With student mental health in mind, Cincinnati-area school ditches valedictorian, salutatorian honors

The change comes after a year-long study and focus groups with students, staff, and families

With student mental health in mind, Cincinnati-area school ditches valedictorian, salutatorian honors
The change comes after a year-long study and focus groups with students, staff, and families. (Source: Mason schools/WXIX)

MASON, OH (FOX19) - Beginning with the Class of 2020, Mason High School students will no longer vie for valedictorian and salutatorian distinctions.

After a year-long study and focus groups with students, staff, and families, MHS officials made the announcement as part of an effort to improve students’ mental wellness.

“We are moving to a recognition system eliminating valedictorian and salutatorian honors, and shifting to recognizing students who have achieved outstanding academic success through a multitude of pathways. The recognition system will reward our students for genuine academic success based on their academic accomplishments. This will help reduce the overall competitive culture at MHS to allow students to focus on exploring learning opportunities that are of interest to them,” said Mason High School Principal Bobby Dodd.

Students graduating in the class of 2020 and beyond will continue to be recognized for their academic performance using the Latin honors system. Mason High School students with a GPA of 4.00 and above will be designated summa cum laude. MHS Students with a GPA between 3.75 and 3.99 will be designated magna cum laude. MHS students with a GPA between 3.51 to 3.74 will be designated cum laude.

“Currently, we’ve recognized one valedictorian and one salutatorian based upon the ranking of students according to their weighted GPA. Although Mason High School utilizes class rank to determine these graduation honors for each senior class, the ranking of students is not reported to colleges. The paradoxical nature of class rank within the culture of MHS does nothing to decrease the competition among students,” shared Dodd.

School officials talked with colleges and universities who affirmed that they place more weight on how students perform in rigorous courses and less weight on class rank.

Additionally, next year, Mason High School and Mason Middle School will start 30 minutes later. MHS staff are also evaluating reducing the homework loadand “summer work” and have revised the weighted credit system beginning with the Class of 2020.

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