, Salem, MA

Local News

March 12, 2014

Union: Bentley deserves a chance

Union president says teachers are committed to three-year plan


While praising the effort at Bentley, Mayor Kim Driscoll said the city is running out of time and needs to act soon if it hopes to have a nonprofit partner in place by the start of next school year.

Driscoll pointed to a state study that, she said, indicates Level 4 schools like Bentley that are not making progress after the first year often do not “course correct.” State officials have made those same observations, she said.

“That was obviously very compelling data,” she said. “Based on what we’re seeing right now, there are compelling reasons for us to be concerned and to look at some course correction.”

While acknowledging the concerns of Driscoll and Superintendent Stephen Russell, Harrington said Bentley has made a number of changes in curriculum and schedule and should be given more time to prove itself. She praised teachers for working hard and keeping their focus on students while navigating a challenging course.

“I understand the concerns ... but we’re kind of committed to this three-year plan, and we’d like them to hold up their commitment to it, as well,” said Harrington, who was a member of the stakeholders group named to help map out a plan for Bentley.

Harrington said she “would like to see (the school board) at least wait until the end of this school year. ... I get all the reasons behind (the possible hiring of an outside firm), but let’s give these folks a chance.”

The School Committee could vote on this issue as early as Monday night.

Tom Dalton can be reached at

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