Target 12 has learned dozens of Calcutt Middle School students who failed two to three of their core classes of Math, Science, English and Social Studies will still become freshman. The district attracted national attention in 2010 when 88 teachers were fired, in part, over a graduation rate of 48 percent.

Alba would not comment on the dispute. Central Falls’ Superintendent Frances Gallo sent Target 12 an email in response to our questions about the policy.

“There is an internal discussion regarding whether or not student retention is or is not helpful,” Gallo wrote. “Retention significantly increases the likelihood of a student dropping out of school.”