, Salem, MA

Local News

October 23, 2013

Salem names middle school task force

SALEM — Superintendent Stephen Russell has named a 14-person task force to recommend changes and improvements to the middle school program.

Russell said he is establishing the Middle School Success Task Force in response to consistently low state test scores and other district data “that shows performance has been stagnant in grades 6 to 8.” Two years ago, Salem was named a Level 4, underperforming district by the state.

Witchcraft Heights School Principal Mark Higgins will serve as chairman of a panel that includes parents Mark Lee (Witchcraft), Mike Caggiano (Collins), Elisha Arnold (Saltonstall), Beth Forrestal (Carlton), Kristen Eckhardt (Nathaniel Bowditch/Collins Middle School) and Carrie Cabot (Carlton).

Other task force members are Assistant Superintendent Margaret Marotta, Salem High Housemaster Bill Shevory, School Committee member and parent Lisa Lavoie, community representative Linda Saris of Salem Cyberspace, and teachers Mark Harrison (Collins), Dacey Sartor (Bowditch) and Pam Shorr (Saltonstall).

“This is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle in Salem and absolutely critical to the future success of our schools,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said in a statement. “We want to get this right so we can all have confidence that our students are leaving eighth grade well prepared for the academic challenges awaiting them in high school and beyond.”

The task force will hold its first meeting Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. at Witchcraft Heights School. It also will hold focus groups and conduct a community survey.

The panel expects to make recommendations to the School Committee in March.

Tom Dalton can be reached at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Comments Tracker