2013 in Review: The Year's Most Important School Stories

A look back at the stories that mattered most to Newtowners in 2013.

Note: Our year-in-review series covers the most relevant stories of 2013 in Newtown schools.

Superintendent John Reed Returns: After Janet Robinson left for Stratford, longtime Superintendent John Reed returned to the helm of Newtown public schools as Interim Head. The school is currently searching for a full-time superintendent.

New School Leaders in Top Positions: New principals and assistant principals came to Newtown in record numbers in 2013. Reed Intermediate School and Newtown Middle School were among those with new leaders.

'Difficult Decisions': As school leaders craft their 2014 budget, some officials say austerity is the proper approach. "If the public perceives we're not going to do a fair job adjusting staffing as enrollment declines, I believe they'll assert their will and budgets will be defeated," said Superintendent John Reed.

A New School Takes Shape: Demolition began, and ended, at Sandy Hook Elementary School as the town prepares for a new $50 million school at the same site. Construction is expected to conclude in 2016.

Declining Enrollment: In 2013, Newtown's Board of Education has mulled the proper response to a shrinking student base in classrooms. Superintendent John Reed said enrollment is "cyclical" but some officials say the district should take a preventative approach.

School Security: After Dec. 14, Newtown schools made security a priority. Both town-employed police officers and unarmed school security guards found a place in the budget, and First Selectman Pat Llodra promised the district would see "no gap in school security" throughout the year.

Full-Day Kindergarten: A long-awaited full-day kindergarten program finally began in Newtown in 2013. "I don't really know that Newtown can afford to be the only town in the area that doesn't have an expanded kindergarten," said Superintendent John Reed.

Newtown Schools Receive Grants: Federal and state grants proved helpful as the district recovered from Dec. 14. A $1.3 million SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence) grant came in May, covering "the needs of students, school staff, parents and family members affected by the tragedy and include support groups for parents, siblings, students and teachers," as well as counseling and training.


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