Greenwich Tops State List With Six ‘Schools of Distinction’

Town of Greenwich Board of Education building, located on Greenwich Avenue. (Paul Silverfarb photo)

By Paul Silverfarb
Sentinel Editor

The Connecticut State Department of Education came out with its “Schools of Distinction” for the 2015-16 school year on Feb. 28, and Greenwich was well represented.

Of the more than 116 schools honored for highest achievement or highest growth, Greenwich had six schools named to the list, tied with Ridgefield and Danbury for the most schools honored in the state.

“We are proud to be one of only three districts in the state to have six of our schools designated as Schools of Distinction through the State Department of Education’s Next Generation Accountability Report,” said Greenwich Interim Superintendent Dr. Sal Corda. “The keys to success for any school include strong leadership with a clear vision, high quality instruction delivered by caring teachers, a rigorous curriculum, and access to a variety of data that help to guide teachers in personalizing learning for every student.”

The Greenwich schools named to the Schools of Distinction list are International School at Dundee, North Mianus School, North Street School, Old Greenwich School, Parkway School and Riverside School.

“We are extremely proud of our school and all of the schools that were recognized as Schools of Distinction,” said Jill Flood, principal of North Street School. This is a great honor for the staff and the students, as it reinforces all of the great work they are doing on a daily basis. Our school is committed to providing a personalized learning environment where all students can be successful and reach their full potential. Teachers are implementing new instructional strategies in a blended learning environment, with a focus on critical thinking and creative problem solving and our students are enthusiastically engaged in this work. It is terrific to have the results of their hard work and dedication recognized.”

According to the State Department of Education, a school that is honored in the Schools of Distinction must fall in the top 10 percent of schools using the Accountability Index score, have a top 10 percent of schools with the highest growth for all students or for the high-needs group (free or reduced price lunch, English language learners, and students in special education or the top 10 percent of schools (among those without growth) with improvement in the accountability index.

“Old Greenwich School is honored to be recognized as a School of Distinction,” said Jennifer Bencivengo, principal of Old Greenwich School. “It is a testament to the hard work each day of our teaching staff and students. Their targeted instruction and response to regular data collection, particularly in the area of math, has proved effective in meeting the needs of our students.”

On the Connecticut State Department of Education’s website, Connecticut’s Next Generation Accountability System is a set of 12 performance measures designed to give a more comprehensive and holistic picture of how schools and students are performing.

The Accountability System is designed as a way for the state to measure success in both schools and districts, with the goal of providing students with a quality education that prepares them for success in the future. All schools get a score based on a formula that incorporates the accountability system indicators.

“On a regular basis, I witness teachers posing rigorous instructional problems to solve and students taking accountability for solving those problems,” Corda said. “I am awed by the depth of learning that occurs as teachers facilitate student choice and voice in how they solve complex problems in mathematics, history, language arts, science, art, music and so much more. I see evidence of this good work in each of our Schools of Distinction, and in fact, in all of our schools.”

From around the area, other towns fared well in having schools named to the list. In addition to both Danbury and Ridgefield having six schools each that were named, Trumbull, Fairfield and Stratford each had four schools named, New Canaan and Darien each had three and both Westport and Bethel each had two.

About Author: Paul Silverfarb

Paul Silverfarb, has been editing and reporting on events throughout Connecticut for over a decade. Mr. Silverfarb is quite familiar with Fairfield County, as he grew up in Trumbull, currently resides in Fairfield. Throughout over two decades, he has worked as the editor-in-chief at the Sentinel, as well as sports editor of the Sentinel, Greenwich Post and Norwalk Citizen~News. He graduated from Keene State College in New Hampshire.

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