Salem State University to support Bentley School summer program


June 6, 2012, Salem, Mass.—Salem State University, in collaboration with the Salem Public Schools, is developing a four-week summer program for Bentley Elementary School English language learners. The program will serve 60 students, 12 each from grades one through five, and will utilize subject matter content to improve literacy and language skills.  It is anticipated that the additional instruction in language skills will be a step forward  in addressing the need for improved MCAS scores at the school. Furthermore, by engaging students in this four-week program, academic progress will continue through the summer months.

Students participating in this program will explore an identified science theme through reading, hands-on demonstrations, research, and presentations.  Emphasizing language acquisition and communication skills, students will participate in guided and interactive writing exercises, learn basic research strategies, and study literature through peer collaboration and discussion. Student groups from grades four and five will visit the Salem State campus each week to utilize the university’s science resources, as well as to interact with other academic departments. 

“This collaboration will not only provide an in-depth English language enrichment opportunity for the students,” said Dr. Mary-Lou Breitborde, associate dean of education at Salem State, “it will give teachers and pre-service teachers new experience in research-based, effective approaches to teaching English learners.”  To maximize   individual attention to students, two teachers will be assigned to each class of 12; one teacher from Salem State University will be paired with one participating teacher from the Bentley School.  This staffing structure will provide Bentley teachers modeling and support for new teaching techniques. 

“Salem State is focused on providing innovative programs and ongoing support as a committed partner of the Salem schools,” said Dr. Patricia Maguire Meservey, president of Salem State University. “Raising student achievement is a shared goal.”

“Partnering with the university provides the extra resources and support that our English learners need to be successful in school, “noted Dr. Renata McFarland, principal of the Bentley School.  

Dr. Stephen Russell, Superintendent of Schools commented, “Salem schools have long enjoyed an effective and cooperative relationship with Salem State University and I’m confident this program will be a huge step forward in improving student outcomes at the school and could certainly become a model for future initiatives.”

The program begins Monday, July 9 and will run through mid-August. Students who participate in this program will be selected by the Bentley School.

“Salem State has been a proactive partner with the City for years and this program is another great example of that,” stated Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. “Salem’s turnaround efforts are moving fast and are being recognized by the state. These efforts have been buttressed by those of Salem State University.” 


Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. The university enrolls over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students representing 44 states and 61 nations, and is one of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 CONTACT:  Karen Murray Cady