North End’s Eliot K-8 School Achieves Top MCAS Scores

Eliot School Scores Keep Rising
Boston Public School that was failing six years ago is now pulling top scores in the city

Just six years ago, the Eliot K-8 School’s MCAS scores were among the worst in the city. But today, under the leadership of Principal Traci Walker-Griffith, this public school in Boston’s North End is the city’s top school in English Language Arts and second in Math based on the same MCAS scale.

The 2012-2013 test scores released today show 82% of Eliot School students advanced or proficient in math, compared to 24% in 2008, and 80% advanced or proficient in English Language Arts. Sixth graders’ math MCAS scores are the highest in Massachusetts. Student scores have increased steadily at the Eliot for six years, even as the school doubled in size.

“Traci hires role models as teachers,” says Joy McDonald, who has two children at the Eliot, “They are raising good kids even before the great academics.”

Last year, the Eliot was awarded Innovation status by the state, giving the school autonomy and flexibility in key areas including: curriculum, budget, and staffing. This flexibility, along with support from the state and city, helps the school meet student needs.

The school continues to serve students with disabilities in an inclusive environment, a strategy that has paid off. In just the last year, MCAS scores of advanced/proficient for students with disabilities rose to 74% in math, compared to a district average of 13%. In English Language Arts, students with disabilities achieving this level rose to 69%, compared to a district average of 15%.

Principal Griffith, a Lynch Leadership Academy Fellow, arrived at the Eliot in 2007 just before the school was named a Commonwealth Priority School and put on the list to be considered for closure. In the years since, she has worked tirelessly with the school’s families, teachers, and community to turn the school around.

“For five years as a public school and now one year as an innovation school, our spectacular students and fantastic faculty have worked hard, grown, and improved,” says Principal Griffith, “I am proud to be part of this supportive community and look forward to another year of amazing achievement.”

18 Replies to “North End’s Eliot K-8 School Achieves Top MCAS Scores

  1. Don’t underplay this. That’s first out of 554 schools across the Commonwealth, competing against schools where the kids are going to private test prep and tutoring. Eliot kids came in on weekends for MCAS boot camp whille prepping for the ISEE as well – both run by Eliot teachers on their own time. Their dedication and hard work should be recognized by all North Enders.

    1. Not downplaying anything as success is success, BUT the MCAS boot camp & ISEE prep you refer to is, well, for all intents and purposes “test prep” which you state all the private school students take part in… Just sayin’

  2. The Eliot school seems to be doing something very right in Maths and something very wrong in sciences. It is the same capable students. If you look at the numbers you will see what I mean. They have accomplished much to be proud of. I hope they can improve the sciences.

    1. The science scores have been dismal for years so I am not holding my breath for improvement any time soon when the focus is on passing the Math/ELA portions of MCAS (except for 10th grade when the student need a passing score on the Science section as well for graduation), but that wouldn’t apply to the Eliot so maybe that’s why it’s not a priority?

    1. Something’s funny with the numbers. Why are there only 23 scores reported for 3rd grade when there are supposed to be 2 sections with 24 kids each? Also, I’m sure this new principal is an improvement, but when I hear her & Eliot parents touting “changing the demographics” it makes me wonder if cleansing the school of the “undesirable elements” is fair in a public school system and how she did it so quickly within the rules of the lottery system? Did the quality of teaching actually improve or has she somehow cherry picked students who naturally test better? Public education is supposed to provide equal access to education for all, if people want to create an upper middle class enclave for their kids go to private school.

      1. G, I am not sure where you are getting your numbers from: 23 scores? 2 sections of 24?

        3rd English 11 60 29 0 35 (100%) 252 of 955
        3rd Math 43 46 11 0 35 (100%) 66 of 955

        I see 35 students included for 3rd grade and to my knowledge there are not 24 students in the “inclusion” class (those classes are smaller, 15 or 18 students, I think).

      2. I think you may be confused, there is no “change in demographics” at the Eliot School. The school culls from over 30 neighborhoods in Boston and is wonderfully diverse, just like all other Boston public schools which get assigned children through the same lottery that applies to the Eliot. The Eliot’s success began when Traci took them helm and has continued because of her leadership coupled with very committed teachers and very committed families. We should applaud this great public school and support all that it adds to the North End and downtown Boston, allowing families to stay in the city and raise their children here without sacrificing a quality education or paying tens of thousands of dollars a year for private school.

          1. Wow, JD! Now that I look at the profiles (via your link) I am seeing a shift so to speak. Interesting. Very interesting.

        1. Sorry, I tried to post this before and only now realized it didn’t work. When I looked at the link that JD sent about DOE demographic data the most dramatic evidence of an intentional shift toward gentrification was the data on students designated by the state as low income:

          2007 Low income 75.6%
          2013 Low income 42.7%

          Again you have to ask how such huge demographic shift could possible occur “at random” following the rules of the lottery? What is going on here?

  3. That statistic shows a pretty big shift to occur at”random” over a short time period. The Lottery was drawing from the same neighborhoods the whole time, and the neighborhoods have not had any dramatic shift in racial makeup since the new principal came to the Eliot, but the school has. I reread the press release sent from the school and wonder if innovation status gives her flexibility with the lottery too? Also, maybe she is getting an award or something because the article is written more about her accomplishments than the kids.

  4. I don’t think there is any manipulation with the lottery. I cannot even figure out how that can be done.

    When my daughter was in grammar school (many, many years ago), the Eliot was not a popular place with neighborhood families. Everyone went to Catholic schools or private schools (those that could afford it). A very large number of the Eliot students arrived by bus from other neighborhoods. And there were many vacant desks. I hear in its final days before the turnaround, the school was being considered for closure.

    With the new principal, the results improved so people in the neighborhood and close by entered the lottery and got preference because of ‘walk zone’ preference.

    That is the way the numbers and percentages changed.

    1. NE Library Fan,

      While I agree with you that the Eliot was slated for closure and had a very bad reputation years ago and most parents sent there kids elsewhere and now more “locals” have their children attending the Eliot…We can agree to disagree that there isn’t any manipulation in regards to the lottery (and not just at the Eliot). The BPS lottery can and has been manipulated for various personal/political reasons.

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