NEW BEDFORD — Last week, New Bedford High School earned its reaccreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, continuing its turnaround plan.

Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin stopped by WBSM Monday morning to discuss the school's accomplishments, and she tells Phil Paleologos that when she came on board five years ago, she knew turnaround wasn't going to be easy.

"I was brought in as a change agent, and change is never easy for anyone," Dr. Durkin said. "But the change is working, and we are seeing results that probably never could have been visualized five years ago."

Dr. Durkin says there are still issues that need to be addressed, such as teacher retention.

"We've shown with quantitative data that our retention numbers are quite on par with urban districts across the state," she said. "When we stack ourselves up against Fall River or places like Springfield as well as other communities in the area, our retention is fairly decent."

But she admitted there does need to be some work with retention.

"We need to look at a number of factors as to how we can make things better," she said. "We need more professional development opportunities. We need to take a look at our compensation packages, and look at areas where we can lend more support."

This past summer, New Bedford Schools were removed from state monitoring, and the high school just received its reaccreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Dr. Durkin says she is on a mission to raise New Bedford High School out of the second percentile of schools statewide.

Dr. Durkin said the turnaround's success so far wouldn't have been possible without "many, many individuals who believed in something they couldn't see, but definitely wanted the future to be better."

"It's not about one person," she said. "This is not about one superintendent or one teacher or one school committee member. It is about working as a team."

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