, Salem, MA

Local News

November 18, 2013

Salem Academy turns 10

Charter school embraces culture where 'it's cool to be smart'


“Our goal is every student will be accepted to a four-year college,” Hunt said.

When a grade or class does especially well on the high-stakes MCAS exam, the school holds a pep rally — like the kind most schools hold for athletic teams.

“That’s an example of a conscious, defined effort to build a school culture that celebrates learning,” said Sean O’Neil, the executive director of Salem Academy.

The charter school has worked to make Advanced Placement, or AP courses — the most rigorous offered at public schools — the rule rather than the exception. This year, a whopping 70 percent of students in grades 11 and 12 are enrolled in at least one AP course.

The charter school’s unflinching focus on academics has not gone unnoticed. It has been ranked among the top schools in the state and nation by Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report.

In 10 years, the city’s independent charter school has earned a reputation as a place where standards are high and achievement is honored.

“We work at that,” O’Neil said. “What I tell kids is, ‘You need to understand — if you’re a student here, it’s cool to be smart.’”

Tom Dalton can be reached at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Comments Tracker