Parents express concern Atlantic may change ELO program at AMS


May 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Some parents and students who attended the Atlantic Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday night at the High School, expressed their concerns over the possible closure of the ELO (Extended Learning Opportunities) program, for advanced students, at the Middle School. Lydia Rothfusz and her son Aaron were among those who spoke. Rothfuz has three students in the school system, one each in the 2nd, 6th and 8th grades. She said it was her understanding the program will be disbanded this coming Fall, in favor of a more integrated approach to education, in which advanced students would be attending classes with remedial students who are at an average level. Rothfusz said she strongly opposes the change, because in the current program, advanced students are working together in a peer-group setting, with like abilities. She said those students are challenged as a group by their instructors and course material, and also by their peer group. 

She said the current setting gives those students the feeling they can excel based on their own ability level. Rothfusz said she’s concerned that those students who are currently “The cream of the crop” educationally, are going to feel like they need to “Dumb down their abilities,” in order to fit into a different classroom setting. She said if they’re not challenged, they’ll be more prone to “acting up,” because they’ll be bored and distracted.” She said she thinks it’s unreasonable to expect one teacher in a classroom of 15- to 25-students to teach to such a varied level of abilities, and educational opportunities. Her son Aaron, who would be affected by the change, if it’s approved, said the ELO program is designed to help kids excel, and putting everyone together in one setting would create more stress for teachers and students. Another student who is in the ELO program, said she didn’t feel she was being challenged as much as she should have been, prior to entering the program. She said since she’s been in the ELO program, she feels like she feels like she’s being challenged to do better than she was before. 

Board President Kristy Pellett said they will take the comments under advisement.