H-PT OKs updated GPA scale for students

HOUGHTON — The Houghton-Portage Township Schools Board approved instituting a weighted grade-point average for high school students at its April meeting Monday.

The weighted GPAs add an additional 0.25 points for Advanced Placement classes, bringing the district into line with numerous districts elsewhere.

It will begin the transition to a weighted GPA starting with the 2024-25 school year, when they will appear alongside the unweighted GPAs on transcripts. Starting with 2026-27, the weighted GPAs will be used to determine class rank.

Talk of the transition began last year after local admissions directors reached out to high school principal Tiffany Scullion, Hill said. Houghton students who go on to college have also heard about the weighted GPAs from students who had the weighted GPAs at their schools downstate, Hill said.

“I’m excited for it,” he said. “I have a son who’s a junior, and he’s going to be applying for schools, and it helps other kids. I’m thankful for that.”

The board had discussed the change at its March meeting, but delayed action after Houghton High School student Ian Evans asked the board to get more feedback from students.

At Monday’s meeting, he thanked Scullion and the board for the thought they put into the proposal, and their efforts to get more student input.

Evans thought the board should add the weighted GPAs, based on the information about how much additional aid students would be able to get from colleges.

“It would be doing a disservice to students to not provide them with that,” he said.

However, he also suggested the board keep both GPAs on the transcripts longer than planned. Several of the local scholarships he’s applying for require the unweighted GPA, he said.

“It would just be another useful thing for students to utilize,” he said.

In other action, the board:

≤ Heard a presentation from the Business Professionals of America (BPA) club, which competed at the State Leadership Conference last month in Grand Rapids.

Members Anna Wu and Bethany Green qualified for the National Leadership Conference, which will take place May 10-14 in Chicago.

Wu finished third in fundamental spreadsheet applications and fourth in Linux operating system fundamentals, while Green took fourth in fundamentals of web design.

“We’re hoping to put our best foot forward at Nationals and make the most of it when the time comes,” said Green, the chapter president.

Competitions span presentations, speeches, tech-related events, programming and business-related activities such as economic research. In the latter category, Alethea Oakley did a project on Ticketmaster’s status as a monopoly and what could be done to make the ticketing industry more competitive. (The Department of Justice is reportedly planning to sue Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation over alleged antitrust violations, according to media reports Monday.)

“Overall, it’s just a really great experience, a really great way to improve your skills and just meet tons and tons of new people,” Oakley said in a video message to the board.

≤ Heard from Janelle Summer, the district’s behavioral health coordinator. At the middle and high schools, she’s written behavioral plans for students having issues interfering with their education.

At the elementary school, she’s also done in-the-moment coaching to respond to behaviors as they occur, as well as training with teachers and paraprofessionals.

I “kind of feel like we’re building that foundation of what behavioral supports Houghton has in place so that when they get to middle school and high school level, hopefully we don’t have as many behaviors or we can get a wrap on them much quicker,” she said.


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