John C. Tilton School, 70 Grove St. (Courtesy photograph.)
The city received notice Friday of a $900,000 grant to help “turnaround” standardized test scores at Tilton School.
Mayor James J. Fiorentini and school Superintendent James F. Scully said the two-year state education grant focuses on transforming the “environment, culture and instruction” at the elementary school. “The turnaround plan is designed to increase rigorous learning outcomes for all students,” a statement said.
“This grant will help us achieve our goals with the turnaround plan that was developed and submitted by the dedicated teachers at the school,” Fiorentini said.
WHAV first reported in January the city’s plans to seek a state turnaround grant. At the time, the total being discussed was only a third of what the city was ultimately awarded.
“The awarding of this grant is indicative of the hard work of the principal and the staff at the Tilton School,” Scully said. “They are on the front lines everyday trying to do what is right for the children in the Tilton neighborhood.”
Tilton Principal Bonnie Antkowiak added, “It started with the “We Believe Motto” and the teachers believing in the students and the students believing in themselves. We showed increases in our scores last year, which gave us the ability to apply for this grant…The teachers were the driving force behind the turnaround plan. When you believe, great things happen!”
In addition to academics, the turnaround plan recognizes the importance of the social and emotional climate that is necessary to increase the effectiveness of the core instructional programs, officials said. Besides school climate and culture, other areas aimed at elevating test scores at the Level Three school are leadership, shared responsibility and professional collaboration; intentional practices for improving instruction; and student-specific supports and instruction to all students.
Plans call for a Transition to Early Literacy Center for grades kindergarten through third grade; busing for all students and changing the daily schedule to improve staff collaboration and flexible delivery of instructional and social/emotional supports for all children. On the back end, Tilton is expected to establish effective data practices and create a new organizational structure.