POINT PLEASANT — At Tuesday’s meeting of the Mason County Board of Education, options of exploring other ways to honor students at graduation were discussed, including eliminating the titles of “Valedictorian” and “Salutatorian.”
Curriculum/Technology Director Greg Martin spoke to the board, saying that he, Superintendent Suzanne Dickens and other school administrators had recently met with a group of students and parents and discussed doing away with these traditional titles and potentially using another honors system, one that would allow more students to be recognized, mentioning the possible use of the Latin phrases “Summa Cum Laude,” “Magna Cum Laude” and “Cum Laude,” which mean “with highest honor,” “with great honor” and “with honor,” respectively.
Dickens and Martin both spoke about this meeting, saying there was interest among the parties present in this possibility of moving to a new honors system. Martin also presented board members with information from other county’s schools regarding the honors system currently in use, saying several have already done away with the traditional titles and are using other systems, such as the Latin titles.
“I think this is a benefit for many students,” Board Vice-President Randy Searls said.
Searls also mentioned he expected negative responses to this proposal and added that he has yet to hear any, but still may in the future.
Also discussed at this student meeting were concerns regarding weighted grades for certain classes. Martin said the students present felt the weight for grades should not be the same for Advanced Placement (AP) classes and honors classes, saying the students felt AP classes should reward more credit due to the more rigorous work involved.
As a result of this student meeting and these ideas being brought to the forefront, Martin also brought to the table policies 5340-Class Rank, and 5421-Grading, which the board members approved to post and put on a 10-day review and comment period. The policies are available to view on the board’s website, and the comment period is open until Jan. 23.
Board members also stated if the traditional titles are eliminated and a new honors system implemented, it would not be put into effect for the current school year.
In addition to Dickens, board members present were Thomas Nunnery, Randy Searls, Greg Fowler and Paul Sayre. Board member Dale Shobe was absent.
The Mason County Board of Education will meet again for a policy/regular business meeting at 6 p.m. on Jan. 17, at the Mason County Career Center.
(Note: More on this meeting will appear in a later edition of the Point Pleasant Register.)