The Clear Creek Independent School District’s long-standing success is based on our shared commitment to operate within a culture based on integrity. The school district flatly denies allegations of any collusion when determining who will be the valedictorian of Clear Springs High School. Class rank is determined in adherence of local and state requirements.
There is a great deal of misinformation and misinterpretation of established policy circulating in the Clear Springs High School community, media and social media. As custodians of student records, the school district is federally prohibited from releasing student information without expressed permission from a student’s parent or guardian. The school district has received permission to release the following information regarding the 2016 valedictorian of Clear Springs High School.
- The student is 18 years old.
- Like all seniors, she is on track to graduate in June, 2016.
- She has the highest grade point average of the Class of 2016 at Clear Springs High School.
- She and her family immigrated to the United States following the completion of her 1st year of high school in China.
- She learned English after coming to the United States at the age of 15.
- Clear Springs High School and the student had always planned to have her graduate high school in four years with the 2016 class.
- It is not uncommon for a new high school student in Texas to be required to recover credits that perhaps were not required in their previous learning institution. In this case, the student in question entered Clear Springs High School with 4.0 eligible credits whereas a CCISD freshman would have normally earned 7.0 credits.
- By the end of her fourth year in high school and at age of 18, this student will meet the requirements to graduate with her cohort.
- China does not require English I. Therefore she took Pre-AP English I in her second year of high school whereas the 2016 cohort took English II. In her third year of high school, she took Pre-AP English II whereas the 2016 cohort took English III. Her fourth year of high school, she took Advanced Placement English III and English IV simultaneously which is not against policy nor is this unusual to keep students on their four year graduation plan.
Q. What are the eligibility requirements for being designated as valedictorian?
A. The eligibility requirements to be the valedictorian of a high school in the Clear Creek Independent School District have not changed in more than nine years. The long-standing requirements are articulated Board Policy EIC (Local):
“To be eligible for valedictorian or salutatorian honors, a student shall graduate in four years or less, be enrolled in the District for the entire last two years of high school, and be enrolled in the same high school his or her entire senior year. There shall be one valedictorian and one salutatorian for each graduating class. The valedictorian shall be the student with the highest grade point average (GPA)…”
Q. Could a student take online coursework to elevate to the senior class?
A. Online coursework is available to all high school students to either recover credit, earn credit or accelerate in earning credits. Thousands of students take advantage of varying online coursework as well as summer coursework to achieve their personal academic goals every year. And while we encourage students to utilize these great opportunities to recover, extend or accelerate learning outside of the traditional school day, the grades in those courses do not count towards the student’s overall GPA and are not calculated as part of class rank or valedictorian status.
Q. Was there a policy change in reference to when outside coursework had to be completed to be considered for honor graduate status?
A. Any change in policy is first considered, reviewed and then recommended to the school board by the CCISD Policy Committee. Policies go through at least two school board meetings before they become effective. The policy regarding outside coursework was revised to ensure honor graduates are given the same opportunity to complete outside coursework as with all students.
Furthermore, an Honor Graduate refers to students who are classified as Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Cum Laude. The term “Honor Graduate” does not impact valedictorian or salutatorian eligibility.
Q. When does the district determine who will be the valedictorian or salutatorian of a class?
A. Class ranking is fluid over four years. Students have access to their own individual class rank. The school district does not publicize the valedictorian or salutatorian until after the first semester of the senior year based on the accumulative grade point average (GPA). This is the only time class rank is shared publicly. It is not unusual for students in a highly competitive academic environment to move up or down over the course of their high school academic career.
The total class size varies from semester to semester. The class rank is based upon the total student population in each grade level that includes all students who were enrolled in that grade level upon completion of the last day of the semester for which a cumulative GPA is calculated.