Letter: Are school officials listening to us?

Posted 4/14/21

To the editor:

As we continue the discussion about de-leveling, many people have asked the administration to furnish concrete proof that this model has worked in districts like Barrington, and we …

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Letter: Are school officials listening to us?

Posted

To the editor:

As we continue the discussion about de-leveling, many people have asked the administration to furnish concrete proof that this model has worked in districts like Barrington, and we have yet to see any such proof. Last week I researched the 2021-2022 programs of study at East Greenwich and 10 top districts in Massachusetts: Hopkinton, Dover-Sherborn, Lexington, Weston, Belmont, Lynnfield, Manchester-Essex, Medfield, Weston, and Wellesley. Not only does every one of those districts offer honors classes, but they offer many honors classes, and every one of them offers honors ELA.

Medfield’s explanation of each level in ELA is incredibly thorough and well-considered so I'm including highlights here. As a long-time high school ELA teacher myself, I appreciate how it is very specific and supportive of every student's needs.

**Honors pacing/delivery is demanding and challenging. It often precludes grammar/structural review techniques. Students are expected to have exceptional written and oral organizational skills. Novels are often read independently and assigned for a short reading period. Long-term assignments are a hallmark of Honors classes. Other short-term writing, responding, and reading assignments are given daily.

C1 level courses follow the identical curriculum, but analytical writing delivery is, by design, at a more moderate and incremental pace. Analytical writing is an important part of the curriculum, and faculty work closely with classes to help students understand sound analytical writing. Grammar instruction is delivered at an incremental pace. Novels are often brought into classroom discussion; time is set aside to help students understand the relationship of plot to theme.

C2 level courses share the same curriculum and emphasize identical exit skills; however delivery in a C2 class is tailored to student need. Writing instruction includes the stages of writing. Delivery is, by design, incremental. Novels are part of in-class discussions where students gain mastery in understanding the relationship between plot and such complex concepts as symbol and theme. Grammar, an important part of writing mastery, is a key component in C2 English.*****

This explanation acknowledges what many of us have been trying to tell the administration all along: students are at different places in their academic journeys, and we cannot simply ignore that fact. These levels seek to enable every student to flourish. All students will have their needs fully met. One independent honors project each semester is not going to achieve the everyday rigor set forth in the honors course description above.

It seems that regardless of the fact that a large portion of the community continues to voice our frustration and disapproval for this change, as well as the way in which it has been handled, we continue to be met with disregard by the School Committee and School Administration.

Once again, I am asking the School Committee and School Administration to actually listen to the people in this town, the people who pay taxes and support the schools at every turn. We have a vested interest in ensuring the direction that the schools take is the correct one.

Sincerely,

Kelly Andreoni

Barrington

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