Decatur City Schools is proposing a change to its policy that identifies the top 10 graduates at each high school and valedictorian and salutatorian.

The amendment, which was introduced at a school board meeting Tuesday, would give more weight to Advanced Placement classes than dual enrollment classes, said Tommy Davis, Decatur City secondary curriculum and testing supervisor.

The proposed change would affect only incoming freshman.

“We have grandfathered students in grades 10-12 under the existing policy,” Davis said.

He said the amendment — when calculating grade-point average on a four-point scale — would add one point for AP classes and one-half point for dual enrollment classes.

Superintendent Michael Douglas said he supports dual enrollment and AP class offerings, but added that the rigor associated with getting a qualifying score on an AP class is tougher.

He said students have to pass a three-hour exam to earn an AP qualifying score.

“Both programs are great, and we have to advise students based on their individual needs,” Douglas said.

Board President Karen Duke questioned Davis and Douglas about how they plan to communicate the change to incoming ninth-grade students.

“Most of them already have their schedules for next year,” she said.

Davis said students have time to change their schedules and the district didn’t want to drag the proposed changes out until August.

Decatur cut ties with the International Baccalaureate program in 2017 and joined the A+ College Ready alliance, which is a state initiative aimed at expanding access to AP class offerings for underserved students in math, science and English.

The program, which started with a $13.2 million grant in 2008, gives students an opportunity to take classes that will count toward college credit if they achieve a qualifying score. AP exams are scored on a 1-5 scale with 3 considered a qualifying score.

A+ College Ready funds the program in Decatur, which provides training for high school and middle school teachers, pays students $100 for each passing AP exam grade and pays teachers $100 for every AP exam passing score.

High school officials said the number of students in AP classes more than doubled because of the change and the elimination of the honors program.

- deangelo@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2469. Twitter @DD_Deangelo.

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