District 321 contemplates honor changes

Nick Stroman

GPA would determine honors only, not class rank under new policy proposal

The Illinois Valley Central District 321 school board is proposing a policy that would change student grade-point averages to honor distinction levels and eliminate class ranking.

Under the proposed policy, beginning with the Class of 2010, the following distinction levels will be recognized in regards to cumulative grade-point average after eight semesters: honors — 3.25 up to but not including 3.75, high honors — 3.75 up to but not including 4.0, and highest honors — 4.0 and above.

Procedures in place prior to fall 2009, such as GPA calculation, assignment of credit and recognition of semester honor roll will remain in place.

Honor cords will still be distributed at the graduation ceremony, along with recognition of the new distinction levels.

For the Class of 2010 only, the valedictorian and salutatorian will still be recognized.

At its Jan. 27 meeting, board member Donna Uebler said many colleges have now relinquished school rankings because it hinders the admission process.

“Many colleges look at the well-rounded student instead, from the rigor of coursework to activities. This gives the child the ability to really improve and work toward the honor distinction without worry of where they fall in class rank,” Uebler said.

Uebler said the exceptions for the Class of 2010 are based on some parents’ concerns at a recent meeting showcasing the policy.

“They were worried about us changing midstream because these kids have been working toward certain rankings and still want to display that to colleges,” Uebler added.

Board member Steve Nalley said the new policy benefits the majority of kids entering IVC High School.

“It helps them more during the college application process because it paints a truer picture of what kind of student they are,” Nalley said.

Dr. Dave Kinney said the proposed policy has been posted on the school district Web site and copy was also sent out to parents.

If the district receives positive feedback, the policy could be adopted by the school board later this month.

In other action and discussion, the board:

• approved a low bid of $99,000 from Napoleon Asbestos of Spring Grove for an asbestos removal and abatement project at Chillicothe Elementary Center.

Kinney said the project will get rid of encapsulated asbestos near the windows and in the science labs at CEC, leading to replacement of all the north side windows this summer.

Kinney said the asbestos work will be done over Easter break and in June.

• approved to amend the school calendar for 2008-09 to reflect four emergency winter weather days recently used Dec. 19 and Jan. 13-15.

Kinney said only if their emergency days exceed five does the district not have to make up the days.

The last day for students and teachers is currently set for May 29.

• updated the public on the district’s finances.

Board president Jim Hollenback said the board had asked for a presentation prior to the school board meeting due to concerns with the money and economy and potential construction costs.

Hollenback said they found out the district is on solid footing and will continue moving cautiously forward.

“We’ve been doing that for years, though, which is why I think we’re in such a good position now,” Hollenback added.

• approved personnel contracts for Theresa Flannery as a part-time ESL teacher and David Allen as a substitute monitor/bus driver.

• approved a leave of absence for Carol Fravala, third grade teacher at Mossville School.

• approved child care leave for both Kami Griesbaum, vocal music teacher at CEC and South School, and Lauralee Moss, English teacher at IVC High School.

• approved the resignation of Bridget McNeeley, special education aide at South School.