Another academic effort being watched closely is the BELL Summer Arts Academy, which is held at the Nathaniel Bowditch School for about 90 students from elementary schools across the city.
BELL — Building Educated Leaders for Life — is a partnership between the Salem public schools and BELL, a nonprofit which specializes in after-school and summer programs.
Students go to school from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They begin the day with breakfast; spend the morning in small classes that stress reading, language arts and math; and devote the afternoons to enrichment programs in the arts — theater, storytelling, dancing and other activities.
“It’s a wonderful program,” said Soraya Rodriguez, a Salem school employee who is site manager of the BELL program. “I wish I had this when my kids were little.”
The program is being watched closely because Salem plans to expand summer school offerings in future years, not only for special education or low-income children, but for high-achieving students seeking enrichment activities.
School officials had hoped for a much larger turnout for BELL, but sign-ups were held late in the year due to delays securing final approvals. Superintendent Stephen Russell said he hopes to enroll many more students next summer.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.