New York City plans to close most middle schools — once considered an educational innovation. The district hopes to create K-8 schools and some new high schools for grades 6-12.
A preview of the city’s initiative was offered Monday night on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, where the regional superintendent, Kathleen Cashin, won approval for a a plan to reconfigure five elementary schools and two middle schools, all but one of which would become grammar schools for pre-kindergarten to eighth grade classes next fall.
The remaining school, Middle School 180, will house a gifted program for grades six to eight. Dr. Cashin said that the K-8 model was in high demand among parents and that it offered numerous benefits, not necessarily tied to test scores.
“It’s an elementary-like nurturing environment,” she said. “Because children are older doesn’t mean they don’t need that nurturing care of a loving, caring adult. I have found the attendance is better, almost always. The violence is less, the younger kids defuse the older and the academics are at least as good if not better.”
Many of the city’s middle schools are designated as “needing improvement.”