CRCT Investigation Report: Parks Middle School | Schools
Parks Middle School
1090 Windsor Street SW
Principal: Christopher Waller
Testing Coordinator: Dr. Alfred Kiel
SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts
ATLANTA -- The investigation into Atlanta Public Schools concluded that CRCT cheating at Parks Middle School began in 2006 and occurred for five consecutive years.
According to the Governor's Special Investigators, 89.5 percent of the school's classrooms were flagged for "wrong-to-right erasures" on the test in 2009 -- the highest percent in the state. They allege that principal Christopher Waller made advance copies of the tests for Parks teachers, and selected two teachers to whom he would say it was "time to go" whenever he wanted them to change students' answers. (21)
Teacher Crystal Draper admitted to changing answers from 2006 to 2009; she told investigators that Waller pressured her to cheat and that she was afraid of him "because he would punish people if they did not do what he asked." (23)
When asked about the cheating, Waller denied participating. Investigators said he defended himself by saying that he would not cheat because of his "financial situation" and the fact that he was a Reverend at a Methodist church. (25)
Former APS superintendent Beverly Hall defended Waller to investigators, describing him as a "model principal." SRT director Michael Pitts dismissed the investigation as "racist" and even tried to suppress the Governor's team. (28)
However, the investigation states that Waller found several ways to give teachers time to cheat, such as scheduling an impromptu after-school dance and taking the school's testing coordinator, Dr. Alfred Kiel, out for long lunches so as not to raise his suspicions. (21) Teachers also organized cheating parties where they would get together to change answers.
Waller did not change the numbers himself; he allegedly told teacher Dorothea Wilson, "I don't get no tests; my hands are clean." (24)
The Parks Middle website states that Gwen Atkinson is now interim principal of the school.