Students 'Held Back' at Peck Place Raises Questions About Education

More than 10 percent of first graders at Peck Place will not go on to second grade next year


Six first grade students at Peck Place School are not going on to second grade next year and members of the Orange Board of Education want to know why.

During a discussion about class sizes and predictions for the upcoming school year, Superintendent of Schools Lynn McMullin said that of the 58 children in first grade at Peck Place, six are going to be retained, or held back.

Eight kindergarten students will also be held back at Mary L. Tracy School. Four were expected to attend at Race Brook School and four at Peck Place.

"As a board, we are concerned with staffing and the budget, but also at issue is this significant number of retentions. Why? That's a lot of kids," said board chairperson Jeanne Consiglio.

Protocol requires teachers to let the school principal know by February 15 if there is a concern with a student's retention. By April 15, parents are told.

Board member Bill Kraut said, "Someone's not doing their job. I don't care about the budget, I care about the kids. I want to find out now what happened."

Fellow board member Bobby Ricciardi said the statistics were 'absolutely unacceptable.'

"I agree that the numbers are high," McMullin said. "We need to reexamine the reporting policy and take a good look at the situation."

The lack of students moving on meant smaller class sizes at both Peck Place and Race Brook and the possible layoff of two teachers. At last night's meeting, McMullin described a plan to keep at least one of the teachers on staff, but perhaps not in the position she or he currently occupies.

"It's a plan for the good of the district and can result in the savings of one of the positions," she explained. "I'd like to return the district to staff three math/science curriculum coordinators. The addition would need to be hired from the existing Orange staff." McMullin plans to advertise for the position soon.

Meanwhile, the board of education expects an answer to the question, 'How could so many students at one grade level be retained?' at the June board meeting.



orange mom May 25, 2012 at 03:00 AM
@ Orange Mom 2-many families of kids in Orange whose children have IEP's are mistreated. If the child does not fit the mold, no matter how smart they may be, all bets are off. It's really sad, but very true.
Barbara T. May 25, 2012 at 03:13 AM
That is so true. And I commend you for raising your children the way you are. As most parents should. Every child should be treated with the upmost respect. We send our children to school to learn not to be tormented by other's. The teacher should of seen what was going on in her class and put an end to it right away. Why wasn't she taken notice of this?.
Over 40 years of this May 25, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Okay, so what does your situation and child's IEP have to do with the children being retained and/or Mr. deCant? This has become a sounding board for unhappy parents and some have gone off topic. Each situation for retention is different and unique. A greater percentage of students have excelled beyond teachers expectations at Peck and the other schools in town. Teachers are doing their jobs! By the way I am not a teacher but a stay at home Mom to 3 that have gone through Peck one of whom has an IEP.
orange mom May 25, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Orange schools tend to not teach well to all students. If students are outside of the narrow expectations (social, emotional, acedemic) they are apt to be treated differently by other students and teachers. It's very hard on a child and their family, That can prompt some parents to want to give their child an extra year to mature. If Orange is concerned by this reality, they need to do a much better job of teaching all students. They need to embrace all children and encourage them to try their best...that it will all fall into place. It's really quite simple - especially with such small class sizes. Until then, we'll have a high retention rate.
orange mom May 25, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I must add that my children are currently high performing students - it's about so much more than that.


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