Exciting News from the MA ELT Initiative!
Last month, almost nine years after being declared the first 'chronically underperforming' school in the state, Fall River's Matthew J. Kuss Middle School capped off its remarkable turnaround when it received a new designation from the state: 'Level 1', the highest possible ranking of student achievement and growth. Kuss Middle School - one of the first schools to expand learning time in Massachusetts as part of the ELT Initiative - has proven that more time, when harnessed effectively by strong leadership, can drive high-quality teaching and a vibrant school culture to generate impressive results. This year, Kuss eliminated the achievement gap with the state in math and their eighth graders surpassed the state. Governor Patrick visited the school to celebrate their success a couple of weeks ago, and CBS Evening News profiled their expanded-time schedules in March. Congratulations to the committed and hardworking teachers and school staff and engaged students and families!
Across the ELT Initiative, other schools also have demonstrated extraordinary gains, with seven schools now achieving Level 1 status and six schools in Level 2. Many veterans of the ELT Initiative continued their steady progress, while the two new schools in the ELT Initiative also showed promising results on the 2013 MCAS. Both the Huntington School in Brockton and McKinley School in Revere posted impressive student growth in math, with especially dramatic gains for their students in high needs subgroups.
These results reinforce what we have been hearing from principals, teachers, parents and students in the schools themselves. At Huntington, teacher Sandra Early credits their progress to increased teacher collaboration time: "Having additional time to meet with colleagues has been the key to the Huntington's success with our students." A fifth-grader from the McKinley School remarked, "I really like ELT because we have more time and better activities like poetry. I've been here since kindergarten and last year was the best year out of all of them. Thank you ELT!" When enthusiasm like that is backed up by a steady stream of achievement gains, we should celebrate the huge impact that more time is having on young lives and thank Governor Patrick, Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Murray, and our legislative champions for their continued support of the ELT Initiative!