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Insight Denton: Why does Denton ISD have so many valedictorians?

Most high schools typically have one valedictorian and one salutatorian in every graduating class. Denton ISD had more than 30 from three high schools last year. That's because the district doesn't do tie-breakers when deciding who earns the top spots in the graduating class.

When districts select their valedictorians, they look at grade-point averages. If the top two students have the same GPA, officials will break down the grade by each decimal point until the tie is broken. In Denton ISD, all students with a 5.0 GPA are named valedictorians. Students with the second-highest GPAs are named salutatorians.

Valedictorians and salutatorians also have to meet these requirements per Denton's board policy:

— Have been continuously enrolled in the same high school in the district for his or her entire senior year immediately preceding graduation.

— Have completed the Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program or the distinguished level of achievement under the foundation program with endorsements.

— Be graduating after exactly eight semesters of enrollment in high school.

— Have carried at least six classes each semester.

Denton's policy doesn't affect the state's definition of a school's highest ranking graduate, who is automatically eligible for a scholarship from the state. In those cases, ties are broken by decimal point.

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