Bevilacqua Calls for End to ‘Student Against Student’ Ranking Debate

At least one Haverhill school committee member contends recent public debate over class rankings tied to early college and advanced placement programs at the high school is “pitting parent against parent” and even “student against student.”

The school committee Thursday night resumed discussion with several members who were blocked from participating two weeks ago due to an ethics-related determination. However, committeeman Joseph J. Bevilacqua believes the discussion should have been held in a workshop session. He said he is concerned with the well being of students at the high school.

”The success of Haverhill High School is the well-being of every single student in that system and those that are coming, and I’m hoping that we get through this, we get a resolution and that people are accepting it because of the fact we need to move together as a system and I’m very concerned that kids have felt diminished in their educational development who have taken the Early College admission program,” Bevilacqua said.

Bevilacqua added that, as a former member of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees, he is an advocate of early college admission programs.

During the committee’s March 26 meeting, parents complained honors and advanced placement students—representing the top 20 percent of learners—are losing class rankings to “middle of the class academically” Early College participants. Parents reported advanced students saw “drastic changes,” reducing student rankings by as much as “20 or more spots.”

School Committeeman Paul A. Magliocchetti had challenged the ranking system at the high school.

“The Early College Parents wanted to let everyone know how hard their students work in that program, what those classes are like and that they are legitimate college classes. And, I think the AP parents are trying to say, well if they are that way, then let’s compare the syllabuses, and let’s try to iron this out and make sure we’re getting this correctly,” Magliocchetti said.