Invitation to January 6th Meeting

posted Dec 18, 2014, 1:33 PM by Ted Hall

December 12, 2014

Dear Parents and Students,

I would like to invite you to a meeting on Tuesday evening, January 6th from 7:30-9:00 in the Flex Room at the high school.  The purpose of this meeting is to review a proposal to modify the way we recognize students at graduation, to answer any questions you have about the proposal, and get your input.

In early September, after consulting with assistant principal Josh Ottow and guidance counselors Beth Doane and Brenda Michaelsen, I proposed to the faculty that we no longer recognize the valedictorian and salutatorian at graduation, but instead recognize the top achieving students (A+ average) as summa cum laude only.  There are several reasons for making this proposal:

  • Since 1999, we have not reported class rank of individuals.

  • Up until the class of 2012, we did recognize the top 10% of the class, but replaced that recognition with cum laude (A- average), magna cum laude (A average) and summa cum laude (A+ average) because we recognized that there is considerable variation among the classes and we wanted to recognize how well students meet a standard rather than how they compete against one another.  At that time, we also started recognizing students at graduation who completed more than 120 hours of community service (double the requirement).  Both of these changes were very well received by students and parents.

  • Over the last few years, we have also struggled with the best way to handle students with very high GPAs that transfer to YHS in their junior or senior year.  On one hand, we don’t want to leave them out of recognition just because their family moved to Yarmouth but we have also recognized that standards at other schools may not be the same as our own.

Before bringing this proposal to the faculty, I asked Beth Doane and Brenda Michaelsen for clarification about what is reported to colleges during the application process.  Since we have never formally announced the academic honors until after the first semester grades are in, what is reported to colleges in the confidential guidance counselor recommendation is how the students stand in terms of GPA within their class, so that a student who has the highest GPA at the time when he/she applies to college has that noted.

The proposal was brought to the faculty one week and discussed in a faculty meeting the following week.  The faculty voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal (one faculty member opposed).  Then, the proposal was presented to the president, vice president and clerk of the Student Senate and they decided it would be good to present to the whole senate for deliberation and a vote. The Student Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor (two members opposed out of approximately 25 attending that day).  This proposal was then shared with the superintendent and school committee for their input.

At this point, we would like to be able to clarify the proposal for parents and students, answer any questions about the proposal and get input.  I hope that you can come to this information session on Tuesday evening, January 6th from 7:30-9:00 in the Flex Room.


Ted Hall