ACS changes honors policy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The Andalusia Board of Education on Monday approved a change to the AHS student handbook that could make seniors work just a little bit harder.


In the past, grades from the first term of the freshman year through the first term of the senior year (seven terms) were used to determine honor graduates. After last night’s vote, all eight terms – through the spring semester of the senior year – will be used to determine honor graduates.


The written recommendation for the change came from principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare, and guidance counselor Donna Cauley met with the board to discuss the changes.


Cauley said she supports the change because she has seen many seniors slack off in the spring semester knowing that their grades didn’t count toward honors designations.


Board chairman David McCalman expressed concern that students can only take calculus – which is a dual enrollment class taught at LBW – during the spring semester of senior year. In the past, spring classes haven’t counted toward the GPA. Now, he said, it could be a problem.


“It’s really unfair when someone who’s No. 3 in the class opts out of calculus and physics that last term and moves ahead (of those who take the classes).


Cauley pointed out that anatomy and honors English are now taught all year in senior year, as opposed to only in first semester in previous years. Those grades should count in the tabulation she said.


However, there are choices students and parents can make throughout the four years that affect GPAs, she said.


“Choices like that are not limited to senior year,” she said.


Students have to take honors classes to be eligible for the honors designations, she said.


Cauley said she is bothered by two things.


“We’ve had the ranks flip flop,” she said. In other words, the decisions were made at the end of the fall term; if spring grades had been included, the honorees would have been different.


“If you are going to count football every year, how can you not count academics in the spring of the senior year,” she said.


She said she determines honorees using a numerical grade point to the fifth decimal point.


After more than an hour of discussion and debate, the board approved the change.


Going forward, seniors will take finals a week before other students, and honorees will be announced a week before graduation.


Changes to the AHS handbook also allow for potentially shorter skirts. In the past, the policy read skirts and shorts could not be shorter than “two inches above the knee.” The policy now reads “no shorter than the bottom of the fingertips.”



The caps will soon fly as area schools host graduation exercises next week.