Providence officials are considering closing down Alvarez High School and using the building for a new middle school, as they face an expected rise in middle school students.
The Providence Journal reports that Providence is facing overcrowding in city middle schools and expecting an unexplained spike in middle school enrollment in the coming years.
The idea of turning Alvarez into a middle school may appeal to school officials for several reasons. It would provide additional middle school seats, and it would mean shutting down one of the city's lowest performing schools. Alvarez is relatively small for a high school, and it has been plagued by a history of low test scores and high turnaround for principals. State education officials have ordered an overhaul, which is now underway at Alvarez.
The troubles at Alvarez made headlines recently, after students complained that a substitute teacher had been teaching their physics class for several months even though she had no expertise in the subject. The students said it was the second year in a row for many of them during which a science class was taught by a non-science teacher.
Despite the problems at Alvarez, students say they have been hopeful that the overhaul effort has helped bring students and faculty together to improve the school. According to the Providence Journal, students and some city officials say they feel the school district is punishing them by talking about closing down the school.