Administrators Take a Class Break `Honest' Middle School Students Give Official Earful about System

By Stephen A. Martin Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 13, 1993 | Go to article overview

Administrators Take a Class Break `Honest' Middle School Students Give Official Earful about System


Stephen A. Martin Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Hugh Kinney might have expected to hear complaints about school lunches when he visited with Parkway West Middle School students recently. Instead, he found students who liked lunch but were looking for more information.

Kinney is the Parkway School District's west area superintendent. He and the district's other administrators each spent a day away from their offices recently in the schools they supervise.

The annual event, called Back to the Classroom Day, began for Kinney in a conference room at Parkway West Middle School with a group of about eight students.

Kim Derringer, an eighth-grader who said she was an "A" student, said the teachers at the school generally were good but sometimes leave students begging for more information.

Another eighth-grader, Brian Enslia, told Kinney that the school needed more up-to-date computer equipment and software.

Young Paik, another student, said he thought the amount of homework teachers gave seemed light. "That's what I like about this age group," Kinney said. "They're honest."

Few of the answers really seemed to surprise Kinney, who said he tries to spend at least a day a week in the schools in his area. Kinney, who spent his first days in the front of a classroom in 1976 as a special education teacher, said students have remained the same over the years.

One thing that is changing, however, is the way students at the district's middle schools are being taught. The junior high schools in the district officially became middle schools earlier this year.

A plan to add the sixth grade to each of the district's middle schools in two years will add 50 percent more teachers and students. In addition, the opening of another middle school in two years will mean that some teachers now at West Middle School will be shifted to fill vacancies at the new school. …

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