Departments » Curriculum & Instruction Secondary » Valedictorian & Salutatorian Qualifications

Valedictorian & Salutatorian Qualifications

The revised Administrative Regulation 5127 regarding the selection process for valedictorians and salutatorians takes effect with the Graduating Class of 2015.

Valedictorian is the academic title conferred upon the highest ranked student among those graduating from an educational institution, typically based upon the highest grade point average. Salutatorian is the academic title conferred upon the second highest ranking student in the class.

All high schools, including alternative schools, will use this selection process and confer upon qualifying students the title of valedictorian or salutatorian. The title leading academic achiever will no longer be used

The Governing Board believes that a valedictorian, representing a school and the district, shall not only display the highest level of academic achievement, but shall also exhibit the highest levels of character and behavior.  To this end, the following criteria shall determine the valedictorian status:

Credits earned in the core courses of English, mathematics, science, social science and foreign language will constitute the academic criteria used for selection purposes and will include all courses in these areas including grade 9 through the first semester of grade 12. In order to qualify, the student must be enrolled in classes during the first semester of their 12th grade year.

The merit system will be measured on a 100-point scale. Students start out with 100 merit points. Merit points are deducted for each occurrence of an all day suspension, either an off-campus or on-campus.  A suspension is a five-point deduction. The number of days of suspension does not affect the number of points deducted; it is the issuance of a suspension that determines the deduction. Students who drop below 90 points are ineligible to be valedictorian or salutatorian.

One 5-point merit loss from the freshman or sophomore years can be restored if two full semester time periods pass without another all-day suspension.  Merit point losses during the junior and senior years cannot be restored.

The merit system will be tracked and calculated on an annual basis or when merit points are lost. If there is a loss of valedictorian eligibility, parents and students shall be notified.  Satisfaction of the behavior requirement shall be determined just prior to the student’s scheduled graduation date.

The candidate will immediately be dropped from consideration if there are any occurrences of academic dishonesty. (cf. 5131.9  Academic Honesty)

All qualifying students will receive the title of valedictorian or salutatorian and may be seated on the platform at commencement. Speeches, however, will be given by the highest ranking student. In the event of a GPA tie for either valedictorian or salutatorian, the following rule(s) shall be used to break the tie:

First, the total number of all AP courses completed with a score of 3 or above on the AP exam would be tabulated. The student with the highest total of AP classes with a score of 3 or above on the AP exam (thus the most rigorous curriculum) would be declared the student who delivers the valedictorian or salutatorian speech at commencement.

If there is still a tie using the above method, a second tie-breaker would be enacted.  All AP course exams with a score of 3-5 would be tabulated.  The student with the highest total of all exam results would be declared the student who delivers the valedictorian or salutatorian speech at commencement.

For example:

AP Course


AP U.S. History


AP Environmental Science


AP English


AP Calculus