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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Pasco superintendent plans changes to honor roll requirements

LAND O’ LAKES — A mother who was upset that her son made honor roll at Pasco Middle School, even though he had a D on his report card, has gotten the attention of Superintendent Kurt Browning.

The superintendent said he plans to have his staff revisit how honor roll is calculated so that sort of aberration doesn’t happen again.

“It definitely is in need of fine tuning,” Browning said.

In Pasco schools, honor roll is determined by the student’s grade-point average for the grading period, which is why an occasional low grade can still generate honor roll status if there are enough A’s to offset it.

That’s how Beth Tillack’s seventh-grade son ended up on his school’s honor roll, even though he had a D in civics and a C in science. His report card also arrived with a standard note from the teacher that praised him for his honor roll accomplishment, Browning said, which further frustrated the mother.

“She thought it sent the wrong message,” he said.

Tillack contacted Browning via Facebook, letting him know she was “furious and appalled.”

“Talk about minimum standards,” she wrote. “So now instead of losing privileges and trying harder, he now thinks he has done enough. I am so shocked.”

Browning said Tillack had a point and he was surprised by the honor roll situation. He talked with Assistant Superintendent Amelia Van Name Larson, who contacted Tillack.

“As a parent, I feel exactly as she does,” Larson said.

She said the mother was especially concerned because that C in science was just one point away from also being a D.

Browning said Pasco’s honor roll wasn’t always determined by grade-point average.

“Back in the day, when I was in school you had an all A honor roll and an A and B honor roll,” he said.

Students with a C or lower did not make honor roll, he said.

But something else was different in those days, said Browning, who graduated from Pasco High in the 1970s. The school district didn’t have Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other rigorous-academic classes that are much more challenging than the average class.

The trick, he said, will be to come up with a fair honor roll system that also takes into account that not all classes are alike.

“We know we need to fix it,” Browning said. “I think the devil is in the details.”

He said he and his staff will look at making changes to the honor roll requirements when they update the student-progression plan in the spring.

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