MORRIS – The Morris Community High School Class of 2018 will be the school’s first graduating class to not have a valedictorian.
During the regular meeting of the school board Monday, it unanimously approved eliminating the reporting of class rank beginning with the graduating Class of 2018, said Superintendent Dr. Pat Halloran Tuesday. That class will be next school year’s freshman class.
“We will have a valedictorian for four more years,” Halloran said, because all four classes currently in the school will be grandfathered in.
This action comes after research and discussions with the school board held over the last year, said Principal Kelly Hussey on Tuesday.
“There has been off and on discussions in schools in the nation over the past decade, probably plus ... in more recent years, schools are moving completely away from class rank,” Hussey said.
“I hope the entire community knows we did an awful lot of work to make a determination and proposal to the board, that they now approved, and that is what we believe to be the best for our students moving forward.”
He brought information back to the school board on public and private colleges and universities in the state and across the country, as well as survey results from the parent, student and teacher populations.
“We’ve come to the conclusion we believe for the future it is bests for our students not to have to deal with rank since the research indicates it’s a of minimal importance to institutions looking at them,” Hussey said.
Student’s grade point averages will continue to be reported and are used more widely by colleges and universities.
“School’s that no longer report rank feel that more of their students have become competitive for college scholarships since they went away from reporting rank,” Hussey reported to the board in his research.
Halloran said no one from the public came to Monday’s meeting to comment on this issue.
Higher education institutions rarely look for class rank anymore, the school officials said, and scholarship opportunities are no longer dependent on the rank either.
If an institution wants a student’s rank, the district will supply it, but it will no longer be made public.
According to Hussey’s research, of the 26 state schools he requested information from, 13 schools no longer rank students, seven are reviewing whether to continue to do it and six still are doing class rank.
“This is not a new phenomena and it is certainly not something that we haven’t anticipated in the last year,” Hussey said.
Students still will be recognized through the school by their GPA, honors organizations and the annual honors night, Halloran said.
Until it comes time to start preparing for the Class of 2018’s graduation, the administration will be researching how other schools choose a class speaker at graduation that was formally the valedictorian.
“The class of 2018 is our first class to lead us through this process,” Hussey said.