Blue wildcat with Latin Honors System Proposal, Depew High School, BOE meeting 2/28/23 By James Lupino

Depew High School has historically used the traditional system of class ranking. This results in our selection of valedictorian, salutatorian, and third in class who all have a role in our graduation ceremony. In addition, pictures of our top 12 are displayed in our foyer for the first few weeks of school until they are replaced by September’s students of the month.


Throughout this school year, we have been exploring the idea of transitioning to a Latin Honors system. Latin Honors is a proficiency-based learning system that has three different levels of academic distinction. It recognizes all students who exceed the different achievement thresholds, therefore reducing or eliminating student competition with one another. You may have heard Latin Honors referred to as a laude system. This has commonly and historically been used in colleges or universities.

This proposal has been discussed with our teachers in faculty meetings, has had their input through a google survey in which there was overwhelming support and only 3.9% opposition, and visited in great detail within our DHS Academic Advisory Council over the first semester of this year. 


I was able to meet with Alden High School Principal Kevin Ryan and Counselor Amy Delzer. They shared their work and resources and were extremely accommodating and supportive of our efforts. Their first Latin Honors system graduating class was 2022. Their feeling is that it was a tremendous success as it celebrated the efforts of many more of their students than the traditional ranking system. They also have a methodical system that obtains input from all
students and faculty to select a winner of the Crystal bulldog award in which that recipient gives a speech at graduation.

There was research and conversations that occurred with other local districts that have already implemented Latin Honors and are or intend on transitioning to this system.

With the assistance of our CIO, Lee Hoffman, we were able to retrieve 5 years of the cut scores for the top 10%, 20% and 40% of our senior class. We were then able to average those out and determine our proposed levels of distinction:

Summa Cum Laude 96-100
Magna Cum Laude 93-95.99
Cum Laude 90-92.99

Moving forward, we ask that you as a Board of Education support our efforts in transitioning this system. If supported, we would: 

  • Revise our Administrative Regulation 7220R.
  • Start with the Class of 2027 so that we would not impact anyone who is currently in the traditional ranking system.
  • Change our school profile to demonstrate to postsecondary institutions that we are not using class rank.
  • Develop a plan to recognize the Latin Honors students and select a speaker for graduation. This can be done over a four-year period for June of 2027.
  • Hold a Parent Information Night for our current 8th grade students or anyone else who interested within our school-community.



Depew Administrative Regulation 7220R 2014


NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals) Policy and Advocacy Position Paper 2019


National Association for College Admission Counseling State of College Admission 2019


Great Schools Partnership Academic Recognition and Latin Honors 2016


Point-Counterpoint – Class Rank – Author Unknown


Williamsville Central School District presentation Class Rank – Past, Present & Future 2017

Alden High School Achievement Recognition 2021


View the PowerPoint Presentation here: