City and school officials announced a new program of advanced courses to be launched at one of New Bedford's middle schools this fall during a brief ceremony at Carney Academy Wednesday morning. 

The announcement of a new Accelerated Learning program at Keith Middle School took place after an Accelerated Reader award ceremony for students in the fourth and fifth grades.

Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin said the program has been in the works for several months and looks forward to the roll-out this fall.

"We're able to really look at a rigorous, planned and programmed Accelerated Learning program for [grades] six, seven and eight," Durkin said.

The program will begin at Keith and eventually work its way into Normandin and Roosevelt Middle Schools.

Mayor Jon Mitchell applauded the program and said this school system is "going to deliver more opportunity. It's going to throw open the doors for all these kids who want to work hard, who've got skills and want to make the most of them."

Courses in the Accelerated Learning program will be available for all incoming sixth graders to enroll and set them on track for Advanced Placement courses in high school as well as the dual-enrollment program where eighth grade students take high school classes for credits.