Middle-school plan approved by board

A middle-school transition plan for Federal Way’s public schools is another step closer to completion.

The School Board has approved a proposal that preserves the honors program, makes a provision for remedial education and removes a requirement for heterogeneous class groupings.

Board members debated the first recommendation in the Learning Groups section of the middle school transition plan, called LG1, because it required classes be grouped heterogeneously — mixing students of different academic abilities. It also would require teachers to use differentiated-learning instruction.

The recommendation did not include provisions for honors or remedial programs.

LG1 essentially was the heart of the district’s transition from a junior high system to a middle school. It established the class structure and tied into other recommendations, including LG2, which would limit teachers to 30 students and team teachers to 60 students.

School district superintendent Tom Murphy told board members Feb. 11 that it would be difficult to approve the learning groups recommendations independently and with revisions because they are so tied together. Still, he said if the board approved a revised LG1, he would see what could be done to satisfy other recommendations.

The board approved the new version of LG1 Feb. 25, contingent upon information Murphy will bring to the board’s March 11 meeting.

Members Don Putman and Charlie Hoff opposed the revised recommendation. Putman said he wanted to ensure the provisions of the second recommendation, while Hoff said he wanted a clear remedial education track to make sure struggling students were getting help and not just being advanced with the rest of the class.

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and

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