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  Saugus Public School principals have high expectations as the district begins the second year of a scholastic improvement goals

  Thirty-three Saugus High School students will truly be getting an early jump on their college education plans when they return to classes for the start of the 2022-23 academic school year on Tuesday.

  “They can get college credits and it will not cost them anything,” Saugus Middle High School Principal Brendon Sullivan said in an interview this week as he spoke enthusiastically about new programs and new educational opportunities that will be available to students.

  As the new school year begins, 18 students are registered for an introduction to college course and  15 will be taking a collegiate level public speaking course.

  “We have been meeting with North Shore Community College regularly and have hired an early college director,” Sullivan said.

  Professors from the college will be teaching a few select college courses in the fall and spring at the High School complex, according to Sullivan. The goal is to give them a head start on college and better prepare them for life after college.

  Saugus Public Schools is one of five school districts in the state to obtain a $500,000 grant from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to make early college programs accessible locally.

  It is one of the programs that will be featured this year as School Superintendent Erin McMahon embarks on the second of a five-year program to improve scholastic excellence in the school district.

  “We have three areas of focus this year,” Supt. McMahon said in an interview this week.

  She noted the top priorities include student-driven instruction, supporting the professional growth of teachers and developing high quality curriculum.

  On Wednesday, during a break in administrative planning sessions, the superintendent made arrangements for her three principals to meet with The Saugus Advocate and highlight the major new programs within their respective schools.

Here’s what going on at a glance:

The Saugus Middle-High School:

  “In addition to early college, we’ll be implementing PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports,” Sullivan said.

  “We’re doing this school wide. We’re creating a conducive, unified culture all the way through,” Sullivan said.

The Veterans Early Learning Center.

  Michael Mondello, who is principal of the Learning Center, said he’s excited about the implementation of the “Wit and Wisdom” curriculum to ensure that students have access to high quality literature.

  Mondello will be overseeing the curriculum for children registered in preschool, kindergarten of the first grade.

  “Our ability to focus on early childhood education and build early literacy and numeracy skills will have a profound impact on this district and on the readiness of our students,” Mondello said this week in a message he left on the district website for parents.

  “At the VELC, we will work relentlessly to create a culture of success by focusing on an alignment of practice, focusing on standards, monitoring student understanding and ensuring we are appropriately assessing our student’s progress.  Most importantly, we always work to foster a sense of belonging and a place where everyone can and will succeed by creating a learning environment that is responsive to the whole child,” he said.

The Belmonte STEAM Academy 

  New academy Principal Dr. Rebecca Long, who begins her first year at Saugus Public Schools, says she’s thrilled that a music program will be offered to the students – after the superintendent’s office received feedback from parents that they want their children to receive music.

  There was no music offered at the academy last year for students in grades two through five.

  “Something I’m most excited about is enhancing STEAM Academy opportunities for students.

  “I’m excited to build a new culture in the building,” Dr. Long said.

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