Relive the learning from the 2019 EL Education National Conference.
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Rochester Principal Laurel Avery-DeToy Recognized for Commitment to Excellence

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    EL Education

Congratulations to Laurel Avery-DeToy, Principal of Roberto Clemente #8, an EL Education network partner. She was recently named 2018 School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) Elementary Administrator of the Year for Region 11.

Laurel Avery-DeToy, Principal of Roberto Clemente #8 in Rochester, NY, was recently named 2018 School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) Elementary Administrator of the Year for Region 11.

This award is given annually to a SAANYS/NAESP member who has distinguished herself/himself as an elementary school principal. The criteria include:

  • The nominee sets the pace, character, and quality of education for the children in the school.
  • The nominee is a practicing principal who is committed to excellence.
  • The nominee has made a commitment to parents and community.
  • The nominee has shown evidence of outstanding contributions to the community and the educational process.

In accepting the award, Laurel noted: “This award belongs to our entire community. We are stronger together than we are apart.”

Roberto Clemente #8 is a district school in Rochester, NY that had been an EL Education network school partner for seven years and has been using EL Education’s Language Arts curriculum since 2014. Ninety-seven percent of Roberto Clemente students qualify for free and reduced lunch. The school population is predominantly African American. 

Laurel was poised to retire last year after more than 33 years as an educator, but the students and staff at Roberto Clemente changed her mind. “I knew it wasn’t the right time to leave. We weren’t finished with our work,” she said.

Roberto Clemente had been placed in receivership status just before Laurel became principal three years ago.  This means that student performance level was persistently well-below expectations set by New York State. Today, the school is on track with its growth targets – 44.1% in ELA and 46% in math based on NWEA/MAP.  More than 90% of students can articulate Habits of Work and Learning, suspensions are down 68%, and disciplinary actions are down 45%.

What has led to the school’s resurgence?

“Perseverance, hard work, and a community dedicated to our students,” Laurel noted. 

EL Education has been an important partner in the school’s progress. Specifically, she said that EL Education’s leader and teacher coaching and its literacy curriculum have helped moved academics forward. Additionally, EL has helped to build a high functioning Leadership Team, gradually releasing ownership for the strategic planning cycle to the team.  

Laurel also pointed to a unique partnership with Genesee Community Charter School, another EL Education school in Rochester.  The grant-funded partnership focuses on sharing learnings with EL Education’s K-2 Language Arts curriculum. “The partnership has been powerful. Our students are making good progress with the curriculum modules,” Laurel said.

Looking ahead, Laurel said that retirement is still in the picture…just not right now. “Everyone has come together to make the progress happen – teachers, students, parents, and the community. I am so grateful we are sharing this transformational experience. I’m not going anywhere. I’m an owner, not a renter in our school’s achievement journey. I’m invested in doing this work together as a team.”