Raising the Bar

Raising the Bar

Booker T. Washington Academy emphasizes small class sizes and individualized instruction.

Small class sizes and focused instruction pays off

Booker T. Washington Academy was launched four years ago with a mission to create a high-achieving school for children from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Because many of its students enter kindergarten with low vocabulary levels, the school has put its resources into focused instruction to help these children catch up.

The school has extended hours and spends at least three-and-a-half hours on reading and writing. And the results are showing. The school ranks in the top two percent in math and top twenty percent in language arts in the latest round of standardized testing. 

“While the test scores are important, our program is comprehensive,” says Executive Director John A. Taylor, Jr.. “Our students are well-rounded, getting Spanish, music, dance, and the arts.” 

The K-4 charter school was founded under the direction of the Eldren Morrison, former pastor of Varick A.M.E. Zion, following a series of conversations with parents in the Dixwell and Newhallville communities. It opened in 2014 as a K-2 school in Wooster Square and in August 2016, the academy relocated to 804 State Street, where it currently serves 300 students in Kindergarten through 4th grade.  The academy plans to expand to Pre-K thru Grade 8.

To deliver on its mission, the school makes sure that there are always two adult staff in each room until third grade. In addition to stressing academics, Booker T also emphasizes character development. 

“Because we started fresh, we could build something based on best practices right out of the gate,” says Taylor.

Booker T. Washington Academy is a participant in the Great Give and has an organization fund with The Community Foundation. 
 

Did you know?

In February 2018, the CT State Department of Education designated the Booker T. Washington Academy as a "School of Distinction" and gave the school a Category 1 rating.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

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