By Seth Daniel
The Revere Schools will conduct a middle school lottery on Thursday, completing the seventh straight year of what has become a necessary evil.
“Nobody likes the lottery,” said Supt. Dianne Kelly. “There’s not a parent, School Committee member or teacher that likes the lottery. However, it remains the only way to assign kids to middle schools and have a positive learning environment. It would not be responsible educationally if we let kids go wherever they choose. We would have classrooms with 40 kids at Susan B. Anthony and the Rumney Marsh which wouldn’t be good for anybody.”
The Middle School lottery process remains one of the most controversial issues in the School Department. The issue began when the new middle schools at the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) and the Rumney Marsh (RMA) were introduced some years ago. They replaced the Beachmont Middle School, adding an extra school and keeping the existing Garfield Middle.
Because they were new and close to the majority of the parents, most parents chose the SBA and RMA in much bigger numbers than the Garfield.
Nothing has really changed since that time, Kelly said, and the problem has seemingly increased this year after a bit of a lull.
“We had been having the schools a little more evened out over the last five years, but his year we’re a little lopsided again,” she said.
The lotteries will be conducted on April 14 in the School Committee room at Revere High School and students are not permitted to attend, but parents can. It will be conducted by Constantino, Richards and Rizzo LLP, who will draw from 369 names in nine separate lotteries.
The lotteries will include:
- Two lotteries for the Hill School for seats at the SBA and RMA.
- Two lotteries for the Whelan School for seats in SBA and RMA.
- Two lotteries for the Lincoln School for seats in the SBA and RMA.
- One lottery for the Paul Revere School for seats at the RMA.
- One lottery at the Garfield Elementary for seats in Garfield Middle.
- One lottery at Beachmont School for seats in SBA.
Kelly said that over the years, when parents do not get into the school they want with the lottery, it has typically worked out – especially for the kids.
“If you talk to the parents who went to the Garfield Middle, once the kids got there they were fine,” she said. “Kids are resilient. They end up loving the programs and the teachers. Kids adjust to a new environment and thrive.”
That said, there are some differences in the middles schools.
For example, the Garfield Middle has an extended learning time (ELT) grant and goes later into the day than the other two schools. That school also has a robotics program.
Meanwhile the RMA has a school newspaper and offers other similar electives. At the SBA, there is a focus on drama and that school puts on a play every year.
That said, there are no more themes, Kelly said, as there had been in previous years.
Kelly said one unintended positive thing about the lottery has been that students at the high school end up getting along better than in other places.
“We don’t have the turf wars that they have in other high schools,” she said. “They go to know each other in 6th, 7th or 8th grade and they’re fine with one another despite their differences. That’s been an unintended positive consequence.”