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GPA Committee Gets The Work Done

by Michael Capuano

After weeks of meetings, the Somerville High School GPA/Rank Study Committee has generated a list of recommendations that, if acted upon, would award academic credit to SHS students more fairly.

The Committee was started late last school year by Mrs. Anderson, a SHS Guidance Counselor; Ms. Sceppa, a SHS math and programming teacher; and myself. The Committee worked last year with former Headmaster Mr. Fedele and tried to identify and suggest solutions to the many problems plaguing the credit (or lack thereof) offered for courses. Due to a short time frame, however, the committee was only able to make a beginning.

Anxious to continue, Mrs. Anderson and the other Committee members met with Dr. Bevelander. Eager to help, Dr. Bevelander set up a new committee. This committee would consist of Mr. O'Leary, Head of Guidance; Mrs. Anderson: Ms. Sceppa; Ms. Kenney, a Social Studies teacher; Mr. Caruso, Mathematics Department Head; Mr. Russell, English Department Head: Ms. Brinley, another math teacher: Michael Capuano, an 11th grade student; and Mrs. Favaloro, a SHS parent.

The new committee, with more active members and a greater time frame in which to work, was more successful than in 96-97. It came up with several recommendations for new policies that would benefit the Somerville High School students and give them the academic credit that they deserve. The recommendation to the School Council were as follows:

  1. All students will receive a weighted rank in class based on a student's GPA. All courses taken by a student that are approved for GPA credit will be counted in the GPA.
  2. Advanced Placement courses will receive additional weight in computation of the GPA.
  3. The TBE and Vocational departments shall make recommendations concerning assignment of credit for the computation of the GPA.
  4. World Language courses will be designated for Level 1 or 2 credit, if recommended by the department and approved by the administration.
  5. The previous recommendations apply to accepting transfer credit and computing GPA and rank-in-class for transfer students and foreign students as much as possible as determined by the Vice-Headmaster. Transcripts will be evaluated prior to November 1 of the senior year when necessary.
  6. Curricular discussion should begin to consider offering the following AP courses: French, Spanish, Latin, Music, Studio Art. Standard AP curricula needs to be adhered to and all students taking AP courses are expected to take the exam.

With these changes made, Somerville students would be given extra academic credit for courses that they would not otherwise be entitled to under the previous system. Because the GPA Committee was created to only research and make suggestions for improvement, they cannot actually institute the new policies. This has to be done by the School Council. The Committee has sent in the list of recommendations to the Council, and, hopefully, the new policies will be put in place soon.

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