GPA Group Reports Back to HP School Board

On Tuesday night, a committee tasked with researching Highland Park High School’s disputed GPA policy — and suggesting changes, if any, to admin and the school board — had some news to share.

After months of consideration, the group of parents, school employees, and students focused on just one official policy change, and it seems relatively minor: they recommend that a handful of middle-schoolers taking higher-level classes (math, historically) at the high school should be able to get GPA credit for their work. Because the same students generally go on to enroll in college courses while still at HPHS — and said courses don’t affect high-school GPAs — any advantage would come out in the wash, as group member Carolyn James noted.

More research is needed for overarching questions such as which courses should be numerically exempt from transcripts, the committee explained. Meanwhile, the volunteers never reached consensus about whether transfer students should be eligible to become valedictorian or salutatorian. Tradition merits that they can’t, but not one of the 23 other school districts being studied for the GPA project has that rule. Actually, many deem that two consecutive years at a given high school, rather than four, constitute enough time for a kid to prove his or her chops.

Trustees could vote on the middle-school/high-school idea as soon as their May board meeting. And in short, the committee’s work is hardly finished. As HPHS principal Walter Kelly figures, the whole endeavor “will take a couple, three years of continued study.”

2 thoughts on “GPA Group Reports Back to HP School Board

  • April 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    The question here is not whether someone is good enough to “merit their chops”. But rather, one of ‘is it fair to kids who grew up here and had to take low gpa required courses in their 9th and 10th years to get clipped by kids who are transferring in and might only be taking the high gpa-earning classes.’ It’s tough to make the playing field equal.

  • April 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

    A year ago the Board just couldn’t wait to tinker with GPA’s for the athletes of the class of 2013. Then, asked by the Super to address the many alleged inequities and misplaced incentives of the current system, they can wait “a couple, three years.”

    I don’t recall a single comment on this blog about the GPA’s of the handful of middle school students who take classes at the high school, but at least someone got a problem fixed. On the other hand, middle school parents, did you know that many of the eighth graders taking middle school courses for high school credit are already trying to secure their place in the top 10 or top 10% of their class by earning P/F rather than the 4.0’s that could someday pull down their GPA’s?

    At least if the Board is keeping the current system for a while, publish a rule book so everyone who really wants to play the GPA game knows how to pick their courses, which languages have more weight to their GPA’s, why art is the best Fine Art, why to drop orchestra but not sports after only one year, etc. The act of documenting these preferences will help the Board see how counterintuitive and counterproductive the current system is.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.