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From worst to first - Failing P.S. 270 scores an ‘A’ this year

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Last year, P.S. 270 was a failing school. Now it’s one of the best in the city.

The Clinton Hill school just received an A on its annual progress report from the city Department of Education (DOE).

“I feel elated because we’ve been doing the work to improve the school and to move children and to give them a well-rounded curriculum,” Principal Mitra Lutchman told this paper.

The A grade is especially rewarding for P.S. 270, located at 241 Emerson Place, because the school received an F on its progress report last year and was on the state’s list of failing schools in 1998.

Lutchman, who became principal that same year, credits the turnaround to a dedicated staff and educational improvements.

“The AP [assistant principal] and myself – she’s been here 10 years and I’ve been here nine years. We have a veteran staff. We’re like a family,” he said.

As principal, Lutchman has implemented a series of new programs to prepare students for standardized mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) exams, the results of which are the basis of progress report grades.

“We try to get the kids ready and we try to make it exciting,” Lutchman said. “We have customized instruction through a test prep program and our Saturday classes. I bring breakfast and we sit and we talk. I try to know all the kids by their first name and their scores and help them achieve.”

At the Saturday sessions, students use computer programs to determine which areas they require additional instruction in.

“That program shows us each child’s strengths and weaknesses,” Lutchman said.

There’s also been extra guidance for teachers.

“I told the teachers that we have to differentiate the instruction and we have to change our practices,” the principal explained. “A lot of professional development was provided for the teachers. When you do professional development and you get teachers to focus on teaching and learning, then you can move children.”

It’s the schoolchildren who might be the most excited about the progress report grade.

Upon seeing their photos in a city newspaper, beaming students ran to their principal and asked that an announcement be made over the loudspeaker to the whole school.

“They’re very excited,” Lutchman said. “I congratulated them because they worked very hard to achieve the A. Hard work pays off.”

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