Ensuring that every child has the opportunity to succeed and every voice is heard.

a little about


We are 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.

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a note from


Dear Side by Side Families:

I hope you are enjoying your summer break! As we prepare for the start to the new school year, I have some important information to share. School begins for all students on Monday, August 28.  You can find the 2023-24 school year calendar link above this section; there have been some monitor updates to the calendar, so be sure to review it!

SBS Faculty and Staff:

We are excited to introduce some new members of the teaching faculty at Side by Side:

Music: Mr. Kris Curtis will be the new General Music teacher at Side by Side. Mr. Curtis is a PK-12 CT Certified Music instructor with over 10 years’ experience teaching in CT and Washington State. We look forward to helping Mr. Curtis re-introduce band and chorus opportunities back to our school community!

Art: Ms. Brenna VanSteenbergen will be the new Art instructor at Side by Side. Brenna is a certified Art teacher in both CT and Maine and is looking forward to leading our program. Brenna will be teaching Art to all grade levels on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

SRBI Interventionist: Ms. Sophie Kritemeyer will be our new intervention teacher for the 2023-24 school year. This position is new to Side by Side, and will serve the purpose of helping to provide intervention instruction to students in-need of extra support. Sophie is not new to Side by Side, as she has worked in our summer program since 2021.

Pre-School: We are excited to welcome Mrs. Nelly Gonzalez as a PreK co-teacher at Side by Side. Nelly will be working alongside Judie Goldstein in our preschool. Nelly is a CT Early Childhood certified teacher and a recent graduate of Eastern CT State, where she double majored in Education and Sociology.

Student Attendance:

Daily attendance from all students continues to be one of our most important priorities at Side by Side. The Connecticut State Department of Education continues to closely track two key indicators of student attendance; chronic absenteeism and truancy. These terms are defined as follows:

• Students falling into the category of chronic absenteeism have missed more than 10% of the school year. Schools are evaluated by the state based on their rate of chronic absenteeism over the school year.

Truancy is defined as ANY student who misses 4 days or more of school in a month, or 10 days or more in a school year. Any student meeting these criteria is considered truant based on state monitoring of student attendance. As we begin a new school year, it is important to keep the importance of in-person attendance in mind. Regular attendance is a key component of student success.

Uniforms and Dress Code: 
Side by Side Charter School is a choice education program with a required dress code/uniform policy for all students.  The Side by Side Board of Directors implemented the uniform policy in 2012.  For detailed information regarding what is required and allowed as part of our uniform/dress code, please visit

Drop-Off and Pick-Up:

The general procedure for morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up will remain the same. For 2023-24, school begins at 9am and ends at 3:40pm.

– Parents should NOT BE PARKING IN THE QUEUE PRIOR TO 8:45AM (for morning drop off) OR PRIOR TO 3:25PM (for afternoon pickup)

– During all morning and afternoon arrival/dismissal times, Chestnut St. converts to a temporary ONE WAY street (in a South moving direction — from MONROE ST. towards HENRY ST.) All student drop-offs and pick-ups will continue at the Chestnut Street entrance of the school (back entrance to the gymnasium in the Pre-K playground area). All vehicles dropping-off/picking up should take MONROE ST. and turn onto CHESTNUT ST. Parents should wait in a car queue lined-up along Chestnut Street leading to the school entrance.

– Beginning at *8:50am school doors will open and students can exit their cars to enter the gymnasium at the playground area entrance. SBS staff will be assigned to this area to assist.

– At dismissal time, parents are to wait in a similar queue of cars no earlier than 3:25pm. Pick-up students will be dismissed in the same area at 3:40pm. School staff will be using a student/car tag identification system to escort students to their cars.

– Please make note that Chestnut Street will remain a police-monitored, NO PARKING zone. Parents will not be allowed to park or leave their vehicles unattended. Violators will be ticketed.

– To ensure the safety of our students, drop-off and pick-up will not be allowed at any area other than this designated route on Chestnut St. during these times.

– PLEASE NOTE: The gymnasium doors for drop-off and pickup students will be closed and locked at 9:10AM and 3:55PM on a daily basis. Any student not dropped-off or picked up by these times will be considered late and will require assistance from the main office.

Parents please make note – the Norwalk PD has notified the school that tickets will be issued for any vehicles not following the required laws for child restraint seats

Bus Transportation:
Bus transportation will continue to be provided by Norwalk Public Schools ONLY to K-8 enrolled students at Side by Side. (PreK students may not ride the buses). Bus routes and pickup/drop off locations will be provided by Norwalk Public Schools prior to the opening of school on 8/28.

General Information:
If your child is newly enrolled at Side by Side, please make sure all your paperwork is completed and returned before the first day of school. No child will be allowed to start school without up -to-date medical forms (completed by your child’s physician) and any other student related information forms. Also, it is very important that you inform the school of any changes in your address, phone number or contact information. We need to be able to contact you at all times.

We are looking forward to the new school year with you and your children.  Enjoy the remainder of your summer. If we can be of any further assistance before returning in August, please don’t hesitate to call me at extension 133 or

Very Truly Yours,

Matthew Nittoly
Executive Director