Students and parents at Wagner Middle School have something to cheer about at the start of a new academic year. After months of uncertainty, intensive honors math courses will be offered again following demands by activist parents and strong support from Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.
"Families contacted our office reporting that the honors track was eliminated during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of remote learning," said Seawright, who wrote to the principal of the school.
"The families of these students want to maintain the rigor that the honors option would provide. It is critical that we enhance spaces that foster learning for students who excel and have interest in a subject."
Reports circulated that the school had decided to eliminate the honors math program for seventh graders because too many students wanted to enroll. "We were specifically told that the new curriculum won't be at the Honor's level," said parent Nikos Papageorgiou.
Family advocates gathered more than 700 signatures calling on District Superintendent Kelly McGuire to restore the honors course.
"We urge you to restore the honors mathematics track," said Seawright in her letter.
McGuire wrote back last week that "the school leadership at Wagner will be sharing orientation information with families in September and will indicate that the honors math curriculum that had previously only been available to some students in the SP program, will be provided for all students in the SP program."
In response to McGuire, Papageorgiou said that the parents see "a genuine change of heart" by school officials following their actions and the support of Seawright and expect a complete restoration of the honors program at the start of the new semester.