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Cole Honors Night Back on the Table after "Feedback"

School officials on Tuesday afternoon sent a message to the school community announcing there has been a change of heart and that "we have decided to honor excellence as we had planned."

EAST GREENWICH, R.I. —Honors Night at Archie R. Cole Middle School is back on the table after school officials got a wave of feedback — much of it negative — in response to a decision to cancel the tradition citing concerns about it being too exclusive.

School officials on Tuesday afternoon sent a message to the school community announcing there has been a change of heart and that "we have decided to honor excellence as we had planned."

The difference now is that the honors celebration will be held "at a traditional evening event," similar to the sports awards ceremony held each year to honor student athletes.

"Our original communication would have benefited from more clarity regarding the change in the format for honoring student excellence," Principal Alexis Meyer and Assistance Principal Dan Seger said in a statement. "We are exceedingly proud of the outstanding achievements of Cole students and obviously had no intention of failing to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary student accomplishment in its many forms."

The rationale behind the original change, which was to scrap the tradition in favor of recognizing individual student accomplishments at team-based recognition ceremonies and graduation, was based on a desire to "create a venue where all kids who meet the high expectations" of the school are celebrated in a "manner consistent with our core values about student learning and performance."

The school leaders said they appreciate the thoughtful and on-going feedback that led them to re-think their decision and revise their plans.

The original plans were announced in an e-mail sent to parents over the weekend.

The school community was abuzz after word that the honors night tradition would be eliminated.

The new plan is now to host an awards ceremony for high achieving students some night in June. 

More details about the ceremony will be announced soon.

Below is the full text of today's statement:

Dear Fellow Members of the Cole Middle School Community: 

Over the past several days, we have been in contact with many members of the community who have shared feedback about our decision to recognize and celebrate student excellence by individuals and teams in a team-based event during school hours. We have certainly appreciated the range of feedback we received about how best to celebrate excellence at Cole.

In light of our conversations, we have decided to honor excellence as we had planned, but at a traditional evening event.

In retrospect, our original communication would have benefited from more clarity regarding the change in the format for honoring student excellence.  We are exceedingly proud of the outstanding achievements of Cole students and obviously had no intention of failing to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary student accomplishment in its many forms.   

Rather, our intention was to create a venue where all kids who meet the high expectations that we set for them are recognized and celebrated in a manner consistent with our core values about student learning and performance. 

Cole Middle School’s long-standing tradition of high expectations and high performance remains the cornerstone upon which we will continue to encourage student learning and achievement.  

It continues to be an honor and pleasure to work with and learn from the members of the Cole Middle School Community.  We deeply appreciate the thoughtful, on-going feedback.  We look forward to the opportunity to celebrate and recognize our students in a fashion that is worthy of their achievements.  As of today, we are planning on an evening in June to celebrate student excellence at Cole.   Further communication will be shared with you by the close of this week on the final details.

Respectfully,

Alexis Meyer

Dan Seger



EGParent June 04, 2014 at 07:18 PM
Katrina, I think you've got it wrong. Your excuse won't help.
Katrina Timperley June 04, 2014 at 07:31 PM
EGParent, You think the disrespect he showed is correct? Why do we bother trying to teaching children character education when the parents have none. I only felt excluded with today's exclusive invitation email. It would have been nicer IMO to have had honors night be a team event so that more people could have gone. One of the best parts of Andrew Miner's excellent NJHS speech was his tribute to his fellow students. I think other Cole students are also capable of looking beyond their own personal desire for recognition and celebrating that of their peers.
EG Mom June 04, 2014 at 08:16 PM
Take it easy. Katrina, You shouldn't feel excluded with today's exclusive invitation. Mrs. Meyer never explained the criteria for recognition. It is her exclusive little secret.
Katrina Timperley June 04, 2014 at 08:28 PM
EG mom One of my children was recognized at this. I think it is both objective and subjective. And I think the truth is that any of the NJHS inductees would be an excellent choice. One student is probably not really better than another which is I think why they wanted the ability to recognize more students, not everyone but more. It would have been interesting to see the new way for one year and then make a decision.
John June 04, 2014 at 08:51 PM
The bigger issue is the lack of the transparency.

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