Boston considers eliminating middle schools

BOSTON — Drastic changes are being considered for the Boston public school system due to dropping enrollment in the middle grades.

Boston Superintendent Tommy Chang is considering creating an elementary school system that ends at grade six and a high school system that begins at grade seven.

The shift could mean moving thousands of seventh and eight grade students.

Parent Margaret Kerth is skeptical of Chang's plan. Her son used to attend a K-8 school, but now attends Washington Irving Middle School in Roslindale, and she says it's much better.

"Instead of keeping the whole school young, it kind of elevated the entire school to a somewhat inappropriately mature status where the older kids were not modeling for the younger kids," she said.

Superintendent Chang said he's looking into whether there's interest in the plan, adding that the quality of education for the seventh and eighth grade students could get a boost due to the concentration of support services in fewer schools, as reported on FOX25 Morning News.

"We're in the very preliminary stages of asking our schools...13 to 14 schools might be interested in this idea," Superintendent Chang told FOX25. "We have to finish our facilities and master planning process and all this will be embedded as part of this process."

According to district data, in 2014 11, 300 kids in grades 6-8 were enrolled in Boston Public Schools, but this year that number dropped to 10,680.

After a series of school closures last year, there are only six traditional middle schools in the city.

District numbers also show only 23-percent of  middle-schoolers in the city would be affected by any change. The city's 3 exam schools wouldn't be affected at all.

"Right now many of our middle schools and K-8 do not have the programming our young people need. We want more kids in Boston Public Schools we want more academic programming. In those grades," Chang told FOX25.

Oct. 5 is when the public will get its first look at the draft proposal for the facilities and master plan, which will include some of the reconfiguration idea.