Award Year: 2017

Morris Street Elementary School

28 Morris Street
Danbury, CT, 06810-5473

(203) 797-4809

Mr. William Daniel Santarsiero, Principal at time of Nomination

Title I School

Danbury School District

School Website


Morris Street School is a community of learners committed to educating the whole child, striving for excellence and improving student achievement every day.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 7%
  • White: 14%
  • Hispanic: 71%
  • Asian: 5%
  • Two or more races: 3%
  • ELL: 50%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: 85%
Principal William Santarsiero and Morris Street students at an award ceremony

Principal William Santarsiero and Morris Street students at an award ceremony

Morris Street School is an innovative high performing Kindergarten through grade 5 elementary school located in an inner city neighborhood. Morris Street School is one of 13 elementary schools in Danbury, Connecticut and serves 365 students, 90% of whom live in poverty; our minority enrollment is over 70%.

Twenty years ago Morris Street School was the lowest performing school with a large achievement gap. Wanting to remediate this, Principal Santarsiero and his staff decided upon a plan of action which required a complete overhaul of school operations. Principal Santarsiero ensured that only the finest teachers and staff would work with our students.

Many strategies were put into place; all of them remain. We moved to a Distributive Leadership Model, conducted meetings utilizing a modified version of Robert's Rules of Order, conducted SRBI and Data Team meetings with agendas and with great fidelity, instituted day-long 6-week rotational Grade Level Meetings, adopted school-wide norms of behavior, added an interventionist model to provide small, flex group services to all students in Tiers 2 and 3 of the SRBI process, added a Family Resource Center, and reached out to the community for student mentors.

Our Morris Street School community has learned that by implementing all strategies with great fidelity and with a strong sense of purpose, sustaining growth in all areas would be possible. This, coupled with an outstanding school culture, has allowed us to create a school environment which is warm, open, welcoming, and where student learning excels daily.