2016-17 School Year Message

Dear Norwalk Families and Community Members,

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year, and a time for Norwalk Public Schools to continue its progress towards building the most successful city school system in Connecticut! 

I’m pleased to report that over the past year, Norwalk Public Schools made tangible progress with encouraging results in many areas. Although there is still much work to be done, changes initiated in the 2015-16 school year established a foundation for ongoing growth and success of our students in the years to come. There were achievements at every school and every grade level. Districtwide, some of the significant work accomplished last year included: 

  • An increase in instructional time, with an emphasis on time allotted for English Language Arts and math.  

  • A reduction in testing to include only state-required assessments and those that offer the most value for measuring student growth.

  • The launch of Student Based Budgeting, which ensures equity in funding among schools.

  • The establishment of School Governance Councils at every school, giving school communities more autonomy to make their own decisions.

  • The introduction of middle school best practices and support to struggling students. 

  • An expansion in summer learning, with excellent initial results.

  • An increase in the quantity and quality of development opportunities for teachers and administrators, ensuring that Norwalk will have a pool of in-house candidates for future leadership positions.

  • A dedicated focus on improving and expanding services to students with special learning needs under the direction of a new Chief of Specialized Learning and Student Services.

  • The establishment of a full team of talented school leaders and district administrators who combine the experience, professionalism and dedication we need to improve the education of all students.

We have already seen some promising results.  For example, in last year’s State Smarter Balanced testing, Norwalk’s Grade 3 students made the greatest gains in both English Language Arts and Math, gains that virtually closed the achievement gap between Norwalk’s third grade students and those throughout the state.

At the high school level, Norwalk’s 2015-16 graduation rate rose by 5.8%, while the graduation rate for our English Language Learners rose by 10.7%. Norwalk’s graduation rate of 89.6% now exceeds the State graduation rate of 87.2%, closing another significant gap.

Importantly, our high needs students – our special education, English language learners and lower-income students – are all graduating at a rate higher than their peers throughout the State. 

While it’s important to recognize progress, we must pursue further improvement with a sense of urgency. In June, the Board of Education approved a new Strategic Operating Plan that will guide our path for the next three years. The Plan was created with the input of administrators, teachers, staff, parents and community members, and is designed to raise the bar and close the achievement gap for all our students. 

The Board recently approved a series of priority outcomes and implementation steps for current school year that are directly aligned with the Strategic Plan’s six goals. Actions this year will build on the progress already underway, as more educational opportunities are started and expanded.   

For a full list of the 2016-17 priority outcomes and implementation steps, see below:

 2016-17 Priority Outcomes:  Performance Measures for Tracking Progress

 2016-17 Priority Implementation Steps:  Actions Planned for Achieving Our Goals

This is an exciting time to be part of Norwalk Public Schools! We are on our way to creating the schools our diverse, growing and vibrant City needs and deserves.

Family involvement and the support of the entire community plays a large role in helping to achieve our goals.  On behalf of our students, teachers and staff, thank you for your continued interest in and support of Norwalk Public Schools. Our staff and I look forward to serving your family in the 2016-17 school year, and hope it will be the “best” school year for all our students.


Dr. Steven Adamowski
Norwalk Public Schools