School & District Management

Administrators in Texas District Forced Out Amid Course and Credit Scandal

By Corey Mitchell — February 27, 2015 2 min read
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Eleven administrators have left the Spring Independent School District in Texas since an internal investigation revealed that credit and course errors could put graduation on hold for nearly 600 high school seniors.

Eight officials have resigned and the school board has fired another three from the 36,000-student school system, which serves parts of Houston and Harris County, since the probe revealed problems dating back to the 2008-09 school year, including students receiving credit for courses they hadn’t taken or repeatedly taking the same course despite passing each time.

The resignations include the chief financial officer; director of student services; executive director of curriculum and instruction overseeing middle and high schools; the executive director of student support services; and the director of new teacher induction in workforce development, who had previously served as principal at one of the affected high schools.

Students scrambling to complete their graduation requirements can choose to complete courses online, earn credit by exam, enroll in the district’s virtual school program, or take the missing classes during the school day, if their schedules permit.

About a third of seniors at three district high schools will have to make up credits because of the errors. The Houston Chronicle reported that some students will have to take summer courses to graduate.

“In the district’s investigation of all high school transcripts, serious issues and irregularities were identified—exposing negligent course-schedule and record-management practices that appear systemic as well as potentially endorsed or overlooked by the district for several years,” Superintendent Rodney Watson said in a statement. “These types of practices identified in our investigation do not serve our students well and will no longer be part of how Spring ISD manages its schools and prepares its students from this day forward.”

The Chronicle also reported that the investigation revealed missing transcripts and documents, a room where copies birth certificates and Social Security cards were found on the floor, and courses that had been listed on transcripts with no corresponding grade.

On top of the district’s investigation, the Texas Education Agency may open a special accreditation investigation of the district.

The district rolled out a new vision, mission, guiding principles, and core values this week as part of a broad push to reshape the district’s image. School leaders said the guidelines were in the works long before the internal investigation began in January.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.