"Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way." Booker T. Washington
“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” Booker T. Washington
In 2008, Rev. Eldren Morrison, former pastor of Varick A.M.E. Zion church and the visionary behind Booker T. Washington Academy, had a conversation with parents and church members about their educational needs. The concensus, or common thread of these discussions, was that there were very few options (at that time) for schools in the Dixwell and Newhallville communities. Even greater was the concern about the scholars in these communities coming to the end of their K-12 journey unable to meet basic entry requirements for college or the workforce.
After various school visits and more conversations with parents and members, the vision to begin a school for Dixwell/Newhallville families began to manifest. Discussions in 2008 and 2009 with a select number of New Haven educators resulted in a Board of Directors who would be instrumental in executing this great vision. After great consideration, Pastor Morrison decided to name the school after the late Booker T. Washington, inspired by the determination Washington had to build Tuskegee University, and by the ethics he displayed while building and leading the school from the ground up.
Booker T. Washington emphasized: morals, character, self-discipline, responsibility for one’s actions, lifestyle, work ethic, and most of all education and uplift. As history would have it, Washington gave his last public address from the very pulpit of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, where he spoke about the importance of education in our community. Pastor Morrison felt that these were great tenets to embody in a school curriculum for students in the Dixwell/Newhallville community.
On April 2, 2014, Booker T. Washington Academy was approved as a charter school by the CSDE. In 2014 and 2015, BTWA found its home at 240 Greene Street in New Haven’s historic Wooster Square district (near Downtown), serving scholars in Kindergarten through grade 2. Occupying every possible nook and cranny at the Greene Street location, and with plans to expand by a grade level every year, BTWA needed to find a larger facility. In August 2016, the academy relocated to 804 State Street, also neighboring the city’s Downtown area, where it currently serves 300 scholars in Kindergarten through 4th grade. BTWA will continue to expand one grade level each year until it reaches full maturity serving scholars from Pre-K thru Grade 8.
The Booker T. Washington Academy are committed to providing a well-rounded, high quality education to every scholar we serve. As the late Booker T. Washington once said, “If you can’t read, it will be hard to realize your dreams.” Our children have dreams, and it is our responsibility to ensure they are well educated and prepared. We will, therefore, continue to do what some see as a common thing in our very distinct, uncommon way.
804 State Street • New Haven, CT 06511 • (203) 691-6535