Westwood High School parents push to drop some class rankings




Posted on May 18, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 19 at 8:50 AM

Some parents at Westwood High School are pushing the Round Rock Independent School District to drop class rankings below the top 10 percent, because they believe it's hurting their kids' chances of getting into top universities.  It's so competitive at the top, that GPA's are broken down to the thousandth of a point.

Westwood High School is known as a top high school.

"They're nationally well known for their college prep program.  And a lot of students have success because of that.  However making that top 10 percent cut here is nearly impossible," said Charles Gilmore, father.

The school grades are based on a 5.0 GPA.  But Honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Talented and Gifted classes will bump students up to a  6.0.

You have a good percentage of kids in this school who are taking just normal classes -- they're never going to be in the top 10 percent," said Sue Benyo, parent.

The top student at Westwood High School earned a 5.8065.  The cutoff to make the top 10 percent is 5.1762.

Compare that to Stony Point High School, which also has an International Baccalaureate Program.  Its top student earned a higher GPA: 5.9053.  But students who aren't taking advanced classes, and end up with a near perfect GPA of 4.7421 and higher still rank in the top 10 percent.

That makes some Westwood parents very unhappy.

"Our parents were telling us that their students are having difficulty getting into some Ivy League Schools, not because of their SAT or AC scores, and not because of their wonderful grades.  It comes down to a class rank issue," said Round Rock ISD Spokesperson JoyLynn Occhuizzi.

The district is putting together a committee to study this issue and will consider making a change.  But it's not happening fast enough for some.

"Having a junior who will be a senior next year -- we're pushing to have it done this year," said Benyo.

And some say students who want to hit that top 10 percent mark have to start very early.

"You have to start on this quest back when you're in junior high, by taking the advanced maths," said Gilmore.

It makes it nearly impossible to catch up.

Westlake High School in Eanes Independent School District decided in February it would not calculate future rankings that fall below the top 10 percent.  A spokesperson for Eanes said the change was almost universally supported.  Already, a majority of private high schools follow that model.