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Springfield's Zanetti School wins national honor for turnaround success.

Published:  November 19, 2015

A collaborative team meeting of teachers at the Alfred G. Zanetti Montessori School last year. The school, which won recognition for its MCAS performance last year, was named a National Title I Distinguished School last week. (Michael S. Gordon / The Republican file)

SPRINGFIELD — The Alfred G.Zanetti Montessori Magnet School has been named a National Title I Distinguished School – one of two in the state – in recognition of its continued success in closing the achievement gap.

Tara Christian Clark.JPGTara Christian Clark 

Zanetti Principal Tara Christian Clark said on Wednesday the collaboration by teachers at the school and the addition of enrichment programs in art, music and other activities played a big part in turning around student performance at the Armory Street school over the last two years.

Zanetti "has been out of Level 4," for the last two years, Clark said.

An emphasis on in-school professional development with teams of teachers combing data and coming up with strategies to improve performance, is one of the reasons the school in no longer considered underperforming, she said.

In addition, she said, "we have art and music, Suzuki violin, ballroom dancing and a STEM club."

Those enrichment activities, supported with the help of the Community Music School of Springfield and art students from Springfield College, really motivated and "helped the kids move along," Clark said.

The school has also increased its emphasis on writing, Clark said.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also nominated Community Day Charter Public School in Lawrence for the national Title I honor.

Both schools are eligible to receive $4,000 from Title I funding that will allow districts to help defray the costs of attention the National Title I Conference, which will be held in Houston, Texas in January.

Clark said she and seven others from the school plan to attend the Houston conference.

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