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Mass. principal cancels Honors Night; it could "devastate" students who missed mark

Dave_BerryDave_Berry Posts: 1,301CC Admissions Expert Senior Member
edited April 2013 in Parents Forum
" 'The Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients' families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade point average,' Fabrizio penned in his first letter to parents." ...

Principal cancels Honors Night in exchange for all-inclusive ass - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston
Post edited by Dave_Berry on
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Replies to: Mass. principal cancels Honors Night; it could "devastate" students who missed mark

  • SeahorsesrockSeahorsesrock Posts: 1,638Registered User Senior Member
    Isn't getting the honor in itself enough? Why does everything need applause. I hated the awards things even though my kids got some.

    Thought they were stupid.
  • bethievtbethievt Posts: 6,727Registered User Senior Member
    My son's 1st-4th grade house and his 5th-8th grade house both had end of the year picnics where they gave out "awards" (not trophies, just certificates the teachers had made) celebrating something about each student. I thought it was really nice. The teachers knew these kids very well so they could come up with something real. This K-8 public school didn't give grades, so academic honors would have been tough to figure out anyway. I loved that they found a way to honor all of the students.
  • kiddiekiddie Posts: 1,452Registered User Senior Member
    From second grade through eighth grade my daughter's schools had some kind of awards assembly at the end of the school year. Despite being an excellent student (ended up salutatorian at middle school graduation), my daughter only ever got a certificate for perfect attendance. I sat and watched kids get many, many awards for their various sports activities. I wish there had been any kind of academic award given at these ceremonies (her high honor roll earned her only a mention in the local town paper every marking period not even a certificate). I would have strongly supported an honors night.

    Fast forwarding to the senior awards night at her high school last June. Once again, a overwhelming majority of the awards went to athletes. Unfortunately, my community and its schools only seem to appreciate and acknowledge athletics and not academics!
  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 Posts: 3,023Registered User Senior Member
    The article says that he will include the honors awards in an end of the year assembly. So he's not having a special middle school honors night. As the principal in our school says repeatedly, parents hate any kind of change.

    I believe in honors for academics, but this sounds like an overblown reaction.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Posts: 2,538Registered User Senior Member
    Really? Wonder how he handled things as a "coach"? Did he not make cuts and did every player have equal playing time?
    No doubt some if these kids will end up in a blind rage at work,15 years hence, when they are passed over for a promotion in favor of someone more qualified.
    Like it or not, grades are a quantitative measure. Give out "most improved" or "extra effort" awards if he must, but this slavish devotion to the idea of egalitarianism just doesn't hold up in the real world. This principal's time would be better spent by writing letters if recommendation to colleges for the kids he thinks haven't fared as well with grades.
  • ahsmuohahsmuoh Posts: 1,103Registered User Senior Member
    I am not sure everyone has read the whole article. I actually think what he is doing is a good idea. This way the academic honors are given away in front of the whole student body not just in front of those that are invited to the academic awards ceremony. My dd's high school has an academic awards ceremony at the end of every year - if you are not invited - you don't even know it exists!!! If you are invited - you know you are receiving at least one award. I would like to see the awards given out in front of the whole school. My son's school has an assembly for everyone to give out academic awards. He was not on honor roll his first semester freshman year and this motivated him to get on honor roll for the second semester - it worked!
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Posts: 6,598Registered User Senior Member
    I remember my HS having a mix of those ahsmuoh. Athletic awards were done in front of everyone, academic awards done at a night-time ceremony where only people receiving an award were invited. It's not hard to imagine how those of us receiving only academic (or no) awards felt about the arrangement.
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,391Registered User Senior Member
    My son's 1st-4th grade house and his 5th-8th grade house both had end of the year picnics where they gave out "awards" (not trophies, just certificates the teachers had made) celebrating something about each student. I thought it was really nice. The teachers knew these kids very well so they could come up with something real.
    My kids elementary school instituted something similar and I can't tell you how much my kids loathed it and thought it was a total waste of time and that kids who didn't deserve awards were getting them to make them feel good. At least the high school award ceremonies based on real achievement. I will never understand how we think that giving out athletic rewards builds character, but academic rewards will crush students who don't get them.

    That said, our high school does the ceremony only for the awardees and the parents and does sports and academics separately.
  • eastcoascrazyeastcoascrazy Posts: 1,892Registered User Senior Member
    At our high school, no awards are given in front of the entire school. (They weren't given out in front of the entire middle school, either, and there were no awards in elementary school.)

    Academic awards are given at an evening, invitation only awards ceremony.
    Music awards are given at a music department end of the year ceremony.
    Athletic awards are given at the end of each season, at an athletic awards banquet.
    Drama awards, are given at an end of the year banquet.
    Dance awards, ditto.
    Robotics club and every other club and group, ditto.

    Nobody cares about the music awards except the parents and kids involved. Nobody cares about the soccer MVP except the other players and parents. Thank goodness we don't have to sit through every award for every group in the entire school. (And I say that as a parent of kids who have earned their share of awards.)
  • halcyonheatherhalcyonheather Posts: 7,565Registered User Senior Member
  • TheGFGTheGFG Posts: 4,658Registered User Senior Member
    In theory, I support schools giving awards. However, they've completely mangled the process every time we have been able to observe it with my 3 kids, and have hurt many students in the process. As a result, now I wish they'd just stop these events altogether. Too often school awards are popularity prizes for being likeable or brown-nosing; or gifts to the parents via the student for volunteer hours served; or "pity awards" for the kids with social or academic difficulties. Frequently the award criteria are fuzzy or non-existent, and most definitely never objective enough.

    Yesterday D's school sub grouping gave out awards. The students are not told in advance what they can do to earn one of them, so IMO these awards aren't incentives. Incentivizing desirable behavior should be a major reason to do this. Sometimes the teachers will say it's about doing their school work and being nice. So D and many others do just that, and yet are overlooked and have not a clue why. Even when the award presenter mentions kindness, earning it is predicated on the teacher noticing the student's act(s) of kindness, which the savvier students know how to arrange. When S was in the middle school, the awards tended to go to the students who appeared to be working really, really hard, so the A- students were always preferred over the A+ students, since it seemed to the teachers the latter were more smart than truly hard-working. That really irked him. When D was there, the teachers would say random nonsense while presenting, like "Her parents walk their dog in my neighborhood and they have the same breed as I do!" The last high school ceremony we attended, the Val got zero academic awards, the Sal got one, and some girl who took 0 AP's got an embarrassing number--10+. Clearly, the teachers just really liked her personality I guess. And don't think athletic awards are any better. My D was recruited to the top athletic program in the country (the only student that year or ever), and didn't merit any award other than the standard plaque for being a senior athlete. It was kind of crazy.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 33,207Registered User Senior Member
    Maybe the parents & kids are already too busy with end of year stuff & they pleaded with the principal to cancel it.
    My kids just didn't tell me about it.
    Sports stuff was separate, with the team.
    Other ECs were separate, with the group.
    I don't know who all was expected to show up for the academic stuff, we did go to one event, but for senior yr the school mailed the awards, I hadn't even realized they were graduating with honors till I saw it on the graduation program.
  • dietz199dietz199 Posts: 2,039Registered User Senior Member
    Heavens forbid kids are exposed to the reality that some people really ARE better at some things than others. How wonderful that achievement and excelling in something are kept secret.

    As for the idea that 'the honor is enough in and of itself', does that apply to birthday parties also. After all, just living another year is enough in and of itself. Good grief.
  • klugekluge Posts: 6,559Registered User Senior Member
    I think all middle school awards are dumb, period. A meaningless "celebration" of an insignificant achievement. My initial reaction is that the ceremony must be of more interest to the parents than the kids in any event.

    Do well in high school and you'll get into a good college - there's your "award", son.
  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 Posts: 3,023Registered User Senior Member
    dietz, if you read the article, they are not keeping the awards secret! Instead of just doing an academic ceremony, they are including it in the end of year general assembly. So more people will know about it. These things tend to get rather long though, as more students are recognized for community service, sports, attendance, etc.
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