Students who took American Classics H during the 2011-2012 school year will not receive honors weighting for the course from the University of California, according to Palo Alto High School Principal Phil Winston.
In an email sent to last year’s American Classics students released by Winston moments ago, Winston revealed that this decision was reached after months of discussion between the school and the University of California Office of the President. Winston informed the teacher advisers and guidance counselors of this change during a lunch meeting open to the press today in the Social Studies Resource Center.
“They [UCOP] cite two main factors [in the decision]: No. 1, that at the time, Paly had too many honors courses that were weighted,” Winston said. “And then No. 2, some technical issues in the way that we applied for that course.”
Winston explained that the UCs will still consider American Classics H as an “honors class.” However, since there will be no honors weighting, which constitutes extra points for the weighted GPAs (according to the UC Berkeley guide on GPA calculations), students’ GPAs may be lowered.
Winston indicated that Monica Lin, associate director of admissions at the Office of the President, said that a student’s GPA would only be affected by, at most, 0.01 to 0.03 points.
“That is almost irrelevant in the big picture,” Winston said.
“It’s not a life altering moment for folks, at least it shouldn’t be,” he added.
Although Winston said 0.01 to 0.03 in the GPA will not make a large difference for most, students of the Class of 2013 who are on the cusp of a 3.0 GPA, which is the minimum GPA requirement for consideration by the UC system, may be negatively impacted.
“Dr. Lin has assured me that since the UC’s are reviewing applications and students holistically now, there will not be any negative impact to students applying to the system at large,” Winston wrote in the email. “For students who are close to the minimum eligibility requirement it may have an impact if they drop below the threshold.”
Winston added that the decision is not likely to change.
“She [Lin] is as flexible as a brick,” Winston said.
A full transcript of Winston’s email to 2011-2012 American Classics H students is below.
You took American Classics H last school year, 2011-2012, and we have some information to share with you. Last year, we applied for the class to be Honors, with weighted credit. We learned earlier this week that it will not receive the weighted credit option.
We have been working, and lobbying on your behalf, with the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) for several months regarding the American Classics H course taught at Palo Alto High School last year. I have spoken directly with Dr. Monica Lin, Associate Director of Admissions at the Office of the President, to try to resolve the issue but the American Classics H course will not receive weighted credit from the University of California for the 2011-2012 school year. We have gone back and forth with the UC staff and they are firm in their decision. The UCOP’s rationale is that we had too many courses with honors credit at that time and cite some technical issues in our submission of the course, around which our discussions have been centered.
As your Principal, I am not interested in blaming anyone for this situation and have done everything possible to convince the UC System that the class should receive a weighted grade. The good news is that the class is still considered an honors course by the University of California even without the weighting of the grade. Dr. Lin has assured me that since the UC’s are reviewing applications and students holistically now, there will not be any negative impact to students applying to the system at large. For students who are close to the minimum eligibility requirement it may have an impact if they drop below the threshold. Furthermore, it will not affect any applications to private and out-of-state colleges because we only report unweighted GPA’s and then the colleges calculate GPA’s based on their own criteria.
You might feel the need to contact the University of California President’s Office but I strongly encourage you not to. We have done everything possible to ameliorate this unfortunate situation and contacting them will not change anything (they have made that crystal clear).
If you have specific questions, please see your TA or the College and Career staff.
Phil Winston, Principal
More information and reaction to come.