away from the air-suction devices still had 5.1 picocuries per liter, so an additional device was installed in early March 2008.

No Child Left Behind Act in Norwalk

In 2006, all high schools, three of the city's middle schools and nine of its elementary schools, along with a "community school" were cited as falling behind in standards for the federal "No Child Left Behind" Act. Three elementary schools had not met the standards (which rise year by year) for two years in a row, so students in those schools are offered the choice to go to a Norwalk public school that hasn't been designated as needing improvement. "Whole school" problems are school-wide, "subgroup" problems reflect groups such as white, black, Hispanic, Asian and American-Indian children; English language learners; students with disabilities; and economically disadvantaged students.

  • Norwalk High School — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math."
  • Brien McMahon High School — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Briggs High School — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "whole school deficiencies in math and reading."
  • West Rocks Middle School — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Roton Middle School — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "whole school deficiencies in math."
  • Ponus Ridge Middle School — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "whole school deficiencies in math."
  • Brookside — For 2006, the school did not meet NCLB criteria two years in a row, so students (within certain parameters) will be offered the choice of going to another school. In the report the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Columbus — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Cranbury — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Fox Run — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Jefferson — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "whole school deficiencies in reading."
  • Kendall — For 2006, the school did not meet NCLB criteria two years in a row, so students (within certain parameters) will be offered the choice of going to another school. In the report the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Marvin — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "whole school deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Naramake — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in reading."
  • Silvermine — For 2006, the school did not meet NCLB criteria two years in a row, so students (within certain parameters) will be offered the choice of going to another school. In the report the school was cited as having "whole school deficiencies in math and reading."
  • Side by Side Community charter school (not Norwalk public) — In the 2006 NCLB report, the school was cited as having "subgroup deficiencies in math."

Parochial

The All Saints Catholic School, serves grades pre-K through 8th. It is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport which consolidated three previous Norwalk elementary schools (St. Thomas, St. Philips, and St. Mary's) and closed the former Central Catholic High School to open the All Saints in the former Central Catholic High building on West Rocks Road.

The Congregation Beth El on East Avenue runs the Nitzan preschool as well as the Navasky Hebrew school for part-time religious instruction of children who are enrolled full-time in other elementary schools.

In 2008 the Connecticut Friends School purchased the White Barn Theatre in the Cranbury neighborhood in northeast Norwalk. The Quaker school plans to build a new solar-powered 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2) campus on the property with occupancy expected by the fall of 2009 for grades K-8.

Private

Since September 2004 the Montessori Middle School for grades 5-8 has been in Norwalk and is currently at 24 Lois Street (off of Westport Avenue). It is associated with The Montessori School for elementary grades in nearby Wilton.

Since September 2007 the Winston Preparatory School of New York City has operated a branch campus along West Rocks Road in Norwalk. The school specializes in students with learning differences in grades 6 through 12.

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