no avatar

Software crash makes for a 'challenging start'

By JOE CENTERS • Aug 28, 2019 at 6:00 PM

The computer is a great thing when it is working.

When it isn’t ... that’s another story.

It was an interesting first week for Norwalk City Schools with its busing.

Superintendent George Fisk said it was a challenging start to the school year.

“Our transportation software crashed, so we were doing everything with paper and pencil. We continue to go over the bus routes by hand.”

Busing problems early on is nothing new, but this made it even tougher.

Other than that Fisk said it’s full steam ahead for the district and its six schools — Maplehurst, League and Pleasant elementaries, Main Street, Norwalk Middle and Norwalk High schools.

“We had a small group of new teachers this year, but all of them are very good ones and we are excited to have them,” Fisk said.

“At the high school we have a new Esports team. ... It’s gaming. We are one of 30 or so high schools in the state that has started an Esports team. It’s an opportunity for our kids to get involved in extra-curricular activities. Provide another way for out students to be involved other than in the classroom.”

Esports (also known as electronic sports, e-sports, or eSports) is a form of competition using video games. Most commonly, it takes the form of organized, multi-player video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams.

How big is Esports?

Kyle Giersdorf, who is best known as "Bugha" in the gaming world, took home $3 million recently for winning the Fortnite World Cup, according to a story in USA Today. The 16-year-old beat out the 40 million players who entered the online competition, which was whittled down to 100 participants who went at it at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

Epic Games, the parent company behind Fornite, already had doled out $10 million in cash during the first round, with another $30 million going to the game's top players during the weekend. 

Fisk also talked about the “wellness” money the district received from the state.

Right now the concern is more than just pencils and books.

“You have to,” Fisk said. “Something is changing and we have to be ready for their needs.

“The needs from a mental health aspect are growing. It has changed. Thankfully the state is providing money to help with those needs. It would have been better if they had given us more local control, but we will take what we get.”

Fisk said there are no new STEM labs this year, “but the STEM labs we have are all full.” STEM stands for science, technology, education and math.

The school year opened with a bang Thursday at Pleasant Elementary when the students were welcomed with a pep rally that included drummers, music, cheering teachers and a VIP welcome which included Fisk, director of operations Corey Ream, Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan and police Chief Mike Conney.

“The VIP welcome back was an amazing experience,” Fisk said. “We are fortunate here in Norwalk with a stellar staff that really shines. They are people first and educators second. They are concerned with the well-being of our students.

He also talked about the support from the community, including another successful Stuff the Bus event. Norwalk city and Catholic schools distribute donated supplies to students.

“We are getting help from everybody,” Fisk said. “Both the districts in our community — Norwalk city and Norwalk Catholic — are well supported.

“Norwalk is a special place.”

Concerning Whitney Field, Fisk said there was a delay with the new visitors’ bleachers, so temporary ones are coming in this week and will be up for the entire season. As far as the parking lot, local contractors were in over the weekend on their own time putting in pipes, drains and crushed asphalt. Workers were rolling the parking lot Monday to get it ready for St. Paul’s season opener Saturday night.

“Our contractors are amazing,” Fisk said.