It’s a distinction some students work their entire careers to obtain. But, now in some St. Louis County schools, whether your child is #1 or #100 in the class, it doesn’t matter. Mehlville schools say the class rank system is boxing kids in. A true individual can't be quantified by a number.
Mehlville schools argue this isn’t a rogue idea. It’s a national trend.
"There's really been this growing movement kind of across the country around redefining what it is to be college and career ready,” explained Mehlville Superintendent, Chris Gaines.
Three years from now, by 2021, there will no longer be a valedictorian or salutatorian. And instead of a class rank, students will be measured on a more university like cum laude system.
"As kids have different kinds of experiences going out into the workplace, it's hard to put that into a number,” Gaines said.
Superintendent Gaines said under the previous class rank system, the top five kids could get fabulous scholarships and the number six kid missed out, despite having a stellar GPA, and that’s not fair.
One Oakville High School parent said this change could complicate college applications.
"We don’t know how a college will receive that. I would imagine they would all receive it a little bit differently,” said Liz Rauls, whose daughter is a rising senior at Oakville.
Rauls expressed her concern at Thursday’s school board meeting. She wants Mehlville school to provide student profile sheets, giving colleges information on school statistics and averages.
“Colleges don’t have a frame of reference,” she said.
As class rank is slowly phased out over the next three years, a student can request their rank and get it sent to them in a letter. Mehlville schools say there are about 20 other high schools in the St. Louis region that have already implemented this new system.