School board abolishes class rank for students

Nick Stroman

The Illinois Valley Central District 321 school board unanimously adopted a policy Saturday to eliminate class rankings associated with student grade-point averages and, instead, recognize honor distinction levels.

Under the policy, which starts with the current junior class of 2010 at IVC High School, 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.

Assignment of credit and recognition of semester honor roll will remain in place, along with both honor cords and the new distinction levels recognized at graduation.

The board also voted 5-1 to continue to acknowledge valedictorians and salutatorians through 2012, when the current freshman class graduates.

Board president Jim Hollenback voted nay.

Superintendent Dr. Dave Kinney said he briefly looked at the idea of eliminating class rank several years ago when he served as curriculum director.

“I had some more time to do research and it really is a growing trend, and I think other high schools in the area have been looking at it, too,” Kinney said.

Board members with East Peoria Community High School District 309 have also been researching the class rank topic, and the school will host meetings tonight and Thursday to discuss adopting a similar policy to IVC.

Kinney said if a university still requests a student’s class ranking along with GPA, they will gladly supply it.

“We’re not going to do anything to impede the college admission process. The new policy will also be spelled out in our school profile, which is sent out along with any school transcript request,” Kinney said.

Kinney said the highest honor distinctions will end up being very comparable to who is already in the top 10 of each class, but just not in a rank order.

“Everyone here at the school now has are equal shot,” Kinney added.

A complete copy of the GPA policy is posted on the district Web site at www.ivcschools.com.

In other action and discussion:

• the board talked about the potential 2009-10 school calendar.

Kinney said the board is still in the process of discussing options with teachers, but has outlined three options.

All three school calendars have the first day of classes as Aug. 17 and that day will be shortened.

The first day of the second semester is Jan. 4, which is a teacher institute, and first day of student attendance would be Jan. 5.

Spring break is April 2 through April 11.

All three options also have no classes for Columbus Day, Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day.

Homecoming would be Oct. 9, and high school graduation would likely fall on May 23, a full week before Memorial Day weekend.

The variations in the three options would be where institute days fall in the calendar, the length of Christmas vacation and how those affect the teacher start day and end of the year.

All of the options have 174 instructional days, two parent/teacher conference days and four institute days.

• Personnel contracts were approved for Mike Gray as new assistant principal at IVC High School and Alana Stoller as a part-time special education aide.

Gray is a 14-year veteran teacher at the high school and replaces Bob Howell, who is retiring at the end of the school year after more than 30 years with the district.

• IVC High School will host the Illinois Association of School Boards at 5 p.m. March 4 for the association’s semi-annual conference and dinner meeting.

The conference will focus on issues of concern to public schools, including breakout sessions on school security, the board’s role in approving school improvement plans and a preview of candidates for school board this year.

The IASB represents 855 public school districts throughout Illinois.