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Bainbridge high to do away with class rankings by next fall

This will be the final year that Bainbridge High School students will be judged how they stand amongst their fellow classmates.

Principal Jake Haley told the school board late last week that the BHS Site Council has ended the three-year debate over ranking students and starting next fall, the school’s ranking system will be dissolved.

“There’s so much more that our students are doing than a class rank,” Haley said.

“We felt overwhelmingly that it’s time we shift,” he said.

Over the last three years, school administration and counselors have questioned their process of reporting class ranks to colleges and universities, and in September, the BHS Site Council began reviewing the school’s ranking system.

The council came back with a recommendation to dissolve the ranking system.

Likewise, administration at Eagle Harbor High School are considering following suit.

Haley explained to the school board last week, that while BHS students with a 4.0 grade point average are ranked first in their class, students with a 3.98 GPA are ranked 12.

The scale quickly slides down with each decimal difference.

A 3.9 GPA will place a student at 60th in their class, and a 3.5 GPA ranks the student 161st in their class.

School officials are worried that the lower ranks will hurt students when they try to get into the college of their choice. Some also said the current setup doesn’t recognize the advanced placement classes that some students take, which can mean students can take less challenging classes and end up with a higher GPA than students taking tougher courses.

What’s more, officials noted that BHS is known as a quality institution that prepares all of its students well.

“Compared to state averages, we are high performing,” Haley said.

“Our students get into school and they do well. That’s a great representation of who we are. We don’t want a number to potentially limit an option that our students have.”

Despite the change, Haley said, students at the top of their class will not be affected.

Those who maintain a 4.0 GPA will continue to be recognized as valedictorians.

School administration will also continue to provide information on GPA distribution.

A percentile GPA distribution chart, Haley said, shows the percentage of students with a 4.0, 3.8, 3.5, and so on. College admission officers will be able to use this information to see where a student stands, but it will also give a holistic view of the school’s student performance.

The distribution chart should likewise provide the necessary information for scholarship opportunities.

By a general consensus, the school board agreed that the change would be in the best interest of the district’s graduating seniors.

Since the Bainbridge Island School District does not have a policy on class ranks, Associate Superintendent Julie Goldsmith told the board that a vote wasn’t necessary to approve the change.

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