ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Eighth graders will no longer automatically enter high school. It's a new policy in the Rockford School District, that showing up to class is no longer a guarantee that eighth grade students will graduate to high school.
"At the end of the 8th grade year students were promoted to the high school level without any sense of accountability academically or socially,” said Principal of West Middle School, Maceo Rainey.
That means students could fail all classes and still move on to 9th grade. However, that is no longer the case. If eighth graders fail math and reading the second semester, they must go to summer school. It's a policy that parent Sandra Nealon says she wasn't told about after her daughter Alyssa did not pass math and reading at West Middle School last year.
"I was told that she just couldn't graduate on stage but she was graduating and that I'd get her certificate in the mail."
Nealon also got a letter telling her that her daughter could not participate in graduation, however, as you go on to read it says the student's records will be mailed to their high school, which assumes that student will be going to high school.
Later, when Nealon signed Alyssa up for Guilford, six days before school, she received a call saying her daughter was supposed to go to summer school. Alyssa is currently at Roosevelt alternative high school.
"I was just devastated that I wasn't going," Alyssa said.
Alyssa and Nealon say there should've been communication, but school leaders say there is.
"The district and the schools have made it abundantly clear to all parents in reference to whether or not their student was eligible for summer school services and that criteria was based on passing both math and reading for the second semester,” said Rainey.
Principal Rainey says the new policy wasn't implemented until February, so parents weren't notified until the end of the semester. But he says out of the 15 kids from West who were required to go to summer school, just two students did not attend, and says the message was made clear.
However, Nealon says there's still communication problems. She says Guilford even called her a few days after school started, looking for her daughter. Guilford did not know she was supposed to be at Roosevelt either.