Chariho School Parents’ Forum

January 29, 2007

Chariho admin makes the case for K-6 – so why don’t we do it?

Filed under: Chariho,Elementary Schools,grade spans,Middle & High School — Editor @ 8:01 pm

In the previous school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Thornton presented some information regarding the benefits of a K-6 or K-8 education models. I have received a lot of email and phone calls because I did not properly identify what his reports showed.  I made the comment that they “supported my findings” but neglected to highlight them.  Most of the people who contacted me said the school’s presentation put more emphasis on a “lack of research” but as I have posted before, there are literally hundreds of studies on the subject.   

Below are the reports the administration presented and some key quotes. 

Accountability Works: Analysis of Performance by Grade Span of School.“… in all subject areas the performance of sixth-grade students at the (K-6) schools was better than the performance of sixth-grade students from (K-5) schools.”

 One of the interesting points made in this report is that the lack of teacher “incentives” could be blamed for the poor performance because teachers were not responsible for the students.  It is interesting that “incentives” would be used as an excuse for poor performance but merit pay is taboo. 

The Elemiddle School: A Model for Middle Grades Reform.“…schools containing both elementary and middle-school grades may be most appropriate for meeting the educational and social needs of young adolescents.” 

Grade Span and Eight-Grade Academic Achievement: Evidence from a Predominantly Rural State. (pdf download)“..the researchers concluded that eighth-graders learning in elementary settings (K-8, K-9, and 3-8) outperform eighth-graders in schools with other grade configurations.”   “Eighth-graders attending school in junior/senior school environments (grades 6-12, 7-12, and 8-12) perform less well than eighth-graders in other grade configurations.”

 There were a few other reports supporting the common sense knowledge that frequent transitions are bad for student performance but overall, the information presented supports the information posted previously.   

This begs the question – if previous surveys show that the vast majority of parents want their 5th and 6th graders back in the elementary level, and the research suggests that they are better served in that environment, then why are we not doing something about it?  



  1. My experience is that once the cost of any significant building or upgrading of school facilities is brought to light, the “divide and conquer” people seize the opportunity to sabotage the bond issue.

    Going from K-4 to K-6 will clearly require either expansion at all elementary schools OR the building of additional schools which, to fill, would probably require school districts that don’t fall within town boundaries.

    I thought the last bond issue (got shot down a couple of years ago) was focused on elementary school improvements, including bringing back students from middle school to elementary school, wasn’t it?

    Comment by David — January 30, 2007 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  2. In Hopkinton, we actually have room for K-7 if we use the 1904 bldg. Perhaps even K-8 with some engineering of space.

    Charlestown may require some space, but they too are operating at a 75% capacity, so the case could be made that utilizing the space efficiently could solve the problem. The Charlestown exit committee should have addressed that.

    I do not yet have an accurate understanding of the space at Richmond, but I’m working on it.

    As far as the previous bond goes you are correct, it did get shot down. I believe there were several reasons for this. One was the cost, $99M. Too much new development at one time without using the existing space. Another was the bad press it got because it involved land owned by the same person who wanted the big box development. Too much bad press.

    And yes, I do believe they wanted to bring back the 5th and 6th. Surveys have shown overwhelming support for that. But since space is a concern at the main campus, why build there and house 5th and 6th when we could build in the communities and accomplish both the parent’s wishes and eliminate the space shortage. Without 5th and 6th at the main campus, there will be plenty of room for RYSE and no need for new buildings.

    Quite simply, none of these proposals looked first at efficient use of space but rather, in my opinion, reckless spending without prudent evaluations.

    Comment by cspf — January 30, 2007 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  3. I think it is unfortunate to link the rejection of $90,000,000 in additional education spending with the rejection of K-8. I have no doubt that if two $30,000 bonds were put before voters, and one was for adding buildings to the Chariho complex; and the other was for building additional elementary facilities away from the Chariho complex, the K-8 would prevail.

    Comment by Curious Resident — January 30, 2007 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

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