The Paterson Gifted and Talented Academy has been named a National Title I Distinguished School on Monday morning for exceptional student performance for two or more years in a row.
“This is outstanding news for our district and I am so proud of our School 28 staff and students. This elementary school overcame many challenges; and to be recognized as a National Title 1 Distinguished School is truly an exceptional accomplishment,” said state-appointed district superintendent Donne Evans.
The school was one of two recommended by the New Jersey Department of Education for recognition this year. The school was selected for “the success of the school’s educational programs and progress made by your students,” according to a letter to the school from the National Title I Association, an outfit that recognizes outstanding schools serving students from low-income families. “Each state may only name two schools as National Title I Distinguished Schools per year, so this is an especially prestigious honor.”
Schools are selected based on three criteria. Exceptional performance for two or more years. Closing the achievement gap. And excellence in serving special populations like homeless, migrant, English learner students.
Paterson Gifted and Talented Academy was selected for exceptional performance.
“We are extremely honored to be recognized by the State as a National Title 1 Distinguished School,” said Nancy Castro, principal at the Paterson Gifted and Talented Academy at School 28. “School 28/Paterson Academy for the Gifted & Talented is committed to creating a rigorous learning environment with academically and socially successful students. As a team, we have a responsibility to help our children strive for excellence, while addressing the needs of the whole child. Overall, our goal is to develop a growth mindset and create a love of learning and resilience that is crucial for success.”
School advocates also celebrated the academy which educates 494 students in Pre-K through 8th grades.
“I think it’s phenomenal. It’s great to have bright spots. It shows if we put the right resources behind our kids they can soar,” said Rosie Grant, executive director of the Paterson Education Fund, an education advocacy.
The district has been selecting its best students and sending them to the Paterson Gifted and Talented Academy since the program opened in September of 2012. “If we treated all our kids as gifted and talented they would all do better than they are doing now,” said Grant.
Students of School 28 had more than 97-percent proficiency in both the language arts and math sections of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
The school will receive $15,000 in grant as part of the recognition to attend the 2017 National Title I Conference in Long Beach, Calf. on February 22-25, 2017 where all distinguished schools will be honored.
“Paterson Public Schools continues to make great progress and we are determined to provide every child with a quality education that prepares them for college and career,” said Evans.