Bedminster Middle School removes honors classes

Bedminster Middle school and Bernardsville Middle School are not aligned in the core courses that they provide
Bedminster Middle school and Bernardsville Middle School are not aligned in the core courses that they provide
Ella Patel

Bedminster Middle School has made a change to the 2023-2024 school curriculum. Honors classes, science and english, are both being removed from the curriculum. Both honors English and Science were made available to the 8th middle school students in previous years, but this option was not made available to the middle school graduating class of 2024. This change has come as a shock to both students and parents.

Lack of middle school exposure to these classes could discourage students from taking honors courses in high school. The middle school honors classes are supposed to prepare students for high school and its rigorous curriculum, but without being subject to these classes in middle school, the title “honors” can be daunting.

“Middle school honors classes really prepared me for the pace and workload of high school honors classes,” said Claire Ren ‘26, “I had a better time adjusting to high school because of the courses I took in 8th grade.”

While Bedminster wanted to increase equal education throughout the middle school, this change decreases the equity of education received by Bedminster Middle School students and Bernardsville Middle School students. Bedminster Middle School and Bernardsville Middle School students merge when they attend Bernards High School. This leads to an unfair education difference in students from different towns and gives Bedminster students a disadvantage when compared to their Bernards counterparts.

Bedminster Middle School students are currently at an educational disadvantage to Bernardsville Middle School students in nearly all of the core classes. When a group of parents approached Bedminster Middle School with concerns on their children’s math class disadvantage, the solutions given were either doubling up in high school or summer school classes. The high school educational experiences and opportunities for Bedminster students could be limited due to this change.

Bernardsville Middle School offers both Science and English honors classes. The removal of Bedminster Middle School’s honors classes could result in students who attended that middle school to have a setback in their high school classes compared to Bernardsville Middle School students.

Bernardsville Middle School students also have an advantage in math as they are offered Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and geometry during one’s 8th grade year, while Bedminster does not have a geometry course (nor has it had one for the past 10 years). This timeline differed from Bernardsville even before the removal of the classes.

“Literacy honors and math honors were offered in 6th grade at Bernardsville middle school. Science honors wasn’t offered until 8th grade,” said Hannah Vinegra ‘26.

While all of the same courses were previously offered at the 2 schools, Bernardsville’s honors English program was introduced to students at a much earlier grade. Of course, now English, along with Science, is not offered, so Bedminster students have significantly less opportunities than Bernardsville’s students are provided. Parents of the Bedminster students hope to regain some equality in the educational system and align Bedminster Middle School with Bernardsville Middle School, although information has not been given as to whether or not this change will occur.

The parents of students attending Bedminster school were not made aware of this change and there was no formal announcement that the honors classes were no longer available. The Bedminster school website also still advertises honors classes as part of the curriculum—with information on the class criteria available for the public—which is misleading to both students and parents. Because Bedminster Middle never announced the elimination of honors Science and English, parents were limited in how they could proceed and ultimately limited opportunities for insight and feedback.

An explanation offered to some parents inquiring about the absence of these classes was to increase inclusion and equity throughout the school. Parents were also given declining class sizes as a reason for the removal of honors classes. This information, however, was only given to those who directly asked the school for an explanation as no announcement was made to discuss or signify this change.

The Crimson staff reached out to Bedminster School District on multiple occasions for comment and clarification regarding this change, however, no explanation was provided by publication date. Although we will not begin to see the effects of this change until the 2024-2025 school year (with the incoming freshmen), the removal of honors classes in Bedminster Middle School is concerning.

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