Essex Tech Named Distinguished School by National Education Group

HATHORNE – Superintendent Heidi Riccio and Principal Shannon Donnelly are pleased to announce that Essex Tech has been named a Distinguished School by a national organization for exceptional student achievement.

Essex Tech is one of up to 100 schools throughout the country that is being recognized this year by the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators. The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program highlights qualifying federally funded schools for making significant improvements for their students. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides additional resources for vulnerable students and federal grants to state educational agencies to improve the quality of public elementary and secondary education.

Schools may earn the designation for excellence in one of three categories. Essex Tech is being honored for expanding Title I services to offer reading, writing, and mathematics support for students in Grades 9 and 10.

Superintendent Riccio and Principal Donnelly cite several reasons for these successes:

  • Special education teachers who were content specialists replaced paraprofessionals, and were paired with their content counterparts in a grade level academy model.
  • Teachers developed new approaches and employed research-based best practices, including a commitment to an improved co-teaching model, engaging students.
  • Teachers stressed and reinforced how advanced skills in math, English, and science are important to students’ chosen career field.

“At Essex Tech we believe that every student has the potential to succeed both academically and in their chosen technical pathway,” Superintendent Riccio said. “Our faculty and staff embraced that vision, and have worked to offer students an authentic, supportive learning experience where all are able to grow. The proof is in our success. Because we are inclusive, Essex Tech students leave with all the skills they need to be hired in high-demand jobs upon graduation.”

“We identified students who needed additional support, and by increasing our focus on applied critical thinking and problem solving, our student gained new skills and increased confidence,” Principal Donnelly said. “You can see it in the students’ faces as you walk through classrooms and program areas.”