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Students, teachers express frustration over lack of honors program

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Say college applications and scholarships are handicapped


By Barbara Taormina


REVERE – After listening to a long line of students, parents and teachers who turned out for this week’s School Committee meeting to express their views during the public participation segment of the meeting, the committee voted to have the administration begin rebuilding an honors program at both the high school and middle school.

Students told the committee their applications for colleges and scholarships were handicapped because they are being assessed exclusively on their transcripts and Revere transcripts do not include honors courses. Some students felt honors courses are an important step between college prep courses and advanced placement courses. Others told the committee they feel they are capable of more than what was asked of them in many classes.

Parents expressed frustration that the honors program was cut but the district offered other programs designed for other groups, such as English as a second language.

And teachers said the current system of offering students in courses an honors option with more rigorous requirements for the course creates an excessive workload through scaffolding and does not help move more students into honors-level work.

Eliminating the honors programs was part of the de-tracking effort, a move to end teaching students separately according to their understood level of ability. Creating classes of students of all levels was believed to open the door to greater challenges to students at lower levels and provide a more equitable system. Several people who spoke to the committee said it made classes difficult and frustrating for struggling students, and dull and uninspiring for students who excelled.

“I believe we need this,” said School Committee Member Anthony Caggiano of the honors program. “The longer we wait, the more kids will fall through the cracks.”

Committee Vice Chair Jacqueline Monterroso supported the proposal to reinstate the honors program. “All students deserve to be challenged,” she said.

But Monterroso stressed that Superintendent Dianne Kelly and administrators need time to create an honors program, which would likely require more money and teachers. “We want to be sure the implementation is successful,” she said.

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