- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PAPILLION, Neb. (AP) - Another large Nebraska school district plans to forgo class rank in favor of Latin labels of distinction.

The Omaha World-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1Shey84 ) that Papillion-La Vista Community Schools unveiled plans Monday to eliminate rank starting with its 2016 freshman class.

Papillion-La Vista intends to use Latin terms commonly used in higher education to recognize exceptionally successful students.

John Schwartz, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, says that “Quite frankly, this is a really good thing for kids. We believe in it strongly.”

For instance, a student who achieves a 4.25 weighted grade point average would be designated as summa cum laude, and a graduate with a 4.0 GPA would be magna cum laude. Those above 3.5 would be cum laude.

School board Chairwoman Valerie Fisher says the change the Latin labels would allow students more flexibility to take the courses they want to take without worrying so much about class rank.

School board member Patricia Conway Boyd says “When we reduce children to numbers, I hate it. And I think it’s not the way to evaluate people, because there’s so much more to them than simply a number.”

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction John Schwartz says the decision doesn’t need school board approval because it is an administrative one. District administrators, including high school principals and counselors, recommended eliminating class rank after seeking feedback from 16 students on the superintendent’s advisory council, department leaders, teachers and a group of parents.

Millard Public Schools also decided on the same plan earlier this year.

Schwartz says that between 40 and 50 percent of high schools across the U.S. do not report class rank.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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