Shelton schools: Four earn distinctive honor

Four of Shelton’s public schools have earned high marks from the state of Connecticut.
Booth Hill School, Elizabeth Shelton School, Long Hill School and Sunnyside School were each tabbed as Schools of Distinction in the state’s Next General Accountability indexes released Friday. This is the third consecutive year Booth Hill and Sunnyside schools have received this honor, while this is the second such recognition for Elizabeth Shelton and Long Hill schools.

Overall, the state’s Next Generation Accountability indexes show an upswing in the number of students improving in their own math and reading performance from one year to the next, taking more college level courses, graduating on time and taking an art course before they leave high school.
Combined, the state’s 968 schools pulled a score of 74.9 out of 100 on an index developed by the state and approved by the U.S. Department of Education. That compares to a statewide score of 73.2 score in 2016-17.
Booth Hill School finished with a score of 91.1, with Elizabeth Shelton School at 85.6, Long Hill School at 85.5 and Sunnyside School at 82.1. Overall, the Shelton school district’s score rose to 80.1, up from 76.37 the previous year.
“We’ve done very well,” said school Superintendent Dr. Christ Clouet, referring to the district’s score of 80.1 “Statistically, we are very similar to Monroe and Milford, and that’s because of hard work of teachers. I am also very appreciative of the students who take this seriously and work hard to do the best they can. Their hard work, along with teachers hard work, made this happen.”
Clouet was so proud when he heard the news, he visited all four schools and announced the honor.
“This shows that we are doing as lot of the right things here in Shelton,” said Clouet. “There is always room for improvement, but we are on the right path.”
"I am thrilled for our students, teachers and families on this academic recognition for the third year in a row," said Amy Yost, Sunnyside School principal. "The Shelton public schools are committed to supporting student success in many facets, academics being one of them. We take pride in developing well-rounded students."
“This honor and achievement would not be possible without the hard work of our devoted teachers, support staff, and students,” said Long Hill School Principal Andrea D’Aiuto. “Long Hill is also grateful for the continuous support we receive from our families.”
Elizabeth Shelton School Principal Bev Belden said the entire school community is honored to receive this recognition.

"I appreciate the hard work and effort that our staff, students and parents have out forth, as well as the support of our central office staff," said Belden.

Dr. James Zavodjancik, principal at Booth Hill School, credited the hard work of the entire school community in making this honor a reality for the third year.

"It demonstrates that we are not only on course," said Zavodjancik, "but leading the way in improving student outcomes on multiple measures that matter.
The state release includes a list of 130 Schools of Distinction based on achievement or growth. Of them, 43 schools come from so-called alliance districts where needs are high. One or more schools from Bridgeport, Derby, Fairfield, Milford, Monroe, Oxford, Shelton and Trumbull made that list.

In place for four years now, the index takes a more holistic view of student performance. The index combines 12 measures and judges them against goals set by the state.
In addition to scores, and graduation rates, the index factors in absenteeism, physical fitness, how many students go onto college, and for the past three years, how much students improve over time. Of all the measures, academic growth counts the most, state officials said.
Clouet called the state’s index a “much more nuanced look at school achievement,” and the 12 indicators used in the process are “truly indicators of what a healthy school district looks like.
“Test scores are part of (the index), but in addition there is a focus on access to the arts, absenteeism, physical fitness standards — it looks at the whole child,” said Clouet. “I am pleased to see our teachers and school leaders work hard to lift up all the kids. Growth is fundamental to this set of indicators, it’s not just scores. The growth we’ve shown in Shelton is incredible.”
There are many variables and schools and districts with identical index scores can have very different profiles based on where their strengths lie, state officials said.