Amistad Academy Elementary opened in New Haven in 2006 as the long-awaited elementary expansion of the flagship Amistad Academy Middle School. At the beginning of the elementary school's first year of operation, only 4 percent of kindergarten scholars were reading at or above grade level; by the end of the year, the percentage had risen to 99 percent. The key to Amistad Academy Elementary's success is a school culture built on a strong foundation of sharing and caring, working hard, reflecting and having fun. Every morning, the music teacher kicks off Morning Motivation with a chant called "Are you going to have fun today?" For teachers, collegial observation is common, and "best practices are constantly shared."
Amanda Alonzy is the principal at Amistad Academy Elementary School. Ms. Alonzy joined Achievement First in 2008, serving as a first-grade teacher and academic dean at Amistad Academy Elementary School. After completing her B.A. in elementary education from High Point University in North Carolina, Ms. Alonzy taught for three years in a struggling school in High Point. In 2005, Ms. Alonzy returned to Connecticut and taught second grade for two years. Ms. Alonzy recently completed a Masters in elementary education from Elon University and a Masters in administration from National Louis University.