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?  

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December 21, 2006

Narragansett finds “New Math” in need of additional support

Filed under: Elementary Schools,Student Performance — Editor @ 7:42 pm

As discussed before, the “New Math” or “Investigations” math has not been a huge success.  Students and parents alike find it difficult.  The only ones who seem to like it are those who continually tweak curriculum.  Perhaps if we focused on the basics, we wouldn’t need to supplement this teaching model with after-school programs.

“The complaints from parents tend to be along the lines of children not learning how to solve math problems and not learning the basics, such as their multiplication tables.”

Students around the world are eating our proverbial lunch (America ranks 12th (4th grade) and 15th (8th grade) in math scores worldwide).  In this global market, this will naturally lead to a dwindling standard of living for our children.

I wonder how many additional programs and instructors will be needed to bring math performance back up to the standards seen with the “old math.”  

December 20, 2006

Westerly Sun reports repairs, maintenance and upgrades at the 1904 school

Filed under: Elementary Schools,Hopkinton — Editor @ 10:28 pm

The article outlined $68,170 spent on the school since 2003.  The approx $33,000 per year is 50% more than the $22,000 average claimed in the memo reported in a previous article.  Details were provided on such expenditures as repairs ($5,874 to Munro Electrical Supplies), maintenance ($38,290 to Martone Painting Company for masonry repair work (September 2003)), and upgrades ($4,988.15 to M.C. Electric Co. for lighting fixture, $3,880.95 to Modern Security Systems for security system installation (September 2004)).

During Monday’s Hopkinton Town Council meeting, a member of the Education Options Committee questioned whether funding for these expenditures at the Hopkinton Schools was equivalent to the money spent at Richmond and Charlestown.  

The Education Options Committee sent out some information outlining the amount of money spent at each school.  The info was garnered from the State Dept of Ed and shows approximately $250,000 spent each year on building maintenance, upgrade and repair at Hopkinton. 

I’ve toured this school recently and must say I thought it was an impressive building.  Large, bright rooms with high ceilings.   Ashaway classroom

It appears that that board voted against using it for one or more of the following reasons.  They don’t need the space due to the removal of 5th and 6th graders and dropping enrollment.  The condition of the building is so bad that it would be cost prohibitive to fix or upgrade it.  

I disagree with the second point and the first is a self-fulfilling prophesy. 

December 3, 2006

Elementary Schools

Filed under: Elementary Schools — Editor @ 5:17 am

What improvements are needed?  Should the towns seperate?  What grades should be in the Elementary School classification?  What is the condition of your Elementary School?  Discuss the Elementary/Primary School issues here.