The Arab Tribune

The Arab Board of Education last week approved the much discussed “Policy JBH,” which addresses a student’s class ranking.

The new policy will go into effect beginning with the Arab High School freshman class of next school year.

“I want to thank everyone who played a role in bringing about the change,” Berry said.

Parents and some school personnel had advocated for the change primarily to better help students who were seeking college scholarships. Essentially, the new policy will utilize a standard 4.0 scale when calculating students’ unweighted and weighted grade point averages.

Those who score 90-100 will receive a 4.0, 80-89 a 3.0, 70-79 a 2.0 and 60-69 a 1.0. Currently, only students who have 100s receive a 4.0 GPA.

Also beginning with the graduating class of 2025, students’ rank will be based upon the numeric average scale. The weighted numeric average scale includes all courses a student has completed and awards 5.0 additional points to the final course average for advanced/honors courses and 10.0 additional points to the final course average for Advanced Placement courses.

And, also beginning with the graduating class of 2025, the valedictorian and salutatorian will be awarded to those graduating seniors earning the highest and second highest numeric averages, respectively.

Berry said he was initially hesitant to make the change.

“This policy came into question before I arrived here but I liked the policy. I had actually looked at it when I was the principal at Decatur High and thought it might be something we would use there,” he said. “But, I’m man enough to say it’s time to change. After talking with parents and our team, they helped me realize it was time to do this. We learned that 95 percent of all high schools have a standard 4.0 system.”

Many of those requesting the change wanted it to into effect immediately, even retroactively, but that won’t happen.

“And I hate that,” Berry said. “I know a lot of people wanted this to go into effect sooner. It’s certainly not personal, it’s strictly the legal and procedural position we’re in. We spent a lot of time on this and we’re ready to work with our parents and move forward, but we haven’t forgot about the kids we have in school now. We’re going to work with them to get the most money (in the form of scholarships) we can for them in the meantime.”

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