D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson announced Monday the immediate reassignment of Ballou Senior High School Principal Yetunde Reeves to another function within the school system amid intense scrutiny of Ballou’s attendance and graduation policies.
“We take this issue very seriously, and we know that policies must be explained clearly and implemented with fidelity,” Wilson said in a statement. “This investigation will restore integrity to the process by providing students, parents, and the broader community with answers.”
Ballou, which has long had issues with its on-time graduation rates, raised eyebrows when the school reported that every senior graduated this year and was accepted to college.
According an NPR and WAMU investigation, just 57 of the 164 seniors who received diplomas in June were on track to graduate. Additionally, half of the graduates were counted absent for more than three months of the school year, yet were still allowed to graduate, the investigation found.
OSSE, which has engaged a private firm to assist with the investigation, will deliver its findings within 45 days. Meanwhile — and concurrently with OSSE’s efforts — DCPS continues to conduct its own review of policies and practices at Ballou.
State Superintendent of Education, Hanseul Kang also on Monday announced a professional services agreement between OSSE and the New York City-based Alvarez and Marsal to review DCPS policies and investigate the allegations at Ballou.
“Alvarez and Marsal has a proven expertise in auditing school district policies and procedures to ensure integrity and transparency,” Kang said in a statement. “As the state education agency, we look forward to working with them to determine what happened at Ballou High School, but also to ensure we are looking deeply, system-wide, to ensure we are meeting our achievement goals.”
Reeves, appointed Ballou’s principal in July 2014, has been replaced by Willie Jackson, who will serve as acting principal of the southeast D.C. school.