Problem Mont Pleasant students sent to new schools

Some moved up to high school

Friday, November 15, 2013
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— Many of the students suspended from Mont Pleasant Middle School because they were deemed a safety risk are back in classes — but not at Mont Pleasant.

In the second week of October, 18 students were suspended indefinitely from the school. City schools Superintendent Laurence Spring said none would ever return to Mont Pleasant.

A few weeks later, some were promoted to ninth grade and sent to the high school, Spring said. Those students were eighth-graders who were about 16 years old — much older than their 13-year-old classmates, Spring said. And he argued that they were ready for high school.

“They predominantly passed eighth grade. They failed maybe one subject,” he said. “In high school, if a freshman fails ninth grade English, they take all 10th-grade classes, but they take ninth-grade English again. In eighth grade, you take all of eighth grade [again] or you go on to the high school.”

But promoting the 16-year-old eighth-graders in late October meant they were at least seven weeks behind in their new classes. In the subjects they failed at Mont Pleasant, they were more than a year behind.

Spring acknowledged the students have a “gigantic amount” of work to do to catch up.

“They’re going to continue to need support,” he said.

Students have been assigned to extra-help classes, special education teachers and counselors, depending on their needs, he said.

Spring said those students won’t be bringing Mont Pleasant’s violence to the high school.

“These were not kids who were being violent,” he said. “But they weren’t being in class, either.”

He’s hoping high school classes will hold their attention, particularly in the subjects they passed last year.

Some of the other suspended students have been sent to the Steinmetz Career and Leadership Academy, where they were enrolled in Success Academy for Middle School Students, a special program for failing middle-school students.

The program is designed to give students the chance to complete two middle-school years in 10 months — allowing seventh-graders to bypass eighth grade and jump straight to ninth grade next year.

But it’s hard work. Many students don’t manage to cram two years worth of information into one year. Those who don’t manage that often complete all of their seventh-grade work, allowing them to move on to eighth grade, school administrators said.

Other suspended students are still at Washington Irving, where they get tutoring for three hours a day. Spring said the district is working with BOCES to create special programs for those students.

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November 16, 2013
10:33 a.m.
safny says...

So they weren't far enough along to go to high school until they were suspended? Does that make any sense? And what about all the kids going to school three hours a day - what are they doing the rest of the time??? Until the parents are held accountable in some way - this is never going to get better.

November 16, 2013
10:42 a.m.

I'm lost. Perhaps my reading comp isn't as i thought. My mind is so boggled by these machinations, i do not know where to start. I think i'm reading about misbehavior leading to promotion, one to one instruction, and more funding to BOCES. At the same time disenfranchised kids are being asked to increase their time and attention to tasks they've shunned.

I am all too familiar with NYSED's arcane suspension and due process procedures. I am even more familiar with NYSED's ability to pick and choose when to foist itself into, or, hide behind 'home rule' issues.

I am flabbergasted by the solutions this article describes.

November 16, 2013
12:23 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Jim O'Connor, are you suggesting that a 16 year old thug that is not smart enough to pass a course designed for a 13 year old should not be promoted? How dare you, that's the new American way, we reward failure and bad decisions. Liberalism, because stupid just doesn't describe it!!!

November 16, 2013
3:19 p.m.
irishlad1234 says...

This is so sad, does this have something to do with no child left behind? As long as the government is involved in our education on the national level there will be problems just like this. 16 years old and still in the 8th grade, HELLO HELLO out there!

November 16, 2013
6:04 p.m.
ramos12304 says...

I'm sorry...16 in 8th grade? I was 13 when I started 9th grade and I repeated a grade in elementary school. If they couldn't do the work to pass middle school, what makes you think they can do the harder work load in the high school? But hey let's give them harder work that they won't be able to do which will put them farther behind and then they will just drop out and achieve nothing in life anyway...way to go Mr. Spring, way to solve that issue! That's just the many issues with todays students and their behavior, lack of respect for adults and authority as well as peers, bullying that gets looked past because no one wants to deal with it, just to name a few. It's sad to think that this is the future of our country.

November 16, 2013
9:07 p.m.
myers says...

They will probably quit school and be home all day but once they quit the school district will consider their job done and the problem resolved

November 16, 2013
9:38 p.m.
ChuckD says...

I struggled with math in high school, enough so that I was sentenced to what then was nearly a death sentence: Summer School. In 13 years (K-12) of grade school in a local suburban district, I never knew of anyone more than one year behind.

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