The Eanes Independent School District Board of Trustees voted down proposed changes to Westlake High School’s Grade Point Average system during a December 13, 2016 Open Forum, after a year of work by a GPA weighting committee made up of teachers, parents, administrators, and students. Instead, the divided Board left the current system intact and directed the District to start a new committee in 2017 to further discuss and consider options for the system.
The down vote followed feedback at the meeting and a submitted document of online feedback and also what appeared to be dueling opinions among constituents.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, one of the concerns was that not enough middle school parents had an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed changes – even though these students would be the ones affected by the changes.
A core issue with the GPA system was the amount of non-Advanced Placement classes required of students. Some parents and teachers want to relax the standards to ease the high-pressure environment many students experience in one of the most competitive school districts in the nation. The current system requires at least four non-AP classes to graduate. The proposal increased this number to seven.
One component of the proposed changes did pass – Latin honors for graduation GPA distinctions, such as magna cum laude and summa cum laude. These criteria will go into effect for the Class of 2018.
School representatives say the remaining elements also may be passed ultimately after further community input.