BOE still discussing honor graduate requirement changes

COVINGTON - After discussing the possibility of creating tougher requirements for Top 10 students at each high school, the Newton County Board of Education has yet to come to a final decision.

At its May monthly meeting, the board tabled the approval of revisions to Section F of the program planning guide that could require the top graduating seniors to have taken Advanced Placement, Quest and/or Joint Enrollment classes in order to be considered for the honor.

At its April work session, the board decided it wanted to take action on an issue that has existed in the school system for many years.

"(The Top 10 students) are doing great, and we're proud of them, but (the advanced students) are being slighted," said board member Johnny Smith during that meeting. "I want the Top 10 to be the best of the best, period."

Currently, the Top 10 students at each high school are those graduating seniors in the college preparatory program of study with the highest grade point averages at the end of the school year, regardless of what type of classes they took throughout high school - average, Advanced Placement or Quest classes.

The board wants to require students listed in the Top 10 - and possibly honor graduates - to have taken advanced classes.

According to the proposed changes to the planning guide presented to the board at its May work session, a paragraph regarding Top 10 requirements will be removed from the guide, allowing the board to create a criteria for all honor graduates.

The proposed criteria for all honor graduates says that beginning with the graduating class of 2012 - the class entering ninth grade as a freshman during the 2008-09 school year - 10 points will be added to the student's final class average for all Advanced Placement, Joint Enrollment and Dual Enrollment courses.

The proposal also says that honor graduates, too, must earn a 90 or above average for the first seven consecutive semesters, which will include a 5 percent multiplier for all AP, Joint Enrollment and Dual Enrollment courses, and shall not receive 'No Credit' in a class due to absences, have not been suspended for a formal hearing on more than one occasion and have passed all sections of the Georgia High School Graduation Test, among other criteria in Section F of the planning guide.

The proposed changes must be approved by the board members to become final.

The board is scheduled to meet again in June for a monthly work session and meeting, at 7 p.m. June 10 and June 17, respectively. Meetings are held in the board room at the Newton County Board of Education building, located at 2109 Newton Drive, NE in Covington.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.