DPS fires principal for inflating CSAP scores

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DENVER — Frank Roti, the Beach Court Elementary principal lauded for achieving remarkable academic growth among his mostly low-income students, was fired Wednesday after a state investigation concluded that he’d inflated students’ CSAP scores last year.

The Colorado Dept. of Education has ruled all of the school’s 2011 CSAP scores to be invalid.

“It is imperative that we have complete integrity in all the student-achievement results that we share with our students and their families,” DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg said in a statement.

“Students and parents rely on this academic progress information to understand how students are doing, and teachers rely on this information to target and modify instruction.”

The state reviewed just two of the district’s 162 schools after noticing statistical irregularities in last year’s test scores — that’s done by measuring everything from wrong-to-right erasures per test against the state average; analyzing student success on hard questions compared to easy questions; and student success on multiple choice questions compared to written-response questions.

While some technical errors were found in the way the state assessments were handled at Hallett Fundamental Academy, the other school under review by the state, no wrongdoing by the school’s principal or its staff was uncovered there.

Parents at the two schools were notified Wednesday morning about on-campus meetings at 6 p.m., when the news was first made public.

Since the state began investigating, Roti and Charmaine Keeton, Hallet’s principal, have been on administrative leave.

Keeton will be reinstated.

A search will begin immediately for a new principal at Beach Court, where 96 percent of the student population is on the free or reduced lunch program and a majority speak Spanish.

In 2010, Beach Court Elementary was recognized for having the biggest increase in test scores of any Colorado school; and the school again drew accolades again last year for its remarkable gains in student performance.

Boasberg, in his statement, went out of his way to make it clear that Roti was cheating on his own without help from, or even awareness by, his staff.

“I also want to emphasize that the reviews clearly show that no teachers at Beach Court were involved in altering tests, and the misadministration findings there are not the result of any teacher conduct,” Boasberg said in his statement.

“This is a very caring and dedicated school community, and we are deeply grateful to the Beach Court teachers and staff for their commitment to serving the educational needs of our students. We continue to have a deep belief in the students and teachers at Beach Court, and we will work hard with them and the entire Beach Court community to select an outstanding new school leader.”

“It’s terribly sad for kids,” Van Schoales, the executive director of A+ Denver, told FOX31 Denver. “Although I’m thankful DPS and CDE did a through investigation.”

As for Roti, Schoales said: “He appeared totally focused on his school with little attention to expanding or working with others.

“I thought he was focused. It turns out he was — but on duping everyone.”

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