In the Community

Salem State University partners with a number of programs and initiatives to make a difference in our community. Read more about our work with Bentley University, Early College, Salem at Sea, and the Massachusetts Children's Book Award.

The Center for Education in the Community (CEC) collaborates with public school districts, individual schools, community based-educational organizations, and state educational agencies to offer on and off campus professional development workshops, degree and licensure programs, and connect educators to resources.  



Massachusetts Children's Book Award


2016 MCBA Winner and Honor Books


School registration information will be collected at the same time votes are cast in March; there is no longer a need to register in advance.


After finding that many children lose interest in books after reaching the intermediate grades, Dr. Helen Constant founded the Massachusetts Children's Book Award Program in 1975. Designed for Massachusetts schoolchildren in grades 4-6, the program briefly included grades 7-9 from 1978 through 1983.

Today, fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders are given a master list of book titles. After reading five of the books, students may vote for their favorite. The list is compiled from nominations of participating teachers, librarians, and interested publishers. A selection committee works with the nominations and chooses 25 titles to appear on the master list.

Criteria for the master list include literary quality, genres variety, representation of diverse cultural groups, and reader appeal. Originally, only books published in the years immediately before the award were eligible. Between 1983 and 1995, however, older titles became eligible. Now, only books published within five years of the award year are eligible. Titles on the master list are all available in paperback. The author of the winning book receives a plaque to commemorate the award.

The award is sponsored by Salem State University.

MCBA Information

2017 Materials:
2018 Nominees:
2016 Information:

Recent MCBA Winners and Master Lists

Letter from 2015 award winner Kristin Levine

2015 classroom certificate

2014-15 Winners and Master Lists

2013-14 Winners and Master Lists

2012-13 Winners and Master Lists

2011-12 Winners and Master Lists


For the third year, Salem State University partnered with Salem Public Schools to provide intensive literacy interventions for at-risk elementary students with priority to English Language Learners and children from low-SES backgrounds. Staff from the Salem Public Schools identified students entering grades 1-5 to participate in the program housed at the Bentley School. The summer program lasted four weeks during the month of July.

The Bentley Summer Program had three underlying goals:

  1. Every child will read something well every day.
  2. Our curriculum is the child’s needs.
  3. Every interaction leads to more independence.

To accomplish these goals, a science-based theme provided a content focus and guided reading within small groups enabled targeted literacy interventions. Teachers selected a topic related to the ocean (the science of shipbuilding, the ocean as a source of life, understanding the behavior of marine animals, etc.); designed and planned experiments, field trips, and videos to support learning the content; and supported students’ learning with extensive reading and writing of informational texts. 

The core of the Bentley Summer Program was guided reading. Children were grouped by need and taught individually or in groups of up to four students. This instruction was targeted toward students’ phonics, comprehension, fluency, and writing needs. Guided reading instruction took place for at least an hour every day and was a major factor in the tremendous gains students experienced in reading.

After one month of the Bentley Summer Program, reading assessment results indicated that students averaged 3.7 months of growth. Twenty-one students (52.5%) increased their reading achievement by one and half to three months. Six students (15%) increased between four to six months. Seven students (17.5%) had more than seven and a half months of growth after only four weeks of intervention. Seven children (14%), who were previously reading below grade level, have now progressed to reading on or above grade level as a result of the interventions they received in the Bentley Summer Program.



Salem at Sea

In the summer of 2014, Salem at SEA (Summer ELL Academy) engaged 40 high school English language learners in a month-long program designed to improve their English language and literacy skills in the context of rich content learning. Funded by a Gateway Cities grant from the commonwealth’s Executive Office of Education, the program provided advancing ninth to twelfth graders with an interdisciplinary, literacy-based summer enrichment experience focused on the theme of globalization in Salem. Participating students received stipends from the City of Salem for their work on an exhibit entitled Global Salem: Past, Present and Future for the National Park Service Regional Visitor Center in Salem.

Faculty from Salem State University and the Salem Public Schools worked with community partners to design the Salem at SEA curriculum. To support individualized and small group instruction, four classes with 10 students per class were team-taught by history and ESL teachers. One of the key elements of the program was the strong collaboration among several major agencies and organizations in the greater Salem region. With a home base on the Salem State University campus, students were provided with a higher education experience at a critical decision-making age. The City of Salem supported the exhibit and student employment option; Salem Cyberspace (now LEAP for Education) offered college and career counseling, guidance and family outreach; the Essex National Heritage Commission made connections to the community and historical venues and organized field trips; and the North Shore Workforce Investment Board provided support for employment and career exploration.



Early College in Salem

Early College in Salem, funded through a grant from the Executive Office of Education, is a collaborative program offered through Salem State University and Salem High School. In the course of two years, as many as 50 motivated high school students will have the opportunity to take college-level courses, initially in the high school setting and later on at the university campus. The program uses a co-teaching approach, with courses co-taught by high school teachers and university faculty members. In addition, a learning community model offers students transitional support to campus-based courses and experiences and aims to develop and diversify the workforce in the fields of education, business, science/math, social work, and criminal justice. Students have the opportunity to take courses that satisfy requirements for general education at Salem State University and the Massachusetts Transfer Block, earning up to 21 credit hours, which is more than a semester’s worth of college course work.

Early College in Salem is designed to engage Salem’s long-time community partners, including LEAP for Education and the North Shore Workforce Investment Board, both of whom will ensure that students have opportunities to develop college and career readiness skills and to serve as interns at businesses and organizations within the community. Early College in Salem provides an opportunity for students to gain advanced standing in a college degree program while still in high school. It reduces the expense of degree completion while specifically addressing retention issues such as college and career readiness and alignment of education with personal and professional goals.




Center for Education in the Community (CEC)

The Center for Education in the Community (CEC) provides professional development, supports professional learning communities and responds to the learning needs of schools, school districts and education-related organizations in the region surrounding Salem State. Its services include site- and campus-based courses, workshops, consultations, and study groups; research assistance, program development and grant-writing assistance; and roundtables and conferences.

Selected examples of CEC activities:

  • Bi-annual fall best practices in education conference for area educators, co-sponsored with Salem State's friends of education and the School of Graduate Studies
  • Grant development and implementation in collaboration with schools, school districts and community organizations
  • Assistance with program development and delivery for professionals, children and families
  • District-sited professional development courses and workshops in a wide range of educational fields, including subject matter content, classroom management, universal design, adapting and modifying curricula, talent development and educating advanced learners, family literacy, hands-on mathematics, and economic education
  • Assistance with the development of professional learning communities
  • University-district partnerships for degree- and certificate programs in high-need educational licensure areas

For more information about the School of Education's Center for Education and Community, please contact the School of Education at 978.542.2854.

If you are registering for a credit-bearing CEC program, use the following information:
Already have a Salem State ID number?
  • Submit ID number to CEC staff Wendy Pearson (978.542.7448)
  • Staff will authorize your ID number for course registration and then notify you that are ready for registration
  • Register online using Navigator or in person at the Office of Student Records and Registrar
Need a Salem State ID number?
  • Access Navigator and follow instructions for creating a new student account
  • Once you have an ID number, submit it to CEC staff Wendy Pearson (978.542.7448)
  • Staff will authorize your ID number for course registration and then notify you that are ready for registration
  • Register online using Navigator or in person at the office of student records and registrar

Payment is non-refundable after the first course meeting, regardless of whether the registrant is unable to complete the course and/or does not earn a passing grade to earn credit. Registrants may view and download an unofficial Salem State University transcript with grade for the course after the course has ended and grades are posted by DESE, by going online to their Navigator account.  No hard copy of grades will be mailed automatically. Salem State School of Graduate Studies (SGS) policies are applicable to off-campus courses and may be found in the Salem State online course catalog.