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Town of Saugus’s middle-high school district-wide master plan will help the town achieve its educational goals


Editor’s Note: Saugus Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree’s office posted the following press release on the town’s website this week regarding the combined middle school/high school that is being considered.

A

t a Town-wide election in June, 2017 the residents of Saugus will have an opportunity to support and invest in a new 21st century education plan and Middle-High School district-wide facility that will continue to prioritize education. Supporting this initiative will change the way education is delivered and help the school district achieve its goal to become a top-rated, Level 1 school district in Massachusetts.

This initiative would create a 6-12 Middle-High School; the current Belmonte Middle School would be established as an Upper Elementary School for grades 3-5; and the Veterans Memorial Elementary School would become a Lower Elementary School for pre-K to grade 2. Endorsing this vision and the school district’s plan will transform the way education is valued within this community. Most importantly, it will provide equal, equitable opportunities for students to access educational resources and reach their highest potential.

“This is a real opportunity for the Town of Saugus to meet the goals of its educational plan,” said Town Manager Scott Crabtree. “Challenging our students to reach their full potential necessitates that our schools have the resources and facilities to meet the academic needs of all students and prepare them for success should they pursue higher education or compete in today’s workforce.”

The proposed Middle-High School complex will total 270,000 total square feet including a 12,000 square-foot gymnasium and capacity for 1,360 students in grades 6-12. There will be state-of-the-art science labs and technology classrooms, fine and performing arts classrooms and a 750-seat auditorium. In addition, the proposal includes a new sports complex and outdoor track, walking paths, outdoor classrooms, and student gardens. Veterans Memorial Elementary School and Belmonte Middles School will also receive construction updates.

The proposed initiative supports the vision of the educational plan with a district-wide solution that will:

– Facilitate the School District’s goal of moving from a Level 3 to a Level 1 school district.

– Allow the School District to provide fair and equal access to all students enabling them to reach their highest potential and to continue to prioritize education.

– Maintain accreditation with New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

– Address health and safety issues including identified deficiencies in fire protection, sprinkler systems, and ADA accessibility, ensuring that children are in the safest and most secure schools.

Additional elements of the solution include new science labs that meet the State’s educational and safety standards; facilities, technology, and academic curricula to support critical skills for success in today’s educational and workforce environments; work spaces designed for student collaboration and project-based learning in all subject areas; and shared instructional resources and opportunities for increased teacher collaboration.

“Providing our students and staff with resources and facilities that achieves the vision of our Town’s educational plan is critical,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. David DeRuosi. “This solution will facilitate a shift from teacher-centered to student-centered instruction, and an emphasis on the critical thinking, communication and technology skills needed to enhance 21st century skills our students need to be successful.”

The Saugus community will further benefit from the plan through access to the media center, cafetorium, and other common areas during nonschool hours; support for adult education and programming for senior citizens, parents, and community partners; and recreational use of athletic facility and playing fields, including an on-site turf field.

“This Middle-High School District-Wide Solution is critical for the residents of Saugus because it will enhance our children’s education and change the way education is valued and delivered in the community,” said Jeanette Meredith, Chair of the School Committee and Saugus High School Project Building Committee.

“This new school is not just a building. It is part of a comprehensive, district-wide solution to the issues facing the school district. This capital plan will address our educational and structural issues and will save the Town immensely in maintenance costs.”

Additional information outlining the investment cost and timeline on the Middle-High School District-Wide Master Plan Solution will follow.

More information on the project can be found at www.saugus-ma.gov/saugus-high-school-project-building-committee.

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