Superintendent Tammy Mangus and Executive Director of Special, Summer and After-School Programs Dana Taylor were presented with the Eugene T. Reville Award for Service to Education for the Monticello Central School District during the Every Person Influences Children (EPIC) annual Heroes Reception in Buffalo, New York on Nov. 8.
The award, named for former Buffalo Superintendent of Schools Eugene T. Reville, who has been widely credited with sparking transformational changes in the Buffalo school system during the Civil Rights Era, recognizes leaders and organizations who have fostered similar positive educational changes in their own communities.
Welcoming the pair up to the stage to receive their award, the EPIC awards team spoke of the strong foundation for family engagement that the two have built at the MCSD:
On behalf of EPIC and the Reville family, we are pleased to present the Eugene T. Reville Award for Service in Education to Dana Taylor and Tammy Mangus for the MCSD. The MCSD has achieved similar results to those in the Buffalo Public School District under Reville’s leadership. Absentee rates and disciplinary referrals have declined, while test scores have increased. With Tammy and Dana’s leadership, the school district has increased its commitment to family and community engagement . The lack of economic security has led many families in the region to experience transgenerational trauma, which has manifested itself in the classroom as poor academic outcomes, chronic absenteeism and disruptive behaviors. They believed that if these barriers could be removed, then students could succeed. They also knew that the district could not operate in a vacuum and they began the task of finding pathways towards developing relationships with families and community. The needs of the Monti community were vast and diverse and Tammy and Dana knew it would require the assistance of a vast and diverse group of agencies and community organizations to work with the district’s students. They also understand that parents truly hold the key to supporting students and their success.
With the help of a team of critical partners and a group of dedicated Monticello staff members, the district launched a series of programs, events and strategies all designed to enable students and their parents to reach their full potential. Now, mothers who never mastered algebra have the opportunity to learn math strategy skills alongside their own children. Fathers without a vehicle can accompany their children on field trips to museums to spark their curiosity. Children from chronically stressed homes share mindfulness tips that they learn from school Social and Emotional Wellness (SEW) facilitators with their parents. Teens who have had chronic behavioral problems now learn how to make better choices with a restorative, rather than punitive approach to discipline through the ASPIRE (Achieving Success through Preparation, Inspiration, Readiness and Enthusiasm) program at the high school. Families are able to develop a sense of school pride and community spirit through new traditions such as the Panther Pride Ride, Welcome Back BBQ and Family Movie Nights.
With the addition of the grant-funded My Brother’s Keeper program and Empire After-School Program, the District’s mission to create a culture of success in the Monticello community continues to grow exponentially.
“Education equals opportunities,” Ms. Mangus said. “Our vision for Monticello is one where each and every student receives an education that serves as a springboard for a life of limitless opportunities. I am exceedingly grateful for the team of folks here in Monticello who share our vision and work hard to make it a reality.”