Another Memphis high school has been added to the list of schools being investigated to determine if they made improper changes to student grades.
Adding Kingsbury High School to seven others in Shelby County Schools will further delay the report initially expected to be released in mid-June.
But from what school board Chairwoman Shante Avant has heard so far, “there haven’t been any huge irregularities.”
“Nothing has surfaced that gives me pause at this point,” Avant told Chalkbeat on Thursday.
The accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman is conducting the investigation.
This comes about three weeks after a former Kingsbury teacher, Alesia Harris, told school board members that Principal Terry Ross instructed someone to change 17 student exam grades to 100 percent — against her wishes.
Shelby County Schools said the allegations were “inaccurate” and that the grade changes were a mistake that was self-reported by an employee.
“The school administration immediately reported, and the central office team took the necessary actions and promptly corrected the errors,” the district said in a statement.
Chalkbeat requested a copy of the district’s own initial investigation the day after Harris spoke at the board’s June meeting, but district officials said they likely would not have a response for Chalkbeat until July 27.
Harris said that no one from Dixon Hughes Goodman has contacted her regarding the investigation as of Thursday.
The firm’s investigation initially included seven schools. Kingsbury was not among them. Those seven schools are:
- Kirby High
- Raleigh-Egypt High
- Bolton High
- Westwood High
- White Station High
- Trezevant High
- Memphis Virtual School
The firm’s first report found as many as 2,900 failing grades changed during four years at nine Memphis-area schools. At the request of the board, two schools were eliminated: one a charter managed by a nonprofit, and a school outside the district. The firm said at the time that further investigation was warranted to determine if the grade changes were legitimate.
The $145,000 investigation includes interviews with teachers and administrators, comparing teachers’ paper grade books to electronic versions, accompanying grade change forms, and inspecting policies and procedures for how school employees track and submit grades.
Since the controversy started last year, the district has restricted the number of employees authorized to make changes to a student’s report card or transcript, and also requires a monthly report from principals detailing any grade changes.