History of WGPA issue

May 9, 2017 School board meeting
After 7 months discussing this weighted GPA issue, and after many parents have spent numerous hours doing research and provided data to Dr. McGee and the board members, disappointingly, Dr. McGee provided his recommendation in this meeting where all honors / AP classes won't be weighted for freshmen. Though all the current high school students are grandfathered in.

In this board meeting, board member Todd attempted to set a motion to include 9th grader in the weighted GPA. However, this motion was only supported by board member Melissa, and thus failed to pass with 2:3.

Todd made several excellent comments about this whole saga:
  • We are doing things backwards! As a school board, shouldn't our job be encouraging the students to take honors / AP classes to challenge themselves? No! Instead, we are discouraging them as it's a bad thing.
  • We are making a mountain out of a mole-hole! Don't blame the parents for how long it takes to decide this matter, the fault is completely on us!

March 28, 2017 School board meeting
Instead of using Gunn's traditional GPA calculation, Dr. McGee proposed his new McGee method. Here's the difference between the Gunn method and McGee method:

  Gunn Method     McGee Method
 Honors Extra point     Extra point if all the following are true:
  • UC approved
  • Not taken in 9th grade
 AP Extra point Extra point if not taken in 9th grade

Currently, there are 4 honors courses offered at both Paly and Gunn which are not UC-approved (as well as 2 honors courses only offered at Paly):
    • Biology H
    • Geometry H
    • Chemistry H
    • Algebra 2 / Trig H
Example impact of this proposal for current Gunn students:
If a Gunn student takes Biology H and Geometry H in 9th grade, Chemistry H and Algebra 2 / Trig H in 10th grade, and 2 APs in 11th grade, then, instead of having 6 extra points for weighted GPA under the current Gunn method, this student would only get 2 extra points, a 67% reduction.

Mar 6, 2017 Dr. McGee's met with families in East Palo Alto.parent forum at Gunn
About 50 people attended. Approximately 90% of them supported placing both weighted and unweighted GPAs on students'  transcripts.

Feb 13, 2017 Dr. McGee's parent forum at Gunn
Around 100 people participated, majority supported weighted GPAs.

Feb 8, 2017 Dr. McGee's second community webinar
About 50 people participated this webinar. Dr. McGee did a poll about several items. Here's the poll result summary:
    • 96% support reporting both weighted GPA and unweighted GPA
    • 72.5% do not support cap on weighting
    • Around 70% believe weighted GPA won't increase stress
    • 88% support including all APs and PAUSD designated Honors
Feb 6, 2017, student / parent / staff survey collected
1,508 students responded:
- 77% prefer wGPAs
- 91% do not want a cap on number of weights awarded
Of those who want wGPAs, 68% prefer the UC weighting method (all APs and only UC-approved Honors courses)

1,070 parents responded:
- 84% prefer wGPAs
- 65% do not want cap
Of those who want wGPAs, 89% prefer the Gunn weighting method (all APs and all Honors classes in the course catalog)

Only 20 Gunn staff and 64 Paly responded:  
- 80% of Gunn staff and 37% of Paly staff prefer wGPAs
- 70% at both high schools do not want cap
Of those who want wGPAs, ~70% at both high schools prefer the Gunn method

Feb 6, 2017 Dr. McGee's student forum at Paly
About 12 students attended along with 9 teachers. Show of hands indicated that most students support weighted GPA.

Feb 6, 2017 Dr. McGee's parent forum at Paly
About 80 parents attended the forum. Majority support reporting weighted GPA in addition to unweighted GPA, and no caps on weighted courses.

Feb 1, 2017 Dr. McGee's Gunn students forum
About 20 Gunn students attended the forum. Majority expressed preference for weighted GPA.

Dec 13, 2016 School Board Meeting to decide what to do with Brown Act.

New board was sworn in. Dr. McGee reported possible Brown Act violation because no public comment was allowed during Nov. 21, 2016 meeting and Dr. McGee suggested to revote the decision made in Nov. 21 meeting. New board ultimately decided to remedy potential violation with commitment to allow public comment in the future, but not to re-vote.

Nov 29, 2016 Dr. McGee's first community webinar
Dr. McGee presented grade weighting systems used by four other school districts, but not all of them are similarly high-performing peer schools.

Nov 21, 2016 Special School Board Meeting

The Board of Education decided that for this year’s seniors, Paly will report two mandatary GPAs and one optional GPA on transcripts.

The two mandatary ones are the cumulative unweighted GPA (that counts all courses taken, without any bonus point), and the cumulative weighted GPA under the Gunn method (that also counts all courses taken, and gives one bonus point to all AP and honor courses, regardless of whether they are UC-approved).  These two GPAs have the same base, since they both count all courses taken, so very student's weighted GPA will be at least as high as their unweighted GPA.

Current Paly seniors can also request to add the UC/CSU weighted GPA on their transcripts.  This UC/CSU weighted GPA will only count UC a-g courses as the base and only give bonus points to those courses specified in the Paly course catalog as UC-approved.  This UC/CSU weighted GPA is not cumulative and cannot be used on the Common App.

Nov 15, 2016 School Board Meeting

Many parents showed up at this meeting as the weighted GPA issue was supposed to be discussed. However, to the dismay of many parents and students, the weighted GPA item was NOT on the agenda. The many parents presents expected to be dismissed, despite the fact that they made an effort to be there. Thanks to a brave parent who stood up and pointed out how unjust and disrespectful it was to not allow the community to express their views, the students and parents were then allowed to speak for 2 minutes each. The overwhelming majority was in support of reporting weighted GPAs, specifically the comprehensive weighted GPA used at Gunn.

Nov 1, 2016 School Board Meeting
Many parents and students showed up and spoke in this meeting. It was decided that the seniors at each school will have both unweighted GPA and weighted GPA on their transcripts and the common app. However, not quite sure intentionally or unintentionally, it was worded so that each school follows their own practice, and it turns out that Paly uses the UC / CSU weighted GPA calculation method, while Gunn's method is the more common one. The issue: Paly's UC / CSU weighted GPA cannot be used for most applications because it's not cumulative.   The saga continued.

Here's the meeting video. It's very informational to figure out why this matter gets into each stage. The index below is for the sections related to weighted GPA discussion.
    • 1:22:18 wGPA discussion starts.
    • 1:35:37 students speak
    • 1:45:08 parents speak
    • 3:21:41 PALY student representative speak
    • 3:24:05 GUNN student representative speak
    • 4:40:24 GUNN student representative returned to point out that Paly's UC wGPA isn't accumulative.
The school board voted unanimously for the following:
    • Mid-year transcripts will have both weighted and unweighted GPAs.
    • The calculation used will be the ones each school currently uses (which are different).
    • For students who need weighted grades earlier than January, the schools would help on a best-effort basis.
Ankit Ranjan, one of the student representatives on the school board, raised an issue at the last minute. The calculation used at Paly is the UC/CSU system, which only counts grades 10 and 11, so it may not be considered "cumulative" which is apparently a requirement for some colleges. Superintendent McGee was tasked to come up with a plan to address this by next meeting.

Oct 18, 2016 School Board Meeting
Dr. McGee proposed a 'two-point' plan which essentially prevents Gunn from reporting weighted GPAs on students' transcripts. Many students and parents voiced their opinion against it. Here's the 
meeting video link if you'd like to know more details. The following index is meant to help you to go the the weighted GPA issue quickly.

1:28 wGPA topic starts.
1:45 Open speaker session starts.
1:50 Maya speaks
2:37:50 Parents and teachers / counselors from Paly
2:47 Maya’s Mom speaks
3:10 Gunn student representative speaks, followed by Paly student representative
3:29:35 School board members speak

Oct 18, 2016 Superintendent's message
Dr. McGee recommended NOT changing GPA practices for the class of 2017. Official letters with weighted GPA can be requested for scholarship purposes. Unfortunately, this isn't accepted at all schools. 

Oct 4, 2016 School Board Meeting
Paly student informed the school board that withholding weighted GPA from transcript means losing substantial university scholarship.