Several weeks ago, we announced that the district would be doing a comprehensive review of grade changes across the district with a focus on identifying process improvements and procedural safeguards before the start of the new school year. As always, I am committed to complete transparency. After a thorough review of the data by Chief Accountability Officer Bill Caritj, the final report is now complete as promised. The report states the reasons for grade changes across schools and circumstances.
As also noted in the report, over the past year, APS has completed eight investigations involving inappropriate grade changes (four from the 2013-2014 school year and four from the 2014-2015 school year). However, this review did not identify additional cases of serious inappropriate actions, although we did find inconsistencies in practice, lack of clarity in process, and a lack of the necessary safeguards to effectively prevent inappropriate activity.
It is important to note that this review was largely a data review. It focused specifically on data changes in the Infinite Campus Transcript Audit Reports. Staff also reviewed and compared the data from the audit reports with the data on the paper change forms used by schools. Additionally, interviews were conducted with central office staff, teachers, registrars, and nine high school principals to review and analyze school and district practices, district procedures and policies, and specific cases where large numbers of changes were made in 2014-2015.
Starting this school year, the district will implement new workflow requirements and closely monitor grade changes, and will continue to thoroughly investigate any additional accusations of wrongdoing and/or inappropriate or questionable practices. The district maintains an ethics hotline (1.877.801.7754 or online: https://www.tnwgrc.com/atlantapublicschools/) for anyone to anonymously report misconduct; and employees, stakeholders, parents, and students are strongly encouraged to use the hotline if they are concerned about any conduct, practice, or policy that seems questionable or inappropriate.
We are moving forward with the recommendations outlined at the end of the report, and earlier today I sent our principals the new administrative regulations associated with these process improvements. I am optimistic that these new safeguards will ensure that appropriate checks and balances are in place to prevent inappropriate grade changes in the future.