August 19, 2011
A two-year-investigation found that a Bronx principal, Janet Saraceno of Lehman High School, illicitly changed students’ grades.
We first reported the concerns in October 2009, months after Lehman teachers went to the DOE’s Office of Special Investigations with their allegations. The teachers reported that dozens of students, at a minimum, had been given credit for courses they failed or even did not take. They charged that Saraceno was turning Lehman into a “diploma mill” in order to show gains on the city’s school performance metrics.
OSI’s report, sent to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott a week ago, concludes that Saraceno improperly changed some students’ grades but dismisses a host of other test-tampering allegations. It does not include a recommendation for Walcott to follow.
Its existence was first noted today on the Twitter feed of a New York Times reporter, Fernanda Santos. She wrote that it appears that Saraceno is moving on to a position in the DOE’s central administration, advising schools on instruction.
In June, the New York Times reported that Saraceno would not return to Lehman. But the principals union would not confirm her departure.
The New York Post has published OSI’s report, which indicates that at least 28 staff members, including Saraceno, were interviewed.
Saraceno had been lured to Lehman with a $25,000 bonus and the title of executive principal after Robert Leder, the school’s longtime leader, was removed for allowing staff members to collect payments for time they did not work. Since her arrival, the school’s score on the city’s progress report dropped dramatically.
Here’s the slideshow that we put together in 2009 to document the altered transcripts.