Reached Monday evening, Straughter declined to comment.
Ballou’s principal, Yetunde Reeves, was reassigned to the school system’s headquarters in December pending the results of the investigation. Chancellor Antwan Wilson announced last week — at the same time the first part of an investigation into D.C.’s graduation practices was released — Reeves would not be returning to the school. Neither Reeves nor her attorney responded to a request for comment last week.
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education said in its initial report that Ballou’s administrators told teachers that a high percentage of their students were expected to pass and encouraged educators to provide makeup work and extra credit to students, no matter how much school they missed. As a result, Ballou graduated students who missed large portions of the school year — a violation of city policy.
The report said expectations that most students would pass “were communicated directly to teachers from the principal and assistant principals in person, via staff meetings, and via email. . . .”
The investigation was prompted by a November article by WAMU and NPR that said Ballou seniors who did not meet graduation requirements were still given diplomas. While the WAMU-NPR article focused on Ballou, the report from the state superintendent’s office examined attendance and grading practices across the city, determining that truancy is more severe at neighborhood schools such as Ballou than in charter or application schools.
D.C. Public Schools and the superintendent’s office are expected to release additional reports later this month.