HPISD Board Delays GPA Vote

No action was taken during today’s called HPISD Board of Trustees meeting, as school officials grappled with possibly changing the high school’s GPA calculations.

Trustees discussed allowing a pass/fail option for juniors and seniors who participate in athletics, Belles, and cheerleading, but eventually decided to wait until the board’s June meeting to vote.

For more information, pick up Friday’s Park Cities People.

58 thoughts on “HPISD Board Delays GPA Vote

  • May 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm
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    Why are trustees not discussing this scenario for all grades?

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  • May 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm
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    @Avid Reader- probably because state of Texas requires four (or maybe three)semesters of PE for all kids. Many HPHS kids get their PE credit fresh and soph year. The issue is the extra semesters, beyond the state requirement of PE that kids are taking to play a sport, belles, etc.

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  • May 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm
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    There is no requirement for PE or any of the other electives to be included in the GPA. For the top 10% Coppell uses Science, English, Social Studies, Math and LOTE. HPHS needs to do that for everyone over 4.0.

    Waxahachie, Round Rock, Katy, Lewisville and others use only Science/English/Social Studies/Math/LOTE for everyone.

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  • May 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm
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    @Hmmm. Only two semesters of PE required now.

    As some one suggested, why not base the GPA just on academic courses like math, science, social studies, English, foreign language, music theory, art history? The transcript will show all grades if a college is interested. Students can choose electives of interest, not stop playing violin because orchestra can only give a 4.0 max. Non-academic teachers could stop handing out 100’s like candy for fear no one will take their classes if they give real grades.

    How important is GPA anyway? Having the top GPA and SAT score is no guarantee for getting in the college of your choice, as Seniors learn for themselves every year. The GPA emphasis is almost a bait and switch.

    Better to leave the policy unchanged than have the Board pick their favorites (football, Belles, cheerleaders) to allow P/F but leave many other 4.0 electives in the GPA.

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  • May 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm
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    Parent, GPA is absloutely the most important thing if your dream is to go to UT-Austin. And don’t kid yourself–colleges tout top % stats in all their marketing materials. The top schools, especially, do care about rank. If you’re not top ten percent or even 5 percent, it could hurt you.

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  • May 23, 2012 at 6:44 am
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    For 2011 and 2012, PE/athletics WAS NOT in the GPA. No student should have his/her GPA lowered by ANY elective course. That needs to be fixed and it needs to be effective immediately – Class of 2013 onward.

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  • May 23, 2012 at 8:21 am
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    @Parkie. Dropping orchestra to protect GPA is something done by those trying to be in the top 10 rather than the top 10%.

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  • May 23, 2012 at 10:55 am
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    As a graduating senior who played a sport all four years and did have my GPA lowered by athletics, although I was still top ten percent, I can say I don’t think it really matters that much unless you want to go to UT. Many admissions counselors at top tier schools say that they recalculate GPAs factoring out classes like athletics and music when they look at a candidate. Yes, it does look better for them when they can say they have a high percentage of incoming students graduating in the top ten percent, but extracurriculars are important on an application too so colleges care more about that. All that being said, I do think the policy should change since it doesn’t seem like it would hurt anybody, but let’s not go overboard on how much of an effect it will actually have.

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  • May 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm
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    It’s not really important unless it affects YOU (or your kid)! Getting into schools is harder than it was 5 years ago. Students should have every opportunity to look their best. I seriously doubt schools go to the trouble of recalculating 15,000+ GPAs.

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  • May 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm
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    @e. I agree with you, except that some very top students might feel “hurt” by a change if they’ve strategized their courses so far based on the current rules. Students who are Belles could suddenly draw closer to them in GPA and be a threat. If the Board picks and chooses 4.0 electives to be P/F, you could have debate students handicapped while football players are not. Tricky.

    @Parkie. e is correct that many colleges do recalculate GPA’s, at least for some apps. Some will leave out non-academic courses. Some schools include everything but without weighting–so the AP “B” is just a “3.” Some put our grades as “not ranked,” since only transcripts sent to TX public colleges may show a rank. Others take the GPA and assign it a rank. A 3.5 could possibly be in the bottom half of the HP class but be considered the top quarter by a college. Calculations are all over the map.

    You are right that getting into the college of your choice is the hardest it has ever been, but the perfect performances stand out less when there are more of them, and the best schools will look at the big picture. They may value student government more or less than Belles, or working for a teacher more or less than lots of extra AP courses. Even UT’s 10% rule is more like 8% now for automatic admission, leaving more spots at the University’s discretion. The opportunity you speak of, to look your best, doesn’t necessarily mean raising your GPA.

    Should be some good discussions at the Board meeting!

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  • May 24, 2012 at 6:32 am
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    20% of HPHS students have GPA higher than 4.0. Is HPHS sending the ‘right’ 8% to UT Austin and the ‘right’ 10% to the other state schools? It matters for the kids just below those cutoffs. I predict that the UT System will start specifying how to calculate GPA/Class Rank for their schools’ automatic admission purposes.

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  • May 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm
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    Why don’t they just let the kids designate up to 4 courses as pass fail (spread over 4 years) and let it be any course that is not part of 4×4 or other specific requirements. That way if a kid wanted to start a 2nd language while still taking the AP (5th year) of the first foreign language, they could choose to do so without the ‘penalty’ of first year languages being on a 4.o scale. It would allow everyone to have some flexibility on trying courses outside of their comfort zone. HIgh School should be a time when kids can try new things without worrying about every GPA point for every class. Please give them some more flexibility and not just for the athletes, the non athletic kids should be able to do the same.

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  • May 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm
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    Stay in Choir or Band. The scholarships are very generous at much better schools in better college towns than UT austin.

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  • May 25, 2012 at 8:15 am
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    @mainzer. Best idea yet.

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  • May 25, 2012 at 8:47 am
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    It is a waste of the board’s time to speculate about the relative merits of each Elective subject. Here are the facts:
    -HPISD Mission: provide an exceptional academic program that recognizes the unique potential of each student
    -State ONLY requires grades from Math, Science, English and Social Studies in the GPA

    Is HPISD going to follow its Mission?

    No student should have his/her GPA lowered by ANY Elective course. The computer can calculate both ways: with and without Electives. Give student the higher GPA. No additional recordkeeping required.

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  • May 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm
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    @HPISD Parent. I just read the article in the paper. Sounds like the Board in June isn’t going to speculate about relative merits of Electives. They already KNOW that athletes, cheerleaders, and Belles are THE most important kids to help with their GPAs. Other 4.0 electives like band, art, and debate just aren’t as valuable as football.

    The Board should table Principal Kelly’s proposal and not change anything in June until they consider the bigger picture. If they help a few get into the top 10%, they knock out some with other 4.0 electives. Thank you, PCPeople, for making us aware of this important issue.

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  • May 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm
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    @mom – not many college towns better than Austin.

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  • May 28, 2012 at 5:51 pm
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    Wake up. When this policy change was made in 2008-09 and sent out to all the parents letting them know it would affect the Class of 2013 and beyond, where was all the chatter then? Many people read the information and students made difficult decisions based on the “new policy”. Many high achieving students dropped sports, band, and other extracirriculars with a 4.0 max gpa knowing that it would hurt their gpa in the long run. Others made the choice to stay in sports, choir, or band knowing that although their gpa may be lower, they would benefit from being part of a team or activity for all four years. Now because a few “athletes” have finally realized it will affect them, they think it should get changed to benefit them. It should have never been enacted in the first place, but it was, and many followed the rules. Ignorance of this policy does not permit non-compliance of the policy. If it is to get changed, then it would need to incorporate every elective that is not required for graduation, not just athletics.
    Another option is to calculate the Class of 2013 gpas based on the current policy, report the actual class rank, and then recalculate it based on these new ideas and report that actual class rank. Let the honest numbers be reported to everyone, not just the “special interest” parent group that has come late to the party. Let’s see what kind of reaction the entire Class of 2013 will have with the reports.
    What should be a little more disturbing is that no communicaiton on this issue has been sent out to the HPISD community from the Board or the high school, but instead, we have had to rely on rumors and the local news media to uncover what this “special interest” committee has been working on behind closed doors.
    The June 12th board meeting should be an interesting one.

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  • May 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm
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    I’ve got a 2014 and this report is the first I”ve heard of it. never came up in our four year planning, etc. He was in 6th or 7th grade then. How would we have known?

    Gaming the system is wrong. I hope the board has some common sense.

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  • May 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm
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    @Parent123. What specifically was announced in 2008-9 to affect the class of 2013 and beyond? The 4.0 electives have worked against the top members of the 2012 class as well. I agree with what you say, but I am confused about this part.

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  • May 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm
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    @Parent. When my other child graduated in 2010, the grades in sports beyond the then 1.5 or 2 year requirement, showed up on their transcript, but were not factored into their gpa their junior and senior year. When the State of Texas changed the requirements of art, pe,technology, and health, it was up to the discretion of the school districts to decide what was required for graduation. HP decided to keep the art,health, technology, and 1 year of pe credit, but not all schools did. Since they were requiring them now as “electives”, they made the decision to count all electives in the gpa. I do not know what group made this decision, but do remember getting an email from the HPISD email group outlining it. When I brought it up to our high school counselor as how it was going to adversely affect the high-acheiving students, he explained it to me as I just described it, but also said he was not a part of the decision-making group so did not know what was discussed. Having another student comin in the Class of 2013, we knew that class would be the first one affected by this rule. Since I did not have a student in 2012, I did not pay attention to how it did or did not affect them.

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  • May 29, 2012 at 12:00 am
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    My children took extra math,, science and language courses as their electives along with some extra sports and drama classes. Under the “don’t count anything but core subjects into gpa”, what would happen to their assortment of electives?

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  • May 29, 2012 at 8:23 am
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    The state does not specify which courses must be included in the GPA. There are at least 38 school districts out of 106 surveyed that use ONLY Science, English, Social Studies, Math and LOTE, either for everyone or for their top 10%.

    In addition, several districts exclude grades in band, choir, orchestra, drill team, cheerleading, athletics, and student aide from class rank calculations.

    The state mandates what is required for graduation, not class rank.

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  • May 29, 2012 at 8:59 am
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    @Parent. If you look at your student’s transcript, I believe there will be a # after the course description if the grade is not incorporated into their gpa. For the Class of 2010, an “M” was placed in front of the course description to indicate that the grade was not included in the gpa.

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  • May 29, 2012 at 9:55 am
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    @Parent123. # was only by courses taken at HPMS and online, but no athletics beyond PE to see how they were treated.

    Wish the district would send email explaining the history of the policy and the expected change. If fine arts have never gotten the break athletes get, that would at least explain why the Board wants to keep GPAs from changing for athletes. But they can’t deny that it is favoritism for top students who are football players rather than musicians.

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  • May 29, 2012 at 11:32 am
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    @Parent. Agree on both points. Did you check to see if the athletics/PE had an “M” in front of them for your 2012 student’s transcript?
    As mentioned before, I think the current policy does hurt students all around and had discussed with Dr. Bryce the possibility of letting the student chose to count or not count the grade depending on how it affected them. In 2008, she said that apparently she was told the computer systems couldn’t do that. Hopefully technology has caught up and a good solution can be found.
    However, still don’t think it should be retroactive. As mentioned earlier, I know of several students who chose to elminate electives because of the policy, and that decision would be for naught if this policy change becomes retroactive. A difficult decision all around.

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  • May 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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    HPISD implemented Class Rank reporting for only Top 10%, effective immediately.

    Fall 2008 Hays ISD implemented the following for all students: Beginning with students entering grade 9 in the 2005-06 school year, all semester grades, except those awarded for band, choir, drill team, cheerleading, athletics and student aide, shall be used to compute class ranking.

    Once a district figures-out the right way to determine the 8% and 10% state school automatic admission break, they should stop damaging students’ GPAs, effective immediately.

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  • May 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm
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    Dear parents of 2011-2014 …. I have no idea what you are talking about. When I was in school (pre-disco era), we took classes, did the best we could, applied for college, got accepted to most, and went wherever we wanted to. Easy. Obviously, it’s changed.

    My kids are in MIS now. I would pay money for a “Texas GPA 101” class for someone who understands all of this, can put together the information and Powerpoint deck, and a class to instruct us future HPHS parents.

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  • May 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm
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    @anon. Good idea, but seems to be a moving target. Ideal would be each kid takes level of each required course that is appropriate to her or him, takes electives based on value and interest to her or him, and that doing so both enhances the educational experience and doesn’t by itself screw anyone’s chances of being in the top 10 grads or of going to UT. If you know parents whose kids are in the top 10 or even top 10% of a recent class, ask them how the game can be played. Involves maximizing APs, taking harder courses elsewhere so grade won’t count, dropping 4.0 electives like orchestra, taking 4.0 courses like health in middle school to make room for more 5.0’s in high school, etc. School counselors won’t tell you, in part because they don’t think it is a good idea. I agree. Even the top colleges seem to look more at the whole applicant than purely at numbers.

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  • May 29, 2012 at 9:02 pm
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    all: this is not really a HPISD problem, it’s a University of Texas problem!!!! Lobby your elected officials to change the admit policy. Any other school does not give a hoot about your gpa being a 4.125 vs a 4.124 and it’s obvious to other schools when you try to game the system. Follow your passions, do your best and don’t worry about it.

    And I was confused at graduation awards when there was a whole slew of awards given: The Golden H, silver H and so on for a random assortment of groups at the exclusion of others. Another tradition, I guess.

    Life is never fair – rigging the GPA machine will not help.

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  • May 30, 2012 at 10:39 am
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    Back in the 80’s at HPHS, I was able to take typing, driver’s ed, study hall, a sport, and mostly advanced classes but a couple of regular classes for the courses I wasn’t as interested in, and STILL graduate in the top 10 students in my class – not because I’m so smart, but because everyone just took what we wanted to take. It worked because the level playing field at that time wasn’t escalated. There was no “gaming the system”. How do we get back there? Same with SAT/ACT – we all just showed up and took the test! No tutors!

    I wish everyone could take a collective breath. My kids are average students and happy as clams right in the middle of the pack. We don’t stress over grades – they will get into a fine college somewhere. Nobody cares about where I went to college or how I did in high school. I am in the same position as my less scholarly friends now – it all shakes out.

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  • May 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm
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    Wondering, it’s much much harder to get into the top colleges, especially UT. Back in the 80s, to get into UT, you needed to be in the top 1/2 of your class or get an 1100 on your SAT (out of 1600). Easy peasy. These days, the number of students applying to each school has sky rocketed, and the competition is fierce. Acceptance rates at top universities are at all-time lows, with some schools rejecting 90% of applicants. If your children aspire to go to a “fine” college, you may be surprised by the scores, grades and community service projects needed.

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  • May 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm
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    Parkie – I do understand all of that – it is not the 80’s anymore. My point is that UT is not the only place to get a “fine” education. Alabama, Arkansas, OU, Ole Miss and a host of other institutions will be happy to have my kids, and college is what you make of it, so they can get an excellent education at any of those schools, among others.

    I just reviewed the list of where this year’s graduates are headed, and very few of the top 8% are actually even going to UT. Yet 60 kids ARE going to UT (13% of seniors). And LOTS of kids not in the top quarter are going to excellent, and maybe lesser known, schools that chose them for their tuba playing, their outstanding essay, their photography prowess, their commitment to volunteering, their leadership skills, etc. I agree, though, the easy peasy days are over.

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  • May 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm
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    Wondering, I do agree with you on many points, Good to hear that students outside of the top 8% were accepted to UT. Where is the list of colleges that you mentioned?

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  • May 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm
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    anon, If HPISD will implement a policy that is true to it’s Mission, “provide an exceptional academic program that recognizes the unique potential of each student,” you and other future HPHS parents won’t need to learn the complicated system currently in place.

    At present, there is a three-tiered system where, for the 20% of students with GPAs >4.0, some electives can increase GPA, some are GPA exempt and some lower GPA.

    The proposed system will have five levels – the lowering gets differentiated into three levels of damage.

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  • May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm
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    Bevg, if your student’s GPA was >4.0, under a “do no harm” electives policy the extra sports and drama courses wouldn’t steal points earned in all his/her math, science and language courses.

    If 4.0 or less, there would be no change.

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  • May 31, 2012 at 6:27 pm
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    @HPHS Parent. By “proposed system,” do you mean what the Board will vote on in June? Where I can I read it? I don’t understand three-tier vs. five-tier either.

    The Board isn’t considering a Do No Harm policy, is it?

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  • May 31, 2012 at 8:13 pm
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    all…Agree with Parent. Where is this “proposed system” documented? Why has there been no communication to the HPISD students or parents regarding the changes to this issue? When issues like this are kept “secret” from the entire community in which it will affect, it appears once again, that “special interests groups” are making the rules at the school, not the HPISD board that was elected.

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  • May 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm
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    Parkie – a senior parent is the conduit each year and sends 2 lists to all senior families – alpha by student name and alpha by school. If you have a friend with a senior, just ask to have it forwarded.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 7:56 am
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    CORRECTION:
    Sorry for the mistake – Board Policies takes you to the current policies.

    Go to “Legal Postings” on the district website and follow links.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 7:59 am
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    @wondering & Parkie. Or ask to borrow a Senior’s final Bagpipe newspaper/magazine. Schools are listed in there. Students had to volunteer info, so not necessarily complete or accurate.

    As for UT, the 8% is to be sure you get in. The Lege changed rules from the original 10% days to allow more discretion, more students from competitive schools like HP. But I heard this year of almost 10%’s who didn’t get in in engineering and psychology, so GPA still matters.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 8:16 am
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    @HPHS Parent. Thanks. I looked for that before but didn’t find it.

    So they acknowledge the problem in fine arts but aren’t voting to change it. Just want to fix it for athletes for now. Shocker.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 8:51 am
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    All- The Senior Class college choices are published in the Senior Edition of the Bagpipe that was given out to each senior.
    HPHS Parent- thank you for sharing the policy information. It was buried quite deep in the HPISD website as opposed to being located on the meeting minutes of the HPISD board meetings.
    Agree with the policy moving forward for the Class of 2015 and beyond, which could incorporate all these changes into their high school course planning decisions. However, still feel it is unacceptable to incorporate into the Class of 2013 and 2104, who have clearly already made decisions on course selection and cannot go back and “redo” choices. Unless the policy allows all unrequired electives to be P/F, then this policy benefits the athletes and Belles alone. Once again, what about the artist, journalist, actor, or musician who has chosen to pursue their interests for all four years. Although they may the option of a 4.5 their senior year in some of these tracks, they still had to carry a 4.0 their junior year in order to get the 4.5 option; and still that is not a universal policy for these tracks.
    If the board continues to change policies every couple of years and make the changes retroactive, why do we even have a planning guide? It becomes a moving target.

    And for the record, this isn’t only about going to UT. None of my students are interested in UT and this policy affects them greatly.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 11:39 am
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    HPHS Parent- which link is the proposed change listed under in the “Legal Postings” listed? It may be staring me in the face, but I clicked on each link and could not find the proposed change.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm
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    hpisd.org
    Legal Postings
    3. Agenda for School Board Meetings
    HERE
    Tuesday, May 15, 2002
    Agenda Packet
    IX.B.1.a.

    Back at the HERE stage, if you select ‘May 15, 2002,’ instead, you just get an agenda with no links.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm
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    Sorry – both should say “2012,” not 2002.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm
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    HPHS Parent- thank you for the location. It was buried further than I originally thought. Here is the link:

    https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?smk=12306

    You will need to paste this into your browser to get to it.
    Here is the proposed change paragraph shown in red in the document that is added to what students can exclude from their gpa:
    “#8. Up to two credits chosen by the student for pass/fail grading from the courses eligible as pass/fail, those being third and fourth year PE/Athletics and Belles Dance, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.”

    There is no mention of fine arts, journalism, choir, band, or anything. Quite an interesting paragraph.

    Please share with all who have students who specialize in something other than sports and Belles, so they know what is about to possibly happen to the gpa of many other students, which may push them out of the top 10%.
    Which for many other colleges other than UT, is also an important milestone for judging admittance to their universities and awarding of scholarship monies.

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  • June 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm
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    @Parent123.. Next meeting is June 12. No agenda posted yet but the JockGPA change should be on it. Show up and speak up! From HPISD.org:

    Regular meetings are held at 5 p.m. in the McCulloch Intermediate School 5/6 assembly room unless the published agenda indicates a different location. . . . Questions regarding public meetings should be directed to Director of Communications Helen Williams, 214-780-3008 or [email protected].

    and

    V. AGENDA RELATED PUBLIC COMMENTS
    Members of the public who wish to make a public statement to the HPISD School Board on a specific agenda item at this meeting may do so by completing a Citizen Comment Card (available at the door) and returning it to the Meeting Secretary prior to the commencement of the meeting to reserve speaking time.
    A. Please address your comments to the Board and limit your comments to three minutes.

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  • June 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm
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    @Parent- Thanks. Already have it on my calendar and plan on speaking up. Like I mentioned, the policy should have never been enacted for the Class of 2013 but no study was done. Will be interesting to hear the HPISD’s views on all of this and why they haven’t sent out any communications concerning this obviously hot topic.

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  • June 4, 2012 at 8:15 am
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    @Parent123. I heard that the Board is trying to placate immediately some powerful parents of athletes and Belles, but plan to set up a committee to look at fine arts, etc., either to fix the bigger problem or to give the appearance of caring. (We know there are powerful Belle parents: last year a few got the director fired.)

    Unless you know some way to get out word of the June 12 vote, like a group email list for recent sophomores & juniors, I suspect few of those who care will know about this. Perhaps a handful of parents can shame the Board into tabling all of it until a committee reports back on the fairest solution?

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  • June 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm
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    @Parent,
    There are parent email groups for each of the Classes at HP. I am a member of both 2013 and 2015. We could ask the adminstrators of those email groups to send something out. Agree that whatever change may occur, that it is studied thoroughly and communicated properly so that this doesn’t come up again in another 2 years because the whole student body was not represented.

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  • June 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm
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    regarding getting the word out here are a couple more options: email all the fine arts booster club presidents, the HP Arts membership chair, perhaps even lobby your conselor or the fabulous Mr. Fox to send out an eblast – neutral of course – just informative and factual. Also, write email and call your school board members. Often!

    For us, it’s not an issue, since the 100 in athletics even on a 4pt scale brings up the 80 in biology!!! Yes, we are proud members of the 90%. But I do want GPA weighting to be logical and fair to all.

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  • June 6, 2012 at 8:42 am
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    The PCPeople staff has done us a favor by covering this. the school board would just as soon the parents all stayed home.

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  • June 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm
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    Please don’t think all parents of “athletes” are driving this. I have a top 10% student athlete who is rolling their eyes at all this. My student might be wrong but thinks just about everyone in top 10% is involved in some kind of 4.0 class whether it be football, swimming, baseball,cross country, belles, yearbook, choir, theater. They know it makes them more attractive to a university and most of all they enjoy it! Kids at HP work dang hard to make a team so I doubt many would quit in order to be in top 10%. I think a few parents (certainly not all) that want a change have students in two 4.0 activities (belles/yearbook or belles/choir) etc. It would probably be very difficult to be in top 10% taking two but it was their choice! Even then, the policy has been clearly stated in the Kiltie the past couple years. And someone asked in this thread why isn’t a P/F being considered all four years. I would imagine it would be very difficult for an incoming freshman to know if a 4.0 elective is going to help or harm them. Students don’t learn top 10% cut off until after first three semesters. I feel sure Dr. Orr, Walter Kelly and the school board will make a decision that is fair to all students.

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  • June 9, 2012 at 9:26 am
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    I guess the community leagues havent decided what is best for us yet

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