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National Honor Society

National Honor Society
 NHS Process Description and Responses to Frequently Asked Questions
Grade Point Average:
All West Geauga junior and senior students with a 3.35 GPA, measured at the end of that year's first semester, are eligible for consideration to become members of NHS. Once this eligibility has been reached, the GPA plays no further role in the selection process?

Why is 3.35 the cutoff?
A GPA of 3.35 was decided on over a decade ago as the standard by which students would first be measured as potential NHS candidates. A 3.35 is roughly equivalent to an A-/B+ and, as such, demonstrates that such students maintain high levels of personal responsibility and accountability, and take the tasks set before them seriously. At the same time, it does not set the bar too high, thereby allowing students who may face genuine academic challenges, but who work hard in the face of such challenges, the opportunity to still be considered eligible.

Why isn't GPA used as a part of the final selection process?
GPA is no longer considered beyond the initial selection process due to the desire of the National Honor Society to recognize students who are well-rounded in all four areas of the society's mission (scholarship, character, leadership, service). Due to the extraordinary academic achievement of West Geauga High School students, as well as the weighting of advanced courses, the inclusion of the GPA beyond the first step might give it undue weight and would minimize the significance the NHS places on the other three areas.

How many students are invited for membership each year?
There is no pre-determined quota set for the number of students accepted for membership. All students with a final average score of 3.350 (measured for service, character, and leadership) are presented to the NHS Faculty Council for approval and membership. Recent historical ranges have been between 25 and 45 students. Every year is different.

All NHS candidates are provided with forms on which they are asked to document their service to the school, community, and the larger world. Different activities are awarded different points, based on the general amount of time students typically spend in the duties to that organization or group. The signature of the candidate and their parent/guardian is required on this completed form, as are the verification signatures (and contact information for service outside of school) of all relevant advisers and supervisors. An average score of 2.5 activity points per year translates into an overall final service score of 3.35. This value is scaled up to 4.0 for higher averages, and down for lower averages.

It doesn't seem like enough time is given to compile the necessary information and signatures.
Students are given over a week to gather the required information, and every attempt is made to provide students with two weekends (as is the case this year, 2013). In addition, since time management is a necessary part of leadership, the amount of time given is a logical extension of measuring the characteristics of potential members. Finally, for situations involving advisers who may be difficult to reach, verifications are accepted via voice mail and e-mail. These electronic verifications are typically considered on time even if they are received a day or two past the due date of the student's paper service documentation.

Why are there limits placed on the number of music and sports activities, as well as the number of points awarded for one community activity per year?
In keeping in line with the NHS goal of offering membership to students who are well- rounded in a variety of areas, students are only permitted to receive a maximum of 2 service points per year in music-related areas, and 2 per year in sports. In addition, each community service activity may be awarded no more than 2 points per year. The rationale for this is that awarding any more points for one activity per year may put undue emphasis on involvement in only one area. The same reasoning applies to the student's grade point average.

My child participates in the Post-Secondary Option, and isn't on campus. Therefore, he/she can't do as much service for the school.
Three points are significant here. First, PSEO participation does not automatically exclude participation in school activities. Many students balance both off-campus academics with on-campus involvement, especially considering most activities meet after school. Second, while school activities are certainly measured for service, community service outside of the school is also given credit. Therefore, involvement in non-school service may be more than adequate for the entire service category. Finally, every decision comes with positive and negative consequences. The decision to serve in the PSEO program is certainly not one that is made lightly. The potential for fewer opportunities to participate in school life and service is one such consequence that must be considered.

Staff Rankings: Character and Leadership:
In addition to documenting their service, all candidates are ranked by school staff in the areas of character and leadership. All staff have the opportunity to rank all candidates, although it is recommended that they do so only for those students with whom they have had contact within the past year or two (typically, this school year and last school year). These rankings are provided on a 0-4 scale, with the averages for each area (character, leadership) submitted as a part of the final score.

How is this ranking process done?
Candidate ranking is done online through an internet-based survey program. A secure link to the survey is sent to the school e-mail accounts of all high school teachers and staff. All staff are also required to separately acknowledge their completion of the survey, or their determination that there are no students they can rank.

Is it possible to know which specific teachers/staff ranked my child?
No. Staff identity information is never recorded as a part of the process. In order for staff to be open and honest about their rankings, the must be able to rank students anonymously. Staff rankings are considered final, and cannot be changed.

My child has had a few "bad days" in a teacher's classroom. Will this impact that teacher's ranking?
First and foremost, it is important to remember that teachers and staff are professionals. This is a process that is taken very seriously, with the primary focus on long-term behavior and growth. In addition, since all ranking scores are averaged, the likelihood of one low score significantly lowering the average of otherwise high scores is not that great. However, a low score would have an impact on other mediocre scores, suggesting a consistent pattern of behavior observed by many staff and teachers.

My child is quiet and doesn't like to talk much in front of the class. How is he/she supposed to earn a high leadership score?
Leadership is not the same as being loud. Instead, it is expressed in a variety of ways. As stated in instructions given to teachers and staff, leadership is measured by the constructive actions of students. Students are ranked for leadership in their ability to take and accept responsibility for their actions, and to assist others when able, taking initiative in and responsibility for their own academic growth, setting a proper example of behavior for others, and in exemplifying a positive attitude as a model for others to follow. These are characteristics that all students should be able to demonstrate, and that NHS members are expected to possess.

Final Averages and Selection:
Once the scores have been gathered for all three measured areas (Service, Character, Leadership), they are averaged together one final time. Those students who have a final score above a 3.35 are traditionally invited to become members. Juniors who do not meet this threshold are invited to apply during their senior year. The final decision for membership rests with the NHS Faculty Council, comprised of five West Geauga teachers. The NHS faculty adviser and high school principal are not voting members of this council.

This entire process seems very quantitative, and doesn't seem to allow for students to highlight their individual successes. Why is this the way things are done?
This process of member selection is in complete compliance with the guidelines for NHS membership set forth by the NHS national body, the National Association of Secondary School Principals. And whereas the guidelines do allow for schools to include an essay and interview as an optional part of the process, West Geauga does not. This decision was made long ago as an attempt to minimize the role that subjectivity might otherwise play in the process. All students are measured on a metaphorically level playing field and all have the same opportunity. Moreover, West Geauga's process measures a student's accomplishments and behavior over a long period of time, whereas an interview and essay are only measures of one particular moment. This wide-view approach to examining who a student is makes it possible for students to demonstrate consistent personal growth and success.

What happens if my child is not invited for membership?
All junior students not selected for membership are eligible to apply the following year, provided they maintain the required 3.35 (or greater) GPA. But more significantly, it is important that students view this process, even one that is unsuccessful, as a learning opportunity and as a chance to examine ways of focusing on personal improvement. To help facilitate this, all students who are not invited for membership are invited to contact the faculty adviser for an individual conference. In just a few minutes, the adviser and student can go over the scores earned within this process. This can allow the student to target those areas for improvement over the course of the following year. Parents are certainly welcome to participate in this process as well.

If you have any questions about any part of the West Geauga High School National Honor Society induction process, whether they are listed here or not, do not hesitate to contact Mr. Speros at or at 440-729-5922, ext. 4500.

Mr. Speros
2016-2017 Members
 Molly Alesnik
Alexis Ange
Jessica Baliker
Grace Barber
Marissa Barbieri
Luke Bear
Jennifer Curtis
Alison D'Alessandro
Kaitlyn DiBiase
Hailey Donato
Samuel Faulk
Hannah Fox
Bella Garcia
Jason Gialamas
Camryn Heatwole
Erin Hoeh
Robert Kelly
Grace Lutat
Nicolas Luther
Austin Maguire
Jack Makee
Morgan McCluskey
Jorge Mirabelli
Anna Murray
Alexander Newlon
Matthew Palmer
Alyssa Posante
Christina Praprost
James Pusterhofer
Jessica Sargent
David Springer
Lindsey Stanforth
Sabrina Sugar
Deanna Swinerton
Chase Waterman
Ellen Whrle
 Aiyana Welch-Muraski
Margaret Williams
Heather Wilson
Caroline Wolfhope
Kevin Wright
Sydney Young
Hannah Zannetti
Kara Zebrowski 
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