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Side by Side is a regional public charter school located in the heart of downtown South Norwalk. As specified in our charter, our integrated student population reflects the diversity of our surrounding community. The 235 students of Side by Side, grades Pre-K through 8th, represent several surrounding Connecticut towns and cities.

Like all charter schools, Side by Side functions independently from any local or traditional public school system. At Side by Side, our innovative approaches toward education allow us to actively and equally involve parents, teachers, and students in our day-to-day operations.

March/April 2017

Dear SBS Families,

Happy spring!  It is already that time when we need to begin preparing for the 2017-18 school year, which will be here before you know it.   Below are some areas of focus as we begin to plan for next year:
• School calendar: The 2017-18 school year calendar that was approved last spring is available on our website (www.sbscharter.org)
• FY18 Budget: The SBS Finance Committee (a sub-committee of our Board of Directors) will begin to forecast revenues and expenses for the next school year.  The annual school budget presentation to the Board will be at the May 23 meeting.
• Professional Development: Administration will work together with teachers to identify areas for professional growth and development during the 2017-18 school year. 

New Upper School Building construction–UPDATE:  In addition to our routine planning for a new school year we find ourselves with a $3.6 million upper school building project that will require a great deal of additional planning and preparing.  Below is an update summarizing where we are with this project.  Most importantly, please note that we are planning a parent/community forum for late spring to provide more detail in person, as well as to field any questions or comments that our school community may have.

Funding for the majority of this project will come via a state of CT School Construction grant award, with additional contributions coming from our own capital reserves and a line of credit/loan from a local lender.  Construction for the new building is slated to begin in early summer 2017 and our hope is that it will be completed for the start of the 2018-19 school year. 

The process for applying for this State grant award and public bid process has been quite extensive. In order to qualify for this award, Side by Side extended the lease with St. Joseph’s Church and the Diocese of Bridgeport through the year 2044.  We have also hired the services of lead architect Michael Stein from Stein/Troost, LLC.  Michael Stein is overseeing the process for preparing the final project review by the CT Department of Administrative Services in mid/late April. We anticipate that the project will go out to public bid in early May, to help us secure a lead contractor.  A building committee, led by Board Representative Kim Grimm, was appointed by our Board of Directors to oversee the full process of planning and construction.  One of the top priorities is to formulate a plan that will ensure routine school operations during the construction phase in 2017-18. The current annex building will remain operational during construction and throughout the 2017-18 school year.  We are aware that this construction phase will necessitate adjustments to what the students, parents and staff of Side by Side Charter School are accustomed to in terms of every day school operations.  Specifically, a loss of parking spaces, changes to our pick-up/drop-off procedures, limited play areas for students and a significant increase in activity on school property for a full school year are expected.  Planning for these changes and prioritizing safety will remain our top priority.  I anticipate providing a much more detailed plan on this specific topic at the aforementioned parent forum.

The new building plans call for a two-story, 11,600 square foot facility with a basement.  The building will house five classrooms and additional office/meeting space.  While the focus of this building is to replace our current Upper School facility, the building will also include provisions to support the needs of all students, staff and families at all grade levels. The new building will include:
• New Math, and LA/SS classrooms for grades 6-8
• A state-of-the-art science classroom and lab (with office and storage space) for grades 6-8 
• A new ART/multipurpose classroom that will be used for Art instruction for all students kindergarten through 8th grade (and will also be used for misc. meetings)
• New Special Education Offices, meeting space and resource room  (Including office for Assistant Director)
• A computer lab with 24 desktop computer stations
• A 3800 square  foot basement for storage

Please be on the lookout for additional news and updates regarding our new Upper School building project.  We hope to announce a date for the parent/community forum soon.  In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to Mr. Nittoly at mnittoly@sbscharter.org, or Kim Grimm at kgrimm@sbscharter.org with any suggestions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Mr. Nittoly