DRACUT -- Two new elementary-school principals, a renamed middle school and a newly re-accredited, fully renovated high school will be among the most prominent changes greeting students and parents when the schools reopen for the 2014-15 academic year, the School Committee and superintendent said Monday.
As part of Superintendent of Schools Steven Stone's redistricting plan that drops the four-school format of elementary, middle school, junior high and high school next year in favor of a three-school format that eliminates the need for a junior-high-school building, Lakeview Junior High was about to be renamed "Lakeview Middle School" before the School Committee opted for an alternative name Monday, Chairman Michael McNamara said.
The board voted unanimously, 5-0, to rename the current junior-high building "Justice C. Richardson Middle School." In 1953, Richardson donated 21 acres of property, which formerly included an airport landing strip and airplane hangar, to Dracut public schools. The groundbreaking for Dracut High School took place in 1957.
McNamara said the board plans to notify the Richardson family's descendants of the name change and dedication ceremony on a date to be determined.
Stone introduced to the board and public two new elementary-school principals for the coming school year: Christopher Snyder, currently teaching at Atkinson Academy, will take the reins of the Campbell School; and Andrew Allen, who will be principal of Englesby Elementary School, formerly the district's "intermediate" school building.
Dracut High Principal Richard Manley said the district has received official notice from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges that its accreditation has been continued for another year.
"In their report, NEASC officials indicated that our curriculum continues to need work," Manley told the committee. "On a more minor operational point, they'd like to see our library offer before and after school hours. They would also like a status report on the high school renovation a year from now."
In their first regular meeting since member Matt Sheehan was re-elected to his third three-year term, McNamara congratulated Sheehan on his electoral victory over Michelle McCarthy last week. Sheehan thanked those who returned him to the board, and everyone who voted May 5.
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