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Greater Danbury area students return to class this week, next week

Schools in the Greater Danbury area are opening for students beginning today, while some have pushed back the start date to after Labor Day.  Danbury and Wilton students will be headed back on September 5.  Danbury delayed the opening as a precaution because of the large scale renovations happening at the High School.  Most of the work is wrapping up.  The new Freshmen Academy is not slated to open until the 2018-2019 school year.


Newtown students along with those in Region 12, Washington, Roxbury and Bridgewater, went back to class today.


Newtown High Schoolers, who last year had to be in class by 7:20am, started their day at 8am this school year. The Newtown High School day will end at 2:30pm.  Elementary schools and Reed Intermediate will start at 9:05am and will dismiss at 3:37pm.  Elementary students will be dropped off first in the morning.  Reed students will be bused to the elementary school in their district in the afternoon and then take local school buses home.  Elementary times are not changing. 


Officials are hoping for improved physical and mental health and improved academic performance. They also cited safety improvements with students not waiting in the dark at bus stops.


Region 15's first day of school is Tuesday for Southbury/Middlebury students.


Most districts in the area are returning on Wednesday.  That includes Bethel, Brookfield, Easton/Redding/Region 9, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Region 14/Woodbury/Bethlehem.


In New Fairfield, Sarah McLain retired as principal of Meeting House Hill School after more than two decades in the community.  James Mandracchia, the former assistant principal, is the new principal.  Replacing him is Allyson Story.  She helped found and serves as chairperson for the Newtown Education Foundation.  As a classroom teacher, Story worked in Wilton.  She is a certified trainer for the Center of Responsive Schools, providing training for teachers across the nation in the practices of Responsive Classroom.


Ridgefield, Monroe and Weston begin classes on Thursday.


The Ridgefield School District Steering Committee for the School Start Times Project met twice over the summer and again on August 24th.  The Board of Education is expected to make a decision by late October.  The Committee reviewed a report by School Bus Consultants at their meeting last week.  Several change scenarios were presented to deliver an 8:30am start time at Ridgefield High School, which aligns with the research on sleep and adolescent health.


Here's the quick breakdown on start dates:


Monday 8/28: Newtown, Region 12 Washington/Roxbury/Bridgewater


Tuesday 8/29: Region 15 Southbury/Middlebury


Wednesday 8/30: Bethel, Brookfield, Easton/Redding/Region 9, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Region 14 Woodbury/Bethlehem


Thursday 8/31: Monroe, Ridgefield and Weston


Tuesday 9/5: Danbury, Wilton

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Jim Bohannon

Local Headlines