At A Glance District Newsletter

Vision: United in Excellence


As school year 2019-2020 comes to a close, we wish to thank our teachers, support staff, administrators, and families for their unwavering support of our children. School year 2020 is one that we will always remember. It has caused a lot of hardship, a lot of personal and professional learning, and also a lot of new opportunities to bring people together to support our district’s vision to be United in Excellence.

Our work together will continue over the next several weeks and into next school year. At this time we are working in times of uncertainty in regards to the future of schooling as we work to navigate through safety parameters connected to COVID-19. We will continue to adhere to all of the Governor’s orders, guidance from the CT State Department of Education and from the Department of Public Health. The health and safety of all students and staff continue to be our utmost priority.

As previously announced 90% of our summer school programs will be delivered virtually. Specific guidance will be mailed home to families of those students who were referred for services. In addition, all students and families will continue to receive information on (virtual) free and engaging learning opportunities which they can choose to participate in. It is our hope that by allowing all students to hold onto their district-issued technology, they will be able to continue with some type of online learning and engagement. Staff will be available throughout the summer to support students academically and social-emotionally.

As we plan for the start of the school year in the fall, what is clear is that we will continue with some aspect of virtual learning. Our spring experiences have taught us a lot about implementing a Distance Learning Program and we will continue to reflect and revise our current programming to better meet the needs of all. If you have not had a chance to take our survey collecting feedback on your experience, please do so. Your voice matters. Please click below to access the surveys, which are outlined for students (grades 3-12), staff and families to share input.

As of this moment, the CT State Department of Education has not published guidelines for the fall reopening of schools. If these guidelines are similar to the Summer School Guidelines (already published) families can expect a blended model of very small cohorts of students to be invited into the school buildings for instruction, while most instruction continues to be virtual in format. It is important to note that there may be an opportunity for flexible times for schooling and various rotating sessions to meet the needs of all. Please know multiple design models are being crafted now. As soon as formal guidelines are received, the Board of Education will make decisions for how schools can safely open in the fall. Please know parents will be kept informed and also invited to participate in the development process as we move forward. Please continue to view the district’s regularly published communications. Details are expected in July.

I am super proud of the multiple accomplishments of students and staff throughout this school year and hope you find them inspiring too! This edition of At A Glance will highlight several of these that occurred throughout our spring months, as well as give all information on the continuation of summer meals throughout the months of June, July and August.

Please join me in CONGRATULATING our amazing senior Class of 2020!!! These students will continue to be celebrated through a variety of events in June. A video of their graduation ceremony will be shared with the public on June 22nd.

Please take good care. Stay safe and well. Know we are here to support you and your child in any way.

Sincerely, Superintendent Ritchie

Visit our District Updates page to view all of Superintendent Ritchie's extended closure updates, to access resources and get more information on distance learning.



CB Jennings students went to a radio station in Ledyard this year and recorded a commercial to talk about what a "great place to be" Jennings School is.

Taller de lectura/Reader's workshop - El polluelo de la gansa - The gosling goose

Watch Dual Language Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Pagan's video below. This is an ELA video she posted on SeeSaw!



Star Student

Fernandinho Exime is a perfect example of a most-improved CREW member. Fernandinho has made outstanding gains in all areas of preschool, from academics to social/emotional development. Fernandinho loves coming to school and seeing his friends. He is full of excitement and enthusiasm. When Fernandinho arrived at preschool he did not yet know any of the letters of the alphabet or any written numerals. He can now identify all 26 letters in the alphabet and all the numbers from 0-10 and beyond. Fernandinho has also made outstanding progress in his social/emotional skills and class participation. Fernandinho has shown tremendous growth in following directions and uses peers as a role model for behavior. While Fernandinho used to have a difficult time attending whole group activities, he now regularly attends with full participation despite classroom and peer distractions. He enjoys sharing thoughts and ideas, participates in all classroom jobs (although he particularly loves to be the door holder), and recites the Pledge of Allegiance. Fernandinho has also had perfect attendance this trimester and Harbor School is so proud of all of his achievements.

Harbor Morning Announcements

With the recent closure of school, we have had to move to online platforms. Principal Foster and Assistant Principal Hanrahan miss filming their morning announcements for all of our wonderful Harbor Crew to see each day. As a result, they decided to film them on ZOOM and students are able to see them on Seesaw! They received many messages from students and plan on continuing to greet their students weekly!




Pages Cafe At Home

Pages Cafe at Home is now open for browsing and enjoyment. Our very own Mrs. Rock has recorded read-alouds for Grades K-2 and 3-5 that span the last three weeks and she will be posting more each week until the end of the school year. In addition, she has planned a maker-space video once a week to go along with the stories shared. The read-alouds will feature legends, fairy tales, and true events. The division of K-2 and 3-5 is simply a general guideline. The maker-space video will feature Mrs. Rock sharing some thoughts and, sometimes, an activity that students might see in Pages upon returning to campus. This site was created for the purpose of enjoyment. These posts are not assignments, they are the video equivalent of all of us sitting around a campfire, eating s'mores, sharing stories, and enjoying our community. Please click here to access the site on the Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School Website.

The third way to access the site is to visit https://nhams.newlondon.org and click on Pages Cafe at Home.

Mrs. Rock said it best, "It is my fondest hope that Pages Cafe at Home will provide everyone with warmth, imagination and a sense of togetherness."

Morning Meeting SeeSaw Activity

Click below to view a great video of Mrs. Rivera's morning meeting. She is using her creativity to engage students and make learning fun.

Virtual Dance Showcase

Enjoy Dance Teacher, Sara Kessler's virtual take on the Nathan Hale Dance Showcase. She made the following video for the students to celebrate their dance achievements.



Mystery Science Activities

By 2nd Grader Kaleigh Hollis
2nd Grader Stephen Monroe
By 2nd Grader Lia Binet

2nd graders are loving Mystery science activities outside with plants and animal adaptations. This is an example of a lesson which teaches them about birds and plants that live around them and how to attract birds to a feeder. They use engineering skills to build a model and experiment if the design attracts the bird they were waiting for and if the construction design was successful as well!

SeeSaw Tools

Great use of SeeSaw tools by second grader, Andrea Cierto! She has become quite the graphic illustrator and observer of details in distance learning science activities. The pen tool, color box, drawing, writing words legibly, and sending work to the teacher are all skills students have recently learned to show their learning.

Through the Eyes of a 4th Grader

Social Distancing as interpreted by Fourth Grader, Bronson Ashburn. Every rock pile represents two people that live together. The two people identified by the red arrow are maintaining social distancing. All the other people are staying too close to each other.

5th Grade City Planning

Michael Podeszwa Announced as New Winthrop STEM Principal

Teachers surprise Mr. Podeszwa after appointment as Principal
Mike Podeszwa, Principal Winthrop STEM
Teacher Appreciation!



2020 Summer Literacy Project

BDJMMC will require summer reading for all incoming 6-8th grade students for the upcoming school year. Students will read one book of their choice (appropriate to their age, grade, and reading level) and complete one project, which they will select from a provided list. Be on the lookout for more information. Resources will be shared with families soon.

8th Grader Wins DAR Award

8th grader Stephanie Flores Aquilar wins this year's Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Excellence in American History Award.

Each year the DAR invites local area middle schools to select one 8th grade student to receive this prestigious award because they excel in the study and love of American History.

Stephanie was nominated by the 8th grade team, who says - she is a model student as well as a model human and arrives in all history classes, whether in person or via the internet, intent on learning and staying positive. Her hard work and positive attitude are an inspiration to everyone she comes in contact with during the school day. Additionally, these trying times of social distancing and Chromebook classrooms have not dampened her spirits or dedication to learning. Despite being ahead with the discussion topics in her independent work, she has not missed a single online meeting for her history class, and actively participates in every lesson.

Congratulations Stephanie!

Important Info

The Middle School Team is excited for a fun delivery to all eighth-graders. We will be heading out in the Promotion in Motion bus to visit each student with a surprise send-off gift. stay tuned for bus routes.

We are working on a Virtual Orientation to welcome our incoming 6th graders in late June. This will allow them to meet the Admin team, teachers, virtually tour the building, and participate in a question and answer session.

Our staff and students have enjoyed playing fun, interactive games during distance learning. Kahoot, Yoga, HORSE, cooking, and even Dancing. We continue to support families and students for the remainder of the school year.

Coffee Hours will continue throughout the summer to support families and students. Please check our website or Facebook for times/date changes.



Whalers Helping Whalers

Four chefs joined together this past May for the "Whalers Helping Whalers" initiative to support local efforts to provide free meals to families. Our very own Chef Tomm joined local Chefs and volunteers to provide their talents and energies to support our community in this much needed way!

More than 300 meals were distributed! Way to go Chef Tomm!

Former Culinary Student Opens Restaurant

We officially have our first student who went through the Culinary Program and opened a restaurant right here in New London - Josh Santiago of Mi Familia at 111 Montauk Avenue.

How cool is that! We are definitely growing!

Latinos in Action

Latinos in Action (LIA), which launched at BDJMS in 2018, expanded to the NLHS campus during the 2019-2020 school year. Students held elections to appoint students to positions such as President, and Vice-Presidents of the social, professional, and service committees, as well as a Historian. The end goal is to lead and strengthen their communities through college and career readiness. The class focuses on four pillars: leveraging personal and cultural assets, excelling in education, serving the community, and developing leadership skills.

Latinos in Action is an elective course in which students are empowered to lead and strengthen their communities through culture and service leadership. Teachers follow a culturally relevant curriculum that includes training students to provide tutoring at the elementary level and an exploration of student’s cultural heritage through literary and performing arts.

NLHS students led their first parent event, on March 6th. The event was student-led as those in a leadership capacity worked with the rest of the class to plan, coordinate, and host the event. Students shared with parents a PowerPoint presentation sharing information about LIA, activities, and other info. Students also performed a cultural dance.

Thank you to our participating schools, CB Jennings and Nathan Hale, for welcoming LIA students in their classrooms; students really look forward to tutoring days.

Highlights AP Spanish

52 students were enrolled in AP Spanish this year. Last year 80% of students scored 3 or above and students in AP language had a 95% pass rate.


  • Wellness Interventionists at the elementary level are conducting skill building workshops including Restorative Circles.
  • Continue communication and attending ZOOM meetings with community providers to maintain an updated list of resources for our NL families.
  • Provided support to teachers with regards to outreach and communication with families who speak primarily Spanish.
  • Wellness Interventionists are assisting School Social Workers, Psychologists and Counselors with delivery of SEL curriculum on SeeSaw for grades Kindergarten to 1st grade, as well as maintain responses back to students through the distance learning platform.
  • Support and develop multi-tiered systems such as SRBI, PBIS.
  • During the course of social distancing and distance learning our Wellness Interventionists have been hosting teacher Check-in. “Brags and Crabs” are a hit with teachers because of its catchy name 😊 and because it allows them to think about what they are succeeding at right now in in addition to acknowledging the very real feelings they are dealing with.
  • Small groups with students have been set up to provide a social setting for students to communicate with each other and trusted adults.
  • The Culture and Climate team has also been working to identify “problem behaviors” at high school and middle school through data to help figure out where to direct trainings and support for teachers, staff, and students.
  • Roll out of the Second Step curriculum, in all elementary schools, has been implemented.
  • Trained Culture and Climate team in Restorative Circles and circles training is beginning to happen at the elementary level.
  • Begin holding Restorative conversations at the middle school to prevent and deescalate issues between students.
  • Continued support is available for during distant learning.
  • We welcomed two new members to our team Dave Richardson at the high school and Patrick Sheehan-Gaumer at Nathan Hale.
  • We implemented, with the support of the Michael Bolton Foundation, a music therapist to serve students in the middle school.
  • We developed and implemented district staff development to address the death of Mr Floyd and to raise our voices in supporting Black Lives Matter.
  • Our team has supported food distribution, as well as door to door outreach (Wellness visits) to students we have not heard from.
  • We have put forth (with SERC) a series of professional development in the areas of Equity, Trauma, MTSS, PBIS.


It is hard to believe the 2020-2021 school year is almost here! While students and families faced unprecedented challenges this year, NLPS students, staff and families came through strong. We all adjusted to new online learning platforms, completed a lot of assignments and experienced learning in a new way! In this edition of At A Glance you will find information about report cards, online resources and summer school.

Here are some examples of some of the great and wonderful student work on SeeSaw since March 30th!

Artwork and Poem by Rebekah Nichols - (Grade 4, Winthrop School)

If I Were a Color

If I were a color, I would be yellow, like the sight of the big sun shining brightly above the clouds in the sky.

Like the sound of a yellow daisy blowing back and forth in the cool breeze of the summer wind.

Like the taste of sweet, cool lemonade on a hot summer day. Like the smell of sweet, crispy, golden apples on a fall day.

Like the feel of a soft, warm, cozy blanket on a cold, snowy day.

If I were a color, I would be yellow.

Opinion Writing and Math Post by A’mariyah Richards - (Grade 2, Harbor School)

Character Trait Analysis by Cristiano Garcia - (Grade 4, Jennings School)

Greater Than and Less Than and Reading Response by Jayden Rivas - (Grade 1, Nathan Hale School)


Want to be a part of #WhalersUnited?

Everyone needs a little sunSHINE right now. Calling all students! We want you share your positivity.

We want students to send us their positive, 30 second, horizontal videos (see image below), pictures and quotes. Dance, sing a song, play an instrument, tell some jokes, tell a story, or create something, it's up to you! We want to showcase our positive student submissions to SHINE for the district and let the world know that we are #WhalersUnited!

All submissions must share a positive message or image, and should be emailed to nlpsvideo@newlondon.org. Enter WhalersUnited SHINE in the subject line. Parents/guardians must complete a permission form for students to submit. This form gives New London Public Schools permission to share your submission on social media, the website, television outlets, newspaper(s) and online news' website(s).

Be creative, be positive and SHINE with your Whaler pride. Let everyone know that you are #WhalersUnited!


Grades K-5

Earlier during the extended closing, we sent a note that report cards will look different for the third trimester. There will be no marks provided for each standard, instead each student will receive a narrative regarding their participation in online learning.

Grades 6-12

Students will receive either a PASS or INCOMPLETE for the second semester. Grade Point Averages (GPA) will not be impacted by school closure and GPA’s will be based on the first semester of the 2019-2020 academic year. In addition to receiving a PASS or INCOMPLETE, each student will be provided comments that reflect student work completion, student participation, and assignments submitted.


Does your child still have items at school? Do you want to pick up those items? If so, you can submit a form to arrange pickup.


Join us for our virtual coffee hours for each grade. We will come together to share useful strategies, answer your questions and support each other as we aim to educate our children from home.

If you would like to join, please email Angela Rasmussen at Rasmussena@newlondon.org.

We hope to have coffee with you soon!

Join New London Public Schools

We welcomed over 75 new staff members to the NLPS family!

Twenty-four teachers achieved tenure status. Congratulations! Over 700 staff members completed mandatory trainings related to their employment! We hired a new BDJ Multi-Magnet Middle School Campus Director – DR. JOSE ORTIZ! We hired a new Principal of Winthrop STEM Elementary Magnet School – MICHAEL PODESZWA! We hired a new Executive Director of Talent and Human Resources, ROBERT STACY.

Robert Stacy, New Executive Director of Talent and Human Resources

Ten beginning teachers completed the CT TEAM Program in order to advance their teaching certificates to the provision level. Congratulations! We conducted our first virtual interviews with success! We participated in a statewide Minority Recruitment Virtual Career Fair to attract, recruit and hire and increase diversity among our staff.

We Celebrated Staff!

Carol Wheeler-Flood, IB Coach
Jason Foster, Principal Harbor School
Damaris Zimbleman, Math Teacher

We remain forever grateful to all who contribute to the district’s vision to be UNITED IN EXCELLENCE.


Employment in New London Public Schools is both fulfilling and rewarding. Interested candidates are invited to view and apply to any of the district’s vacancies by visiting the district’s Employment and Opportunities webpage. Prospective candidates can set up an account on the district’s recruiting and hiring platform, Applitrack, and apply for positions of interest.




Sign Up For Text Message Updates

Parents and Guardians, you can take advantage of our District's Text Messaging Service.

Our district utilizes SchoolMessenger to deliver text messages, straight to your mobile phone with important information about events, school closings, safety alerts and more!

You can participate in this free service by texting "Y" or "Yes" to our district's short code number, 68453.

You can also opt out of these messages at any time by simply replying to one of our messages with “Stop”.

SchoolMessenger is compliant with the Student Privacy Pledge (TM), so you can rest assured that your information is safe and will never be given or sold to anyone.


SchoolMint is our district's online application, registration and student update portal. All of our currently enrolled students and new, incoming students have a SchoolMint account. When families submit applications in SchoolMint, the experience is quick and easy to use, and applications are more likely to be accurate & complete.

SchoolMint can be accessed by mobile phone or computer, and families can use a single account to securely submit applications for multiple children and to multiple schools. Families can rank their school preferences, track the status of applications and registrations, respond to school offers, and fill out or upload registration forms. Please email the Magnet Office at etiennej@newlondon.org if you need to reset your SchoolMint username or password.

For your 2020-2021 school year lottery results, log into your SchoolMint account and go to your student dashboard. Accept or decline your offer within 2 weeks.

To complete your student's new online registration, please email your required registration documents to our designated Registration Admins.

Applications are still being accepted to the Applicant Pool for the new school year. Please submit a Magnet Inquiry Form for more information or visit our district website.


Please continue to check back on newlondon.org under Extended School Closure Resources throughout the summer. We will be posting virtual field trips and other fun sites to visit!


The district has released the Board approved 2020-2021 SY District Calendar for the new school year. Please visit our website to view the calendar and get important dates for next school year. The first day of school for students will be September 8th.


Introducing Whalee!

Welcome New London Public Schools' Whaler Kindergarten families! This will be a fun and exciting school year for you and your child!

We look forward to getting to know you and your Kindergartener for the new school year. We have a lot of great resources to share with you, including tips and tricks, fun activities and games and an informative, monthly ZOOM Series that you can RSVP for. Check your emails and text messages to reserve your spot for each session in SchoolMint.

Make sure to visit our website often to get important Kindergarten updates.

Email Angela Rasmussen and Dr. Jen Hills-Papetti for more information.




Watch their videos below and get to know Cassie and Francesca, our Spotlights At A Glance


Summer meals will continue throughout the summer, from June 23-August 28th. Visit our website for details and stay tuned for more information to be posted on our social media.


We regret to inform our families that Camp Rotary will not occur this summer. Due to the current status of the pandemic and strict guidelines, camp administration does not believe that we could sustain an engaging and active, hands-on educational experience for our students.

This does not mean Camp Rotary will not return! We are hopeful that we will be back next summer to offer a truly invigorating and educational experience for our Campers.

Right now, we look forward to staying connected with our students over the summer to offer exciting, virtual, and engaging activities. Please stay tuned for those updates!

Please email Angela Rasmussen at rasmussena@newlondon.org if you have any questions.


Grades K-5

We will be providing summer school to students that qualify this summer through a virtual platform. We will provide more details as we plan this summer experience for students. Students that qualify will be notified within the next few weeks. We look forward to making this virtual experience exciting and interactive for all who participate! Please contact Dr. Jennifer Hills-Papetti at hills-papettij@newlondon.org.

Grades 6-12

General Education summer school programming grades 6-12, including high school credit recovery programming, will be hosted virtually starting on July 13th. Parents of students who have been referred for summer school will also be given information about their child’s program by the end of June. Please contact Mr. Tommy Thompson at thompsont@newlondon.org should you have any questions.


The district and the community salute you for all that you do for our students, families and staff! Your hard work and dedication are appreciated by all. THANK YOU!


You keep our district going and our buildings open, clean and operational! THANK YOU for all of your efforts, the long hours and your hard work!


ISSUE NO. 2 January 2020

134 Williams Street, New London, CT 06320


Created with images by Danielle Rice - "A child's finger points to Germany on a globe. The bright colors of the map has bold black letters indicating places in the world." • Tim Arterbury - "When inspiration strikes" • Chris Liverani - "Math exam" • Unknown - "Kjærlighet Relasjon Partnerskap · Gratis bilde på Pixabay" • Joshua Eckstein - "Non-toxic = edible, right?" • Mike Petrucci - "untitled image" • Brigitte Tohm - "untitled image" • Annie Spratt - "untitled image" • Andie Kolbeck - "Children at an aquarium" • Markus Spiske - "untitled image"