Hampton school board considers valedictorian requirements

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When Hampton Township School Board votes on Jan. 14, it will likely be to maintain the requirements for senior class valedictorian.

The board and administration has been working on the 2013-14 Hampton High School program of studies and one of the sticking points has been whether or not to make it more difficult to qualify for valedictorian. Last year, Hampton High School graduated 11 and about 16 students are set to make it for the Class of 2013.

To qualify, students must achieve a grade point average of 4.35 and be in the top 10 percent of the senior class. Curriculum director Laurie Heinricher and assistant superintendent Jo Welter met with counselors and administrators at the high school to consider upping the GPA to 4.63. However, this would require potential valedictorians at Hampton take only advanced placement courses their entire high school career, achieving an A in each class. To attain such a goal, the students would miss lunch one day a week and have no study halls.

"This is a pretty rigorous schedule we're setting," Ms. Welter pointed out.

"What we're seeing now," Superintendent John Hoover said, "are more students in the top 10 or 15 percent who think they can make it. Personally," he continued, "I don't think it's a bad thing to have 11 valedictorians. I think it's indicative of our students' talents."

Most members of the board agreed with Mr. Hoover. Board president David Gurwin said attaining the top class rankings keeps students from experiencing everything high school has to offer. "To further chase them away would be a big mistake," he said.

Pam Lamagna, the board member who used to chair the educational programs committee, explained the conversation about upping valedictorian requirements began in 2009 when the graduating class was represented by four top performing students.

Current educational program chair, Gail Litwiler, agreed with the majority of the board who plan to vote to keep the GPA requirements for the valedictorian the same. "That's really pushing the kids," she said. "They can't take any electives. I think it pushes our kids to do things that are not in their best interests."

The board is set to vote on the new program of studies at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 14.

education - neigh_north


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