Arlingtonian editors discuss denial of honors credit.

By the 2019-2020 Arlingtonian Editors  

This is  a tale of two courses, similar in subject, but different in medium. One teaches the skills of storytelling for print and web. The other teaches the same skills for broadcast. Both courses are here at UAHS. Both produce content for the same audience. Both demand high levels of collaboration and strong communication skills.

Would it make any sense that one of these courses would receive honors credit, yet the other would not?

Such is the case with Arlingtonian and Kickin’ It Live. And it is blatantly unjust.

For the second year in a row, the district leadership vetoed a proposal for Journalism III-A: Arlingtonian to receive honors weight, yet our broadcast counterpart, Honors Advanced Broadcast (Kickin’ It) has received honors credit for several years. The district’s decision is baffling—and insulting—and we feel the course is receiving unfair consideration. 

In addition to the obvious inequality of our broadcast counterpart receiving honors credit, we also feel the course should receive honors standing for both the quantity and the quality of work we produce. Staff members regularly generate content for our website, only slowing down online production to work on our print issues, which we release once each quarter. Throughout this production process, we’re conducting research for our stories, scheduling and conducting interviews, designing page and web layouts, taking photographs, producing graphics, generating podcasts and other social media content, and much more. Beyond this, we must sell advertisements, as we receive no funds from the school to publish our work. The class consistently challenges us to practice our interpersonal, design and writing skills. 

The editors, along with our adviser, presented our proposal for honors credit to the Building Leadership Team—composed primarily of department chairs at the high school—and our proposal was well received. They passed the proposal to the district leaders. There, it was summarily rejected. 

Though our requests for interviews with district leaders to discuss the decision were denied, the information we received from our adviser seemed to indicate that the district was currently questioning what the criteria was for honors credit. It was also mentioned that some were considering removing all weighted grades from students’ GPA calculations. 

Regardless of these considerations, the inconsistency between the designations for these courses remains. 

The benefits of working on the  Arlingtonian staff have far outweighed many other honors, AP and IB courses we have taken, and as the editors of the publication we want future students to experience it, too. However, the current designation for the two courses promotes one strand of media production over the other: broadcast over print/web.

We enrolled in the course despite its lack of a weighted grade because we enjoy being a part of an award-winning staff, and we’re passionate about telling the stories of the people in our community. When we stay up until 5 a.m. finalizing an issue, it’s not for the hope of a higher GPA, but because we feel it’s worth it. When we look back on all the work we’ve done and all the opinions that we shared, there are no other classes that could take the place of Arlingtonian. 

The proposal for the course to have honors credit is not for vanity; it is for acknowledgement of the course’s rigor and to encourage future students who are interested in telling the story of our school to enroll in a class that has given us an invaluable and challenging experience.