SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 7, 2014

Salem to get middle school report tonight

SALEM — A task force studying the School Department’s three middle schools will make long-awaited recommendations to improve the schools at a School Committee meeting tonight.

While the 14-member task force will not propose a grade reconfiguration, it will recommend that Collins Middle School, Nathaniel Bowditch (K-8) and Saltonstall (K-8) schools adopt common academic and discipline standards and work more closely, according to a copy of the report provided to The Salem News.

“The findings and recommendations contained in this report are intended to help Salem move from a city in which the three schools with middle grades operate independently of one another, to a district that can boast of a high-performing middle school system that enables collaboration and sharing of best practices among its educators, and offers a common set of expectations and high standards for every student in every building,” the report states.

Realigning the grades 6 to 8 structure or the size and number of middle school programs was put on hold.

“The task force recommends that Salem table the school reconfiguration discussion for at least three years and retain the current school choice options to allow recommended instructional and academic changes to take root inside the buildings,” the report states.

“After three years, if interest exists in either consolidating or reconfiguring the schools in some way, the district should convene another task force to recommend the right model based on the needs at that time.”

To improve coordination and ensure common standards, the task force recommended creating a new position, director of middle school programming; naming coordinators at each building; and creating a middle school leadership council of parents, staff and community members.

The task force proposed adding an additional sixth-grade class at Saltonstall and Bowditch, the two smaller schools, to increase options for parents.

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