Chariho School Parents’ Forum

Analysis – 5th & 6th grade

A recent letter from Lois Buck cited a Duke University study.  Here are some key points contained within the discussion section:

“Our results complement the recent finding that school systems that move sixth grade from elementary to middle school experience a 1-3 percent decline in on-time graduation rates (Bedard & Do 2005).”

 ”Most obviously, middle school brings sixth graders into routine contact with older adolescents who are likely to be a bad influence: older adolescents as a group are more rebellious and more involved in delinquency, sex, illicit drugs, and other activities that violate school rules.”

“One greatest concern is that the negative influence of middle school on sixth graders appears to linger through ninth grade.”

duke-infractions.jpg

duke-1-infraction.jpg

Notice in the second graph how that once the students went to 7th grade, the rates of infractions are still lower.  This suggests that when a student matures in a more secure environment, the effects are lasting.

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41 Comments »

  1. HI

    We are presently goiong through this discussion and would love to know of any other information/readings/websites that may help us. We are presently loooking at wether or not to bring year 6 back to primary/elementarty school.

    Regards

    Comment by lachlan — May 16, 2007 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  2. Here are a couple of older posts that have some information
    https://cspf.wordpress.com/2007/01/29/chariho-admin-makes-the-case-for-k-6-so-why-dont-we-do-it/

    and

    https://cspf.wordpress.com/2007/01/04/the-move-towards-a-k-8-model/

    However, I think the Duke study is the icing on the cake. It is the most current and very extensive.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 16, 2007 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  3. […] more info here, here and […]

    Pingback by Vote to return 5th & 6th graders « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — June 11, 2007 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  4. […] The Spec Ed student population has dropped from 687 students in 2003-04 to 488 in 06-07, a reduction of 29%.  The Staffing trend over that same period went from 70.8 employees in 03-04 to 65.9 in 06-07, a reduction of 7%.  These staffing figures do not include the social workers, psychologists, etc… supplied by Psychological Centers Inc. which came on board in 2003, of which there are more employees at Psy Centers than the 5 we reduced from our staff – find more details on PC Inc here).  […]

    Pingback by Sept 11 committee meeting « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — September 12, 2007 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  5. For those who want to know the current state of Middle School education, READ “The WAR against excellence”, “The rising tide of Mediocrity in America’s Middle Schools”, by Cheri Pierson Yecke.

    This book provides an excellent review of what middle schools actually DO to decrease innovation, advancement and excellence in our students.

    Comment by Georgies Mom — October 2, 2007 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

  6. I would love to have my child stay in hopkinton for 5 & 6 grade – the middle school is crazy – different schedules every day, 10:10am lunch, and bus rides with high school. Not appropriate for 10 year olds.

    Comment by A's Mom — October 4, 2007 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  7. In response to the comments, which addresses the Duke University Study – claiming that 6th graders who are routinely in contact with older adolescents in a middle school setting will be likely be negatively influenced, must be written by someone who has not been in the Chariho Middle School. The 5th graders have their own classroom hallway, locker area, and cafeteria. The same is for the 6th grade, etc… The most contact any students have with other grade level students in the building, occurs only during passing in the hallway when changing classrooms for music, gym, etc.. What type of negative influence can the older students have on the younger students for a mere minute or two of passing each other in a hallway? I currently have a 5th student and 6th grade student in the middle school, and they are absolutely flourishing! My daughter experienced all the horrible “girl-clicks” that formed in the Elementary School. There is no recess time for the bullying to take place, and the former clicks seemed to have vanished! My daughter is having the best year ever! I admit I had my reservations about 5th and 6th graders being in the middle school at first, but now I see the benefits. My daughter loves school again! Academically, there is so much more offered to these kids at the middle school, such as computer class, Tech-Ed, foreign language, etc…. As far as the negative influence of older students, I just do not see it happening in our middle school. The principal, vice-principal, dean of students, and the entire staff there do a fabulous job creating a safe, learning environment for all the children.

    Comment by D. McBride — October 5, 2007 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

  8. In response to the comments by D. McBride I would agree with you that the Middle School does a good job in keeping our young children seperated from the older student population in the school building. However they seem to have little or no control over the contact with students who can range from 10 to as old as 18 on the bus. The bus ride for some of our children is very long and the influence there can be substantial.

    I would also like to ask for clarification of a point you made in your post. You stated ” There is no recess time for bullying to take place” are you suggesting that no recess is a good thing? Personally as a parent of an active young boy I think having no recess or no substantial recess is one of the draw backs to having our 5th and 6th graders at the middle school. Most early educators I have spoken with agree that free time to exercise and burn off energy and release tension is an important part of the overall education process. I recognize that there are benefits to the Middle School format but think we would be doing a dis-service to our children to not explore the option of returning our impressionable YOUNG children back to the elementary schools.

    Comment by M's Dad — October 10, 2007 @ 9:26 am | Reply

  9. Hi all,
    We had our first meeting of the Hopkinton ad hoc committee looking into options for bringing 5th & 6th graders back to elementary schools. The meeting was held at the Crandall House in Ashaway. The next meeting will be held at 7 PM Thursday, October 18, and probably the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from then on. I ask all to join the committee or if you don’t have the time for that, at least come to a meeting or two and give us your perspective.

    Tonight Elaine Morgan was chosen to be the secretary with Kat Felkner backing her up if she is unable to make a meeting. I was chosen to be president of the committee. I would prefer to be a figurehead president but I was told I have to run the meetings. Because I’m not familiar with running meetings Barbara Capalbo has promised to keep me on the right track. The committee also includes Lois Buck and Barbara Capalbo as the Town Council rep. Also in attendance was Andy McQuaide, George Abbott and James Hirst. Tom Buck showed up near the end of the meeting. We’re hoping that James Hirst will apply to be on the committee. He has much to offer. James was my brother’s best friend back in our days at Chariho and it was great seeing him and catching up on his life.

    Tonight we discussed responsibilities for the committee. Barbara and I will be looking into the costs and savings of moving 5th and 6th graders back to elementary schools. Lois will be putting together information on the benefits of elementary education for 5th and 6th graders and maybe K-8. Kat and Elaine will be looking into the special needs requirments when 5th and 6th graders are brought back to elementary schools. The cost of staying in district vs. withdrawing is still pending more committee members. If no one steps forward, we will take on this issue as we are able to get to it.

    The discussion tonight was free flowing and informative. I think everyone agreed that the more people contributing to the effort the better. We would like to get some committee members less favorable to 5th and 6th graders being in elementary schools. We’d be happy to have D. McBride join the committee with his/her perspective on the advantages of middle school for 5th and 6th graders. Although the majority of Hopkinton understands that 5th and 6th graders belong in elementary schools we still would like to find out why the minority objects and maybe we can find consensus.

    Andy McQuaide advised us that communications between committee members outside of meetings must be careful not to break open meetings laws. Rather then send an email to each of the committee members we could share information here out in the public view where others in the community could also participate and give their help. Lois was concerned about our efforts getting mixed up with other school issues and said that maybe Bill Felkner could set aside a place for the 5th and 6th grade issue. I see that he already has this section so I’m okay if we agree that this is a good place to share information and communicate with each other and the community? I will do everything I can do to keep the public informed. I watch the town council and school committee on cable and I really don’t like all the closed meetings. Maybe they need them but I always feel like something is being hidden and I certainly don’t want to leave people with that impression of the ad hoc committee. If anyone wants to contact me I can be reached at JamesL@WeberFlavors.com. My 17 year old son stole my personal cell phone but you can reach me at my work phone at 847-867-4481.

    I don’t think I voiced it at the meeting tonight but I believe that the ad hoc committee’s success is tied to the rejection of the bond vote next month. If the bond passes then Hopkinton will have committed to spending so much money that I can’t see taxpayers wanting to spend even more to bring 5th and 6th graders back to elementary schools. I know that I won’t vote to spend more money if the bond passes.

    I am happy to read D. McBride’s comments about positive experiences with the middle school. The biggest problems I’ve heard from parents is on the bus when kids tend to be their most rambunctious. When I was in Chariho Jr. High we were separated from the older kids too at the school but not on the bus. Even at the school there were brief times when we were around the older kids and we definitely were influenced even if it wasn’t frequent. I also think adults put too much value in all the extra classes. I was still learning the basics in 5th and 6th grades. I may have liked other courses too but I think we already waste too much learning time when we should be teaching the basics. If there are students who are superior learners then we should look at programs for those students but not make most children suffer in the wrong type of school. There is plenty of time from 7th grade onward for expanded learning. Maybe if D. McBride joins the committee we can explore ways of bringing the 5th and 6th graders back to elementary schools AND we can do it in a way that stops bullying and offers special classes? We’re open to all ideas.

    Lastly a study from Milwaukee’s school system was mentioned tonight. The study looked at outcomes for K-8 schools vs. middle schools. The results were significantly better for students in K-8 schools. The benefits weren’t just educational but social and psychological too. If someone has the report and can link it here that would be great.

    Comment by Jim LaBrosse — October 11, 2007 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  10. To D. McBride:

    If you are a Hopkinton resident, please consider joining our committee. I have asked another person, like you who likes the middle school format, to join the committee. For the issue to move forward, we need all perspectives. A good debate can only work to benefit our children.

    To our community:
    I will tell you where I stand. I agree that the middle school is doing their best to segregate the younger with the older, but there is opportunity for contact. Waiting at the bus stop, riding the bus, the hallways, getting off the bus are places where they are exposed with the kids. I hear the behavior in the buses at times is poor, overcrowded.

    I too am saddened that there is no time for play (ie…recess) for these kids. Play is an important time for social interactions, a time to grow emotionally, make friends, exert bottled up energy. I believe the only time these kids get out every day is right after lunch. There is no playground equipment. I can’t imagine that during this time there are no cliques. Girls are notoriously in cliques. What the middle school did is separate the kids in the 5th grade that were in the cliques in 4th grade. It is only a matter of time before new cliques will be formed or old ones will return.

    In the end, we understand, and it will be published, that there will be some negatives about returning the 5th and 6th grades back to the elementary school. Ultimately, as I’ve seen while researching the subject, we will find the positives will outweigh the negatives. Certainly, D.McBride’s perspective is a valid one, and we welcome more comments about why you prefer one over the other.

    In the future for all concerned, we will be posting research document links and such regarding this issue. And to those not aware of the status of middle schools in America, there are school districts all over the country converting their middle and elementary schools to a K-8 format. Whether this is in the future for Chariho or not, this change speaks volumes about the failure of the middle school philosophy. That is not to say that Chariho is not making its best effort under some trying times, they have. But, it is worth considering why these communities are making the change, while we produce a report regarding sending our kids back into the elementary setting.

    Just a reminder, our charge is strictly looking into bringing the 5th and 6th graders back. The referendum question in June addressed just this issue. Though we may feel strongly or not towards creating a K-8 structure, this is not our charge.

    One of the other things discussed is that our schools currently have room for the 5th grades, Charlestown and Richmond, too. If the parents of the 3 towns want the 5th’s to remain in the elementary schools, then demand it with your school committee members. I believe the school committee as a whole would respond positively to the idea. I don’t believe at this juncture that they will take the bull by the horn though.

    I too agree with Mr. LaBrosse. This bond vote will determine the future for the elementary issue. I do not believe people will want to spend anymore if the bond passes.

    I strongly believe, if the 3 towns can come to an agreement, that the elementary issue is the key to most of the problems of overcrowding in the middle school and high school. Many districts have a 6-3-3 structure for grade configuration. To have 3 grades in the middle school and 3 in the high school would certainly reduce the population in each by 25%. Isn’t this part of the bond issue, to reduce overcrowding? 300 less kids in each school would be a tremendous relief on the overcrowding issue.

    Again, as I’ve said in previous posts, it is imperative that Richmond and Charlestown join in the debate. Without them, our wheels will ultimately get stuck in the mud once again. Certainly, their insight is a must in this debate. This is not just a Hopkinton issue.

    With regards,
    Lois Buck

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 12, 2007 @ 7:01 am | Reply

    • Hi,
      I have been reading your blog and i am quite impressed.
      My school district is planning on moving our 5th graders into the middle school and the parents are against it.
      I started an online petition and we have presented to the school board a few times, i am getting ready to meet with our superintendent next week.

      I have sited some of the same studies that you have and called the National Association of Middle schools, which confirmed that there is very little research on this current trend. Of course my super. disagrees with this.

      I am very curious on what is happening at your school, did you have a victory?
      Do you have any suggestions for me.
      Sincerely,
      Julia Wilhelm

      Comment by Julia Wilhelm — June 25, 2010 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  11. Mr. LaBrosse

    I have not been able to find the actual report yet but here is an interesting artical about it.

    M’s dad

    Comment by M's Dad — October 12, 2007 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  12. oops forgot to add the link here it is

    http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/archives/2005/09/is_middle_schoo.php

    Comment by M's Dad — October 12, 2007 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  13. Its good to see Andrew Mc taking to time to get involved with Hopkinton. Much like when he called state officials complaining about Hopkinton residents taking pictures of the Ashaway roof (days before it collapsed). God forbid if residents know what is going on.

    I wonder if Andrew has contacted DEM about the brownfield Chariho is trying to build on. If you were building a house or office space – could you build on a brownfield without remediation?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 12, 2007 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  14. Why am I not surprised the puppet master sent his favorite puppet to spy on Hopkinton?

    Now if we could only get Mr. McQuaide to respect open meeting laws on the School Committee.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 12, 2007 @ 10:42 am | Reply

  15. I don’t care if you all sit around a campfire singing Kum ba ya…keep focused on the mandate from the voters. We’ve asked to have the 5th and 6th graders brought back to Elementary Schools.

    If Ad Hoc Committee members want to express an opposing position, they better do so with the recognition that their job is to research options which result in 5th and 6th grades back at elementary schools. You can argue about the best approach to reaching this goal, but dissent from this goal is in defiance of the results of the vote.

    Interestingly, in researching the surname McBride, I discovered a McBride who is or was the NEA representative at Richmond School. I wonder if the two McBride’s are related? There is/was a Ryan McBride who wrote for the The Westerly Rag.

    I’m also curious if the NEA, RINEA or Chariho NEA has a position on where 5th and 6th graders should be educated? If teachers, through their union, support 5th and 6th graders in Middle School, I would look for financial and/or lifestyle advantages for teachers as the motivating factor.

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why the vast majority of parents and citizens intuitively and analytically recognize that 5th and 6th graders belong in Elementary Schools, yet School Committees, administrations and teachers seem to be committed to 5th and 6th graders remaining in Middle Schools. Where is the disconnect and why does it exist?

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 12, 2007 @ 11:00 am | Reply

  16. Dear Curious,

    I can’t sing for beans. So, the Ad hoc committee will not have to worry about that from me.

    We know that the surveys speak volumes as to where the community wants our kids.

    We ultimately have to come up with options as to how to do it.

    Also, to convince people that money will need to be spent on the issue, we will have to prove the validity of it, not just that this is what the parents want. My view is this, we need the opposing position to convince everyone in the end that this is the right thing to do because in the end money will be figured into the decision. In the end, the voters will have to decide how much they are willing to spend, and I am going to do my best to see that this initiative does not fail.

    As far as the School Committee goes, they feel that it is up to the towns to initiate these moves. I disagree. In communities all across the country, where the K-8 movement is rolling, it is school committees, superintendents, and parent movements that are the driving forces.

    I just wish that the school committee would wake up and realize that they can make a difference here. They can take the bull by the horns. But, I’m not going to sit around and wait for them. No more.

    The ad hoc committee needs the whole of Hopkinton to get involved. If anything, through positive communication on this blog, things will change. I see Mr. Felkner has already set up a spot for us to communicate as we wouldn’t want to commit any open meetings violations. You can locate the link to the right… Ad Hoc Committee.

    Do you think Hopkinton is going to do this on their own? I don’t think so, unless the option is partial withdrawal and that any future improvements on the Richmond and Charlestown elementary schools are not Hopkinton’s responsibility.

    In the end, I hope that the other two towns realize that the key to the district is the positioning of the 5th and 6th grades. I hope they form their own Ad Hoc committees, and through communication of the three groups and the continued communication between the town councils, we will finally move forward to solve the district’s long-standing problems, with or without the school committee.

    As far as where we are headed. We agreed that the last option should be withdrawal, but it is always an option. It will be looked at, too. The cost of partial withdrawal will not be ignored.

    Lastly, I am trying to be optimistic that Mr. McQuade’s participation was not to find some fault with the committee. I hope that he is a willing participant and perhaps will offer assistance in our endeavor. And maybe, he will see in the end that we all have the same goal, which is to provide the best educational environment for our children at the least cost.

    With Regards,
    Lois Buck

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 12, 2007 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  17. Lois,

    I’m short on tolerance when people masquerade as someone they are not – so let’s call a spade a spade (and thank goodness for the internet so we can do this easily).

    Andrew McQuade has:
    1) requested that the Hopkinton Education Options Committee include people who did not want to bring the 5th and 6th graders back (https://cspf.wordpress.com/2007/05/08/a-response-to-mcquade-and-petit/ )

    2) filed charges against one of the EOC members for taking pictures of the Ashaway roof days before the roof started dropping in the classroom. Has he investigated whether or not Campus 2010 has resolved the brownfield issue? Isn’t remediation of toxic material where you want to build a school library something of importance? (https://cspf.wordpress.com/2007/05/08/charges-filed-against-eoc/ )

    3) made anonymous posts on this site, insulting a town council member (https://cspf.wordpress.com/2007/03/25/fraudulent-post/ )

    I could cite dozens of examples from board meetings but since those meeting minutes aren’t online (yet) I’ll let the above stand as my rationale for not believing he has the best interest of the town residents in mind (and being opposed to grade reconfiguration in general means he is opposed to what has been illustrated as best for the kids)

    No, I think he is there for other reasons.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 12, 2007 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

  18. You may be right, but I hope you are wrong.

    Chameleons do change colors, maybe he will.

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 12, 2007 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  19. Like Mr. Felkner, I am cynical about young Mr. McQuaide’s motives. Early on someone postured that he was Mr. Ricci’s hand picked candidate and I’ve seen nothing from him other than complete capitulation to Mr. Ricci’s positions and opinions. The nature of their past and present relationship could be an interesting study.

    Mr. McQuaide strikes me as extremely immature and reactive. I remember a time when I was very immature and prone to quick decisions without much thought. I’ve change (at least in my opinion) so it is possible…but change is a progression and doesn’t happen overnight. I doubt Mr. McQuaide will be of much help to children and parents during this term on the School Committee. He’ll probably remain a great help to the administration. Time will tell if he develops into a logical and thoughtful adult or whether he remains mired in emotionalism and irrationality. If he is indeed Mr. Ricci’s puppet, he is a lost cause.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 12, 2007 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  20. You are both right. With maturity, most people have grown to be more thoughtful with experience and age. I do not believe that it is beyond Mr. McQuade to experience the same maturity. I again hope that we can all look passed his past mistakes and move forward. He is still a representative of Charlestown and speaks for them. Whether we agree or disagree with their choice, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have to work together to get the best grade configuration for our kids. I believe that that involves bringing the 5th and 6th grades back to the elementary setting. Let’s hope he feels the same way and will be a productive part of the process. If not, maybe we can convince him and others through a productive dialog.

    Thanks,
    Lois

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 12, 2007 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  21. Very mature response Mrs. Buck. Then again, if Mr. McQuaide is working behind the scenes to sabotage your efforts, your concillatory attitude may come back to haunt you.

    Did Mr. McQuaide offer his assistance at the meeting? Did he make positive contributions or in any way indicate his willingness to accept the will of the people and help reach the goals set forth? Did he want to be a laison between Hopkinton and Charlestown? Build bridges? Cement relationships? [fill in other cliches here]

    If he did want to be part of the team, then perhaps you have reason for optimism, but if he didn’t offer his help and limited his contribution to procedural issues such as warning about open meeting violations, then I would be very concerned he may simply be looking for ways to impede your efforts.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 12, 2007 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  22. The article linked by M’s Dad is a must read. More evidence to add to the heaping pile that demonstrates the huge benefits to keeping children in an age appropriate environment.

    The article cites the value of older Elementary School children interacting with the younger children. The descriptions of these interactions are quite poignant.

    One factor discussed in the article which had not occurred to me, at least consciously, is the changes already being experienced by many of the children in 5th and 6th grades. The article notes that many of these children are going through physical and psychological turmoil created by the onset of puberty. Middle School adds one more external transition at a time when they are already trying to cope with internal transitions. The familiar comfort of Elementary School would logically offer one less disruption to their young lives. In other words, these children already have enough going on inside their heads then to have to deal with a new school, new rules, and new educational format.

    Personally, I never needed research to convince me that children perform much better when not forced to mature beyond their years, but for those who think children should be changing classes and moving classrooms in 5th and 6th grades, please spend some time logically analyzing the risks/rewards. Unless you have a vested interest in the status quo, you may find yourselves coming around and supporting Elementary Schools for 5th and 6th graders.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 12, 2007 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  23. CR,
    I too have found a lot of evidence regarding the need for the appropriate environment for our young adolescents. I wonder if the M.S. environment, that D.McBride suggested, was best for his/her child. It is a one-sided perspective. How does this person know, if their child had stayed in the elementary setting, that it would have been worse? They will never know, as their child did not move on in the elementary setting. It is an assumption. It is subjective.

    The importance of the research and the effects of the changes going on in public schools is the evidence we need. It is objective, and it compares both situations with unbiased and unemotional data.

    Obviously, every child is different. Some do blossom in the MS environment, but the research will show that most do not. In the end, the children that need the challenge of the MS environment will have to be challenged in the elementary setting. I wonder through all the research we’ve done that their will be some evidence of how converted K-8 schools have dealt with these children, so that their needs are met too.

    As far as Mr. McQuade, we asked him questions, and he responded respectfully. He also admitted, through our discussion of the Open Meetings Laws, that it was he that pushed the issue on the Ed. Options Committee. He elaborated on the law, and he actually had some good advice.

    I may not agree in how he handles his diplomacy at times, with issues he disagrees with, I do respect his admitting his involvement. He was the only person in attendance from outside our town. It took guts. As far as his involvement with disguising himself as you, he did, finally, admit to that as well, and that took guts, too.

    I will tell you this, the moment he tries to sabotage our efforts, his true colors will be revealed and the community will know.

    The young Mr. McQuade has to remember that it is the voters that put him into this extremely important position. They are his constituency, not the administration. Mr. McQuade and others, look around, we want our kids back where they belong.

    Good day,
    Lois

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 12, 2007 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

  24. I remember going to college my Freshman year and by Thanksgiving my parents had gained a phenomenal amount of knowledge. I do believe Mr. McQuaide has the best intentions and is welcome, as are all the School Board members.

    Tuesday, October 10th, was the last School Board meeting – If you weren’t there or didn’t watch it on TV you wouldn’t have seen the first School Board vote I have ever seen or heard of that went against the Superintendant’s request. Mr. Felkner was not present for the vote to extend the Richmond police SRO – School Resource Officer — to June 2008. The members that stymied the issue were Mr. McQuaide, Mr. Cicchetti, Mr. Petit, Mr. Abbott and Mrs. Serra.

    They decided that the conference called with Chief Driscoll and the police officer (who brought with them the Police Union rep) became, instead of a discussion of the issues and a resolution, a threatening, defensive and aggressive meeting. They rightfully decided that the children would be better served by a retired policeman or another person with expansive law experience. They did not remove the position at all – just decided to find another source who would become an employee instead of a member of Richmond’s police force. Hopkinton and Charlestown already pay for our own policemen, we do not need to pay for Richmond’s as well.

    Mr. Ricci is planning on bringing this vote up again – he did not get his way and said that these five people did not understand what they were voting on. Nonsense. It was perfectly clear.

    I grew up without policemen in the schools (and my high school 9th – 12th had over 2,000 kids)- I’m sure almost everyone else has as well if you are over 30. If the school can’t find someone for the remaining six months I am sure we will all survive perfectly well calling on them as needed — Richmond’s police office is efficient and only 10 minutes away at the most.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 12, 2007 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  25. Glad to hear that common sense prevailed for once with the School Committee. Think about how ludicrous it is to have a police officer stationed at Richmond School?

    Why not a fire truck. Shouldn’t we have a fire truck instantly available within seconds?

    How about a meteorologist? What if we have a sudden tornado? They happen around here more often then a gunman in an Elementary School.

    I think we should have a orthopedic surgeon along with an operating room. Kids break bones pretty often…probably a million times more often than a school shooting…a billion times more often at an Elementary School.

    I think we should have a drug sniffing dogs at every entrance to Richmond School. The other schools too.

    I went through twelve years of schooling without ever once seeing a cop at anything other than a school dance or after school activity. YOu forgot to add Mrs. Capalbo that we have 3 times more adults in schools versus when you were in school. Between aides, support staff, teachers, administrators and Lord knows who else, there’s an adult around every corner. Do these adults have any ability to protect our children?

    We are all a bunch of cowards living life cowering in a closet and willing to give up our freedoms and paychecks out of fear of the next bogeyman…how pathetic. And now we are proud of a few adults exhibiting a modicum of sense? Not me…I want the other adults in the school to do their best to protect our kids. I’ll leave the rest to fate. I’m not bursting with pride at this moment. Our society is turning to mush.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 13, 2007 @ 7:39 am | Reply

  26. So what are Mr. McQuaide’s intentions Mrs. Capalbo? Other than the warning about violating Open Meeting laws (something he routinely engages in), I’ve yet to hear why he was there or what he contributed?

    As for the vote on the police position at an Elementary School, I wouldn’t doubt it if Mr. Ricci publically supported the Richmond Police Dept., but privately advocated against the position. He’s a charlatan, but not foolish. He very easily could have had Mr. McQuaide doing his bidding while publically hiding his real view. He’s shown he’s quite the devilish sort so I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 13, 2007 @ 7:48 am | Reply

  27. CR,

    Thanks for my morning laugh. I do find all the trauma at any risk ludicrous, not to mention very costly to the taxpayers. We used to teach children to look both ways before they crossed the street – now we have bus monitors to do it for them. The community took responsiblilty for children not paid persons when I grew up. And sometimes we fail – welcome to life.

    Mr. McQuaide and the others really stood their ground. I was just amazed at the strength they all showed – calmly, never raising their voices, adamant but not rude. Truly protecting our students from intimidation, aggressive behavior and threats. They all said they tried to calm the waters and it simply did not occur. These people are elected representatives of our towns and should be approached respectfully (old-fashioned I know) even if one disagrees with them. Give Andy a chance to find his voice. It is valuable to have a person who just went through the school to speak for the students. He just has to listen to those who did not do well or have a ‘good’ time in high school as well as those that get A’s and B’s.

    One of the things he did mention that having a class of one or two special needs kids (for instance, if we did this ourselves and not as part of the district) does them a disservice where they do need others similar to themselves and it is more frugal to have one teacher for 6-10 than one teacher for one. I think Lois Buck’s work at the studies will convince Mr. McQuaide as well as others.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 13, 2007 @ 8:36 am | Reply

  28. As someone who hides behind a screen name because of fear of the Hopkinton police department, I guess I admire anyone publically putting their neck on the line in defiance of the police. I would say that I’m only afraid of the police in my town because Richmond and Charlestown police have less opportunity to abuse their power on me. Were any of the Committee members voting against the police proposal from Richmond? If so, good for them.

    I was initially enthusiastic about Mr. McQuaide specifically for the reasons you cite. I’ve since reassessed my optimism as to this point he has voted and advocated as if he is still in Elementary School rather than a High School graduate. Mr. Felkner continuously puts up the good fight for children, parents and taxpayers, and Mr. McQuaide has opposed him at every turn.

    I hope you and Mrs. Buck have your faith rewarded and Mr. McQuaide begins to represent the citizens rather than the teachers and administration, but it will take more then one sensible vote to convince me.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 13, 2007 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  29. Below is a post a entered yesterday. It still has not appeared. Therefore I will try again, and hope the original doesn’t show up later.

    CR,
    I too have found a lot of evidence regarding the need for the appropriate environment for our young adolescents. I wonder if the M.S. environment, that D.McBride suggested, was best for his/her child. It is a one-sided perspective. How does this person know, if their child had stayed in the elementary setting, that it would have been worse? They will never know, as their child did not move on in the elementary setting. It is an assumption. It is subjective.

    The importance of the research and the effects of the changes going on in public schools is the evidence we need. It is objective, and it compares both situations with unbiased and unemotional data.

    Obviously, every child is different. Some do blossom in the MS environment, but the research will show that most do not. In the end, the children that need the challenge of the MS environment will have to be challenged in the elementary setting. I wonder through all the research we’ve done that their will be some evidence of how converted K-8 schools have dealt with these children, so that their needs are met too.

    As far as Mr. McQuade, we asked him questions, and he responded respectfully. He also admitted, through our discussion of the Open Meetings Laws, that it was he that pushed the issue on the Ed. Options Committee. He elaborated on the law, and he actually had some good advice.

    I may not agree in how he handles his diplomacy at times, with issues he disagrees with, I do respect his admitting his involvement. He was the only person in attendance from outside our town. It took guts. As far as his involvement with disguising himself as you, he did, finally, admit to that as well, and that took guts, too.

    I will tell you this, the moment he tries to sabotage our efforts, his true colors will be revealed and the community will know.

    The young Mr. McQuade has to remember that it is the voters that put him into this extremely important position. They are his constituency, not the administration. Mr. McQuade and others, look around, we want our kids back where they belong.

    Good day,
    Lois

    Comment by Lois Buck — October 13, 2007 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

  30. Valid CR,

    The vote was two from Charlestown, two from Hopkinton and one from Richmond. I don’t know how Mr. Felkner would have voted if he was present.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 13, 2007 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  31. Was Mr. Pruehs there? I’m assuming he voted for the extension of the unnecessary police position if he was there?

    I have no clue about him or his background. The one meeting I’ve seen he was milquetoast. He worries me, as would anyone who had the support of Mrs. Kenney. Mrs. Kenney would bankrupt Hopkinton rather than challenge Chariho, so any candidate of hers is probably not a friend of the children and taxpayers.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 13, 2007 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  32. Yes, Mr. Pruehs was not only at the School Board meeting but I believe also at the sub-committee meeting with the police emmissaries. He told me at the meeting that he was also concerned about the nature of that meeting but I am not sure he understood the nature of that vote. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt because he is new and it can be very confusing.

    It has always concerned me that persons interested in being on the School Board never seem to go to any of the meetings before they wish to be appointed or actually run to be elected. And the Board can be excruciatingly boring until something actually needs to be done and then you really need to know Roberts Rules and all the sequences for the discussion and vote. It really can be intimidating. I am hoping that if Mr. Ricci brings this up again, Mr. Preuhs would vote with Mr. Petit and the others. But, I, like you, don’t really know what will happen. Mr. Felkner should be present however.

    The dynamics of the board has changed since the election last year and it is continuing to interest me as it evolves and as all the new people get more and more comfortable with their opionions and therefore bring confidence to their votes. And prior members are finding support that hadn’t been there before. In particular, I hope Mr. Cicchetti will have a great deal of board support for his push for more advanced classes and strong programs for the highly capable students. The least amount of attention to these students will return ten-fold to the community.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 13, 2007 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  33. Yes, I would love to see even a fraction of the resources spent on the special needs students be redirected to the advanced children or even the average students. We are making a huge mistake not paying enough attention to the brightest. These are the future leaders and producers who will drive our society and maintain our economy if we support them now.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 13, 2007 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  34. RE: how I would vote on the SRO issue.

    It was my intention to restructure the job description. I was concerned that as it was currently written and performed, we had no way of knowing what exactly he did. How many times did he visit the community and where and why. How often in classrooms. Etc…

    Reading the minutes of the meeting with Chief Driscol, I noticed someone said I had attacked Officer Vaughn. I don’t think I did. After Andy Polouski said all he heard was positives about the Officer, I did say I had heard a complaint – but I’m sure everyone gets complaints and it was the truth. No big deal but apparently it was taken as one.

    But looking at what was presented at the meeting I missed, I would have voted against it. It doesnt spell out, in quantifiable terms, what the SRO does.

    Since we have no ability to “manage” the SRO (that responsibility is only for the Chief) we must have the abililty to measure whether or not we are getting what we are paying for.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — October 13, 2007 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  35. The police simply are not used to being questioned in any fashion. When it does occur, even to the minimal extent you describe, from their position of omnipotence they take it as criticism. I’ve spent considerable time around police in my life and the level of arrogance I’ve witnessed is beyond belief…scary to tell you the truth.

    We should all be very worried about how many individual liberty we’ve ceded to the police over the last two decades. I believe Rhode Island has a law against police striking, but I’m betting we wouldn’t even notice, and we’d be better off, if our local police went out on strike. Sixteen police officers in quiet, little Hopkinton, RI. What more needs to be said?

    No need for identified posters to comment about the police. Take my advice.

    Comment by Curious Resident — October 14, 2007 @ 12:51 am | Reply

  36. Thanks for the reply Bill. I was at the School Board meeting he mentioned and his comment was not only mild, but was not followed up on by anyone else. Effectively dropped. All of the members that voted against the SRO contract did not want to dismiss the concept just re-organize its use. I think they are on the right track.

    CR, the transitions in schools by grades is often considered – we certainly want as few as possible — but your additional comment on the internal transitions of puberty should be of concern as well. Good point again, thanks. I don’t know if the Duke study discusses this – perhaps Lois knows. As an Army brat, I changed schools at least six times in 12 years (others have moved even more), without ever attending pre-school although there was a kindergarten on base in Germany – and we walked to the school.

    Comment by Barbara Capalbo — October 14, 2007 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

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  38. I am a bus driver for Chariho and I see a big difference in the children that go from 4th grade to the middle school…they become intrigued by all the making out of older students..children that where very out going and had good behavior on the bus in Middle School they stop saying hello or good night they also drivers begin to hear them say things like Oh my stupid parents won’t let when just the year before they adored their parents..so much goes on on the bus and it is not possible to drive the bus and care for these younger children some of them are on the bus for an hour or more.

    Comment by bus driver — January 23, 2009 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

  39. How often do they see “all the making out of older students”?

    Comment by Bill Felkner — January 23, 2009 @ 7:35 pm | Reply

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