School Board Alters Proposal To Eliminate Class Rank, Valedictorian And Salutatorian Honors

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The Anne Arundel County Board of Education has altered a proposal to eliminate class rank and top class honors, opting instead to redefine the criteria necessary to be named a school’s valedictorian or salutatorian.

An amendment adopted by the board at its May 15 meeting stipulates that students who earn summa cum laude honors (weighted grade-point average of 4.3 or higher) after seven high school semesters would be eligible to apply to be class valedictorian or salutatorian. The honors would be based on a student’s character, leadership, scholarship and service. Winners would be selected through a school-based process to be determined by the superintendent of schools.

Valedictorian and salutatorian honors are currently based solely on a student’s grade-point average. The amendment offered by board vice president and student member Josie Urrea – who also proposed the overall policy changes – was adopted by an 8-1 vote.

The board will review the proposed policy changes again at its June 19 meeting. If adopted, the changes would be effective with students entering ninth grade in the 2021-2022 school year.

The board last considered removing class rank along with the valedictorian and salutatorian honors when the cum laude honors system, which recognizes a wider array of students for outstanding academic work, was instituted in 2017. It opted at the time to also maintain class rank and the top two class honors.

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