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Joe Clark, the outspoken principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, N.J., has claimed that someone "out to embarrass him'' paid a student to pilfer a copy of New Jersey's High School Proficiency Test from the school.

A test booklet was snatched from a testing room April 12th, just before the three-day exam period was to begin, according to Roger Shatzkin, a spokesman for the New Jersey Board of Education.

"It was the essence of chicanery and stealth,'' Mr. Clark reportedly said about the incident. "It was done to excoriate me.''

A spokesman for Mr. Clark said he believed school-board members, city residents, or state officials jealous of his success could have been behind the theft.

Cummings Piatt, the state's assistant commissioner of education, said Mr. Clark's claims were "obviously preposterous,'' and "not worth a response.''

State officials say another booklet for the same test, which is required for graduation statewide, may have been stolen from a high school in Orange on March 23, Mr. Shatzkin said.

Local police are investigating the incident to determine whether the test was stolen, or whether a box of tests, which are packed by machine, was filled incorrectly, Mr. Shatzkin added.

Sandra McCormick, an English teacher in Michigan City, Ind., has received an unusually public tribute from a former student.

Her name appears on the dedication page of his first published novel.

The author, Robert Hawks, was a pupil in Ms. McCormick's creative-writing class at Elston High School in Michigan City, Ind. Although he was under her tutelage for only one semester, Ms. McCormick says, she noticed his writing ability and by encouraging him established a friendship with the budding author.

Mr. Hawks is currently stationed in England with the Air Force, which he joined after graduating from Elston in 1980. Published by Houghton Mifflin, his novel This Stranger, My Father is a thriller not unlike some of the writing Mr. Hawks did in high school, says Ms. McCormick, who recalls that he also wrote science-fiction and young-adult stories for her class.

"I am really pleased and touched by it,'' she says of the dedication. "And I am very proud of him.''

June Gabler, past president of the American Association of School Administrators, has been appointed director of the Community of Caring, a Washington organization that aims to enlist the support of school administrators, parents, and students in efforts to curb self-destructive adolescent behavior.

The program is sponsored by the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation, whose president, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, described Ms. Gabler as understanding "the ways educational systems respond to change.''

Ms. Gabler most recently was superintendent of the Fort Dodge (Iowa) Community Schools.

Vol. 07, Issue 31

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