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BOE eyes honors designations

May 16, 2001

BOE eyes honors designations



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education is considering creating three honors designations for graduation, a move that would better recognize seniors for outstanding academic achievement, according to the board's public information officer.

"Through these new designations, more students will be able to be recognized officially, rather than only two students per school receiving notice for valedictorian and salutatorian," said Public Information Officer Carol Mowen.

"Often, only hundredths or thousandths of one point separate the top students in a class of seniors, and the new designations will enable the system to recognize these high academic performers."

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The new policy would categorize high achieving students as receiving honors, high honors and highest honors at graduation. The board approved the first reading of the policy Tuesday night.

To receive highest honors, students must have a minimum 4.0 Grade Point Average, earn a Certificate of Merit diploma and complete four credits in each of the core areas of English, mathematics, science and social studies.

Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.75 and qualify for a Certificate of Merit Diploma to receive high honors, while a minimum GPA of 3.5 is required to receive honors.

The Certificate of Merit Diploma requires students to meet criteria above the traditional Maryland High School Diploma.

Mowen said the new policy also allows special education students to receive high and highest honors if they have earned a Maryland Certificate of Merit diploma. High achieving special education students who have earned a Maryland High School Certificate would only qualify for honors.

"I support this policy..." said School Board Vice President Bernadette Wagner. "I think that it would encourage senior students to make the most of that senior year. It would give more meaning to the senior year's academic requirements."

Linda Fernandez, the board's director of curriculum, said the public can contact board members and school staff with comments.

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