Superintendent defends GPA recomendation

    Palo Alto Unified School District Supt. Max McGee addresses local students and parents during a meeting at the board chambers last night. According to McGee, the board should report both unweighted and University of California-approved weighted GPAs on student transcripts while not weighting freshman grades and not limiting weighted courses. “I'm not recommending that we cap the number of AP courses that students take," McGee said. “We trust people to make the right decision but we want that to be an informed decision.” Photo: William Sallomi

    Palo Alto Unified School District Supt. Max McGee addresses local students and parents during a meeting at the board chambers last night. According to McGee, the board should report both unweighted and University of California-approved weighted GPAs on student transcripts while not weighting freshman grades and not limiting weighted courses. “I’m not recommending that we cap the number of AP courses that students take,” McGee said. “We trust people to make the right decision but we want that to be an informed decision.” Photo: William Sallomi

    The Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education is closer to a finalized decision about the content of student transcripts after Supt. Max McGee further explained his recommendation during a meeting Tuesday night at the board chambers at 25 Churchill Ave.

    McGee restated his support for adopting the University of California weighting system and not weighting freshman grades despite community concern that students will not be properly rewarded for all of their academic efforts.

    McGee said freshmen should focus on transitioning smoothly into high school, not maximizing their GPAs.

    “This [freshman year] is a time of significant transition academically, socially and emotionally,” McGee said. “We want to make sure that our students are getting through it and getting through it well so that they are not surviving, they are thriving.”

    McGee said filling a freshman’s schedule with weighted classes is potentially counterproductive to well-being and long-term success.

    According to McGee, the UC weighting criteria’s credibility makes it appropriate to be applied to Palo Alto students.

    “UC is a credible third party with an established process,” McGee said.” We [PAUSD] do not have an established or aligned system, process or criteria for assigning an Honors designation.”

    Gunn sophomore Leila Smith challenged the UC weighting system, which does not include some Paly designated honors courses. According to Smith, it is unfair that students do not receive extra GPA points for all of their honors and AP classes.

    “The students should be aided by their schools as much as possible when applying for scholarships,” Smith said.

    The board will continue to meet on the subject and has not yet determined a date for a vote.

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