Patrick Henry High School Pausing Course Changes After Hearing Students, Parent's Concerns

A couple of weeks ago, students learned the school was eliminating some advance and honors classes

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A controversial plan to eliminate some honors and advanced classes at Patrick Henry High is on pause Wednesday. This comes after students held a protest at school.

A couple of weeks ago, students learned the school was eliminating some advance and honors classes--a total of eight classes, including advanced English, History and biology.

The advanced and honors classes are weighted, meaning they are graded on a 5.0 scale and can boost students’ grade point averages.

Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which are also weighted and can earn students college credit, were not being eliminated.

The principal sent an email to parents saying the course adjustments will create a more balanced heterogeneously grouped classes, eliminate the stigma of non-weighted courses, and provide a well-balanced course offering for all students.

But on Wednesday afternoon, the school announced they are pausing the changes for now.

“After hearing from students today and parents who had questions, the school is pausing the course changes to continue the discussion on how to best enable each student to reach their full potential academically,” a district spokesperson told NBC 7.

Michelle Irwin, the school principal said they want to make the changes a collaborative effort.

“Well, you know here at Henry, we're very proud of all the work that we're doing to support our students and to align our goals with our district goals by expanding student access to rigorous coursework,” Irwin said. “We also recognize that we have students and parents who have concerns about the direction we're going, therefore we're going to pause a little bit and get more input from parents as well as students because we do want to make this a collaborative effort.”

"I'm really happy about it," One student told NBC 7. "The reason we had the protest and why we primarily had student speakers, was because we wanted student's voices to be heard."

"We are really pleased that she [the principal] is taking action. We still have more decisive stuff to be set in stone, obviously, they can't do that in one day," another student told NBC 7.

The students hope to get more clarification soon as they have already chosen next year's classes. The principal said they will work out those details in the upcoming days.

Parents told NBC 7 they are also upset about an email the principal recently send out announcing a change in the graduation ceremony saying students who graduate with a GPA higher than a 4.0 will no longer be allowed to wear a special white-colored gown at the ceremony.

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