We have just moved up to Parry Sound and were very pleased to have our children attend a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school. Thus, it was with much surprise and dismay to hear of the board’s decision to move the Grades 7 and 8s to Parry Sound High School starting September 2013. I find it hard to believe the Near North District School Board’s claim that the Grade 7-12 model enhances opportunities when so many school districts, like the York District School Board, the Peel District School Board and the Durham District School Board works just fine on a K-8 model.
In fact, the Toronto District School Board, which has used the middle school model for years, has recently moved towards changing to K-8 schools as stated in a Toronto Star article of June 10, 2012, This isn’t just in Ontario - schools in New York and
Cincinnati in the US have also recently moved to the K-8 model. So, It seems to me, that NNDSB is going backwards in switching to a middle school model and they should not even be boasting about the two schools in North Bay that has started grade 7-12. We have yet to begin to see the consequences of such a decision. Where are the evidence-based studies that show that the 7-12 model works? When I search online, it appears that the NNDSB has neglected to provide clear facts to support their decision.
Articles have stated that Grade 7-12 model can be disruptive for weaker students and while there are more opportunities in the area of science, PE, music and shop, there is evidence that students moving to middle school causes a drop in math and reading performance. Could the reason for “enhanced programming opportunities” merely be an excuse for cost-cutting measures? My question to the board is: where is the evidence that a Grade 7-12 model provides better quality education for Grades 7-8? I’ll believe when I see the evidence!