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December 9, 2019
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Schools

Students at Scotts Ridge Middle School in Ridgefield beefed up their ability to spot fake news recently.
Former Greenwich High School student Laura Rivera-Martinez is shown with a boy she met in Ecuador as a Global Glimpse Ambassador in 2018.
A dedication event is Saturday, Dec. 7 at New Lebanon School in Greenwich.
New Canaan Public Schools Board of Education has new officers, from left, Jennifer Richardson, secretary; Katrina Parkhill, chair; and Brendan Hayes, vice chair.

Around Fairfield Schools: Fake News In Ridgefield, Greenwich Dedication, Student Wins

Students recently were alerted to decades-old fake news images thanks to the keen eye of a media specialist at a Ridgefield school. 

Scotts Ridge Middle School seventh-graders were learning about energy transfer in ecosystems, in their science class when it happened.

The widespread burning of the Amazon rainforest was the "phenomenon that we used to kick off this unit," explained their teacher Charlsie Vanderrest.

During the lesson, students were asked: How does a disaster affect the systems in place in an environment?

The idea to use the science lesson to help the students become more aware of fake versus real news came from a conversation between their teacher and Scotts Ridge Library Media Specialist Janine Johnson, according to Vanderrest.

Johnson shared a story with Vanderrest about how there were photos being shared on Twitter -- that were actually of the Amazon burning 20 years ago.

"We thought this would be a perfect way to blend the LLCs previous lessons on "fake news" with some of our science and engineering practices about obtaining/ evaluating information and being able to engage in argument from evidence," said Vanderrest.

The students were "initially surprised" to learn of the untimely and inaccurate images on the social media site.

"This helped to drive home some of the main points of needing to be more savvy consumers of information and that ideas need to be supported with multiple pieces of evidence/ sources," Vanderrest recounted.

Join Officials In Magnet School Dedication

Local residents may join officials for a dedication ceremony at the newest magnet school in Greenwich. The New Lebanon School ceremony is at 10 a.m., followed by tour and refreshments on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m., 25 Mead Ave. 

The school's groundbreaking was two years ago. It opened to students on Feb. 20. The dedication is to the Board of Education and Town of Greenwich.

The building has a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating. It has a centrally located learning commons with flexible furnishings and adaptable technological infrastructure, to allow for multiple zones of simultaneous learning. 

Greenwich Public Schools has four magnet schools.

Greenwich High School Student Wins ConnTESOL Scholarship

A former Greenwich High School student, Middlebury College freshman Laura Rivera-Martinez won a four-year Connecticut Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) scholarship.

She is a Colombia native who took advanced placement courses and volunteered in community service programs, during high school.

In the summer of 2018, she traveled to Ecuador as a Global Glimpse Ambassador. 

"Knowing how to speak, write, and read in English was not only a necessity living in this country, but a gift that has opened the doors of opportunity for me," Laura said in her TESOL scholarship application.

New Faces Aboard In New Canaan

The New Canaan Board of Education has three new officers.

Elected at Monday's meeting, Nov 18, were Katrina Parkhill as chair; Brendan Hayes as vice chair, and Jennifer Richardson as secretary.

New Canaan First Selectman Kevin Moynihan officiated the election.

Parkhill of New Canaan joined the board in 2017 and has served on the Governance Committee and the Communications Committee. 

Brendan Hayes has been a member of the B.O.E. since 2015 and served as chair last year as well as on the Resources and Agenda Planning Committees.

Richardson is new to the board. She has been been Saxe Middle School’s Parent Teacher Council president and is a volunteer for the New Canaan High School’s Parent Faculty Association.

Including the Board officers, the full New Canaan Board of Education consists of Dionna Carlson, Carl Gardiner, Bob Naughton, Penny Rashin, Julie Reeves, and Sheri West.