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Middle School Plan Toughens Standards

Life may become a little tougher for middle school students in Orange Unified School District next year.

Administrators and parents at the four schools have banded together to stiffen graduation requirements and force failing students to face some consequences.

“The leadership team of the middle schools is determined to improve the academic experience,” said Fran Roney, principal of Cerro Villa Middle School.

Roney presented a plan to the school board Thursday night that would change grading schedules, create new programs for academic underachievers and hold back students who fail classes.

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If the trustees approve the plan May 22, parts of the program could begin next school year.

First would come new report card periods, with 12-week trimesters instead of the current quarter system. Parents would be informed that their child is failing during the fifth week and would still have seven weeks to get the student help, Roney said.

Students now enroll in a total of 56 classes during seventh and eighth grades. If they pass at least 48 of these courses, they are promoted to ninth grade, even with failures on their report cards. They can fail eight of their science classes and still graduate.

Those who do not meet the new requirements would have to make up classes.

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