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District moves on from 2016 KPREP violation

Clark County Public Schools Superintendent Paul Christy said the district found no instances of personnel violating KPREP testing code during the latest testing cycle all schools must go through.

The 2016-17 cycle was the first since the firing of Audrey Deaton, a fourth-grade teacher at Strode Station Elementary who allegedly accessed test materials early to share with her students during K-PREP testing last year.

When district officials learned of the violation, Christy said Deaton was promptly dealt with by school officials and reported to the Kentucky Department of Education.

Personnel records from the board of education’s May 17 and June 21, 2016 meetings show that Deaton was suspended with pay for a month before having her contract terminated entirely.

“Immediately upon finding out we began an investigation of the teacher’s alleged involvement,” Christy said. “I removed her immediately from the classroom. She no longer works in the district.”

Christy said during the course of the investigation, educators reviewed the notebooks of all of the school’s fourth graders to see how widespread the violation was. He said the investigation revealed evidence that only Deaton’s classroom had been involved in the tampering.

As a result of the violation, the 25 students in Deaton’s class had their accountability scores — which affects the school and district — dropped to 0.

The students themselves were found to not have been involved in the violation, and so they were able to keep their KPREP scores without any negative effects.

“The students didn’t even know anything out of the ordinary had happened,” Christy said.

Christy said the adjustment lowered Strode Station’s overall score, but the school was still able to be ranked as a school of distinction, the highest possible ranking.

However, the district as a whole felt the impact as CCPS missed being named a district of distinction by 0.1 of a percentage point.

Christy said the lowered district score did not affect the amount of state funding CCPS qualifies for in subsequent years.

In the wake of the incident, CCPS has redoubled its efforts to be vigilant about the security of test materials, he said.

“All test materials are double locked,” Christy said. “That means you need two different keys to access them. We still monitor them as well. That’s why we have security cameras.”

KDE spokesperson Nancy Rodriguez said the state has a process in place for reporting and investigating violations of the administrative code for Kentucky’s assessment program. She said KDE staff routinely review and update the code when revisions are needed, but there were no revisions required after the Strode Station incident.

“The administrative code, reporting mechanisms and investigative process worked as they should have in this case,” Rodriguez said.