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School Board Looks to Amend Class-Ranking Policy

The Weakley County School Board discussed moving away from a policy enacted four years ago under Randy Frazier’s tenure, which would have eliminated Valedictorian and Salutatorian, as well as the top 10 rankings for the graduating class of 2024. Pictured at the meeting are (from left) school board members Doug Sims and Jeff Floyd; Weakley County Director of Schools Jeff Cupples; board chairman Josh Moore; board secretary Patricia Adams and board members Steve Vantrease and Wendell Cates.

Amendment would keep Vals, Sals and Top 10

By Shannon Taylor

Associate Editor

Four years ago, a class-ranking policy was changed to remove valedictorian/salutatorian and top 10 ranking beginning with the graduating class of 2024 graduation date. On Oct. 5, Director of Schools Jeff Cupples and the board agreed to amend the policy to include the class rankings, along with Weakley Scholars and School-Level Scholars. 

“This went into effect four years ago and that cohort is now to graduate in May, so we’ve had some comments come back up about this policy. Me personally, I recommend that we keep the val/sal and top 10,” Cupples told Weakley County School Board members. Cupples discussed going back and cleaning up the language on lines 8, 9 and 10 of Policy 4.602, which is available online to view at 4.602 Class Ranking .pdf (

“We were going to maintain the val/sal and top 10. Really all we need to do is amend the wording on lines 8, 9 and 10,” Chairman Joshua Moore said.

Moore asked that it be amended to make sure that the policy is in compliance with keeping the valedictorian, salutatorian, top 10, Weakley scholars and school-level scholars.

“If we could have that amendment ready for the future,” Moore added.

Weakley County Schools Assistant Director Betsi Foster addressed the board, noting, “When colleges look at admissions, it’s the top 10 percent, so it depends on the school whether that’s top 10 or not depending on how many students graduate in that class. 

“When we discussed this four years ago, what we were really trying to get away from was top 10, because number 11, who was 2/100 of a point outside the top 10 does not get that recognition and we didn’t want students to be grade grubbing or afraid of losing one single point because they wouldn’t make top 10, so we instituted the Weakley Scholars program so that it wasn’t a competition for 10 spots; it was a competition to be the best you could be and to achieve those scores regardless of how the other students do that.”  

Moore said, “We’ll look for a policy amendment on this in board meetings to come.”

The board had several policies go into effect after approval of their second readings. The policy on agendas notes that a meeting agenda will be made available to the public for inspection at least 48 hours prior to the board meeting. 

The policy for appearances before the board states that the public comment period will align with the new state law that went into effect July of this year. 

The policy for threat assessment teams states that threat assessment teams will be created within the school district to develop intervention-based approaches for prevention of violence and threats. 

A policy on library materials states that if the Local Education Agency (LEA) can’t reach a resolution about materials, the board would make a determination on the materials and if the material is deemed inappropriate, the board would require the school to remove them. 

A zero-tolerance policy added “threatening mass violence on school property or at a school-related activity” to be considered a zero-tolerance issue. 

All policies passed on their second readings during last week’s board meeting and are effective immediately.

The board did not approve a Board Parliamentarian position. The motion was withdrawn by former Chairman Steve Vantrease who stated he had times where he needed extra help, but if the current chairman didn’t feel the need for one, then he would withdraw his motion.

The next School Board meeting will be held at Gleason School on Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.

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