Honors Night Kerfuffle A Misunderstanding, Supt. Says

by | May 21, 2014

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Honors Night at Cole Middle School is back. Long live Honors Night. It was banished for a tumultuous five days, but by Tuesday afternoon it had returned, in all its former glory.

What happened?

Supt. Victor Mercurio said he’d been aware of the plan to get rid of Honors Night – in which students from all three middle school grades are recognized for academic excellence.

He said Cole Principal Alexis Meyer had gotten feedback over the years about the evening’s exclusivity so the administration had devised a new way to recognize the students.

“Even though the timing of the event had changed, there was no intention not to recognize kids in the same fashion that they had done previously,” Mercurio said Tuesday night, after the School Committee meeting. “It was just to do it in a different venue and a different time frame.”

The new plan would have recognized students during school time, without parents present. Mercurio acknowledged this represented a significant break with past practice. But, he said, there was never any thought that students would not be recognized.

Some of the negative reaction centered on the suggestion in the Friday email from Meyer and Vice Principal Dan Seger that athletes would still have an after-school recognition event.

“I think that was one of the reasons why they stepped back and looked at the feedback they got,” said Mercurio.

He noted Honors Night was just one of several events dedicated to showcasing academic excellence at Cole. In addition to Honors Night, students are recognized at the National Junior Honors Society ceremony and at graduation. Mercurio said when he was a teacher and school administrator in Warwick, only eighth graders were included in Honors Night.

“The number of formal opportunities for recognition is higher than had been my experience, and that’s great,” he said.

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