Audit reveals problems inside Ridgeway Middle School - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Audit reveals problems inside Ridgeway Middle School

(WMC-TV) - A newly released audit reveals serious problems inside Ridgeway Middle School, including missing band instruments and students that may have been given grades they had not earned.

According to the 30 page internal audit, 6,097 grades were issued during the first nine weeks, 2,409 of them based solely on class participation.

That is a clear violation of a Memphis City Schools board policy that states a grade is no more than 20 percent of class participation.

- Students in sixth grade were given 741 participation grades, the lowest was 85, with an average of 94.

- Seventh graders were given 873 participation grades, with a lowest of 80 and an average of 96.

- Eight graders were given 795 participation grades, with a lowest of 85 and an average of 96.

The audit roots the problem in the surplussing of eight teachers early in the year.  Their students were absorbed into other classrooms, but the new teachers did not have access to the old teachers' grade books.

Teachers told auditors that administrators told them not to give those students F's or incompletes, and that a principal's message would not be included on report cards because it would, "draw more attention to the situation, and cause undue concern."

In a response letter, then-principal Lisa Henry said she told teachers, "they should allow time for those kids to make up the work during the second reporting period. At no time did I tell the teachers to 'give' students a grade, nor did I tell them to give every student the same grade."

Auditors conclude the faulty grades are not a systematic issue throughout Ridgeway Middle School, but rather a problem with "leadership issues and some factions within the teacher ranks which were counterproductive to the learning environment."

During the 2006-2007 school year, Ridgeway Middle received a $20,000 grant from Best Buy to purchase band equipment.

It was not properly tagged as MCS property, and some of it is now missing and unaccounted for.

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