Honor cord requirements set to change, match policies across District


Caroline Black

In Assistant Principal Timothy Jones’s office, a mannequin stands with an assortment of honor cords that Lafayette offers.

Caroline Black, Staff Reporter

Starting with this year’s freshmen class, the honor cord requirements will be the same throughout all four Rockwood School District (RSD) high schools. In previous years, the requirements varied among the district. 

Given that all four RSD high schools have the same courses, the principals felt that it is necessary for the honor cord requirements to be the same as well. After a District principal meeting that brought up the need for change, the department leaders at each RSD High School met with curriculum coordinators to come to a consensus. 

Principal Karen Calcaterra said, “I know that many were glad that this process allowed them to have curricular discussions and to create norms for our classes and expectations.”

The decision-making process included many discussions and evaluations from LHS staff members and department leaders throughout RSD. 

Lafayette’s Language Arts Department Chair Lisa Donovan said, “Once we started the evaluation process, our department here at Lafayette had discussions about the requirements for an honor cord, and then I shared the notes from our discussion with the department leaders at the other three high schools and the LA curriculum coordinator Natalie Fallert. Then we discussed the merits and drawbacks of what each high school was currently requiring before coming up with the recommendation for the new requirement.

Each of the core subject areas, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts and Mathematics, took on additional honor cord requirements.

For the Science Department, the requirements were seven semesters of science, a minimum of a 3.71 GPA in Science overall including Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The District Chair members’ proposal includes the continuation of seven semesters of science but honor cord recipients cannot have any more than two “B” unweighted grades in all science courses including Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

For the Social Studies Department, the requirements were upholding a minimum 4.0 GPA in seven or more semesters of Social Studies. The District Chair members’ proposal includes a minimum of a 4.0 GPA, but additional requirements include completing a minimum of eight semesters of Social Studies, completing at least two AP Social Studies courses and having no “C” grades in any Social Studies course. 

For the Language Arts Department, the requirements included the completion of eight semesters upholding a 4.0 GPA in ELA coursework for seven completed semesters. The District Chair members’ proposal includes the continuation of eight semesters of coursework and maintaining a 4.0 GPA in ELA coursework for seven completed semesters, but the requirement of at least one semester of either an AP or College Credit ELA course was added. 

For the Mathematics Department, the requirements included the completion of four years of mathematics courses or the completion of Calculus, a minimum of a 3.8 GPA in math coursework and earning at least a “B” grade in all math courses. The District Chair Members’ proposal includes the completion of at least one AP level course and at least one additional WG class and a maximum of two “B” grades for all mathematics courses.

“I don’t think it is easy to get an honor cord, but it is doable. Students have to challenge themselves and work hard to earn that status. That challenge is what makes it an honor,” Donovan said.