Policy 2421 - Promotion/Retention

The Board recognizes that students of the same age are at many intellectual and developmental levels and that these differences are a normal part of human development. Because of these differences, the administration and teaching staff are directed to make every effort to develop curricula and programs which meet the individual and unique needs of all students and allow them to remain with their age cohorts.

In general, children will be placed at the grade level to which they are best adjusted academically, chronologically, socially, and emotionally. Children will usually progress annually from one grade to the next. However, in cases where it is determined that retention is in a particular student’s best interest academically, that student may be retained in the same grade for up to one additional year. Retention shall be considered primarily because the student does not demonstrate readiness for the next level and it is believed that it will be in the best academic interest of the student’s future needs. Students twenty months older than their classmates will NOT be considered for grade-level retention. It would be the exceptional situation if a student were retained more than one time in their K-12 experience.

Communication between the teacher and the parent/guardian(s) should be consistent and thorough. When the student is not performing, the teacher on several occasions will contact the parent/guardian(s) so they are very aware of the teacher’s and school’s concerns for the student’s academic progress. When a child is consistently not succeeding at his/her grade level, the problem shall be discussed with the building principal and a school committee (Individualized Education Program Committee, or Multidisciplinary Team, or similar type of committee). This committee, which shall include the parent/guardian(s), will consider all possible options for the student prior to a committee’s recommendation of retention, which will be the intervention strategy of last resort. If the student is not ready for advancement, according to standards set by the school, intervention alternatives will be offered. Examples of intervention alternatives are: before and after school programs, Saturday School, mentor programs, study skills classes, Title I, summer school, special education programs, correspondence classes, night school, and individual tutoring. The appropriate alternative must be taken advantage of by the student prior to the school recommending advancement to the next grade/level.

In some situations, such as when a student doesn’t demonstrate work ethic, cooperation, or accountability, and needs additional academic assistance, it may be determined that a partial year retention will best assist the student to improve his/her attitude and reach certain standards or benchmarks. In those situations, students shall be considered for promotion to the next grade only at the end of a grading period.

If the committee recommends retention, a parent conference will be set up no later than March1 to create and implement, with the parent/guardian(s), an “Individual Retention Plan” or “Individual Promotion Plan” for the student. Upon successful completion of the alternatives (if appropriate), the student will be passed on to the next level/grade. Unsuccessful completion or non-completion of the alternatives (if appropriate) will result in the student being recommended for retention. The final decision whether to retain a student or to seek some other alternative for the student shall be developed in a meeting between the parents and the school personnel. Without mutual agreement, the student will be placed according to the parent’s/guardian’s wishes and a letter shall be placed in the student’s cumulative file stating the school’s recommendation(s) and the reasons the recommendation(s) were not implemented. This policy shall not apply to students in Special Education with an active Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Policy History:
Revised 1st Reading: January 21, 1999
Approved 2nd Reading: March18, 1999
Adopted on: 1/28/03