MORRISONVILLE - School may be out for the summer, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on at Morrisonville Elementary School.
The school has received much recognition over the past year from Supporting Successful Strategies to Achieve Improved Results Project - a state-level program also known as S3TAIR - for being a learning institution which has implemented and sustained curriculum that aids students with disabilities. Now, Morrisonville Elementary is being recognized on the
In a July 15 interview, S3TAIR regional facilitator Job Thomas revealed Morrisonville Elementary was to be one of three schools in New York State to be highlighted at a symposium in Washington, D.C., July 19-22. The focus of the symposium was to demonstrate how states utilized federal grant funding to improve education.
Last year, Morrisonville Elementary was observed by S3TAIR and found to be one of approximately 50 schools validated for outstanding practices in three instructional areas - reading/literacy instruction, positive behavioral intervention and supports, and effective delivery of special education instructional services. Morrisonville Elementary was and continues to be the only school in the entire state to receive validation in all three areas.
It was under the direction of Bradley J. Ott, now retired principal of Morrisonville Elementary, that Thomas credits much of the progress made at the school.
"Mr. Ott's effective transformational leadership over the past 20 years has really contributed positively to all the things that we see at Morrisonville," said Thomas.
In addition to working collaboratively with Morrisonville Elementary staff over the years, Thomas said Ott's continued efforts to publicize the school's triumphs in the media was something that helped the school stand out.
"It's just another example of some of the things that he has done as a leader that's really contributed to the school and obviously improved outcomes for not just students with disabilities, but all students," said Thomas. Ott said he was honored to learn of the recognition, calling it an opportunity that comes along "once in a lifetime."
"These accolades just keep coming but they're not something that we even went looking for," said Ott. "It's a tremendous feeling that I think my colleagues and I need to take a step back to truly appreciate. National recognition like this doesn't happen everyday. It's incredibly exciting news."
Though Ott said he was "extremely humbled and flattered" Thomas lauded his leadership, he added it was "the people who do the work" that deserve the credit.
"It's very nice to be recognized as a contributor to work that has been honored," said Ott. "And, to have Job suggest my contribution as a leader was a catalyst to enable this to occur is a very high honor and a great accomplishment."
Morrisonville Elementary was also selected earlier this year to be a mentor school - one of 14 such schools to achieve that level of excellent and receive a $10,000 grant. The grant will assist the school with helping S3TAIR document what Morrisonville Elementary has done to become a standout school. The money will help with hiring substitute teachers so S3TAIR representatives may conduct interviews with staff, pay for travel when staff members are invited to speak at other schools, and other necessary items for helping S3TAIR conduct its research.
Thomas said he believes by Morrisonville and other like schools sharing their recipe for success, more and more schools could reach such a level of excellence.
"I definitely think it really depends on the ability of a school district to really take a step back, reflect and say, 'Where are we right now? What are the things we need to do to refine them? And, are there models out there that can help support us?,'" said Thomas. "It can happen in any school."