Wondering Where the Furniture Went in Cos Cob Starbucks?

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Starbucks is looking different lately. Spacious, in fact.

On Thursday, a barista acknowledged that much of the seating, including tables, chairs and the comfy purple velvet armchairs had recently been removed. The table for two preferred by Peter von Braun has also vanished, and in its place on Thursday was a man standing and eating a croissant by the window.

The reason the furniture was removed is that Cos Cob Starbucks was approved for just 12 seats. Cos Cob Starbucks is a Retail Food establishment, and the maximum number of seats allowed is just 12. Plus, they don’t have parking for more than that.

Certainly, those who frequent Starbucks in Cos Cob’s hub will attest to the popularity of the coffee house, with its rich roasts, lite bites and free wifi.  They will also acknowledge the notorious queue of cars spilling onto East Putnam Ave as customers wait for a parking spot to become available.

Will fans of Starbucks continue to frequent the Cos Cob location at 147 East Putnam Ave? Will they simply take their coffee to go? Will they take their laptops and caffeine pangs to the Starbucks on Greenwich Ave, which is a restaurant and therefore allowed more seats.

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  • Jodi Weisz

    Why doesn’t the public library step up and fill this need? Hip library’s have become the community’s living room. Read the book: Bowling Alone, it talks all about the importance of libraries being communal hot spots, places of cloud computing, virtual repositories and accessible reference and information communities.

    Like what Darien Library does!

    Oh, yeah, I forgot, Greenwich doesn’t have a cutting-edge public library, but a dinosaur that is getting a nice multi-million dollar facelift.

    Cos Cob Library needs to re-invent itself as well.

    The Old Greenwich Library is so horribly under-used, it should be on a watch list.

    There is so much bloat in our Town’s public library budget and so little vision.

    • Jackie

      Excuse me, the Old Greenwich Library should be on a “watch list”? Perrot Library is a mainstay in the OG/Riverside community, and the children’s programs are very popular – they frequently have a wait list for sign-up classes.

    • Jack45

      Wherever did you get the chutzpah to decry our libraries? They’re a wonderful community resource that I use regularly. And, when I’m not there to pick up a book, I can go online to order a movie delivered right to my local library’s door, read a magazine, ask a question, and so much more.

      The word “ill-informed” came quickly to mind when I first read your comment.

      • Jodi Weisz

        With all due respect Jack45, I have spent nearly four years analyzing the Greenwich Public Library system. I read their annual reports, interview patrons, talk to parents, give my feedback to their Directors and am now completing a research based study of the Greenwich Public Library’s role in the achievement gap in Greenwich. No organization should be afraid to evolve.

        Greenwich Public Library is Five Star because it is very, very well funded and the organizations that give this award favor the most funded libraries in the country!

        Here are several areas in which Greenwich Library is a 2 star library: it does not circulate books and materials efficiently, it does not reach out to the underserved in our community; it does not use floor space according to 21st century library standards; it does not have a dynamic staff; it is not on the cutting edge attempting to create a virtual, seamless paradigm; Cos Cob has inadequate evening hours; it insists on being closed on “Banking Holidays” that students would LOVE to go the Library on; its ratio of children’s circulation is extremely SUBPAR (no wonder the achievement in our town); it is one of the highest funded in CT yet is open the same number of hours of virtually every library in CT and exactly the median number of hours of all libraries which is 52 hours a week, which is a little over 7 hours a day. Don’t you expect more from a “Five Star Library” that is funded at the tune of 15 million dollars? At least be open 5 more hours than ALL the other libraries in the state, even small towns like Easton and Kent offer these hours.

        It’s okay to expect more from our 15 million.

    • Gloria

      First of all I don’t understand why you’ve decided to attack our libraries, based on an article about coffee shops? And take a closer look, they’ve continually cut out full time positions when people have left or retired. If you have issue with the library or how town funds are utilized, you should take appropriate action and take your concerns to the Town. Not randomly make comments online attached to an article not at all related to the subject. It sounds to me like you were just looking for someplace to complain about your First World problems. Our libraries, even those in Greenwich, are understaffed. If anything they need more to be able to recruit and keep great full time staff. You do make a good point about getting some volunteers in the libraries. Maybe some of the wealthy Greenwichites with (apparently) plenty of free time should be making their way over to the libraries AND schools, and volunteer their time.

      • Chuck

        Explain why it’s bad that Jodi comments on a site that focuses on Greenwich? Try taking a legitimate issue to town hall, Good luck! I have and it’s a waste of time. There are town hall employees, who have too much power and abuse it. The Selectman know all about it and do nothing. I am so grateful Jodi is exposing the “real” Greenwich for what it really is.

      • Jodi Weisz

        EDITED VERSION LESLIE

        Gloria:

        I take no offense to your feedback. I actually started adding to this thread because the fact is, many families and folks in Greenwich tell me that Starbucks is the only great meeting spot in Town, that they do not feel the Greenwich Library knows or wants to be the Community’s Living Room, a term coined in the book, “Bowling Alone,” and used by professional librarians and space planners for envisioning what a library is capable of being.

        Also, I decry that there is no community hotspot around Hamilton Avenue and Julian Curtiss School, so if our Town funds one library, when it could fund two for the same price–while reaching an underserved constituency, I speak up.

        I am a super, duper budget minded librarian, who started two award winning libraries on a shoestring, one that serves inner city kids, the other, individuals in a large federally subsidized nursing home.

        I also firmly believe the achievement gap in Greenwich can be closed and that libraries have played a role in the fact that it exists in a community with our level of resources. Libraries must now be part of the solution.

        As to telling this to administrators, I told all of this to the current Director of the Greenwich Library and she told me this was not her mandate.

        Look at the programs offered at the Greenwich Library. Do they sponsor experts in the field of education innovation or speakers who can show a community how to eliminate its glaring achievement gap; overcome fear of diversity in public schools; eliminate educational biases among a growing Hispanic population; learn to see cultural diversity as a form of human capital; sponsor panels on the state of education in our Town; create dialogue space for private and public educational cooperatives; provide early literacy intervention to at-risk children segregated into the Town’s lower-income preschools?

        No. I have searched their roster of programs but have not found these topics. Why isn’t the Town using this building as a place for the community to engage and debate these issues?

        So, I ask you, is the Greenwich Public Library living up to the mission for which it was created? Or is it stuck in a problematic, critique-less comfort zone, particularly given its massive level of funding?

  • greenwichfreepress

    The Darien Library has its café right inside the front door, which is a great start. I love Elton’s Cafe in Greenwich Library, but he’s set up in the basement and many people aren’t aware the food is great, reasonably priced, home made with tons of tables and chairs and free wifi.
    The Wilton Library where I used to work quite often when I edited a news site there, has private conference rooms, study/tutor rooms for total quiet. A room where you can talk or be tutored quietly and a coffee maker you pay a modest amount for. A coffee shop opened next door to the library with free wifi and plenty of seats, but it went out of business before long.

  • Vin DiMarco

    It’s a shame that the success of a business (or a public amenity) is predicated on the number of parking spaces it provides. Even one in the center of “downtown” that was presumed to be primarily “walkable”. Perhaps, after a number of months of declining sales, Starbucks would be willing to accept an offer: All of it’s parking on site will be handicap-only, and all of it’s furniture can be re-installed. It would be interesting to see how walkable The Hub really is.

  • Tammy Grimes

    Bring back the furniture!

    • Cherri Mae

      I think if they’re only allowed 12 seats they should put in 12 loveseats and code be damned.

  • John B.

    Whatever happened to the Cos Cob Neighborhood plan?
    Parking on Strickland Rd. is used by multiple Cos Cob TV & Audio work vans, The Firehouse /Library has illegally parked construction trucks & trailers taking well needed parking as well. Hey Town Hall, Funny thing is, up the road Patio.com eyesore has waaaay too many chairs and not enough parking 🙂 !

  • Jodi Weisz

    Jackie:

    Sadly, the Old Greenwich Library is underutilized. This is not my opinion, this is based on the Public Library’s State Report. The Old Greenwich Library’s visits per capital served is only 2.7 (the State average is 5.75), therefore the Perrot Library serves 53% fewer patrons than the average public library in the state of CT!

    The Perrot Library’s circulation per capita served is 4.7 (the State average is 7.81, with the Granby Library at 11.4 and the New Canaan Library at 20.0 and the Westport Library at 21.6).

    This means that the Westport Library circulates 78% more materials than the Old Greenwich Library!

    Meanwhile the Greenwich Public Library receives 53% MORE funds from the municipality than Westport does! That is a whopping difference, we are talking millions and millions more…and to have such an inferior level of circulation and usage doesn’t require that one have chutzpah but common sense and care about our Town’s use of its resources.

    Yes, I am very sorry to report that the Old Greenwich Library Perrot Library is a VERY costly way to circulate books.

    In the world of library services and efficiency the Old Greenwich is at the bottom of cost effectiveness.

    And, no the Director of the Greenwich Public Library is not going to be the one to tell you this.

    There actually may not be one other town resource that is operating as inefficiently as the Old Greenwich Library. That is not to say that the Library is not well loved by the few who use it. The mere 9% of residents that have. Compare this to New Canaan in which 74% of its residents have a library card and Westport in which 79% do.

    Since nobody in Town government is telling you any of this information, I am happy to share it with you.

    Libraries are suppose to be about freedom of information and access to information.

  • Chuck

    Jodi,

    Can you come to my house to help me with my family budget? Why aren’t you running for a Selectman/Selectwomen position in Greenwich? The town desperately needs your help!

  • Jodi Weisz

    That is so kind of you, Chuck. You are right to say that our micro financial lives mirror the macro conditions in local, state and the federal government.

    To me, what truly gets to me is that Greenwichites are actually very much taken advantage of by a whole class of non-residents who expect us to dole out services, keep on increasing our support of bloated governmental offerings and maintain dozens of dozens of million dollar under-utilized services because they falsely believe that us “rich folks” don’t care how much we are spending or are not watching but are too busy raking in money from Wall Street.

    But, wealthy folks like you and me got here because we care about frugality and common sense. We didn’t get here on somebody else’s dime.

    To me, this hurts. That our local government is afraid to stand up to a huge lobby of non-resident “takers” that expect us to keep paying and paying and paying for their benefits, huge salaries, retirement packages and the like while they enjoy living in Trumbull, CT.

    Did you know that non-residents can attend our public schools for a mere $2,553 even though it costs $17,019 to educate this student?

    Remember Greenwichites that YOU earned your money.

    YOU have a right to question local governmental waste.

    No, the thousands of non-resident folks who live off of Greenwichites’ largess do not want us to question their budget and salaries.

  • Maura

    To be fair, its teachers who are able send their children to school in Greenwich for that amount. Other town employees have a different rate. Its a small number of students and as long as they don’t put a class over the cap, requiring the hire of more staff, the costs of educating them is negligible.
    I don’t consider our teacher’s salaries huge. And ancillary school staff like the aides who make it possible for students with disabilities to safely attend school, make criminally small salaries. I have no issue with offering reduced tuition so their children can attend school here. It keeps them doubly invested in our schools and they are less likely to resign and work closer to home if their kids are on the same schedule and calendar as them.

  • Jodi Weisz

    Maura,

    A discount is fine. But $2,553 is too steep. The rate of increase that the BOE approves does not even keep up with inflation. The cost should be in line with, say, Catholic school tuition, the least expensive private school option, which is $5,500.

    I am afraid it does harm public school students in Greenwich. The amount of non-resident children being educated in our district is around 120 students.

    Non-residents’ children are taking up seats in the TOP PERFORMING schools. If they were taking up a seat in Hamilton Avenue, New Lebanon and Julian Curtiss (that all have a very difficult time recruiting magnet students), then allowing these students a $15,000K a year subsidized education may be a good thing for residents in Greenwich’s three underperforming schools.

    But, allowing them to take up a seat in North Mianus and Old Greenwich and Riverside then closing off Greenwich’s east-side magnet school to the children in the underperforming schools (because ISD is an valve school that ONLY takes children from North Mianus, Old Greenwich and Riverside) is essentially creating “space” for these teachers’ non-resident children.

    I find this to be very unethical and giving undue advantage to those in-the-know.

    This is antithetical to what public education should be about.

    Until Greenwich does not have such a whopping achievement gap, I find allowing 120 non-citizen, non-tax paying students the advantage of going to the school of their parents’ choice not fair.

    I don’t expect teachers to agree with me. And, I don’t think too many people actually have the courage to say this, not even one member of the BOE and certainly not a parent stuck in one of our underperforming schools.

    Folks are afraid to ask for fairness.

    So, again, if non-resident parents wanted to pay closer to $6,000 a year AND choose among Greenwich’s three underperforming schools: New Lebanon, Hamilton Avenue and Julian Curtiss, I would be in favor of this benefit.

    It would be an interesting phenomena that non-residents would help Greenwich racially balance its schools.

    120 students would “balance” our school district.

    As of now, 120 non-resident students are actually making the racial imbalance issue worse.

    This is bad policy, Maura. And, no having more students in the class is not “free.” Even one more student adds workload to a teacher. School is not camp, it offers individualized instruction by teachers who have to share their attention very carefully and equitably.

  • Jodi Weisz

    Here’s another proposal which is much more fair and ethical.

    If non-resident parents want to send their children to our schools they can send their kids to NL, Ham Ave and JC for $2,553.

    A school performing above the 75% percentile will cost them $10,100, the cost of the cheapest private school in our town.

    This would accomplish three things:

    1) raise the performance of our underperforming schools
    2) and eliminate our achievement gap
    3) and allow teachers to send their non-resident children to our public school in good conscience and not be working the system (which is a terrible position to be in when one is a public servant).

    Ironically, these non-residents parents’ participation will raise the bar in our underperforming schools and help to close the achievement gap.

    Now, Maura, I ask you this, do you think these parents will choose New Lebanon, Hamilton Ave or Julian Curtiss and why or why not?

    • Christina

      Jodi,

      I admire your willingness to speak out. I had some information on ISD that may be useful, and I had some questions on library usage for you.

      Thanks in advance —

      ISD: when it first opened, it was a valve school for very overcrowded Old Greenwich and Riverside Schools. Then the lottery was changed to include families districted to North Mianus School, as well. A couple of years later, the lottery was opened up to families across the District, with different elementary school zones getting greater preference than others. All students graduating from ISD, regardless of where they lived, were able to continue their middle school education at Eastern Middle School.

      It is my understanding that within the past couple of years, the BOE determined that ISD would remain a magnet school for all interested families within Greenwich, regardless of elementary school zone; however, students originating from other middle school zones, i.e., from Central Middle School and Western Middle School, would be required to return to their home middle school zone when it came time for 6th grade. This change in policy may have impacted who decided to enter the lottery, but I haven’t examined the data, so I have no conclusions to offer.

      Perrot Library: How is library use determined — is it by checking out books, or books that belong to a specific library building? For example, if someone orders a book from the Main Branch but picks it up at Byram Shubert, which building gets credit? Additionally, do you know how Reading Room usage and/or internet usage gets credited? I ask because the Perrot parking lot seems pretty well used, as does the Cos Cob parking lot.

      Thanks again,
      Christina

      • Jodi Weisz

        Christina:

        Actually the probability of a student outside the zoned preference schools to get into ISD is about 1.5% the last time I ran the numbers. It is a tier preference ranking system and since first preference is given to siblings then to the Eastern side of town schools and there are already an abundance of applicants from this pool, there is no way a Non-Eastern side of Town child can get into ISD, except for 1 year when the BOE gave a slight weight bump up to students hailing from New Lebanon because they had to justify their argument of overcrowding there. But this tier preference has been taken away now.

        So, again, kids who get into ISD will NOT be coming from Greenwich’s underperforming schools where the achievement gap is becoming so gapping that soon we will be running a two track public school system.

        120 non-resident students are exactly what our school district NEEDS to achieve racial imbalance! So, if the parents of these non-resident children would just send their kiddos to New Lebanon, Hamilton Avenue or Julian Curtiss the Greenwich Public School system would no longer have a racial imbalance problem.

        The burning question is: will the teachers/town employees do this?

        If not, why not? Aren’t these schools good enough for their children?

        As to the parking lot of the Old Greenwich Library it is a small scale lot. Lots of folks do use it to go to Binney Park and to stroll into the commercial district as well. It’s a nice Nanny meeting spot.

        Statistics that I quote are all taken from the State Libraries mandated Annual Report. Greenwich Public Library is the only large library of its caliber that does not have a copy of its State Report on its website!

        But, to overcome this information obstacle you can easily visit the CT State Library’s website where you can see the usage statistics (based on per capita use) for internet usage, circulation, programs offered and the like.

        It’s all in there.

        And, as I sadly have had to reveal, the Old Greenwich Library/Perrot Library is a very expensive publically funded library that the Town should consider making a private association library because of its usage statistics.

        The library that “holds” the book/material gets the credit in terms of circulation statistics by the way.

        Reading room statistics can be calibrated in several ways including by an hourly head count, by books taken out and left on tables as “in-house used,” by electronic/laser counters. Computer log in sessions are counted by the Library’s software and the number of sessions can be set up by determined each day for each terminal. Terminals can be set as full Internet access or restricted to the Library’s catalog or databases.

        There is no way around the numbers that the Old Greenwich Library is a very nice perk.

        Sadly, as Eastern Greenwichites have to put up with having such a rotten civic center somehow having a nice, sweet library, I think, at least makes up for this.

        Still, I feel bad that the children in Greenwich who need a library the most, do not have one.

        Ask any question you have!

  • Jodi Weisz

    Oops, Christina, I answer these questions so quickly, so excuse me.

    I, of course, meant to say that 120 non-resident teachers/certified staff/town employees’ children is exactly what we need to achieve racial balance.

    I am so use to typing the word: racial imbalance.

    As to the Old Greenwich Library, I can show you six other libraries with the same or higher circulation and usage rates that are funded around $600,000 – $700,000 a year. That is fully funded, materials, programs, sewer, salaries, computers, EVERYTHING.

    I know all of the Directors of these six libraries, they are top performing, award winning libraries will very crowded calendars and teeming parking lots.

    Meanwhile the Old Greenwich Library pays out in salaries alone $1,081,184. Basically, the Town of Greenwich gives the Old Greenwich Library approximately 600,000 more than it should to run its library. TWO libraries could be run in Greenwich for the cost of what are town is spending to run the Old Greenwich Library.

    If you want, I can put you in touch with one of these six model libraries that have very dynamic directors, amazing websites, services, collections and more.

    Yes, the budget of the Old Greenwich Library is MOSTLY due to
    paying a few staff members there–are you ready, $509,534 dollars!!!

    Nobody in town government knows how shocking this figure is because an expert has never looked at this before.

    We run a Cadillac Library System in Greenwich in which most of the budget goes to bloated salaries of three or four individuals in the building.

    Guess how many volunteers the Old Greenwich Library reports using in their Annual Report?

    Zero.

    That library could be run with a 150,000K professional salary budget line and volunteers.

    I know how sad this is to hear.

    My jaw dropped when I read the statistics for the Old Greenwich Library Perrot Library.

    And, it takes a lot to shock me.

    🙂

    • Gloria

      So that $150k salary line… Would that go to pay one person – presumably the director – and you expect the rest of the library to be run by volunteers? Or 2 full-time people expected to run the entire library, staff it with sufficient volunteers (who they would also have to train), and only make $75k per year? That is barely a livable wage in Greenwich, so then you’d have to be outsourcing to someone with a long commute. And then you would lose that local homey feel anyway. There may be some high salaries in the libraries, but how else can you have these staff members living anywhere even somewhat local to the libraries? Greenwich has had this problem for a while – young professionals that we need in Greenwich – doctors, nurses, teachers, and librarians – can’t even afford to love in town!
      That is just ridiculous

      • Ted M.

        Gloria:

        My name is Ted and I am a computer programmer.
        I have lived here for 23 years.

        Ms. Weisz is right.

        The salaries at the Old Greenwich library are too high. Libraries need to stay on top of their efficiency.

        The Old Greenwich library is not.

        Have you seen the State Library Report? I asked Ms. Weisz to send it to me. I asked the Library Director the same but never heard back from him.

        I was curious.

        I looked up what it costs to run an average library in the U.S.

        Two libraries could be run for what we spend on the Old Greenwich Library.

      • Jodi Weisz

        Gloria,

        The primary mission of a library can not be forgotten just because a town happens to have a lot of tax dollars at its disposal. Many libraries were called “Free Public Libraries” for hundreds of years in our nation.

        Librarians should not take such a huge chunk of a library’s budget only to forget those who need a library the most.

        If our Town could run two libraries–on located in the neighborhood where the achievement gap is the widest, at the same cost of running just one library, this needs to be brought up.

        Who else is going to bring it up?

        Town officials do not question the budget of the Town’s libraries because they do not feel qualified to do so.

        The myth of nurses, teachers and librarians not being able to afford to live in Greenwich is alive and well.

        There is housing that matches their salaries.

        Paul P. at New England Land Company can show them many options.

      • Chuck

        Only make 75K a Year? I’m a college grad and a homeowner in Greenwich, I’ll take that salary.

        • Jodi Weisz

          EDITED VERSION LESLIE

          A lot of graduates of Greenwich High would be over-the-moon to receive 75K a year and be able to still live in Greenwich where their parents utterly sacrificed to send them to school and raise them here.

          I do believe Town hall needs to look at its hiring preference for out-of-towners and ask itself the following question: ‘do we really NOT have the local talent to fill this job?’

      • Jodi Weisz

        Given the rate of circulation, per capita and usage, yes, Gloria. But, I don’t think the Old Greenwich Library should maintain its per capita circulation rate and usage, So, 150K is not what its salary line should stay-at but be. It should shoot higher for itself. 150K is for a professional salary line, it does not represent the total staff budget. And, having no volunteers at this library, particularly given its demographic placement, is problematic.

        I threw out this somewhat lowball figure to help get folks questioning things over there.

        The truth is: thousands of very well managed libraries–award winning libraries–with higher rates of circulation and usage as the Old Greenwich–have budgets that are 40-60% lower.

        It is likely that the leadership at City Hall doesn’t even realize this.

        I do believe the building is well maintained and lovely.

  • Christina

    Jodi:

    Thanks for responding and for the information. I have some research to do!

    Christina

  • Maura

    How does the Byram Schubert Library compare to the OG one?

    and, on the ISD issue, the District documents (I did a quick search in board docs) show that ISD’s preference is specifically designed to relieve overcrowding. After sibs, RS and NMS have preference and then Glenville and Cos Cob. There is a chart on page 7 of the document that shows where the kids come from.
    http://www.boarddocs.com/ct/greenwich/Board.nsf/files/A338W970D957/$file/100815%20Enrollment%20w%20CS.pdf

    • Jodi Weisz

      Do you recall that 120 students who are non-residents attend Greenwich’s Public Schools. Where do they go?

      The majority go to NMS (I believe it is 40 of them) and then Riverside and then Glenville.

      ISD gives preference to THESE schools–relieving them of students to make room for non-residents who send their children to our public schools.

      As to Cos Cob, it is a tier 3 preference into ISD. I have to run the numbers again, but this means a student coming from Cos Cob has a 5-7% chance of getting into ISD.

      Glenville is on the preference list (bizarre? well it would be if there wasn’t a reason behind it), see above.

      Glenville, the highest performing elementary school on the Western side of Town is also where non-residents and town employees want seats for their kids–it is the closest school to the NYC border.

      So, I ask you this: is it fair that the BOE runs a valve school in order to ensure that non-resident teachers/certified staff and town employees’ children get a seat at NMS, Glenville and Riverside, further exasperating the racial imbalance of our school system and further creating a two-track public school system?

      If you were a parent of a child stuck in Ham Avenue wouldn’t you like the choice to pay $2,553 for a seat in Riverside School, NMS or ISD?

      Is there even one member of the BOE that has the courage to stand up to this unjust system?

  • Vin DiMarco

    Jodi,
    You said: “Still, I feel bad that the children in Greenwich who need a library the most, do not have one.” Please elaborate and specify who these children are and where they live.
    Thx again for your initiative.
    Vin

    • Jodi Weisz

      Vin, research shows that if children ages 3-13 do not have a library within 8 blocks of their home they do not use it. This is made worse when there are economic barriers such as no stay at home parent present to drive a child to-and-fro the public library.

      Greenwich has chosen to spend/make available the majority of its library services to the highest income residents in our Town, first.

      But, the public library is not a private school. It is not suppose to be an elitist institution.

      And, as a librarian, a former children’s librarian, as the founder to two libraries, I find this to be very inequitable and unfair.

      The Greenwich Public Library will have to own the fact that they have played a BIG role in the achievement gap in Greenwich.

      Usually, libraries are the major contributors in a community of closing achievement gaps, not maintaining them.

      I do believe a big reason for this is their leadership.

      The Town of Greenwich has done NOTHING to oversea the leadership selection of the Greenwich Public Library.

      The town has left the wolves to guard the hen house.

      Why, because Town leaders are intimidated by “library speak” and “propaganda” and a library with leadership that refuses to be transparent and self-critiquing.

      If we are giving 15 million dollars to a public institution we should have the right to say where and whom it needs to serve, especially when said public institution doesn’t want to serve those who need it the most.

      I sadly think the librarians at the Greenwich Public Library don’t want to be troubled “going into” the neighborhoods where the kids live who need them.

      This is so sad to me. And, so antithetical to what a public librarian should be.

  • Jodi Weisz

    Christina:

    The tier system of preference for ISD basically eliminate a child’s chance of “getting into” ISD to 1.5% if they live outside of an Eastern-Side school neighborhood.

    Yes, you are right to call it a valve school. The valve is kept in place to allow seats for non-resident teachers’ children who choose North Mianus school as their first option (most live in Stamford or commute in from that direction).

    The BOE, besides setting policy which allows non-resident children to attend our schools for $2,553 a year also makes sure they have a seat in the BEST performing schools.

    I would like each member of the BOE to answer this question for me: do you believe this is in keeping with the ethics of public education? Particularly in the state in the country with the highest opportunity gap in the nation?

  • Jodi Weisz

    Maintaining inequality is costly, emotionally and financially.

    –Jodi Weisz

    In 2010, Julian Curtiss was at the 69.9% percentile, by 2013 it dropped to the 67.2% percentile, last year it dropped to 60.9%.

    This is not an upward trend.

    Julian Curtiss is ranked 209th in the State. Here are some schools with the same “need factor” as Julian Curtiss that perform better.

    Julian Curtiss (28.8% reduced or free lunch eligible)

    Rowayton School (Norwalk 28.6%), Holland Hill School (Fairfield), Sunny Side School (35.6% Shelton) Roger’s School (40.4%–Stamford), Edith Mackrille School (44.7% West Haven), Pleasant Valley School (42.2%).

    All of these HIGH NEED schools outperform JC and not by a slim margin.

    Now, ask yourself why? And, no, Julian Curtiss scores are not going up. They are going down.

    Why would you cram an entire Town’s diversity into ONE school?

    Is this good educational pedagogy?

    The last time I toured JC I did not see 2 ESL teachers embedded in each K-3 class.

    That would be the ONLY way this school could ethically serve its student population including its non-qualified free and reduced lunch/native English speaking population. Students who are not high need are being short changed in this school.

    Greenwich runs valve schools to give seats to non-resident teachers’ children while purposefully maintaining ghettoized schools so as to prevent flight to private schools.

    Gosh, I think of all the energy that is spent on this and say, how sad!

    Is there any energy left over for innovation?

    No wonder Greenwich Public Schools needs $5,000 grants from non-profits in order to be more innovative.

    If all your energy is spent on maintaining a ghettoized school system little is left over for being cutting edge.

    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

    MLK

  • Hello Ms. Weisz – Please contact me to discuss your concerns with me over a free cup of coffee or tea that’s available for all of our Library visitors. Thanks in advance, Kevin McCarthy, Library Director

  • Jodi Weisz

    Dear Mr. McCarthy:

    Here are some suggestions for you.

    1) Examine ways you can utilize your library to outreach to children in Greenwich who do not have a local branch, like Perrot Library and have been segregated into Greenwich’s three lower performing elementary schools and attend Greenwich’s subsidized, Head Start, Family Centers preschools and Childcare centers, not PIFS. Remember: the purpose of the public library is to transcend barriers and to make accessibility to opportunity open to all end users, equally. Not based on socio-economic status through parents.

    Your small library with a big budget should be reaching the children who do not go on vacations, to the Met on Weekends, to ESF camp at Greenwich Academy, to the Suzuki Music School at Christ Church, to Old Presby, to your library for story time with their nannies. Are you?

    2) Create programs which will link your patrons to residents who live in Hamilton Avenue, Davis Avenue, Armstrong Court, Prospect Place, perhaps a community-wide book drive and summer reading book party that your library sponsors? You can set it up at St. Roch’s Childcare center each year staffed by Old Greenwich Library volunteers and staff.

    3) Keep track of the number of residents in Greenwich who use–what has sadly almost become a private association type library–that do not reside in the Old Greenwich/Riverside zip code. You receive your funding from the Town of Greenwich, so you need to have outreach to every Greenwich citizen.

    4) Seriously look at your staff budget. It is one of the most bloated public library staff budgets I have ever seen. It is possible to be a public library, in a wealthy town, (Darien is a great example), that has staff that make you feel at home the moment you walk in, rather than, I am afraid, is the current situation at your library, that one is an “out-of-towner” if one is not an “Old” Greenwichite. You are a small library with a stuffy attitude.

    I frequently jump in my car and go to the Darien Library–a beautiful library planted in a bucolic and rarified town–to get that small town, welcoming public library experience where the children’s librarian looks your child in the eye, laughs and chats about favorite books, while cleverly leading them to shelves of book ideas. They manage to manage the crowds of “outsiders” without making folks feel like the have to jump through hoops or “apply” for their exclusive programs and services.

    I recently heard a staff member at your library “sign up” a parent over the phone for a program and her “sign up procedure” was almost 5 minutes long, it sounded like an inquiry of eligibility.

    The Mum didn’t live in exclusive Riverside, so I suppose the staff member had to really screen her.

    This is NOT what a public library should be.

    And, you are a public library, not a private association library.

    Feel free to email me anytime at: jodi.weisz@yahoo.com

  • Jodi Weisz

    We need tuition paying non-resident children in our public schools.

    But, we need them to attend the three lower performing magnet schools that have the most flight from them than any other schools by a margin of 150%.

    These 120 or so non-resident children can help Greenwich solve its racial imbalance and performance gap.

    Brilliant.

    Now, this is something I would be willing to provide a $15,000 a year, per child, subsidized public education to non-residents who are not paying taxes.

    BOE: please implement this policy.

    Place all non-resident tuition paying students in one of four schools in Greenwich:

    JC, HA, NL, Western.

  • Jodi Weisz

    Solution to Racial Imbalance and Achievement Gap.

    All non-resident children, children of non tax-paying, non-residents are to attend the four racially imbalanced schools by September 2016.

    Thank you, Maura, for showing me that jaw dropping chart that reveals the flight from these lower performing schools, either how they magnet into JC or get special permission from the Superintendent.

    No non-resident tuition paying student should be attending Eastern Middle School.

    This is shocking but not surprising. When policies are carried out outside the watch of citizens this is what happens.

    Parents who justly applied to the Magnet program are not allowed to have their children continue on at Eastern because of non-residents taking up seats.

    If I was a parent of a lottery child, I would be protesting this in the front of the BOE building.

  • Jodi Weisz

    “Tuition” ($2,335) paying non-residents’ children need to be transferred to JC, NL, HA and Western by the start of the 2016 school year.

  • Chuck

    Jodi,
    The real problem is the “bloat” from town hall. The salaries for town employees is outrageous and the employees wield too much power. They can’t be fired like people who work in the private sector, so unless the corruption is stopped at the top, you won’t see any change.

    • Jodi Weisz

      I don’t think there is corruption that is being caused by anyone though, Chuck.

      I think, instead, it is an overall entitlement problem not somebody doling out jobs to cronies. CT has this massive deficit and folks–who even care–cry out it was the former administration, not mine, that caused it.

      We need to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in local government, as well as larger government, not an entitlement spirit.

      I have an issue with the fact that Town Hall hires very, very few Greenwich High graduates. The ones that do get hired over there are often given internships and treated poorly by the professional lobby of employees that live out of town.

      • Chuck

        Jodi, When a town like Greenwich has hiring practices that are suspect, that is corruption. When town employees are allowed to abuse their positions and not be held to account, that is corruption. I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s more than just an entitlement issue.

  • Allison Vera

    So where do your children go to school, Judith Weisz? Hamilton Avenue since that is the lowest performing school and you are so keen on solving this situation?

    • Maura

      No answer still!

  • Allison Vera

    Sorry, didn’t notice the Jodi had been changed to Judith.

  • Maura

    Jodi, please explain where Byram Shubert Library fits into all of your calculations and outreach comments. Its a wonderful resource, in the heart of Byram and walkable for almost all New Leb and Ham Ave families. They have great kids programs during school vacations and there has always a bilingual staff member on duty when I’ve been there.
    and I second the question – do your children attend a title 1 magnet school?

  • Allison Vera

    Very true, Maura. And when New Leb let’s out, many children go to the library until parents are home from work.

  • Jodi Weisz

    EDITED VERSION LESLIE, Sorry

    I love the placement of the Byram Library. I think it can be utilized as an architectural spring board –along with the revitalization of NL–the clean up of the field–business zone empowerment of the local area–to make this a truly great walking and living neighborhood in Greenwich.

    I think the Director of this Library has the awareness and approach necessary to run a successful public library branch in the heart of a community, although I do believe that the main library should cut a full-time reference librarian to allow for a full-time, afternoon and weekend, professional children’s librarian at Byram (like Theresa at the Darien Library), somebody with this level of magnetism, who is bilingual, has experience as a former School library media specialist, knows how to collaborate with the local school and promote reading initiatives and family literacy and can work with the part-time staff there to model positive interactions with the youth patrons. The part-time staff there can be grumpy about the kids on the loft.

    Would it be impossible to find such a person? No. This is a basic description of a trained youth services librarian, a good one.

    My name is not Judith, but it is a pretty name.

  • Jodi Weisz

    Both NL and HA schools should have had a school library media center–with a separate gate/access point that becomes openable (yet is secure and locked off from the rest of the school building) after and before school hours.

    This should be staffed by professional librarians paid for by the Greenwich Public Library to promote family literacy, early literacy intervention, summer reading among at-risk youth, after-school reading, homework help and literary cultural events.

    Many communities have these school-turned public library spaces and they are ingenious solutions.

    Research reveals that is children whose parents are already highly engaged and at the higher income levels that take their kids to the library, on average, twice month.

    The kids in the three Title 1 schools in Greenwich should have a library branch or a school library media center as described above as well as bi-annual book fairs, holiday break/ summer reading book distribution events staffed by the Greenwich Public Library’s Board of Trustees, librarians and staff members.

    This is called “outreach” in library parlance.

  • Byram Resident

    The reason why magnet students are now forced to return to their districted middle school is that the district hopes it will inhibit “white flight” from the Title 1 schools to JC and ISD. Most of the magnet students leaving NL and HA are white, which is exacerbating the problem. If you shifted the lottery priorities to favor having kids move from the Title 1 schools to ISD, you would not be doing the Title 1 schools any favors. I agree that tuition students should be spread more evenly in the district, but you’d have to include the under-enrolled schools to your mix. There’s not much room for more students at the Title 1 schools, with the exception of Western. Especially since the district doesn’t provide transportation and many Byram and Chickahominy families lack the ability to drive their kids across town to school. Jodi, JC has a very diverse enrollment but far fewer students with 2 or more needs than the HA or NL and fewer needing ELL support, which is why you see fewer ELL staff members there. You know what would really help? Affordable or free, universal, all-day pre-school. If not universal, than at least located in the schools that need the support most. It can’t end at 12:30 with no after-care support. The program we have now favors people who have the ability to pick a kid up after 3 hours of pre-k and pay more than the cost of all-day daycare with accredited pre-k programs (if looked at as cost/hr). As for our libraries, Byram should be the example to follow. It provides great programming, paid for by the Friends group, on days that school is closed and is well used by residents of all socioeconomic groups for it’s community oriented events, internet access, etc. Considering how tiny it is and how small the staff is, it provides so much. The social services-run afters program at BANC brings kids over for the great after school programming. It provides a home for the art shows of multiple area public schools as well as local artists in general. It’s an incredible place that is more deeply connected to the community than any other branch.

  • John B.

    Helloooooo… Isn’t this article about Cos Cob Starbucks ???