HIGHTSTOWN: BOE revises class rank and other policies

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
The East Windsor Regional Board of Education unanimously approved a second reading of several of its policies, including class rank, honoring pupil achievement and high school graduation policies, during its meeting on Aug. 10.
“I think the board reviewed these in some detail last month,” said Interim Superintendent of Schools Thomas Gialanella, adding that members did ask for one change that was incorporated in the policies.
According to the class rank policy, clustering at the top (high grades) combined with weighted classes creates inaccuracies in ranked performance. Thus the policy encourages students to take specific classes just for ranking as opposed to classes that might be more aligned to their interests, abilities, or talents.
The board authorized a system of class ranking. Starting with the class of 2019, students will be ranked within percentage bands (10 percent, 15 percent, 33 percent up to the 50th percentile) by grade point average and all pupils shall be ranked with their class cohort. This change in ranking methodology does not impact the current ordinal ranking system used for the classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018, according to the policy.
“What is the plan for the communication to the parents for the incoming ninth graders,” board member Christine Harrington asked. “I know there is a short time and I just want to make sure that everybody knows what is happening.” Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Assessment Michael Dzwonar said a formal communication plan about the changes hasn’t been discussed yet.
“(High School Principal) Dennis Vinson should be involved in that,” he said.
Board President Alice Weisman asked if the changes would be noted as part of the high school freshman orientation program on Sept. 3.
“I would imagine yes,” Mr. Dzwonar said.
Class rank will be calculated by the final grade in all subjects, except those subjects for which no credit is awarded, and will not include failing grades. Weighted credits will be calculated for grades earned in honors courses, advanced placement courses, and any course deemed at or above college-level (e.g. dual enrollment), according to the policy.
Starting with the class of 2019, grades earned in summer school programs will be included in the calculation of class rank as unweighted courses, according to the policy.
Mr. Gialanella said the board would share the communication plan during the Aug. 31 meeting.
For additional information on the policies, visit the school district website at www.eastwindsorregionalschools.com. 