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Side by Side is a regional public charter school located in the heart of downtown South Norwalk. As specified in our charter, our integrated student population reflects the diversity of our surrounding community. The 235 students of Side by Side, grades Pre-K through 8th, represent several surrounding Connecticut towns and cities.

Like all charter schools, Side by Side functions independently from any local or traditional public school system. At Side by Side, our innovative approaches toward education allow us to actively and equally involve parents, teachers, and students in our day-to-day operations.

March 2016

Dear SBS Families,

Side by Side and Quinnipiac University were the recent recipients of the “Exemplary Professional Development School (PDS) Achievement Award” at this year's NAPDS conference in Washington, D.C.  The unique design of our nationally recognized PDS model enables intern teacher candidates, SBS faculty and QU college professors to collaborate, develop and grow together while simultaneously improving curriculum and learning opportunities for all SBS students.  This is a tremendous achievement and reflects directly on the staff, students and the great spirit of collaboration that is the hallmark of the Side by Side community!

It was another great night for Side by Side students who were selected to share their reflections and questions at the “Courage to Speak Family Night” on 3/14.  Congrats to 5th grade participants Carla Pol-Ventura, Kody Socci, and Briseyda Sandoval and our 7th grader students, Yasmine McLain, Grace Galeano & Jayleen McBride.  Special thanks to Andrew Lavaway and Marlene De Bellis for leading the way.

The Side by Side teaching faculty explored the new Common Core aligned Eureka/EngageNY math curriculum for grades PK-4 during our recent Professional Development day on 3/18.  Teachers had the opportunity to review a sample unit from each grade level and to interact with our 5-8 staff who have already begun implementation of this curriculum in 2015-16.  It is our plan to roll this new curriculum out school-wide in 2016-17.

New school year calendars for 2016-17 and 2017-18: 
The Side by Side Board of Directors has approved the next two academic years’ calendars.  These calendars are aligned to Norwalk Public Schools and were designed to increase the amount of instructional time available for students, especially in the months before key state assessment tests in the spring.  Other changes were driven by the need to align with new guidelines set under state law for Regional Uniform School Calendars.  Those guidelines included a common back to school start date and professional development days for certified employees and three identical vacation periods.  

Side by Side’s 2016-17 and 2017-18 school year calendars are now available on our website (www.sbscharter.org).

Highlights of the approved calendars include: 

  • First day of school:  school will begin in 2016 and 2017 on the Wednesday before Labor Day. 
  • Columbus Day:  consistent with the CES Uniform Calendar, Columbus Day will no longer be a day off for students, adding an extra instructional day to the month.  
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences:  Conference periods are scheduled for December and March.  90 minute early release Conference Nights are scheduled to accommodate more options for parent conferences 
  • Thanksgiving recess:  beginning in 2016-17, the day before Thanksgiving will be a day off for students and staff rather than an early dismissal day.  
  • Presidents Day weekend:  beginning in 2016-17, the Professional Development day that was traditionally held in March will be shifted to the Thursday preceding the Presidents Day holiday weekend.  Students will not attend school that day.  School will be closed for students and teachers for the long weekend, Friday-Monday.
  • End of year:  early dismissal days at the end-of-year would be reduced from five to two.  
  • The 2016-17 calendar will be 180 days for students ending on June 9, 2017 (before any added-on inclement weather days)
  • The 2017-18 calendar will be 181 days for students ending on June 11, 2018 (before any added-on inclement weather days)

Sincerely,

Mr. Nittoly