"Moore has earned respect and recognition for her dramatic transformation of Sanders-Clyde, which once was one of the academically weakest schools in the district. The school now outscores district and state averages.
Former schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson was so impressed with Moore's leadership that she asked her to guide a second school through a similar transformation. This year was Moore's first to lead Sanders-Clyde and Fraser simultaneously, and preliminary test scores from Fraser showed strong gains. Moore is the only county principal who was responsible for two schools this year."
(Indeed, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson got in spot of trouble for naming Ms. Moore to be a dual-school principal without talking to her School Board.)
Apparently, Ms. Moore bend over backward for her community. From the Times article:
"MiShawna Moore has been a hero in the worn neighborhoods behind this city’s venerable mansions, a school principal who fed her underprivileged students, clothed them, found presents for them at Christmas and sometimes roused neglectful parents out of bed in the nearby housing projects."
Apparently, since she became principal at her school in 2003, test scores skyrocketed.
"By 2007, 96 percent of third graders taking a South Carolina test at Sanders-Clyde met the state standard in English, compared with an average of 78.3 percent at other city schools."
"After testing in 2007, the state noticed an unusually high number of erasure marks — as many as seven per child — with the erasures becoming correct answers. “That became a concern, because the likelihood of that happening is very small,” said Ms. Rose, the district official, noting that the average was around one such mark.This year, after the tests were closely monitored, the scores plummeted. Suddenly, 44.4 percent of third graders taking the state science test met the state standard, compared with 84.6 percent in 2007. Many teachers said afterward that the presence of the auditors themselves — “cold and very distant,” as one put it — negatively influenced the scores."
The community is hurt:
“They say we cheated — that’s kind of disrespecting us,” said Syllia Davis, 16, who was one of Ms. Moore’s students."
The district is confused:
"Sanders-Clyde Elementary under Ms. Moore “became a symbol of what can be achieved with the proper attention,” said the schools superintendent, Nancy J. McGinley. “That’s why this situation is so distressing. It really, I think, has been hurtful to the entire community.”
Ms. Moore says:
"She denied any wrongdoing in a recent interview on local television and said the affair was a “nightmare” for her. Through her lawyer here, she declined to comment."
I bring this up not find fault but as a cautionary tale of what the need (and pressure) for good test scores can do to administrators and teachers alike.
I was lucky to have lunch today with fellow blogger over at the PI, Denise Gonzalez-Walker, and author Sandra Tsing Loh, who has a new book on her adventures on being a parent in the LA district (hilarious and terrifying). She related to us that even when you parents who distain testing worry if their schools' scores go down. It's just a benchmark for all of us but the professional pressures must be huge.