SPHS to transition to Latin honors system for grads

Thursday, June 13, 2019

South Putnam High School graduates will soon be recognized on a system more in line with college graduates.

Principal Levi Yowell presented a plan to the South Putnam School Board outlining a transition from honoring only the valedictorian and salutatorian of each class to a Latin honors system used at colleges and universities.

According to the plan, students honored summa cum laude will have earned a weighted GPA of 4.01 or higher after eight semesters, as well as an Academic Honors Diploma or Technical Honors Diploma.

Students earning magna cum laude must earn a weighted GPA of at least 3.91 with any diploma.

Students graduating cum laude would maintain a weighted GPA between 3.75 - 3.90 with any diploma.

The plan also provides that students would receive a letter stating their rank after seven semesters that they can submit for college and scholarship applications.

The recognition of a valedictorian and salutatorian will still apply to the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The class of 2023 will be the first to implement the honors system without these designations. However, current students will be given cords to wear during commencement according to their distinctions.

Yowell said the impetus for the change was so that students could be recognized for their individual academic performance, rather than taking advanced classes to try and outdo their peers. The honors system will also lend more focus to programs such as Graduation Pathways and technical education.

The board concurred with Yowell that the honors system was a needed change, with Warren Township representative Craig Newby expressing that the honors system “values the entire education.”

The board approved the plan unanimously.

The board also gave the go-ahead for corporation attorney John Zeiner to contract two appraisers as it looks to sell the former Reelsville Elementary School.

Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt said appraising the building was the first step, and that the board could decide next month on whether to sell the property through either an auction or sealed bids.

In other business, the board approved a request by Bernhardt to set meal prices for the 2019-20 school year. Lunch prices for pre-kindergarten will be $1.75; kindergarten through fifth grade will be $2.75; and the price for students in grades 6-12 will be $2.85. The lunch price for adults will be $3.60.

Breakfast for pre-K through fifth grade will be priced at $1.55, while the price for grades 6-12 will be $1.60. Breakfast for adults will be $2.35.

Lastly, the board approved for B&B Food Distributors in Terre Haute to be renewed as the school corporation’s commodity vendor provider.

The next regular meeting of the South Putnam School Board is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10 at 7 p.m. in the South Putnam Middle School/High School Learning Center.

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