SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 6, 2014

Schools, senior center high on Salem mayor's agenda

SALEM — The transformation of Salem from middling municipality to the epicenter of the North Shore began under Mayor Neil Harrington, continued under Stanley Usovicz and has peaked under Kim Driscoll, who will be sworn in today to begin her third term.

Driscoll, the city’s first woman mayor, has been hailed for putting Salem’s financial house in order, negotiating more fiscally responsible union contracts, revitalizing the waterfront, and spearheading projects ranging from renovated parks and playing fields to a new commuter rail station.

But she enters 2014 with major pieces of unfinished business that may, as much as past triumphs, define her years as mayor.

First and foremost is the public schools, which are in the second year of a turnaround effort that began when Bentley Elementary School was given Level 4 status by the state for consistently poor scores on the MCAS exams.

This is a huge undertaking that involves much more than Bentley School, only one of several poor-performing schools, and Driscoll, chairman of the School Committee, plays an important but limited role.

Year Two is when new programs should be in place and results — positive results — should start to be seen.

“It’s not only an important year, but it’s the most important issue because it’s the most important thing (we) deliver to our residents — our quality public schools,” Driscoll said. “We have set high expectations, and we are working hard to achieve them.”

With several principals stepping down, Driscoll sees the selection of new leadership as a key part of the turnaround effort. With that in mind, the city has sought outside help from UMass-Boston to recruit new school leaders and has stepped up efforts to develop administrators from within the public schools.

“Attracting quality leadership is so critical for school improvement,” she said. There is a connection, Driscoll said, between strong schools and strong leaders.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Comments Tracker