After Coleytown: School District Considers 9 Plans For Next Year

When mold closed Coleytown Middle School in September, school administrators, teachers, staff, students and parents scrambled to adjust.

Sixth and seventh graders moved to Bedford Middle School. Eighth graders headed to Staples. That temporary measure will last through the current school year.

Now — with the fate of CMS still undetermined — educators and townspeople must plan for the next school year.

Yesterday at Town Hall, superintendent of schools Colleen Palmer presented 9 options to the newly formed Community Advisory Group. Comprised of teachers, administrators, PTA members and others, they have a December 10 deadline to present a 2019-20 plan to the Board of Education.

The options — which may be amended as work continues — include:

  1. Keeping 6th grades at elementary schools; all 7th and 8th graders would remain at Bedford. Stepping Stones Preschool would move from Coleytown Elementary to a rented facility; Long Lots kindergartners would attend CES in that space.
  2. As above, but Long Lots 6th graders would attend Coleytown El in the current Stepping Stones place.
  3. Stepping Stones would move to a rented facility. Long Lots 6th graders would attend CES; Saugatuck and Kings Highway 6th graders would go to Bedford Middle School (which would include portable classrooms); Greens Farms 6th graders would remain in that school, and CMS 7th and 8th graders would remain at BMS.
  4. All 6-8th graders would attend Bedford on a staggered schedule. For example: grade 6, 7 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.; grades 7-8, 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  5. Maintain the current plan: All 6th and 7th graders at BMS; CMS 8th graders at Staples.
  6. All students in grades 6-8 attend Bedford on the same school schedule.
  7. All students in grades 6-8 attend Bedford, with double sessions. For example: Session I, 7 a.m. to noon; Session II, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  8. Housing one of the following at a different, rented location: Early learning center (Stepping Stones Preschool and all kindergarten classrooms districtwide); 6th grade; 8th grade; all of Coleytown Middle School.
  9. Utilize 1 of the 5 elementary schools to house CMS. Those elementary school students would be redistricted to the other 4 elementary schools.

The Community Advisory Group’s next meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday, November 20, 7:30 p.m., Bedford Middle School).

9 responses to “After Coleytown: School District Considers 9 Plans For Next Year

  1. Is the school system going to publish the industrial hygiene report? It seems like we have almost given up on CMS without seeing hard data on indoor air quality and health impacts. Hopefully this is forthcoming.

  2. Is there any way to utilize the Hillspoint School? I know there were a lot of problems with it in the past, but it might be possible to use it for Kindergartners and first-graders of all Westport schools, freeing up space. Actually, I’m not sure the town even still owns it, but it’s a thought.

    • Indeed, Bobbie. I think the Town does still own it. Should be on the agenda fro possibilities.

  3. I don’t like the idea of 8th graders at Staples. It’s hard enough for 9th graders to cope there. I would also think that split sessions is not a long term solution. Putting Stepping Stones in a rented facility would probably work out fine.
    As for the other suggestions, I have to read more carefully to understand ramifications.

  4. Arline Gertzoff

    The last disruptive is to repurpose Long Lots as a middle school Yes it was a long time ago but before CMS it was a Junior High andbthe Building has wings that could be more easily repurposed for different subjects .Double sessions are horrible for kids .

  5. Michelle Benner

    Yes, we are still waiting for the hygienist report.

    Elise, My husband asked this same question last night in an email to Dr. Palmer, the BOE, the BOF and Jim Marpe. Dr. Palmer’s reply is as follows:

    Good Evening,

    The Turner report is overdue. When we pressed Turner for the report, we were provided with the brief memo (included in the BoE packet for the meeting tomorrow.) When we called Tuner again last week as we awaited the full report, we informed Turner that we would need the report for the BoE meeting, Still not having the full report, in lieu of the full report, the brief memo was included as documentation for the “CMS Update” as the BoE packet was published. We are promised a full report in the morning to share at tomorrow’s BoE meeting. We will also ask for a presentation by Turner at a meeting after Thanksgiving so there can be a Q&A session after reading the report.


    In the interim, Dr. Palmer has sent out a Westport School District Outreach email this morning which finally includes, as an attachment, the brief memo from Turner (the hygienist) outlining their recommendations which will be part of their final report (due today). Dr. Palmer’s email this morning says, “The final report of the industrial hygienist (Turner Building Science and Design, LLC) is due to the District today. Upon receipt it will be posted and can be accessed from a link on our homepage of our website.”

    Just FYI, The Turner memo was written on November 12th but was not posted to the CMS facilities update page. Rather, it was placed on page 17 of a 26 page Revised BOE agenda for November 19, posted on the WPS website. To get to this link one would need to go to the WPS home page, mouse-over “District”, click “Board of Education”, click “Meeting Agendas”, scroll down to 2018, find the line for November, and click on “19”.

    or you can just click here:

    I agree with Elise. It seems like decisions are being made and options are being presented without all of the facts on the table. One of the options should include a discussion of the feasibility of fixing the current CMS building to make it habitable and safe for occupancy, and if it can be done by the fall of 2019.

  6. Michelle Benner

    Update: The Turner memo, which outlines steps for “temporary re-occupancy” of CMS, is now posted on the CMS Facility Update Page:

  7. After reading the brief Turner report, it seems like reoccupancy of the building is doable. I was under the impression that Yale was also called in to evaluate indoor air quality and health impacts. Did this happen? What does their report say? It seems like we need more facts (or more facts published) on the CMS situation.

  8. Meredith Brooks

    It seems like the fate of Longlots 6th graders is more uncertain than any other group. What a mess!