Principal Allyson Vitato is a motivator who brings deep thought, expertise and persistent, hands-on hard work to Breckinridge Franklin Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky, and the success of her effort at this once struggling school is undeniable.
Vitato heads a learning community with measurable goals and specific strategies that result in growth and achievement. She supports teachers’ collaborative learning because she believes that effective teaching produces effective learning. One way her success is evident is in Breckinridge’s meteoric rise in test scores, from being ranked in the 19th percentile in the district, to the 30th percentile in 2012, to ranking in the 64th percentile—as well as surpassing her school’s Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) benchmark by 8 points—in the most recent assessment period. Her school has made documented gains in every subject and in every grade level since her installation as principal.
In addition, Vitato enhances her students’ learning experience and garners significant community support by initiating partnerships with a number of local organizations, soliciting additional extra resources and providing innovative afterschool programming not often accessible in an urban elementary school. The communications program magnet in conjunction with WLKY News, Bellarmine College and the Courier-Journal is one example of the engaged atmosphere that Vitato has created, as are park dedications, community clean-up days and other civic events where Breckinridge students participate.
Most importantly, Vitato has high expectations of every student, and she constructs an environment where they can achieve all that is expected and more. Every student in Breckinridge has an intervention plan, identifying their areas of strength and weakness, as well as any issues that impact their ability to learn. Vitato personally refers to and follows up on these plans daily. Diligently combining data and personal connection is the key to Vitato’s success in transforming Breckinridge into a proficient and vibrant school.
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