Saturday, October 23, 2021

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Palmer: CMS Likely to be Closed Next Year as Well

Westport Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer told parents today that mold-infested Coleytown Middle School (CMS), closed this school year, will likely be closed the next school year as well.

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At least a two-year shutdown likely. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

In an email, she urged parents to turn out Monday for a Board of Education meeting for an update on the situation and added:

“Given the extensive problems already identified with the preliminary engineering reports posted on the CMS website, we anticipate hearing that we will be out of the CMS facility through all of next year as well, no matter if the BoE/Town opt to repair the school or go another direction.”

It was the first time that the administration has told parents the damage to the school is so extensive that it will require a two school year shutdown.

CMS Mold Prompts Call for Townwide Committee

State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg today joined what he said was a parental call for a townwide committee to plan for student needs following closure of Coleytown Middle School (CMS).

In a letter to Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer, Steinberg said: “I add my voice to those of the Coleytown Middle School PTA Board, calling for the immediate establishment of a townwide committee to plan for the students’ educational needs until CMS is deemed safe for education.”

Steinberg, a Democrat who is seeking to retain his 136th state Assembly seat in face of a challenge from Republican Greg Kraut, added: “I feel very strongly this is the right thing to do at this time.”

A former CMS student, Steinberg issued his appeal following closure of the school last month because of air quality issues. Students are attending Bedford Middle School and Staples High School for the balance of the school year.

Checking Out Site for BMS Modulars

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Town and school officials today check out the proposed location of double portable modular classrooms near the gym-side of Bedford Middle School. The modulars are needed because of Coleytown Middle School students sent to BMS when their school was closed by air quality issues. Picture was tweeted by Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Colleen Palmer/Twitter.com

Police to Hold School Resource Officer Info Session

Police Chief Foti Koskinas is co-hosting an information session on the launch of a school resource officer (SRO) at Staples High School this fall.

The talk is set for Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Westport Police Department, it was announced today.

Koskinas said the event is open to parents, PTA representatives, Representative Town Meeting (RTM) members, and the general public to hear more about “this very important program.”

The Police Department is co-hosting the session with the Westport Human Services Youth Bureau, which is scheduled to discuss its role serving Westport’s young people.

CMS to Remain Closed for School Year

By Jarret Liotta

Coleytown Middle School (CMS) students will remain housed at Bedford Middle (BMS) and Staples High Schools (SHS), respectively, through the end of this school year.

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Elaine Whitney (l), who heads the Board of Education’s facilities committee, explains why she favors keeping staff and students out of Coleytown Middle School for the rest of the year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jarret Liotta for WestportNow.com

That was the recommendation Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer made to Board of Education members Monday night who quickly approved it 7-0.

And now the school administration embarks on an estimated eight-week process to get six portable classrooms approved, purchased and erected at BMS to relieve overcrowding that some parents believe is adversely impacting the educational experience for students.

Palmer said preliminary reports by outside consultants show that excessive and ongoing water seepage is damaging the 50-year-old CMS building, which was temporarily closed at the end of September owing to concerns about air quality. 


Palmer: Close CMS for Balance of School Year

Westport Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer tonight recommended that Coleytown Middle School (CMS) remain closed for the balance of the school year due to air quality issues.

Students have been dispersed to Staples High School and Bedford Middle School since closure of CMS last month.

Palmer told a meeting of the Board of Education that preliminary work had found numerous water-related issues at CMS.

She said it would be impossible to correct them in a short amount of time.

TEA Talk Set for Sunday

Westport’s sixth annual TEA Talk will be held at Westport’s Town Hall on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m.

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‘Thinkers, Educators, Artists’ Talks explore topics relevant to the arts and artists. This discussion will focus on “The Arts Go Viral!,” an announcement said.

Moderated by David Pogue, tech critic for Yahoo Finance and CBS “Sunday Morning” correspondent, “The Arts Go Viral!” presenters include Jerry Goehring, producer of the off-Broadway (soon to be on Broadway) musical “Be More Chill,” internationally acclaimed pianist and arts educator Frederic Chiu; and Westport Public Art Collections (WestPAC) co-chair Randa Trivisonno.

This TEA Talk will be the official launch site of an important WAAC initiative: Otocast, a mobile app that takes users on a virtual tour of the art, history and culture to be found in Westport, the announcement said.

Distracted Driving Event for Teens Saturday at Staples

Teens on Saturday will get a chance to learn about distracted driving.

The Teen Awareness Group (TAG) in collaboration with the Westport Youth Commission and the Westport Police Department will hold its fifth annual Distracted Driving event at Staples High School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Staples High School football field.

“In an effort to encourage safety and healthy decision making, organizers invite high school students to experience the dangers and impact of driving while impaired or distracted,” an announcement said.

Police officers will walk students through a series of challenges designed to encourage teens to be mindful on the road, it said. 

Marking Walk to School Day

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Approximately 300 students from Kings Highway Elementary School today participated in the fifth annual International Walk to School Day. Parents, teachers and school staff lined the walk route to ensure safety. Leading the way were First Selectman Jim Marpe and the school mascot PAWs the cheetah. Walk to School Day events raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and concern for the environment, according to organizers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Palmer: Decision on Reopening CMS by Thanksgiving

See text of email attachment HERE PDF

Westport Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer told parents tonight a decision on whether students can return to air quality-challenged Coleytown Middle School (CMS) this school year will be made at the latest by Thanksgiving.

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Extent of air quality issues being investigated. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“While this determination might be made as early as several weeks from now, depending on various results of the forensic industrial hygienist, the outside timeline is anticipated to be no later than Thanksgiving,” she said in an email.

Her email came almost three weeks after CMS was shut down following extensive complaints of illness among staff and students. Students were dispersed to Bedford Middle School (BMS) and Staples High School.

In a 10-page, single-space email attachment, Palmer said work is underway on possibly installing modular classrooms at BMS. But that could take “approximately eight weeks, at best” if the go-ahead comes, she said.