50th Edition, Education

Successful METCO program expands to high schools

By Denebola
Published: February 2011

By David Eldelstein,
Volume 10
December 21, 1970

In response to the intensification of some of the problems of the big cities in recent times, the Newton School System has been hosting black METCO students from Boston. Next year, several of these students will be entering South High to further their educational experience in Newton.
Since 1966, students from Roxbury have been coming to Newton schools, starting with the elementary schools and working their way up through junior high. Today, there are already one hundred and twenty-seven of these students divided among different schools.
In discussing the arrival of black METCO students at South next year, Mr. Geer remarked “This ill give us a more diverse mix of students.”
He went on to note tat this would allow South to deal directly with real situations in racism, not just to read about them in books. Mr. Freedman, the Meadowbrook principal, added that the epresence of these students gives more of an impact and awareness to students about black problems and city problems.
The METCO program in Newton, is serving dual purposes. Primarily, it is attempting to offer the METCO students a better education and environment to study in than woud be offered in the old, overcrowded schools in Boston.
A less obvious purpose or results, of this program is to offer the pupils in Newton schools a chance to confront new people who have differing backgrounds, cultures, ideas and attitudes.
Inevitably, these black METCO students have been faced with various problems.
However, Mr. Shelton, the black assistant principal at Warren Junior High, felt that once the black students have a black counselor or teacher to relate to, their problems would decrease. At Meadowbrook there are five black teachers and one black counselor who are able to assist these students when they need help.
Several new courses have been added at Meadowbrook Junior High to reflect the black interest.
These courses, Black Experience, Soul Music, African Cultures, and other student-initiated programs enable the black students to pursue some of their interests.
In effect, the life that these blacks from Roxbury live and the “Newton world” are very different.
With the general mood in the country for black awareness and identity, sometimes the black students will tend to stay together, although this new contact, this sharing and relating they do with other students, can only be called a positive experience.
The METCO students who will be coming to South next year have already been in Newton schools over the past few years. Mr. Geer feels that they will add much to the classes, and momst faculty think that they will add to the general Newton South atmosphere.

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