Schalmont Middle School principal resigns

SCHALMONT, N.Y. – The Schalmont Central School District has confirmed that the principal at Schalmont Middle School submitted his resignation earlier in the month for personal reasons.

The resignation was accepted by the school board on May 12. 

The announcement comes one day after it was revealed that there was an issue with the administration of state exams in April. When asked whether the resignation had anything to do with the grades being thrown out, the district said they cannot comment on personal issues. 

Dr. Carol Pallas announced on Wednesday that shortly before state testing on April 1, administration was informed that students were possibly exposed to questions on the exams.

Following a report to the State Education Department, an investigation revealed that the Grade Sixth and Eight ELA and Grade Six math tests were affected. The students’ scores have since been invalidated.

She said that teachers used passages from the 2013 testing booklets during testing review in fall 2013.

“The booklets are supposed to be returned or destroyed and some booklets were retained in the school and those are the booklets that ended up being utilized,” she explained.

The tests are part of the Common Core Standard and do affect teacher evaluations. Pallas confirms that there was wrongdoing on her staff’s part and now the State Education Department is investigating the faculty.

In a written statement, the State Department said “If an investigation results in a final agency action against an educator or educators, certain information will be available. Until that time, we cannot comment further.”

Pallas said that the students will not need to retake the exams because they do not factor into a students’ grades.

Many are still asking how this could have happened. Kids spend the year preparing, and are told to sleep and eat well the night before. But what if your child spent all that time preparing, only to be told the scores didn’t matter — due to a failure of protocol?

Parent Carmen Mulyca says she’s just glad her daughter is in the 5th grade, and that her test scores won’t be one of those thrown out.

“It appears to be a violation of testing protocol,” said Carl Korn, who works as a spokesperson for the statewide teacher’s union.

Though his group is the first to speak out against the increase of state testing, he says in this case the intent doesn’t seem to be malicious.

“Thousand, upon thousands of teachers who administer the tests to the students, this is certainly an anomaly.”

The State Department of Education would not speak on specifics about the case, but its spokesperson says the state will often put field questions into the test each year to help create a question bank for the next year.

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