The Lake Mills Board of Education tabled a proposal by the administration of Lake Mills High School to approve a laude system at the school until the full board is present at the next meeting in March.

Officials at Lake Mills High School have proposed replacing the old class rank system with a new laude system. The changes were presented by High School Principal Cale Vogel and School Counselor Diane Sweeney at the Lake Mills Area School District Board of Education meeting Monday night.

“Over the last several years our leadership building team and our staff has discussed abolishing our current class rank system,” said Vogel. “Our primary purpose is to encourage rigor in student coursework, decrease unnecessary competition between our classmates and increase student’s academic and intellectual risks.”

A laude system acknowledges student achievement through a combination of student cumulative grade point average and the number of honor class points completed in their high school career. Together the grade point average and the honor points determine the overall laude score. Laude distinctions include Cum Laude, meaning with honors; Magna Cum Laude, with great honor or Summa Cum Laude, with highest honor.

The minimum recognition for Cum Laude recognition at graduation is a 3.2 GPA and a laude score of 16, calculated at the end of the 7th semester in school.

At graduation students will be honored with cords signifying their laude status.

“The addition of the laude system and the elimination of the existing class rank system will have a positive impact on students,” Vogel said.

If approved by the school board next month the changes would go into effect for the current 8th grade class, the class of 2024 and would not affect current high school students.

In the Capital Conference there are already two schools using the laude system, Lodi and Marshall.

“What I see in the state of Wisconsin is kind of half and half,” Vogel said. “You don’t see Laude schools going to class rank.”

Most colleges applications are no longer asking for the ranking Sweeney said.

“I’ve seen more and more colleges go away from asking for a specific class rank as part of an evaluative process for kids,” she said.

The system will no longer designate a valedictorian and salutatorian, instead all students graduating with Summa Cum Laude will be recognized. As far as the Academic Excellence award and scholarship will be determined by keeping track of the laude score and the two students with the highest Laude score rank at the end of seven terms will be the awardees. There will be tie breakers in place including ACT scores and other factors.

“It’s about encouraging kids to take risks. The classes in the curricular areas are laddered. There are lots of opportunities for the laude points to be earned.”

District Administrator Pam Streich thanked community partners once again for their immediate help and assistance during the bomb threat at Lake Mills Schools Jan. 29.

“They opened their doors immediately. We evacuated our buildings in seven to eight minutes. We were in those locations and secure,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot, we’ve debriefed a lot and we are changing the plans. We have other evacuation sites. People worried we disclosed where the kids were, but we have other sites so that’s not a given at any time. It was a tense time, but we learned so much.”

In other business the board:

— Approved employee handbook changes.

— Approved a bid from Griffin Ford Lincoln, Fort Atkinson for a 2020 Ford F-350 truck for $38,182, including a plow.

— Approved a roof bid from Badgerland Commercial Roofing, Inc. of Watertown for $35,280.

— Approved a resolution in support of “We Love our Public Schools Week” Feb. 24-28.

— Approved the Lake Mills High School Music Department Trip to Florida from March 25-31, 2021.

— Approved the addition of fifth grade choir, sixth grade choir and a strength and conditioning course for the 2020-21 school year.

— Approved the agreement with Wisconsin School Nutrition Purchasing cooperative. Last school year the district received about a $12,000 rebate by participating.

— Approved a $125 donation to the Lake Mills High School FFA from Insight FS.

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