Friday, June 24, 2011

No Child Left Behind? High School Valedictorian and 10 Other Students Told They Didn't Graduate High School

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- School leaders admitted they dropped the ball.

A principal has resigned and almost a dozen Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students who thought they had graduated, just found out - they didn't.

They walked with their class at graduation, collected diplomas, and thought high school was behind them.

But CMS leaders admitted the folks in charge at Garinger High School messed up big time, and now 11 students are learning they didn't have enough credits to graduate. Among them - the valedictorian. She’s now in summer school trying to complete her credits.

Karen Thomas is the Executive Director for Support Services at CMS and oversees all school guidance counselors. She told us, “What should have happened did not happen. This was an unfortunate incident for every student that was involved. This is not the way we want to do business in CMS.”

This past school year, Garinger High was divided into five smaller schools.

The guidance counselor at the Leadership and Public Service school left in May, and soon after, the district looked into whether all seniors had the right credits to graduate.

“Upon completing the graduation credit analysis we realized there were students who were not eligible to graduate,” Thomas said.

But Thomas said the principal at the Leadership and Public Service school did nothing about it. That principal just resigned.

“There was an awareness. The communication that should have occurred between the school and the home did not occur,” said Thomas.

That is why it wasn't until summer school started this week that some of the 11 students found out they had not actually graduated.

And the valedictorian found out she actually is not.

“We will have to look at where the rankings are for all of the students and as I said, the valedictorian is the number one student in the class of graduates at the time,” said Thomas.

She said they’ll have to re-run the numbers to determine all of the students revised rankings.

CMS leaders told us they have individualized plans for each of the 11 students involved to help them earn the proper credits.

But even with that, the valedictorian will lose her status as first in class.

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