Revisiting School – Then & Now
Well, the summer is coming to an end, and in some areas of the country, school has already started. For most of our area kids, they’ll be heading back next week, with some having already started practice for sports and band.
I’m sure that most of us remember a lot about our time in school, the good, the bad, and the unique. When I lived in Union Township and came down to the Shore and visit with friends, one of the inevitable topics was how different (or strange) our schools did things. Like ending school later than everyone, what days are holidays, etc. Here’s a few I came up with from my hometown.
Grading system – Most schools give out the standard grades of A, B, C, D, and F. When I was in school, Union would grade with the corresponding numbers of 1 (Excellent), 2(Good), 3(Average), 4(Poor) and 5(Failure). And the 5’s were usually written on papers and report cards in red ink. This system made it easier to average the grades. They use the letters now, but do you know any other school that did it this way?
Snow days and the last day – Currently Union builds 5 snow days into their schedule, and any days that are left over wind up as being days off tacked on to Memorial Day weekend. The downside of this, to me, is that you’ve given the kids a taste of early summer when they’re preparing for the home stretch and finals of that year. I’d rather take the days off of the end of the year (which you’ve heard me mention on the air is always historically later than other towns) so kids could start a summer job or vacation a few days earlier. But that last day is firm since Union has a “Project Graduation” party after the ceremony, and the site of the party is booked in advance. So the date can’t be changed.
Grades – At the time I graduated, Union schools were set up this way: Elementary schools were K-5, all the sixth graders went to “Central 6”, there were two junior high schools for 7-9, then the high school. A few years ago, they changed to the familiar middle school and 4 year high school model, and “Central 6” became “Central 5”. The reason for that original version was because in 1969, Union was forced to implement a desegregation plan because one school had a predominantly African-American enrollment. So their students were bussed to other schools in town, and the 6th graders went to that one school. Trivia – my class was the last one before this was started.
Due to population changes, and the fact that Union is now more diverse and integrated, that model is outdated and they have a new plan where the elementary schools would be K-6, there would be one 2-year middle school, and the 4-year high school. One other reason for this is it would cut down on discipline problems with 6th graders, who sometimes have problems making the adjustment to middle school, and would be better equipped to be school leaders in elementary school.
So, there is a bit of reminiscing, and a look at today. Do your schools do anything that you think is unique to your town?