These are all improvements that were planned whether or not the school received the grant, McFarland said yesterday. Yesterday’s announcement, which lightens the burden on the city budget, is simply icing on the cake, she said.
“We have been doing hard work all year. ... It was a delicious chocolate cake without icing, and now that icing makes it all the better,” she said. “I am just elated that my team has done such a phenomenal job. We’ve worked together as a family and I’m so proud of them.”
In the fall, Bentley students will attend school from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., which includes an extra hour to focus on language arts and math — two key areas on the MCAS exam. Bentley staff will work on a staggered schedule next year to cover the extra hour in the school day.
Professional development for teachers starts Monday, McFarland said, and an intensive English as a Second Language program for at-risk students, developed with Salem State University, starts July 9 at Bentley.
“Nothing has slowed down (with the end of the school year),” McFarland said. “... My staff is working their tails off. I’m thrilled and very proud of them.”
The grant money will also beef up after-school programming and support services for special education and English as a Second Language students.
“With or without grant money, it has to be done,” McFarland said. “... There is an obligation to educate these kids in the right way, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Other Massachusetts districts receiving redesign grants include Brockton, Lawrence, Lynn, Springfield and Worcester. According to the state education department, 86 Level 3 and 4 schools were eligible to apply, and 10 schools in seven districts submitted applications in the final round, nine of which were awarded funding yesterday.
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.