School system switches course on valedictorians

Published 5:53 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

The Chilton County Board of Education reversed its course on the selection of valedictorians and salutatorians at a special meeting Thursday.

After resistance from parents and students to a new policy that would have limited schools to one valedictorian and one salutatorian, the board suspended the “1-and-1” policy and adopted one similar to what has been used in previous years.

Students with a grade point average of at least 4.25 with no rounding will be named valedictorians at each school, Superintendent of Education Tommy Glasscock said.

The salutatorian would be the student or students with the next highest GPA.

Schools are likely to have multiple valedictorians but probably a single salutatorian, unless there is a tie.

Multiple valedictorians were common under the previous system, but Glasscock said the system in place for the current school year should still be an improvement because it will create consistency across the system.

Principals previously had more discretion about who could receive the honors.

Glasscock said his intent would be to return to the “1-and-1” system for the 2016-17 academic year but also said that the policy would be studied over the summer and could change.

“The intent was to recognize our top scholar—the one who had really gone above and beyond,” Glasscock said.

GPAs are “weighted” for dual enrollment and Advanced Placement courses, which can lead to questions about the fairness of the weighting associated with various courses.

Dual enrollment courses are paid for by parents of students, so there is the dilemma that not all students would have access to the courses.

Also, current seniors and their parents were upset that the selection process changed so late in their high school careers.

“Our real concern was to take care of those students who have worked so hard to get this point, and we didn’t want to do anything that would take anything away from them,” Glasscock said.