MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ian Boylan was one of the top ten in his class when he graduated from Highland Park High School last year.
“My unweighted one was 3.93 out of 4 … the weighted one was 4.84 out of 5,” Boylan said.
He didn’t know it at the time, but Boylan was among the last valedictorians to ever graduate from St. Paul Public Schools.
The School Board approved a policy change on Tuesday, eliminating the Valedictorian and Top Ten model of honoring students, swapping it out for the Latin Honor System.
“I think it’s nice because it honors more than just the top 10 or just the top person,” Boylan said.
Students will now be able to graduate with honors like summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude — if their weighted GPA is between 3.3 and 4.0 and above.
“Even if you had a GPA of 4.2, there was a good chance you wouldn’t make that list,” said SPPS communications director Kevin Burns.
Under the old system, approximately 80 students were honored at graduation.
“Had the new system been in place just last June, that number would have jumped to 978 students,” Burns said.
There’s also a bit of cost savings involved, too. The school district used to host a big banquet celebrating the top ten students at every high school in the spring.
“What we are going to do is take that money, that investment that we had made, and give those to the individual schools who probably know best what their culture, what their school community would like and what is most relevant and meaningful to their students,” Burns said.
The change will take effect in the spring of 2020. Under the new policy, class rankings and the honor-point averages of seniors will no longer be published in school newspapers or the yearbook either.