Recently, a decision was made by superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown to phase out CP1 level classes for the upcoming school year. This will not only affect students enrolled in a CP1 class, but also kids enrolled in the CP2 and honors levels. Next year, some students will be placed in multilevel classes and teachers will be required to form lesson plans that accommodate students of different levels.
The reasoning behind this decision, according to an email Meg Mayo-Brown recently sent to faculty, is to take labels off of students, desegregate classes, and to provide a learning opportunity for those enrolled in CP1 classes where they may grow and succeed more effectively.
“While I believe CP1 courses were designed in order to support students who are struggling, the unintended consequence of the strategy has resulted in a form of tracking along racial lines,” said Mayo-Brown.
A task force of teachers at BHS was recently put into place responsible for creating a plan to effectively implement the new decision in the coming year.
The task force is currently in the process of developing an action plan, said task force member Bruce Colwell, a history teacher at BHS.
According to member Wendy Johnson, a BHS math teacher, CP1 classes will only really be removed for freshman next year. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will still have normal CP1/2 and honors offerings, while freshman will have the option of a combined CP level or honors class.
While the goal of phasing out CP1 is ultimately to benefit the learning of all students, the effectiveness of multi-level classes is currently being called into question by many.
Maureen McLaughlin, an english teacher at BHS, currently teaches a CP1 and multi-level english class.
“I think for honors kids it can be a disservice. I can’t teach some of the books that I would because many of the kids can’t handle it,” McLaughlin said.
Senior Colby Philips, a student in McLaughlin’s multi-level class, concurs with that statement.
“It’s nice being able to engage with students of different levels,” said Philips, “but it seems to be holding the honors kids back academically, while rushing the CP kids who need a slower curriculum.”
While teaching a multi-level class, McLaughlin said she’s had to adopt a “one size fits all” kind of method when approaching how she teaches. This is due to the idea that different preps should not be created for different levels in the class, but rather compromises are made to accommodate everyone into the same lesson.
According to McLaughlin, integrating CP1 students into multi-level classes next year will be difficult as CP1 students are often absent more and need extra one on one help. McLaughlin teaches her CP1 class by giving each student individualized assignments that cater to their needs and allow them to keep up to date with the class. This style of teaching would not work in a multi-level class.
“Students in CP1 don’t see it as a stigma,” said McLaughlin, “some work 40 hours a week and they don’t mind being separated.”
Mayo-Brown’s goal for the future after the phasing out of CP1 classes takes effect is that all students feel welcomed at BHS and have the opportunity to advance academically in a diverse setting while fairly preparing for their future.
“I hope that all students, regardless of race/ethnicity, native language, or income level feel a sense of belonging at BHS,” said Mayo-Brown.