The school recently received notice that it was among a select group of schools in the nation invited to present at a Washington DC conference on innovative public schools to be hosted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals
"We're aware of schools all across the country and most of them have tried different things, but they haven't been as effective as Beverly has," said Joe DiMartino, president of the Center for Secondary School Redesign, which helps select schools for the conference. "They're doing a lot of innovative things with good results, not just innovation for innovation's sake."Beverly High came to the attention of conference organizers through the school's implementation of a $1.2 million, five-year federal grant that it was awarded in 2010. Beverly was one of 28 schools in the country to be awarded the Smaller Learning Communities grant, which is designed to improve academic achievement in public schools with enrollments of more than 1,000.Beverly High Principal Sean Gallagher said the grant has been used to "take a big high school and personalize the learning." The school established a freshman academy that groups ninth-graders in teams, and created an advisory program that assigns 10 students to a staff member, who meets with the group twice a month. ...... Gallagher said preliminary data show a drop in the failure rate and disciplinary incidents among freshmen and an increase in the daily attendance rate. He said teachers have made a point to call and write to parents when their students are succeeding, not just when they're in trouble academically."What's made us unique is that the program is really utilizing our upperclassmen as role models for the freshmen throughout the summer," Gallagher said. "Their impact on the school, especially the senior class, has been really great in the sense of developing a positive school culture."
Beverly is the only school from Massachusetts invited to participate in the conference, which will be held on February 28th of next year.