To the editor:
I am curious as to what generated the editorial regarding moving ninth-graders to the high school. Parents of gifted, high-achieving students who want more academic offerings for their children tend to support that school structure. I understand and appreciate that. I also strongly support teachers and know they have their hands full, meeting the needs of so many different kinds of students they encounter daily. However, I have yet to understand why, in a biology class for instance, a teacher cannot have or does not have provided by the science coordinator/gifted coordinator, an extended version of the material for use with kids who need or want more challenge.
A discussion about facilities and ninth-graders does NOT go hand in hand if a school district has already philosophically decided what is best for its students. This is one of those times you want to respond with the age-old parent expression, "if all your friends jumped off a cliff, does that mean you should too?!" I think Lawrence has it right and we should keep it that way.
I strongly believe the issue is one of offering a solid program for ninth-graders at the junior high. In addition, I think it is important that the senior high curriculum be audited to make sure all students are getting solid core classes in low-populace classrooms and that neither of those are being watered down because we are offering 20 different English classes and a variety of other classes that drift on the frivolous. I want our high schools to offer as much variety as possible without creating Algebra II classes of 35 kids.
It has been published previously that ninth-graders will remain in the junior high because parents and the public do not currently suppport a move to the senior high school level. I believe that to still be the case. I think it would be helpful if the school board would make some kind of official "pronouncement" about philosophically supporting that decision and the reasons behind it so we could hopefully have finality on this issue.