6-year schools not fully explored
To the Editor:
As many of the residents of the city of Warwick know, the Warwick School Committee may soon vote on a proposal submitted by the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee. The proposal recommends the closing of Aldrich and Gorton Junior High Schools, changing Veterans Memorial High School into a large junior high. After graduating from this junior high school, some of the students would go on to Toll Gate High School with the remainder going to Pilgrim High School. No one could take the position that it is a good idea to divide people in their early teens in this manner.
A reading of the report clearly shows the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee did not seriously consider other options. For example, they devoted only one sentence to the possibility of six-year schools, stating, “Combining 7th and 8th graders with juniors and seniors was the least favored option for the basic rationale that 13/14 year olds did not belong with 17/18 year old junior/seniors, both social and emotionally, as well as maturation and intellectually.”
I graduated from Aldrich High School in 1955. At the time, Aldrich was a six-year school. I did not see any adverse consequences as a result of 13-year-olds passing 17-year-olds in the hallway. They did not attend the same classes nor did they participate in the same extracurricular activities.
While I am not necessarily advocating for a return to six-year schools, I do think that the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee should have given more thought to this possibility. Physical education classes and lunch periods could be structured in such a way so that there would be little age variance among those present. Most importantly, the lives of young people would not be disrupted to the extent proposed by that committee.
Gordon C. Mulligan