by Michael Shulansky
Recently, Norwalk elected officials gathered with charter school parents, students, and school leaders to celebrate the work of Side by Side charter school.
In attendance were Mayor Harry Rilling, Senator Bob Duff, Representatives Gail Lavielle and Bruce Morris, and Board of Education members Michael Barbis and Migdalia Rivas.
The breakfast gave members of the school community a chance to chat one-on-one with elected officials, and share the benefits Side by Side has brought to Norwalk and its children.
Side by Side board member and Quinnipiac University professor Dr. Anne Dichele speaks to parents, students, and elected leaders at the Norwalk legislative breakfast.
“Side by Side and our charter schools are part of our public school system, and we have to recognize that,” said Senator Bob Duff. “Kids learn differently in different ways, and I think its important for us to recognize that kids learn and succeed and grow in different types of environments.”
Representative Bruce Morris agreed, noting, “I know charter schools make a big difference.”
“Especially to hear from a parent and to hear from kids that you make a difference in their lives… we’re supportive of the effort that is here,” lauded Morris.
Morris also spoke about the innovations of charter schools, sharing that Norwalk district educators visited Amistad Academy years ago to learn more about the school’s methods. “In the end, all four of [Norwalk’s] middle schools ended up adopting practices that had begun at a charter school,” he noted.
Side by Side student Sawyer Milillo speaks at the Norwalk legislative breakfast.
Mayor Harry Rilling is more familiar than most with Side by Side’s environment – he has two grandchildren attending the school. Rilling praised the school for its focus on personalized instruction.
“Side by Side with the small classroom size and the ratio between teachers and students, there’s an opportunity for such creative learning and experiential learning -- the way they can achieve,” said Rilling. “The most important responsibility a society has is to educate our children, and make sure that they’re ready to go out to the global economy that we have.”
“I congratulate Mr. Nittoly and the staff at Side by Side because you really do it right, and it’s really impressive to see some of the types of work that are done here,” concluded the Mayor.
Take a look at a slideshow of images from the breakfast below.
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