School Board re-evaluate honor graduates, valedictorian and salutatorian requirements; first vote on Thursday

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2022

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The Troup County School Board reviewed several new revisions Monday on current policies for valedictorian, salutatorian, distinguished honor graduates and honor graduates for the graduating class of 2023 and beyond.

Eight revisions in total were brought to the board. These suggestions came from recent public comments on the policy. Some aspects of the policy were revised to add clarity to certain components of the policy, explained Jonathan Laney, secondary education director for TCSS.

One of the most significant proposed changes to the policy, Laney noted, is an adjustment to specifically state that both a valedictorian and salutatorian must be a member of the graduating class cohort.

“The cohort is established at the beginning of the cohort’s freshman year,” Laney explained. “If you graduate in 2023, but you were slated to graduate in [2024,] you could be a distinguished honor graduate but you could not represent your class as the valedictorian or salutatorian.”

Transfer students and homeschool students will still be eligible for valedictorian and salutatorian under this policy.

One proposed change was rewritten to clarify a student must be enrolled in the Troup County School System for a minimum of four semesters prior to their graduation date to be considered for valedictorian or salutatorian. Another proposed change also clarified a student’s class rank is based on weighted GPA. Transcript grades and grades posted to the report card at the end of the third nine weeks of the senior year will be used to calculate class rank.

One new policy included the International Baccalaureate (IB) program as a factor in a student’s weighted GPA. Currently, advanced placement (AP) courses and dual enrollment courses are only included in this process.

An additional proposed change in the policy included the incorporation of AP Art and AP Art History in a student’s weighted GPA, which was previously excluded. Laney said this change specified that dual enrollment courses, which are typically technical in nature, continue to only include academic courses like English, maths, science, social studies and foreign languages.

A proposed change in one policy would adjust this policy so honor graduates would be announced at the end of the first semester when the grading period ends. From there, distinguished honor graduates, valedictorians and salutatorians could be determined. The change additionally said students will now only need three units of social studies to graduate instead of the three-and-a-half under the current policies. 

The requirement for four units of math, English and science, two units in a foreign language and three units of fine arts; health and/or physical education; career, technical, agricultural education; or additional foreign language units will not change.

The school board will vote on the suggestions on Thursday at its regular meeting. A required second reading will take place in July.