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Wheeler High looking to open school to students from Preston, Voluntown

New London

NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)– North Stonington is the latest school district looking to open up its high school to students from other towns.

Wheeler High School’s department recently pitched the idea to Preston and Voluntown which sends many of their students to Norwich Free Academy.

Right now, there are about 200 students at the small public high school, and Superintendent Peter Nero believes the school can accommodate about ten more students per grade from neighboring towns.

“We think we can offer something that a lot of big schools cannot offer,” said Nero.

That something Nero is referring to is smaller class sizes, more student-athlete opportunities, and an opportunity to be part of the manufacturing pipeline which has lead students to jobs at Electric Boat.

“I think 60-something percent of our athletes…of our students participate on athletic teams and they actually play,” explained Nero.

The middle school boys’ basketball team is doing pretty well this season and there’s a good chance the students can go on to play high school ball for the Wheeler High School Lions.

Nero says that is one of the advantages of students attending high school in North Stonington.

While some school systems are hoping to recruit new students because of declining enrollment, North Stonington’s student numbers have remained steady. But now, they have a brand new middle-high school which opened last March and there has been interest in it.

The intended plan is that the towns sending students to Wheeler would cover the $11,433 tuition, which would go into the town’s general fund. It would “go back to the taxpayers, help to defray the cost of education here,” explained Nero.

The superintendent says students would also benefit, citing diversity “for our kids.”

At one time students from eleven different countries including Zambia attended school here. 

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