Fairview school has a new plan to address perceived deficiencies in the language abilities of its students, and parents seem to support it this time.
Listeners may recall when in January, parents raised complaints after their children were visibly upset over changes in their classes and teachers. Parents complained, and demonstrated outside schoolboard offices.
They learned that the unilateral changes had been adopted by the principal in response to Fairview school receiving a F grade from the state, its students’ low scores on the state mandated ISTEP tests, and studies showing the its graduates went on to do poorly at high school.
The parents demanded meetings and greater consultation with school and board administrators on how the school should respond to the performance problems. Several meetings were held with parents, including one last night where the new plan was presented.
Deborah Myerson, who has two children at Fairview, attended this meeting.
“The first meeting was an attempt to respond to the states’ mandates being imposed right after January with very little advanced notice to parents and teachers,” Myerson says, “That was roundly rejected by the parents. This meeting was an attempt to re-do that with input by teachers and parents, for a new plan that will be in place after spring break.”
Under the new plan, every student at Fairview will spend two hours a day on language arts, an increase from the previous 90 minute load. The lower grades will do this in the morning and the higher grades in the afternoon.
Students will be grouped in smaller classes and specialists will be assigned to help specific teachers and groups. Myerson is hopeful that this plan will work.
“There are definitely literacy needs at the school, no question,” Myerson says, “I think the teachers are working really hard. I think there are issues with how the state is imposing itself on local education processes. Some of it will be difficult to deal with because of the high poverty level at the school, which is routinely correlated with low test scores.”
She points out that the next grade assigned to the school by the state will come out before the new plan has even begun to be implemented.
“I think people need to contact their legislators and that people locally should be in control of how their children are being educated and not be at the constant whim of the state,” Myerson says.
Another meeting for parents, teachers and administrators has been scheduled for this Thursday at Fairview School.