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September 26, 2021

8/3/2021 3:16:00 PM
Barneveld School Board discusses implementing Laude System
Area Wisconsin school districts are looking to take a different approach when it comes to recognizing student achievement for graduating seniors.
This was brought to the Barneveld Board of Education's attention last Wednesday night during the regularly scheduled Board meeting.
School Principal Erin Eslinger and High School Social Studies teacher Duane Draper provided a presentation to the board members, in the hopes of implementing use of the Laude System.
The Laude System recognizes three honor graduation levels. Those levels are: Cum Laude (with praise), Magna Cum Laude (with great honor) and Summa Cum Laude (with highest honor). For many years, college admissions relied on class rankings, which is oftentimes listed on graduating seniors' transcripts.
By implementing the Laude System, Barneveld School District would replace the current grade point average class rank system, and focus on a student's rigor in classwork. Draper pointed out the current class ranking system can be misleading due to the idea that it may lead to students enrolling in less challenging courses, to avoid it affecting a student's overall GPA.
In a FAQ document shared with the board, the primary purposes of the BHS Laude System would: encourage rigor (more critical thinking based) in students coursework, limit competition amongst students, and increase risk taking behavior in academics.
College admissions would then be obligated to consider class difficulties, student activities, ACT/SAT scores, as well as reviewing a student's personal statement or essay.
The proposed transition would begin with removing class rankings effective as of the 2021-2022 school year, concurrently use valedictorian and salutatorian status which would end for the class of 2024, then fully move to the Laude System with the class of 2025.
"This wouldn't be a participation trophy system," Draper said. "It's saying you met the requirements of what you were supposed to do."
"It also may recognize students who have not earned a 4.0 GPA but take rigorous coursework and have a B average," Eslinger said. "I think we want kids to challenge themselves and take challenging coursework to better themselves without worrying if this class affects a student's class rank and not take that."
"There are a lot of schools doing this," Draper said.
Eslinger then discussed the Equity Committee Development. She said that staff and students have expressed interest in topics involving equity inclusion. Results from professional development surveys indicate that there is interest and instruction clarity on responses to instances of hate and racism. An equity committee was formed with representatives from all levels as well as administration. The committee has met throughout the spring and summer, and gathered information from staff, students, and families on experiences at Barneveld through the school and the community.
"The committee felt that the most pressing issue was to begin looking at language in our district policy handbooks, and making sure they are updated," Eslinger said.
In other school business:
-Board members approved professional staff salaries by 1.5%, retroactively effective July 1.
-Board members approved an intergovernmental agreement with Mineral Point School District.
-Board members approved a first reading for Review of Policy 411.9 pertaining to Anti Bullying/Harassment.
-Board members approved the resignation of a reading specialist.
-Board members approved the hiring of Chelsey Olday as School Nurse.
-Board members approved the hiring of Ashley Hendrick as a first grade teacher.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is on the calendar for Wednesday August 11.

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