Tag Archives: Kings Highway Elementary School

Photo Challenge #302

Last week’s futuristic-looking photo actually showed part of the Kings Highway Elementary School playground. Elaine Marino, Andrew Colabella and Seth Schachter all knew exactly where that was.

But a second part of the challenge was to identify a sequence of numbers on the equipment: 23, 19, 17, 13, 11, 7, 5, 2. (Click here for the photo.)

Elaine, Andrew, Lynn Philip and James Weisz nailed it: They are all prime numbers.

I learned something. 2 is included — the only even prime number — because it is (duh) divisible only by 1 and itself.

Meanwhile, “who” can identify this week’s Photo Challenge? Click comments below.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

It’s A New Day: Kids Walk To School

COVID has upended many elementary school routines.

Youngsters attend split sessions — morning or afternoon. There’s no cafeteria service.

And — go figure — more and more kids are walking to school.

Many parents don’t want their kids to ride buses. Not every mom or dad is available every day to drive every kid. So there they are, each morning: boys and girls on foot (and bikes).

It’s almost like the old days.

Except — over the years — Westport has forgotten how to handle kids heading on their own to class.

Wednesday is National Walk to School Day. Kings Highway Elementary celebrates it starting today, through Wednesday.

The school’s PTA figures it’s a great way to focus on road safety.

Parents will be stationed at Post Road West by Ludlow Road and Kings Highway North. They’ll wear neon, hand out balloons, and make themselves and their kids visible — even though (or actually because) there are no school safety zone signs and few crosswalks near the Post Road West building.

Children have made signs, promoting school zone driving safety. They’ll hang them in front of the school. Yesterday, families wrote sidewalk chalk messages about the topic.

In the absence of state signs, this homemade sign — made yesterday — was posted near the school.

The Post Road — aka US 1 — is a state thoroughfare. The town is limited in what it can do. The Kings Highway PTA is working with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and town officials to increase safety precautions, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

So this week — if you see kids walking to Kings Highway (or any other school) — slow down. Wave. Give a gentle honk of support.

And given them plenty of room to enjoy themselves.

In 2014, Kings Highway celebreated Walk to School Day (Top, bottom photos/David Gusitsch)

Friday Flashback #208

The big day is Tuesday. Nearly 6 months after closing — and a week after the original date — students return to Westport schools.

Many things will be different. They’ll attend in shifts: half in classrooms, half studying remotely. Desks will be 6 feet apart. Some hallways will be one-way. And those are just a few of the changes COVID has wrought.

Some youngsters have not even driven past their schools in half a year. To remind them of what they look like, here is a special “Friday Flashback” drone gallery. All images are courtesy of multi-talented and spectacular Staples High School senior Brandon Malin. (Click on or hover over any photo to enlarge.)

To start off, here’s the school he’s headed back to:

Bedford Middle School

Coleytown Middle School (construction project)

Coleytown Elementary School 

Greens Farms Elementary School

Kings HIghway Elementary School

Long Lots Elementary School

Saugatuck Elementary School

Bonus feature: Greens Farms Academy (All drone photos/Brandon Malin)

Roundup: Kings Highway Welcome, Bank Of America, More


As Kings Highway Elementary teachers returned to the building yesterday for the first time since March, students and parents welcomed them with messages of gratitude, encouragement and support

Families also clapped as staff members entered (from a safe distance, of course). The traditional school message echoes again: Kind hearts shine, and we will get through this together!

Working together to welcome teachers. (Photo/Elizabeth Ginns Britten


One of the oddest aspects of the pandemic — and there have been many — is the continued closure of local Bank of America branches.

At least 6 in the area have been shut since early spring. That includes the 3 on the Post Road in Westport. The one near Whole Foods, just over the Norwalk line, is still open.

I understand the ease of online banking. But sometimes you need a human being.

BOA is MIA. And no one has said a peep.


And finally … as we near the end of one of the strangest summers ever:

Westport Kids Say “Thanks, Scientists!”

When Westporter Ellie Magunson learned that her friend Jacqueline Fabius — COO of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute at the University of California, San Francisco — was part of a group on the front lines of COVID-19 research, she told her family.

Her son Gavin — a 3rd grader at Kings Highway Elementary School — is very interested in science. Her daughter Hanna is part of the “Kindness Squad” there.

So when — as part of the Westport schools’ distance learning program — students were encouraged to spread kindness, Ellie and her children decided to thank Jacqueline’s team of scientists.

They wrote messages of encouragement on a postcard, then texted it to her.

The COO was thrilled. She asked for the actual card, to hang in the UCSF office.

Then — just before QBI director Dr. Nevan Krogan’s 4:30 a.m. live interview with “Good Morning America” — Jacqueline texted it to him. He said it gave him “a total boost.”

Ellie was surprised that one postcard from a couple of kids was valued so highly by scientists working on the most important project in the world.

Then she realized, they probably don’t get thanked much — or even recognized for the work they do.

So, Ellie thought, why not gather more words of gratitude?

She looked online for a free, easy way of collecting video messages. She found Tribute, shared it with friends all around town, and euraka! The tribute was made.

It’s genuine, cute, and truly heartwarming. (Click here to view.)

A screenshot from the Magnusons’ video.

USCF shared it with their collaborative partners: Mt. Sinai in New York, and Paris’ Pasteur Institute.

The scientists — some of the most respected and important researchers in the world loved it.

They responded with their own thanks:

  • “That is so adorable, and just what I needed as I struggle to keep my energy up. My lab is going to love this!”
  • “Ok, well this is the best thing I have ever seen — hands down!”
  • “Remarkable and heart warming.”
  • “I am trembling and of course crying. It’s wonderful!”
  • “Love. Love. Love. Thank you for sharing! Watched it with my kids!”

“So many first responders and vital workers deserve our thanks these days,” Ellie says. “Let’s not forget the unseen scientists who are doing so much to actually bring this virus to its knees.”

To learn more about QBI’s work, or donate to their research efforts, click here.

Then go thank every scientist you know!

Work at the QBI lab.

Pic Of The Day #721

Wise words from the Kings Highway Elementary School 1st grade Kindness Squad, at Donut Crazy. (Photo/JP Vellotti)

Kings Highway’s “Masterpiece”

Much of the town just finished WestportREADS. This year’s novel — “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid — focused on 2 refugees who, against all odds, find life and love on the run.

A great book — but a bit much for elementary school readers.

No problem. Kings Highway just finished something very similar.

Everyone in school — all grade levels — read “Masterpiece,” Elise Broach’s mystery novel about friendship and stolen art.

Entire families were encouraged to read together at night. There were school-wide assemblies and online activities. Teachers recorded chapters on computers, so youngsters could listen at home or in the car.

There was a surprise ending: Broach herself showed up, to read the final chapter to students.

Author Elise Broach reads to Kings Highway Elementary School students.

It was a fun project for everyone. But then they took things a step further.

The school’s motto is “Kindness Happens at our School.” (The acronym is KHS — get it?!)

So when they were done, the kids donated their “gently loved” copies to the James J. Curiale School in Bridgeport. Now everyone there is doing the same school-wide reading too.

One book. Two schools. Too cool!

A bulletin board shows some of the many ways Kings Highway students read “Masterpiece.”

(Hat tip: Lauren Turner)

Photo Challenge #196

Two weeks ago, Peter Barlow stumped nearly everyone with a photo of a spire that — until it was knocked over in a hurricane — stood with a dozen others atop the Compo Beach bathhouse.

Last week’s Photo Challenge also came courtesy of Peter. This one was much easier: the cupola at Kings Highway Elementary School.

Though they showed different images, and were orders of magnitude apart in difficulty, they share one thing.

As Peter notes, the 4 spires at the base of the cupola are very similar to those once on the bathhouse. Both structures date from the late 1920s and early ’30s. (From its opening through 1958, Kings Highway served as Bedford Junior High School.)

Congratulations to Victor Belyaev, Elaine Marino, Tom Ryan, Wendy Cusick, Michelle Saunders, Jacques Voris, Michael Calise, James Weisz, Jonathan McClure, Lawrence Zlatkin, Eva Pastor, Jill Turner Odice, Mary Cookman Schmerker, Ritu Johorey, Bonnie Bradley, Sharon Paulsen, Dede Fitch and Mary Palmieri Gai — some of whom are proud BJHS or KHS graduates. (Click here for last week’s photo.)

Is this week’s Photo Challenge as tough as the bathhouse spire, or as easy as the Kings Highway cupola?

We’ll find out. If you think you know where in Westport you’d find this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

 

Kids Around The World Enjoy Westport Playgrounds

Compo Beach is home to Westport’s biggest and best known playground. It’s jammed in summer — and well used the rest of the year too.

But it’s not the only one in town.

Every elementary school has a playground too. They’re used at recess, sure — but after schools and weekends as well.

Playground aficionados will be delighted to know that this year, both Kings Highway and Saugatuck Elementary raised funds for new playgrounds. They’ll be installed before schools begins next fall.

One element of the new Kings Highway Elementary School playground.

They’re ADA compliant (of course!). Also (of course!) they use recycled content, and are made to high environmental health standards.

The new playgrounds are “designed for social interaction and cooperative play,” says Lauren Turner, a Kings Highway parent involved in the project.

They include interactive climbing blocks, slides, spinning elements, quiet areas and more. All elements provide “physical, emotional and intellectual stimulation.” Play is (of course!) a key to children’s development.

But what happens to an old playground?

Kings Highway 2nd graders enjoy their “old” playground …

Kings Highway and Saugatuck El have partnered with Kids Around the World. The organization helps children and families affected by war, poverty, illness and natural disasters.

The 2 schools’ current playgrounds will be donated to a third world country, where such things are luxuries.

Turner is glad that youngsters there too will be able to play — and grow.

She hopes this project helps Westport kids understand the impact they can have on other children’s lives, around the globe.

… and so do 5th graders.

KHS and SES are reinforcing that message through a few programs. Youngsters will write letters to be sent with the old playground. Turner hopes this leads to a pen-pal program.

Kings Highway Principal Lou DiBella will open the library once a week in July and August, so children can write journals about the playground.

And on July 21, all of Westport is invited to help break down the old playgrounds. Kids Around the World will refurbish it, then ship it overseas.

You don’t have to be a Kings Highway family to help. Just click here.

Then — if you’re a kid — stop staring at this screen.

Go outside and play!

Drag-gone: The Sequel

Earlier today, I ended my story on the move of Dragone Classic Motorcars from Post Road West to Orange by suggesting the 11,000-square foot property might be the site of a medical marijuana dispensary.

Some readers took me seriously.

I was kidding! It’s directly opposite Kings Highway Elementary School. You’d have to be smoking some heavy stuff to believe that would fly in this town.

But here’s something to consider.

Word around town — from reliable sources — is that a developer has closed on the former classic car showroom. He’s got his eye on the property next door too — where Villa del Sol planned to move.

Why? He wants to build 8-30(g) affordable housing there.

As in, 150 or more 2-bedroom apartments.

The former Dragone property and its neighbor, on Post Road West.

There’s already a plan in the works for the other side of Post Road West — the former “blighted homes” site on the crest of the hill heading downtown. That’s on the Planning and Zoning Commission agenda, for 81 8-30(g) units.

For a while, most Westport zoning battles have been waged on the other side of the river.

Westward ho!