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Students make great progress at Topper Academy []


After stepping down from her position as principal at Science Hill High School in May, Melanie Riden-Bacon set out to transform what was once known as the Alternative Center into what is now Topper Academy.

Riden-Bacon, now the Topper Academy director, said in July that it was time for a “culture shift.” Part of that shift involved instituting trauma care training and rewarding good behavior and academic achievement, rather than using the center as a “punitive” place for students struggling academically and behaviorally.

“I felt like the students and teachers here felt like they weren’t valued. There was a bad perception of what this place was,” she said. “I wanted to show the community, students and faculty that these students are very capable of learning.

[For more on this story by BRANDON PAYKAMIAN, go to]

Photo: Melanie Riden-Bacon stepped down from her position as principal of Science Hill High School in May to help transform the Alternative Center into Topper Academy.

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