, Salem, MA

Local News

March 8, 2014

Outside firm may run school

Salem officials weighing options for Bentley


Boston and Lawrence have already turned schools over to outside educational firms.

In Boston, a company called Unlocking Potential took over a failing middle school in 2011. After hiring new staff, lengthening the school day from 61/2 to 8 hours and making other changes, MCAS scores in English and math rose significantly the following year.

The decision on whether to hire a turnaround firm will be made by the seven-member School Committee, which Driscoll chairs.

Monday night’s meeting, technically a committee of the whole meeting, is informational. The next School Committee meeting is March 17.

“We don’t have the luxury of lots of time,” Driscoll said. “I think the School Committee has to decide — is there a model we want to invest in?”

The mayor conceded that Salem is exploring new ground.

“This could be a revolutionary change,” she said, “where the district says, ‘We’re going to choose to work with a partner.’”

Tom Dalton can be reached at

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