Assistant Managing Editor
SPRINGFIELD Arthur T. Talmadge School students and staff are starting the new school year as one of the top Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) scorers in the state.
While the school continually does well on the test across the board, last year's third grade students finished second in the state in reading and first in the state in math, and the fifth graders finished first in the state in math.
Principal Elizabeth Crowley said the scores are the results of hard work, tenacious teachers, supportive parents and a culture of academic rigor.
Catherine Adona, whose son Joseph was one of the fifth graders who participated in last year's MCAS, said she has always been pleased with the education he received at Talmadge and believes it has aided his transition to middle school.
"They have high expectations for the children. They are expected to do well and put the time in," Adona said, adding that one of the strengths of the school is its small population.
Fourth grader Ilenia Politi said that she feels challenged by her teachers and during MCAS preparation, which they have at least three times a week preceding the exam, teachers explain everything in manner which offers her some comfort.
"They said always read the little print before you read your stories. Mrs Izzo said 'take your time. It's OK. You have to take your time on this test and try to do your best because other kids may finish earlier and you don't want to rush yourself,'" Politi recalled.
Crowley said results are a effort of students, staff and community members such as the before school tutoring program sponsored by United Bank.
"I just want to congratulate all of the entities and let them know how much we appreciate everybody working so hard to get the results we've gotten," Crowley added.