(BOSTON) November 1, 2017 – EdVestors, a school improvement organization in Boston, awarded its $100,000 Thomas W. Payzant School on the Move Prize to Mildred Ave. K-8 School in Mattapan for its tremendous achievement in improved school performance. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Superintendent Tommy Chang revealed the winner at a ceremony this morning. Fellow finalist schools, Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary and the Donald McKay School, both in East Boston, each received $10,000 prizes.
Now in its 12th year, the School on the Move Prize was created by EdVestors to recognize rapidly improving schools that have made exemplary progress in advancing the academic achievement of all students. The prize spotlights the daunting, yet less publicized, achievements of individual Boston Public Schools making significant strides in improving educational outcomes for students. EdVestors awards the Prize, in partnership with philanthropic sponsors, as part of the organization’s work accelerating change in urban schools.
“I congratulate the Mildred Ave. K-8 School on being awarded this year’s School on the Move Prize,” said Boston Mayor Martin J Walsh. “Education provides a solid foundation for a growing and thriving city. The School on the Move Prize is an honor that highlights the investment we have made in our children’s education and in Boston’s future. I thank EdVestors for our long-standing partnership dedicated to improving educational outcomes for our students and our school communities.”
“I commend the Mildred Ave. K-8 School and the two finalists for their passion in finding innovative solutions to engaging whole school communities in performance improvement,” said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. “All three schools celebrated here today have shown tremendous progress and provide models for schools across the city.”
Just five years ago, the 500-student Mildred Avenue K-8 School was among the lowest performing schools in the state. The Mildred is now classified as a “Level 1” school, the state’s highest ranking. The Mildred attributes its success to being “present and proactive” in its commitment to building strong student-staff relationships and to dedicating resources to create more personal learning opportunities for students.
“The Mildred’s turnaround is a story about trust,” said school Principal Andrew Rollins. “The district trusted us and gave autonomy back to the school, and we gave it back to the teachers in the classrooms. We’re incredibly proud of the work we’ve done. Just three years ago, we were at risk of being closed or taken over by the state, and now we’re winning the School on the Move Prize. It’s incredible and it’s a tribute to the hard work of our staff, students, and families.”
Rollins continued: “We invested in building strong, trusting relationships between staff and students. We created smaller class sizes so teachers could get to know their students as individuals. We also made structural changes like greeting every student as they entered school, streamlining transitions between classes, and walking the neighborhood after school to connect with kids outside of the building walls.”
Laura Perille, CEO and President of EdVestors, congratulated all three schools for their work to improve student achievement. “It is a highlight of the year to work with our philanthropic partners and our panel of Prize judges to present the annual School on the Move Prize, and to celebrate these three schools’ successes,” Perille said. “The incredible work that schools such as the Mildred Avenue, the Patrick J. Kennedy, and the Donald McKay do to achieve rapid student progress often goes unnoticed. The School on the Move Prize not only aims to recognize the amazing work of these schools, but also to elevate lessons learned for the rest of the Boston Public School district and beyond.”
To document and share key strategies from School on the Move Prize winners, this morning EdVestors also released a case study of the 2016 winner, the Phineas Bates Elementary School in Roslindale. The case study – in three best practice videos and a companion brief – illustrates how the Bates accelerated student achievement by embracing the power of teacher leadership, prioritizing social emotional learning, and pursuing an overarching vision of “Inclusion Means Everyone” where high standards and tailored supports ensure every student has the tools to succeed. Together, these strategies and supports have created a warm, welcoming, and safe school, and have fueled the Bates’ steady improvement over the past several years.
The Thomas W. Payzant School on the Move Prize is made possible by sponsors including Brown Advisory, Eastern Bank, Eaton Vance, Fidelity Investments, jetBlue, Lego Education, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Microsoft, Plymouth Rock Assurance, Rodman CPAs, and State Street Bank among other generous companies, foundations and individuals.
Hear the Mildred Avenue’s story in their own words.