Howard County Redistricting- Grandfather Rising Juniors

Howard County Redistricting- Grandfather Rising Juniors

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Elizabeth Colvin started this petition to Howard County residents

Dear BOE and Representatives,

This testimony pertains to rising juniors and their families,county wide.  If redistricting occurs in any form for the 2020-2021 school year, we are requesting that all rising juniors remain at their currently assigned high school to complete their high school education per Policy 9000, III, m. “Junior Status – The situation in which a student has earned a minimum of 10 credits, including English 9 and English 10.” Historically, the Board has approved grandfathering juniors during what many claim is their most important year of high school.  Below supports the grandfathering of juniors:

• Junior year is a critical year for students.  Academically, it is the most challenging as they continue to prepare for strongcollege applications, which includes:
➢ Continuing to work at a high level to maintain or achieve their highest GPA , as this is the last  full year of grades that colleges consider
➢ Preparing for standardized tests (SAT,ACT, AP Tests, Subject Tests and specialized portfolios for the arts) in addition to their ongoing and demanding workload
➢ Identifying teachers who will write strong letters of recommendation for them
➢ Beginning the process of college searches and visits
➢ The start of internships for many juniors, requiring travel and increased workload in addition to academic requirements
➢ Closely approximating a college course load so colleges can see how they manage a high level academic schedule
• Loss of established relationships with:
➢ Counselors/Advisors:  EVERY COUNSELOR IS REQUIRED TO WRITE A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FOR THEIR STUDENTS TO BE USED FOR COLLEGE AND/OR PROGRAM APPLICATIONS.  For a strong letter of recommendation, the counselor/student relationship is established over four years.
➢ Teachers:  children rely on their teachers for letters of recommendation to colleges, for internships and work opportunities, as well as continuity in a particular course of study, such as foreign language, Project Lead the Way and various advanced classes.
➢ Coaches:  children are REQUIRED to make Varsity teams in almost all sports in order to play their junior and senior years.  Students have spent two years demonstrating their athletic abilities to their coaches in an effort to earn a spot on a team, not to mention leadership positions such as team captain.  These are earned accomplishments that improve college applications as well as personal growth
➢ Sponsors:  very personal relationships are built with teachers who sponsor extra- curricular and internship programs.  Again, by moving rising juniors, leadership opportunities and letters of recommendation are jeopardized as well as the child’s continuity in the program.
• Increased travel time and distance to new schools:​
➢ Children will lose on average 45 minutes of sleep due to increased commute.  Multiple studies show the importance of sleep correlated to academic performance
➢ Decreased involvement for students and families in before, during and after school activities.   Studies have shown a decrease in school involvement based on increased distance from home school.
➢ Increased distance will require to students to drive; many juniors are not eligible for their driver’s license until midway through their junior year.  In addition, many children will not have access to a personal car.
• Effects on Teachers/Administration:
➢ Teachers work with students over four years to establish social and emotional relationships, academic achievement and to implement successful extra-curricular programs and clubs.  Losing children midway through their high school career will limit a teacher’s ability to follow through with truly meaningful letters of recommendation.

Moving a child during his or her junior year has devastating and potentially long term effects.  It impacts emotional and mental well-being, academic performance and extra- curricular involvement.  These potential consequences are unacceptable and can hinder their chances of acceptance to the colleges they are working towards.  Most importantly, these changes have lasting effects on a child’s self-esteem, personal growth and opportunities for success.  


We, the undersigned support the above petition dated September 5, 2019.


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