Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, April 26, 2013
Indicted DeKalb Countyteachers report to jail
pleAse recyclethis pAper
by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comTwo of three former DeKalb County school ad-ministrators indicted April16 for allegedly cheatingon the Criterion-ReferencedCompetency Tests (CRCT)have turned themselves in.
According to ofcials
from District Attorney
’ ofce, the case
was originally indicted inMarch 2011 but the most
recent indictment reects
new evidence and informa-tion from witnesses.The former administra-tors are
,former principal of Cedar Grove Middle School;
, former prin-cipal of Rock Chapel Ele-mentary School; and
, former principalof Stoneview ElementarySchool.
, a spokes-
man for the DA’s ofce,
said only Flanagan andJennings were required toreport to jail. Wooten, whowas named in the previousindictment, was re-indicted but already out on bail.DeKalb County Supe-rior Court Judge
set both bonds at$50,000.In a statement, James ap- plauded the DeKalb CountySchool District (DCSD) for bringing the case to his at-tention.“These individuals notonly cheated the system,they cheated each child and parent at their schools,”James said. “Hopefully thisindictment will put otherswho consider cheating onalert that we will not standfor this.”Interim Superintendent
prom-ised the school district’s fullcooperation following theindictment.“We will respect therights of the accused former employees while pledgingour full cooperation to the
district attorney’s ofce in
getting this matter behindus,” Thurmond said. “Thedistrict attorney will haveaccess to all the data andinformation the district hasat its disposal.”According to the indict-ment, the fraud occurredon several separate occa-sions where the CRCT wasadministered by the schooldistrict.In April or early May2009, Flanagan allegedlyaltered students’ CRCT testscore sheets and orderedtwo teachers to do the same.“Ms. Flanagan orderedthe two subordinate teachersinto a room where alreadycomplete CRCT test scoresheets were on a table, pro-vided both with score sheettransparencies that easily in-dicated the correct answersfor the test and then ordered both to start making chang-
es to test sheets,” ofcialsfrom the DA’s ofce said.
An investigation by Gov.
’s ofce, re
leased in 2011, agged Ce
-dar Grove Middle as a “se-vere” school with regards toits “wrong-to-right” erasureanalysis. James said the twoteachers Flanagan orderedto change the answers are“cooperating witnesses andcorroborate each other’sversion of events.”Flanagan is charged withthree counts of making afalse statement, three counts
of forgery in the rst degree
and three counts of publicrecord fraud. She has sinceretired from DCSD.The allegations againstJennings stem from a periodof eight days in April 2010.She is accused of alteringthe attendance records of
12 students to falsely reect
they had withdrawn fromRock Chapel Elementaryand re-enrolled a short timelater.According to prosecu-
tors, a witness has veried
that several days beforethe records were changed,they taught Jennings how tochange students’ attendancerecords in the school’s com- puterized student informa-tion system.The continuous enroll-ment of a child at a schoolfor a full academic year impacts the school’s neces-sity of having that child’s
CRCT test scores reected
in the school’s overall per-formance.Jennings reportedly re-signed from DCSD in May2010. She is charged witheight counts of public re-cord fraud and eight countsof computer forgery for every date she accessed thestudent information systemto alter records.Wooten, whose chargesinclude computer forgeryand two counts of makingfalse statements, was pro-moted to assistant principalat Stoneview Elementary in2010.Making Adequate YearlyProgress (AYP), which wastied to federal funding under the No Child Left BehindAct, had two components:attendance and CRCT re-sults. Wooten was worriedthat Stoneview would not pass AYP because of itstesting results, so he al-legedly ordered teachersto change the numbers of students with excessive un-excused absences.An arraignment date for the three former educatorshas not yet been set.
Local organizations partner to helpsurvivors of human trafficking
by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.com
Mary Frances Bowley
founder of the nonprot or
-ganization Wellspring Liv-ing, said victims of human
trafcking have a strong
enough spirit to becomestraight-A students they justneed to be given a chance.Wellspring Living wasformed in 2011 to help sur-vivors of childhood sexualabuse and exploitation. Itcurrently operates two resi-dential programs, a counsel-ing center and two indepen-dent living programs.“Our programs are arefuge for women and girlswho need a second chanceat life,” Bowley said.Since they’ve had tosurvive on the streets for solong, Bowley said, many of the girls at Wellspring havea strong “entrepreneurial”spirit. When they use thatspirit to do something posi-tive, Bowley said, they usu-ally go beyond expectations.Recently, Wellspring began a partnership withProvost Academy Georgia, a public online charter schoolthat provides education tounderserved populationsthroughout the state, includ-ing a large number fromDeKalb.Bowley said that by thetime a victim of human
trafcking enrolls in Well
-spring, they have usuallygiven up on school. In manycases, Bowley said, the girlsexpect to spend the rest of their lives being exploited.“One of the things we’vefound with girls that have been exploited is that theyneed to realize their livescan be rebuilt,” Bowleysaid. “Having the oppor-
tunity to nish their high
school education is one waythey can work to rebuildtheir lives.
Placing a human trafck
-ing victim in a public schoolsetting can be dangerousfor the survivors, Bowley
said. It can also make nish
-ing high school a lot more
difcult, especially while
working through so muchemotional trauma.Each Wellspring loca-tion, which isn’t disclosedfor safety reasons, will beequipped with a learning labthat girls ages 12-17 can useto work at their own pace.Bowley said in addition totwo teachers on site, thegirls will also have onlineaccess to the teachers atProvost.“It’s going to be sucha win-win,” Bowley said.“The girls can take any classthey want and since theschool is a public charter school, all the costs for cur-riculum are covered.”Before its partnershipwith Provost, Bowley said,Wellspring used to contractwith a private school, whichwas more expensive.Bowley said allowing thegirls to work at their own pace is important. Whensurvivors come into Well-spring, they’re usually atdifferent levels than their peers.Dr.
,executive director of Pro-vost, echoed Bowley andsaid many of the studentsthe school serves are atcompletely different levels but all have one thing incommon: they don’t do wellin a traditional public highschool setting.Since Provost opened inAugust 2012, Henson said,enrollment has grown tonow serve more than 1,300students ages 14-20 in 200counties throughout thestate. In addition to a loca-tion in Atlanta, Provost hasseveral campuses tin other Georgia locations.“There is a substantial population of students who
will benet from having
online education,” Hensonsaid. “Some students wantto graduate early and wehave some students whostruggle with reading at a
fourth or fth grade level.”
In addition to everyday problems the students mightface, Henson said, thereare quite a few enrolled atProvost who are teenage parents, work full-time or travel extensively.