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Brainerd School Board: Class rank system eliminated for Brainerd High School

Class rank will be eliminated at Brainerd High School, but the class of 2014 will be grandfathered in.

The move was one of three handbook changes approved by the Brainerd School Board at its Monday meeting.

The elimination of class rank will be effective immediately, but the senior class of 2014 will still have the ranking system available as it has been in the past.

Officials are still working on an alternative recognition program to still honor students. That will be brought before the school board tentatively before the next school year.

“We try to foster a healthy competition between students. When it comes to class rank, it’s an unhealthy competition between students that doesn’t benefit them,” said Brainerd High School Principal Andrea Rusk at a district Curriculum Committee meeting in May.

The class rank system gives a number to each student, with the highest GPA student placing in the No. 1 spot. It does not eliminate GPA or the school’s weighted grade system.

The trend throughout the state is that high schools are getting rid of the ranking system, said Brainerd High School Career Service Director Linda Dockter at the May committee meeting. Few colleges and scholarships still request the information, she said. Instead, officials tend to concentrate on GPA and ACT scores when it comes to admission.

At Monday’s meeting, Sarah Yeh, a senior next year at Brainerd High, spoke against eliminating class rank, arguing the benefits of having it outweigh the negatives.

“If you choose to eliminate class rank, you cripple students for the real world where competition and demonstrating merit is the only way to achieve success.”

Yeh said there is only healthy competition among students when it comes to rank.

“The majority of the class doesn’t care,” she said of the ranking system. “Class rank does not affect the learning environment, nor does it affect the relationship among all students.”

Superintendent Steve Razidlo said he consulted with surrounding schools that have already eliminated class rank. The feedback, he said, was positive. Other school officials reported it was successful in “building a greater collection of learners.”

Rusk said often the top students are very close in their GPA ranking.

“That No. 2 is outstanding, that three is outstanding, and to be quite honest, so is that eight, nine and 10,” she said Monday night.

Board member Sue Kern said she doesn’t want to take away the competition between students by eliminating class rank.

“Even if there is just one college or scholarship that one of our students could get just because they had a good class rank, it’s worth it. It’s worth all of it,” she said.

Voting against the motion were board members Chris Robinson and Kern.

The other approved changes to the handbook are:

• The school will no longer use the “NC,” or no credit, label on transcripts when students don’t fulfill the requirements to complete a class. Instead, the school would use an “F.” School officials say the NC marking is confusing to other schools or colleges.

• Forestview Middle School achievement requirements are now adopted. The requirements more clearly lay out what will happen if a student does not pass one of the four core classes: math, English, science or social studies. Those options are: summer school, in the next school year, an after school program, or have the student complete the full year again. It would be a case-by-case basis on each student.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at