BRAWLEY -At the last board meeting the BUHSD trustees grappled with academic timetables for seniors, graduation requirements, and changing from Valedictorian ranking to Latin Honors.
BUHS head counselor, Betty Hardy, spoke concerning the past graduation and future academic decisions to the BUHSD board during comments at the District school board meeting on June 25.
Hardy congratulated the staff, maintenance crews, Brawley Floral, Green Patch Nursery, the Brawley Police Department and Fire Department for all the support and assistance in another successful graduation ceremony.
Hardy especially thanked the administration “for staying out of my way” the last week as she worked 24/7 to pull off another senior class graduation.
She also thanked Mr. Cervantes’s construction class for welding and creating the new stage. “That was student driven, that is something to be really proud of because there is not another one like it in the entire valley,” Hardy told the board.
“Jennifer Layaye is one of the unsung heroes of Brawley High,” Hardy continued, “she always found money tucked away as unexpected, unbudgeted expenses arose.”
Hardy also gave her opinion on the proposed graduation changes for 2018 even though she plans to be retired by then.
“The idea of changing from an academic term of 7 semesters to 8 is not good for the students. We have always done what is important to students. “
After seven semesters, seniors fare ranked in class, Hardy said. “That is why we put the 7 semester term in place for that reason. “
Once ranked, students then apply for scholarships, pass on their academic information, and the counselors verify seniors met all graduation criteria. The 7 semesters allows plenty of time to make sure the end of the year turns out smooth, Hardy explained.
With 8 semesters, everything backs up because students won’t be ranked so scholarships can’t be gotten until the very end.
Brawley seniors have Senior Award Night in May which highlights scholarships won, while Calexico, which uses 8 semesters for academic results, have to put everything on hold to make sure everything is done until the very end. Awards night for the Bulldog seniors is not until June.
Hardy concluded with saying teachers using 8 semesters end the final semester than rush to get grades in so seniors can get their scholarships.
“Remember, grades don’t just come from the senior teachers, they come from every staff member that has a senior in their class.”
“My recommendation is that you stay at 7 semesters, it is student-friendly and the staff has plenty of time to make graduation go as smoothly as it does each year.”
The board discussed changing the board policy from having a Valedictorian/Salutatorian to Latin Honors beginning with the class of 2018.
Changing from 7 semesters to 8 semesters was also discussed. Trustee Ceci Dial said that 8 semesters keeps the pressure up on the seniors and would avert having senioritis and the 8th semester slump.
Another benefit according to Dial was the disadvantage of having an AP class the 2nd semester of the senior year where it is not included in your G.P.A., whereas someone who took that same class their junior year could receive full 5 point AP credit.
Superintendent Hasmik reminded the board that many college acceptances are conditional on the 8th semester, so the pressure is still there even in a 7 semester academic term.
The board also voiced wanting to change the senior speeches only to officeholders such as ASB president or senior president. Trustee Fernandez suggested the choice be the senior class president as that represents the senior class where ASB represents the whole school.
In the end, the board voted down the recommendation of the Latin Honors system based on 7 semesters in favor of bringing back the policy change to include Latin Honors based on 8 semesters.