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On-mall school graduates eighth student from 2011-2012 class!

Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) announces today the eighth graduating senior of the 2011-2012 school year at Peabody Learning Academy. The alternative school, which opened in 2010 in the Northshore Mall, has graduated 16 students to date, all of whom completed a rigorous academic program equal to that offered at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School. The success rate of the school is on the rise as eight seniors have already graduated – an impressive feat considering it is only halfway through its second year. In addition to the growing graduation rate, the Peabody Learning Academy has also made major strides in enriching students’ experiences outside of the classroom by assisting with community service projects and career planning and placement.

Through the leadership of Seith Bedard, Director of Peabody Learning Academy and the schools two teachers, students receive opportunities to thrive both in and outside of the school environment. This school year, Seith and his staff have expanded student development by organizing volunteer projects as well as opportunities for students to prepare for the work force. Some examples of students’ community service efforts were serving meals at the Haven for Hunger before Thanksgiving and taking part in the Read for the Record program. In this reading program, students shared their passion for learning by reading the book Llama Llama Red Pajama to first graders in their former elementary schools. For professional development, the PLA has partnered with the North Shore Career Center of Greater Lynn and Salem. Staff from the Career Center visit the Academy monthly to conduct workshops that help students with job training, resume building and job placement. The goal is for all students to have employment by the end of the school year.

According to Mark Whiting, Northshore Mall’s General Manager, “When Seith isn’t encouraging the students, preparing academic curriculum or organizing volunteer projects, he is working with the community members on ways to continue development of the school and receive continued support.” Whiting adds, “The Peabody Learning Academy staff has done a masterful job developing each student to maximize their learning potential, succeeding as students but also productive and contributing members of our community. We are honored to have the Peabody Learning Academy at Northshore Mall; the work they are doing here ties back directly to the mission of the Simon Youth Foundation!”

With four Massachusetts locations, including one on property at Northshore Mall, Burtons Grill continues to be one of the Peabody Learning Academy’s greatest benefactor. In addition to the $7500 annual scholarship they have pledged to the school they have also agreed to host an upcoming Spring Fundraiser on Sunday, March 11th. The event will include cocktails and hors d’ouevres and a silent auction. The proceeds of the auction will directly benefit a graduating senior of the Peabody Learning Academy. For more information on this fundraiser, please contact Ryan Dion of Burtons Grill Peabody at 978.977.0600.