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Change made to United honors graduate ranking

HANOVERTON – Incoming United High School students will be ranked differently for graduation honors.

The United school board approved a change from the Top Ten honor system to a cum laude one beginning with the class of 2024.

High School Principal Bill Young noted the change has been discussed for several years and the academic team completed the final plan in June.

According to the new policy, “there are multiple pathways to excellence and a student’s grade point average alone does not accurately reflect a degree of achievement. The Cum Laude Honor System provides a means of honoring students within a 3-tiered system: Cum Laude (with Honor), Magna Cum Laude (with Great Honor), and Summa Cum Laude (with the Highest Honor).” The Cum Laude system, ranking and honoring student accomplishments encourages students to take rigorous courses while also rewarding other components of achievement, in addition to student grade point averages, the policy says. The Cum Laude system is based on three components: Grade point average, honors diploma criteria and honors points accumulated for designated achievements.

The policy also states no student shall be eligible for graduation honors, such as Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude or Valedictorian, unless they have been enrolled at United for at least their entire senior year. Foreign exchange students are not ranked as part of the class for honors recognition.

Young said the change in graduation honor systems coincides with the new graduation requirements and seals at the state level.

In other business, the board approved a revised Athletic Handbook, effective Aug. 1. The revisions include a change in scope of consequences for substance abuse to 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day while the student athlete is enrolled in the junior or senior high school, including during summer break. Violations are cumulative throughout the student’s enrollment from junior high school through high school, with the first offense increased to a suspension of 20 percent of contests and second offense of 50 percent. The revisions also eliminate the policy regarding hair length.

Also at the meeting, the board accepted the retirement of Kathryn Matthews as Jr./Sr. High Visual Arts Teacher, effective Aug. 15; approved Riley Zehentbaurer to intern with Katie Hull, Mental Health Coordinator through Kent State University; and hired Jesse Tolly and Kierstin Fillman as technology assistants as needed.

The board granted supplemental contracts for the 2020-2021 school year to Nicole Price as majorette/flag advisor, Jason Minard as percussion band director, Nome Baker as band director, Sonya Minard as assistant band director, Jason Thompson as varsity boys basketball coach, Mike Ward, Jordan Phillips, Travis Ellyson, Ethan Antram and Matthew Brooks as varsity football assistants, Sean Weyant as freshman football coach, Ryan Burd, Jake Kilroy and Jon Newburn as junior high football coaches, Jim Headley for weightlifting, Jeff Medure as varsity boys soccer assistant, Noleen Moore as eighth grade volleyball coach, Ashley Smith as seventh grade volleyball coach and Megan Gozelanczyk as cross country assistant; as well as Dave Render as a varsity football assistant.

Additionally the board approved a contract with Wills Mobility & Vision Services LLC for the 2020-2021 at a rate $125 per hour and accepted donations to the Backpack Program of $55 from Ann Peters for Andia D’Amato and $100 from Maria Sabatino.

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