SAT scores highest in district reference group
The class of 2011 had the highest scores on the SAT among Darien's district reference group, according to administrators.
Darien belongs to District Reference Group A — a state-designated cluster of districts with similar socioeconomic characteristics — alongside New Canaan, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wilton, and Region 9 (Redding and Easton).
The SAT, taken by over a million students each year, consists of math, reading, and writing and is graded on a scale of 600 to 2400 points.
Nationally, American high school seniors average around 1500 on the test. Darien High School seniors from the Class of 2011 averaged 1810, while Darien's DRG came in at 1764.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” Matt Byrnes, assistant superintendent for secondary education, told the Board of Education Tuesday. “This reflects on students, parents, teachers, and the whole community.”
AP enrollment on the rise
More DHS students are taking advanced placement courses today and performing better on the final test as compared with recent years, Byrnes said Tuesday.
“You might expect the scores to drop or level off, but this is not the case,” Byrnes said.
Board member Heather Shea expressed concern that “we are discouraging students from taking a challenging Advanced Placement course because we do not want them to score low on a standardized test.”
Summer school registrations set record
Chris Basta, director of summer school and continuing education programs, updated the board with a financial summary of the district's 2011 summer school program.
“We had 2,257 student registrations, a record high,” Basta said. “We took in $658,827 in summer 2011,” an increase of 17 percent from summer 2010.
The district spent $498,973 to produce summer school courses, including paying teachers and operating buildings. In all, the program generated a surplus of $249,360.
“We have increased our enrollment numbers and surplus,” said Basta, who is also a teacher. “We hope to continue this trend.”
Donations pour in for portable lights
DHS student athletes will benefit from two organizations who are donating money to the district to help offset the cost of using portable lights this fall.
The Darien Junior Football League contributed $4,000 and the Blue Wave Booster Club $2,000 to help fund the equipment.
The board unanimously accepted both organizations’ gifts Tuesday.
Orchestra trip to Disney World planned
DHS orchestra director Richard Sadlon is planning to take students on a field trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida in April 2012.
Sadlon told the board that he wants the students to perform for an international audience and record a soundtrack. Students must pay $1,015 to cover travel expenses, meals, admission, and more.
“We have fund-raising options to defray the cost,” Sadlon said. “We do not deny students due to their inability to pay. Any student who wants to go on this trip will be able to go.”
Sadlon said he has room for 50 students and five chaperones.
The board unanimously approved Sadlon’s request to organize the trip.
Chinese exchange students to visit DC
Meanwhile, Ann Armiger, a DHS teacher and the coordinator of the Chinese Exchange Program, is planning to take students from Darien and its sister schools in Shanghai and Qingdao on a field trip to Washington, D.C.
The students will leave the Darien campus on Friday, Oct. 7, and return on Sunday, Oct. 9. Darien students will pay $450 apiece to cover meals and travel expenses.
Darien has 20 families hosting Chinese students in their homes.
“We have done this trip a number of times. It has always been very successful,” Armiger said. “It’s a very valuable experience on both sides.
The board unanimously approved Armiger's request to organize the trip.