SALEM — Since Andrew Betts started as the athletic director at Salem Academy Charter School two years ago, it’s been a goal of his to put the sports program on the map.
Salem Academy opened its doors in 2004; the athletic program was founded a year later. The school is host to nearly 400 students from grades 6-through-12, and over 50 percent of the school’s students participate on at least one athletic team for the Navigators between the fall, winter and spring seasons.
“As a school we offer a wide range of athletic teams for the size of our school,” noted Betts.
The Navigators currently have 10 varsity sports, a handful middle school teams as well as club lacrosse. The varsity teams compete in the Massachusetts Charter School Athletic Organization, a league that was created in 2004. There are 15 other schools involved in the MCSAO, including KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate in Lynn, Pioneer Charter School of Science in Everett and Prospect Hill Academy in Cambridge.
Since Salem Academy does not have its own athletic facilities, it works with a number of different organizations to help find places to practice and play games. In the winter Betts works with the Salvation Army, Salem Boys and Girls Club, Salem YMCA and the Jewish Community Center of Marblehead.
Over the past eight years the program has grown into what it is today, though more and more opportunities are continuing to pop up for the potential of adding more teams and additional sports into the mix.
Salem Academy Charter School is ranked the fifth best high school within Massachusetts by U.S News & World Report. It is known as a school with a rigorous workload, and participating in sports there is a major commitment for students. They get to school for an 8:30 a.m. start time and don’t get out of the classroom until 4 p.m.