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Attending college while also attending high school, known as dual enrollment, has become almost the norm among Mary Persons students who plan to go to college. Many go to Gordon College, Macon State, and Central Georgia Technical College. They have to worry about scheduling classes, transportation and taking care of paperwork for more than one educational institution, although online classes have made some of these considerations easier.

Mary Persons junior Sydney Stapleton came to the Board of Education on Sept. 14 with a problem of how credits for classes are transferred from Gordon College to Mary Persons. At the high school students earn numerical grades for completing classes. This makes it possible to compare student grades more precisely than awarding A’s, B’s and C’s, which cover a broader range of accomplishment. 

Some colleges send numeric grades to Mary Persons for dual enrollment students, but Gordon College sends letter grades. Monroe County Schools’ policy is to convert the letter grade to the mid-point number grade (i.e., an A becomes 95). This policy is not included in the Mary Persons handbook or explained to students considering dual enrollment classes.

Stapleton said she become aware of the policy after she earned a numeric grade of 99.67 in a U.S. History class at Gordon and it was recorded as 95 in her official high school transcript. The difference carries an impact on her class rank and on her applications to colleges and scholarships.

Before addressing the school board, Stapleton contacted her Mary Persons counselor, principal, Monroe County Schools superintendent (copying additional administrators on emails to him), Gordon College professor and registrar. Her request is that policy information in the Mary Persons handbook be updated so that students considering dual enrollment can make more informed decisions and that students have the option of accepting the letter grade conversion to the middle number or providing documented evidence of the exact numeric grade, with the student being responsible for documentation. Stapleton asked that the revised policy be effective with the Class of 2023, who just became eligible for dual enrollment. 

Stapleton said she has a petition with 100 signatures requesting the policy revision. Superintendent Dr. Mike Hickman said Monroe County Schools have contacted Gordon College and are working with it on assessing the data it has. He said Gordon College began providing letter grades and Mary Persons began converting them to a mid-point numerical grade about six years ago.

“We have to be able to use data we have,” said Hickman. “It’s very important, but we have to get data. This wasn’t created by Mary Persons.”