G-CHS to host forums on new honors system that would reduce competition among students – The Daily Reporter

Greenfield-Central graduates in 2020.

Daily Reporter file photo

GREENFIELD — The traditional grade point average-based class ranking system may soon be a thing of the past at Greenfield-Central High School, where principals are considering using a Latin honors system instead.

Latin honors systems award students cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude honor based on their academic achievement rather than honoring the two students with the highest GPAs as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

Parents were made aware of the potential change late last year and have been invited to two public forums on the subject – one to be held at the high school on February 10 and the other to be held virtually on February 15. .

The high school currently ranks students based on their grade point average (GPA), recognizing a valedictorian and a salutatorian, as well as the top 10 ranked students each year.

To compete for top honors, top-performing students sometimes seek out the highest-weighted college classes to increase their GPA.

In addition to honoring high-achieving students with cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude, based on their GPAs, some Latin honors systems also consider students’ community service and extracurricular activities.

Jason Cary, principal of Greenfield-Central High School, said the Latin Honors system benefits students by taking competitive advantage out of the equation, encouraging students to select courses based on what really interests them. rather than how they will affect their GPA.

Kennedy Trapp, who was valedictorian of Greenfield-Central High School last year, thinks an honors system that takes into account community service and extracurricular activities is a great idea.

“It allows people to focus not only on school, but also on community service and character development,” she said.

Trapp recalls wanting to be valedictorian at her high school from a young age, pushing herself to be successful throughout high school. Ironically, she was in a race for the top spot with her twin sister, Kambell Trapp, who finished as a Salutatorian.

The two are now roommates at Purdue University, where they both study biomedical health sciences.

Kendall Trapp said Greenfield-Central’s GPA-based grading system pushed her to excel throughout high school, but a Latin Honors system likely would have relieved some of the pressure.

“The ranking system made me work harder because I always wanted to be number one, but it put a lot of pressure on me. I had to be perfect,” she said. Latin Honors seems to help students grow as people while working towards a good GPA, without having as much pressure to be perfect throughout school.”

Cary said the Latin Honors system is far from a new concept; colleges and universities have been using it for years. High schools in Indianapolis, Carmel, Westfield, Fishers, Noblesville, Yorktown and Logansport have moved to some sort of Latin honors system when it comes to class rankings, he said.

In Hancock County, Eastern Hancock, Mt. Vernon, and New Palestine high schools all use a GPA-based class grading system.

Kim Kile, council principal at Greenfield-Central High School, is supportive of implementing the change to a Latin honors system in the school.

“High school education should allow students to explore their academic passions, learn challenging new subjects, and build student skills for the next steps they will take after graduation,” said she declared.

“When schools use a class ranking system, they are setting up unnecessary competition among students for the best GPA and the highest rank, instead of creating cooperative learning environments where students can complete classes. they need for their individual future needs.”

Kile said the Cougar leadership and administration teams at Greenfield-Central recognized the problem and found the best way to honor student academic achievement is to allow students to set their own academic goals.

It gives them the freedom to take whatever courses they want to achieve those goals, she said, and have the flexibility to work toward whatever Latin honors degree they want.

“Outside of academia, there are no valedictorians, but there is a need for people to work and learn cooperatively while challenging themselves to achieve their personal goals, and that’s what the Latin Honors system made for us,” said Kile.

Cary said high school staff had been reviewing district grading practices for a year or two and first introduced the Latin Honors system to the school board in November.

“In our last professional development session this fall, the speaker mentioned Latin Honors and why it is a better system than a traditional class ranking system like the one we use. The teachers really felt it was a great idea that we should explore, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said last week.

Cary looks forward to sharing the district’s findings with parents at upcoming public forums. If the reception is positive, the next step would be to present the findings to the school board and, if accepted, set a timeline for implementing the change.

“We hope to pitch to those (at the public forums) to give them a taste of what Latin honors might look like and get their feedback. It’s a very popular idea with our staff, and I think it could be something really special for our kids and our community,” said Cary, who speaks not just as a manager, but as a parent. .

“As someone who has two boys that it could affect, I think it’s a much better system than what we’re using now,” he said.

According to an email Cary sent to Greenfield-Central parents detailing the Latin Honors system, “many high schools in central Indiana have transitioned to a Latin Honors system and they are extremely pleased with the change.”

The email stated that:

—The school’s current grading system creates a competitive environment among students to achieve grading.

—It fosters a climate of taking as many upper-level classes as possible to receive a weighted grade and not selecting classes based on students’ individual interests or future aspirations.

—We want to foster a collaborative environment based on a love of learning, and moving to a system where students work toward their own academic goals without worrying about peer grades allows students to focus on the experience learning rather than the numerical result.

The email also shared that “no two schools are using the same system, so we would have a lot of examples to study if we decided to go that direction.”

Parents of Greenfield-Central High School students, including freshmen entering next year, are invited to discuss the high school’s proposal to transition from the current GPA-based class grading system to a new Latin accolades.

The new system would reward students for their academic achievements based on their GPA, possibly taking into account extracurricular activities and community service.

Students in certain GPA settings would be awarded honors of cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude, rather than honoring students by class rank.

Public forums to discuss the issue are open to all parents, students and members of the Greenfield-Central community.

The first will take place on February 10 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The second will be held virtually starting at 7 p.m. on February 15.

Those wishing to join the virtual forum should email the high school principal, Jason Cary, at [email protected]

Harry L. Blanchard