Award Year: 2017
Morris Street School is a community of learners committed to educating the whole child, striving for excellence and improving student achievement every day.
- 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
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.