Sunday blog: Wellington’s new scholastic policy has already caused difficulties for one high school senior

first_imgCommentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — It should to be an interesting month at Wellington High School.Students will be returning with several changes. They will be greeted with eight-period days instead of the standard block schedule. My daughter has already made dire predictions. I’m holding out hope that the transition will go smoothly.I don’t so much worry about PSQ, i.e. strength and conditioning, because we go to school for academics. I worry more about the science lab classes such as chemistry and the vocational classes especially in agriculture. Is 45 minutes long enough to teach these classes?Then there is the implementation of the new non-weighted, no-honors class system. USD 353 is going to determine class rank based on requirements with the Kansas Scholars Board of Regents Curriculum. In order to get in the top 10 percent, WHS students must complete four years of English, four years of math, three years of science, three years of social students, and two years of foreign language (see requirements here).I have already expressed my concerns about the lack of honors classes this year and a need to implement another system soon (see column here).This week I received an e-mail from a concerned parent who brought up a situation that I hadn’t thought of before. Lee (Horn) Trute is the mother of Andrew Horn, who will be a WHS senior this fall. He recently represented Wellington at American Legion Boys State at K-State this summer.Andrew HornAndrew, who also is the son of former Wellington Daily now Weekly News editor Rick Horn, goes into his final high school year with a 3.84 GPA, but because of the new requirements will not be considered in the top 10 percent unless he packs his schedule so tight with hard core classes and gives up FFA for whom he is the president.Lee writes.“My son called me upset because he just learned from Mr. (John) Gifford (high school counselor) that he would not be considered in the top 10 percent of his graduation class. Apparently, the school board adopted a policy over the summer that requires students to take the Board of Regents required classes in order to be considered in the top 10 percent of their class.  The problem is they failed to grandfather current WHS students that already progressed far enough in school that they aren’t capable of meeting these requirements by graduation. Andrew is one of these students. Despite the fact he has a 3.84 GPA, has taken honors classes since his freshman year, and has always performed exceptionally as a student, he can not be in the top 10 percent because he does not have the time to take all of the classes he needs to in order to meet the Board of Regents requirements.  Apparently, he would have needed to take Chemistry his junior year in order to achieve this.  This is not fair to him. He has worked very hard and deserves to be recognized in the top 10 percent of his class. He is not happy and I am livid. I look forward to discussing how this situation will be resolved.”A day later, Trute e-mailed me back again:“After that I got a message from Gifford saying he had good news. He checked again and he could rearrange Andrew’s schedule so he could fulfill the board of regents requirements after all. The bad news is that Andrew will have no electives, no PSQ, no ag classes, which are required to be in FFA, which he is the president of. Therefore he would have to resign, and he would basically be spending every minute in school in the most difficult classes offered… … You may think that I am making a big deal of nothing, but I can tell you that when I worked in the guidance office we often had to provide the names of the top 10 percent for scholarship purposes.”  It’s a dynamic that has placed Mr. Horn in this situation. Here’s a great kid with a bright future placed in a tough situation over circumstances beyond his control. I can’t think of any parent worth his/her salt being happy about this.I’m not sure if this was an oversight by the Wellington school board or not. But I know there was discussion in 2011 amongst the board of grandfathering these new changes in when it came to GPA and traditional scheduling. It was my understanding that the new GPA requirements would only affect the new freshmen coming in.I don’t know if that was forgotten about or was deliberately ignored when the board implemented the new Kansas Regent scholastic policy in June.I spoke with an English teacher over the summer who was as surprised as anyone with the changes implemented. She taught an honors classes and didn’t find out about the change until reading it on this website.It is becoming more apparent that this new policy was not well thought out when it was passed by the board. It’s an issue that needs to be revisited by the board members and Wellington High School principal Dale Adams.We all want a better USD 353. But the quest for a greater good should not come at the sacrifice of a few students. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (38) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +27 Vote up Vote down What Ever · 365 weeks ago Instead for taking the issue to the the paper for public debate call Dale Adams. He is very approachable and trying to work solutions. One problems I see is contained in her response, “he would basically be spending every minute in school in the most difficult classes offered” Those would be the classes that his classmates already took, so isn’t the policy fair to those students to be compared to those that took similar classes. The Kansas Scholar’s curriculum, which is require to be considered for top 10%, is not so stringent to eliminate electives. Report Reply 0 replies · active 365 weeks ago +17 Vote up Vote down Guest · 365 weeks ago So it was okay before to sacrifice a few students? The problem was taking the classes that cost( I.e. college classes ) negatively effected several students. I really like Andrew but at 3.87 gpa., where did he rank before? Last year this would not rank in the top 20. It is not a bad gpa. and overall it shouldn’t affect scholarships. I also thought this was just for valedictorian not all of the class rank. That is just the way I understood it when you wrote your first article. Traci you keep acting like we have had block scheduling forever. Didn’t we only get it after we built the new school? I think we only had it for like 6 years. Again Andrew is a great kid and this won’t negatively affect him greatly. I would suggest sticking with FFA because colleges look at your gpa more so than your class rank. Most schools don’t care a lot about that. Report Reply 0 replies · active 365 weeks ago -11 Vote up Vote down A Farmer · 365 weeks ago More chemistry, less FFA. I doubt that he is going to be a farmer anyway HA HA Report Reply 2 replies · active 365 weeks ago +8 Vote up Vote down common sense · 365 weeks ago Amazing how everyone thinks this watered down academic curriculum I see good. Honors classes have nothing to do with the schedule. Also what happened to having kids involved in the school. Horn is not the only ffa student/board member who is a senior. One female who needed an A/P class was told by Adams to take a cooking class when it could not fit in her schedule. Wow on top of that Adams was not sure what the A/P class was. Whenever they the board make change like this it should start with students that are at the beginning of their g s career not at the end. Report Reply 0 replies · active 365 weeks ago +13 Vote up Vote down wellingtoncitizen · 365 weeks ago Im not sure why everyone is so worried about the 8 class periods being brought back when it worked for how many years to begin with. As for the honors classes, when i was there then classes basically were more reading and longer papers that were wrote. Is that really that big of a deal? If you want to further your future you are able to do so with the basic classes just as well and can still be just as detailed. It is a matter of how bad you want it. I personally am glad they are going back to the 8 class schedule as i am a parent that has problems with my child getting the work done because of being bored. There are several of us that graduated eith this same schedule and i am sure these kids can do it now. Report Reply 3 replies · active 365 weeks ago +9 Vote up Vote down WHS Grad · 365 weeks ago It should be an interesting month at Wellington High School. State assesment scores will be out soon on KSDE. Report Reply 0 replies · active 365 weeks ago +4 Vote up Vote down Guest · 365 weeks ago Love how they change the requirements after the fact. Well done our ” elected” school board. All that needs done is an exemption for this years seniors. Should be simple enough. If not it sure would make me wonder why not…. Report Reply 0 replies · active 365 weeks ago -7 Vote up Vote down Come on people · 365 weeks ago Looks like school and the system ruined yet another life. Good news is will still need lots of unskilled workers!! Report Reply 0 replies · active 365 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down Lee Trute · 365 weeks ago Imagine if you started a job and were told that if you worked 40 hours a week and fulfilled certain obligations, in four years you would be given a large raise. Then after three years your boss came to you and said they changed the policy, and now you would have had to work 50 hours a week with different responsibilities in order to get the raise, and since you failed to do that the last 3 years you wouldn’t be considered for a raise now. You can’t change the rules post facto. It’s not fair. Maybe you do not think FFA is a big deal, but it is to Andrew and has opened alot of doors for him. He works hard, gets good grades, and deserves better. Before I went to Sumner NewsCow, I asked both the Superintendent and a School Board member about this, and neither have responded to my concerns. Report Reply 4 replies · active 363 weeks ago +21 Vote up Vote down Nobody · 365 weeks ago I really wish people had more faith in their administrators. It’s not like they sit around saying “How can we screw these kids up royally.” I do feel that there are children who will fall into the same category as Mr. Horn and I agree that there should be some grandfathering in. As for all the other changes, let’s be responsible parents and stand behind the school authorities and demonstrate respect for their title so that our children may learn the importance of respect. You can not bag on the principal and school board in front of your kids and then send them to school with the expectation that they respect them. Agree or disagree with the decisions but in the end this is how it’s going down. Maybe if we tried to support the change….it might have a better outcome. It’s like some people have the attitude “Just watch it’s gonna fail” almost hoping it will so they will be right. 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