Rich in history and tradition, Mary L. Tracy School (MLT) stands proudly on the corner of Schoolhouse Lane and Orange Center Road in Orange, Connecticut. It was built in 1910 and opened as Orange Center School, a place that would instill a love of learning for future generations. Additions were made to the building in 1925 and in 1949, and on November 18, 1956, the school was renamed to honor Mary L. Tracy in appreciation for her years of devoted service to the children of Orange as a teacher and principal. In 1989, the beautifully restored school was re-dedicated as an Early Childhood Center to meet the demands of a growing town and the educational needs of its children. In 2010, Mary L. Tracy School proudly celebrated its centennial anniversary.
Mary L. Tracy School truly serves as “The Gateway To The Orange School System” because almost all of the town’s children begin their educational journey through its doors. The MLT Early Childhood Center offers a high quality pre-school and extended day kindergarten program for Orange residents. It is here that students and their families first experience the hallmarks for which the Orange Elementary School System has always been known: a child-centered approach, academic excellence, and a strong partnership with parents and the community.
The school’s early learning approach addresses the four domains (cognitive, physical, personal/social, and creative expression) of child development appropriate to the age of its students by providing programs that celebrate diversity, promote a sense of belonging, foster positive relationships and set high expectations for all. A strong professional community, comprised of highly qualified and dedicated educators is yet another key ingredient to Mary L. Tracy School’s success. The staff is committed to delivering a quality early childhood education that provides children with a solid foundation for future success.
An enriched curriculum at Mary L. Tracy includes integrated programs in literacy and numeracy, which are tightly aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Teachers utilize a balanced approach, helping children become readers and writers who enjoy and value literacy. In child-centered classrooms, teachers present meaningful learning experiences that help students to develop a strong number sense and deepen their mathematical understanding. At MLT, specialized instruction is offered in the areas of art, music, library media and physical education. Classrooms are outfitted with the most up-to-date 21st Century technology to enhance teaching and learning including SMARTBoards and iPads. While classes are populated with students who have a wide range of learning needs, teachers realize that a "one-size-fits-all" approach to teaching and learning does not lead to a full range of genuinely challenged and engaged learners, and have discovered that they can better meet the needs of their students by differentiating instruction. Each child is treated as an individual at MLT with a unique combination of strengths and needs; therefore, a continuum of services is available to support ALL children.
Those at Mary L. Tracy School believe that strong school, family and community partnerships are an essential component of a quality early childhood program and work hard to offer a variety of opportunities for parents to become involved in their child’s educational experiences. Mary L. Tracy School benefits from a strong and supportive PTO that accepts and shares the responsibility of educating the students. Beyond their fundraising efforts, the parent organization works to improve effective communication between the school and families and plans and organizes a multitude of events that support the education of the students both within and beyond the school day.
Mary L. Tracy School is “the place where the love of learning and the love of children are celebrated every day”.
Written by Ralph A. Nuzzo, former MLT principal