Eliminating Class Rank and Debating Hybrid/Distance Learning Dominates the School Board Meeting

The LCPS School Board has tough decisions ahead regarding distance learning vs. hybrid instruction.

courtesy LCPS

The LCPS School Board has tough decisions ahead regarding distance learning vs. hybrid instruction.

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, the Loudoun County Public School board met, with four still at-home and five members from the Administration Building. The main decision was to postpone the class ranking system for the class of 2025 and there was more debate about the return to a hybrid/concurrent school model.

The class ranking system has been a controversial topic for some time now. The current class ranking system uses student’s weighted GPAs to rank the students. The argument against the current system is that the system puts too much stress on students. Also, many board members brought up studies that claimed that colleges do not look at class rank as much as they used to. Student’s mental health is the center of this argument. 

The original proposal was to implement the new system with the class of 2023, who are currently sophomores in high school. The new system, known as the latin honor system, uses percentage groups instead of a specific number. The percentage groups are based on fixed GPA cut lines. There are three percentage groups, top 5%, top 10%, and top 20%. 

 The argument against the system is that some people care about class rank. Also, Beth Barts, of the Leesburg District, said that  colleges aren’t considering class rank as much as they used to, then they are taking GPA and SAT scores into account even more. 

Jeff Morse, of the Dulles District, brought up keeping the system because it is not equitable to remove the current system. He argued that minority students or students whose second language is English are going to have a harder time getting into college because they are looking at SAT scores even more. Mr. Morse claimed that if we removed the system, we are putting these students in an even harder and more difficult place.

After the initial proposal, the idea to push back the new system to the class of 2025 was given. The argument for this was that even though ranking does not start till junior year, some students who are sophomores or freshman have already started to work towards having the highest class rank as they possibly can. This new proposal would start with current 8th graders. 

The votes were tallied, 8-1, with Mr. Morse voting no, making the implementation of the Latin Honor System will start with the class of 2025,.

Then came up the topic of hybrid learning versus distance learning. Many ideas were given such as starting hybrid on Dec.1st. However, this proposal was quickly shot down because it limits the amount of preparation time. The issue of what if there are too many hybrid students arose. 

Some of the solutions given were not following the 6ft distance rule, randomly picking a certain number of students who chose hybrid to actually come to school, or having kids come only one day a week instead of two. However, no consensus was reached. This topic ended being pushed back, then the school board went into a private session ending the public portion. 

Due to the length of the meeting the many topics got pushed back. Some of the other topics that got pushed back were how LCPS was going to combat systemic racism and the 2021-2022 calendar. Due to the pushback, these topics will be discussed on Wednesday November 4th, at 7:30pm.