School says it will allow failing students to pass after policy mistake
BAKER- Furious parents at Advantage Charter Academy are demanding answers from the school after they said 252 parents received notices from the school on their children's report cards that they would not be advancing to the next grade.
The shocking notice came with some report cards that indicated children had passing grades.
Ramona Drewery said she has not been able to get straight answers from the school at all.
"He had passing grades on his report card," Drewery said. "Two A's. Two B's and two C's. On the top of the report card, it said retained. When I came into the office they are telling me it's some scores from NWEA scoring."
Drewery is not alone. Every parent that we spoke to at Advantage Charter Academy Friday said their children received notices that they were being held back.
Shantelle Cortez-Perkins said her child not only received the letter but also was recognized for their achievement.
"My fourth grader received a letter saying she was going to be retained due to her reading," Cortez-Perkins said. "And on the same day, I picked her up and she received academic excellence and a ribbon and a pendant."
The WBRZ Investigative Unit went into the school looking for answers from the principal. We were told she wasn't in the building. The dean of students came out and spoke with us. When we asked about 200 students allegedly being held back, she told us she had no comment.
"It's not ran right, and it's sad," Loruhamah Collins said.
Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman in Michigan for Advantage Charter Academy issued the following statement to WBRZ.
"When our students make a mistake, we teach them to own it, to apologize, and to fix it as best they can.
We have made a mistake in the process outlined in our student handbook by failing to inform parents in a timely manner of our intent to retain their child. Our handbook states those conversations should have taken place before winter break, but that did not happen. Some parents learned of our decision to retain their child when final report cards were issued. For this oversight, we are deeply sorry.
School leadership is reaching out individually to parents to apologize and to let them know we will promote their child to the next grade after summer break if they so choose. But we are also letting parents know when we think their child would benefit by staying in a current grade in order to master reading skills at grade level. This recommendation was made with the best interest of each child at heart.
As we have shared, the state of Louisiana places a strong emphasis on student reading performance. NHA has reinforced our promotion and retention policies to align with these expectations. We should have taken more care to follow the timeline established by our own policies and procedures. We are sorry if our mistake upset parents and their children, and we are taking steps to ensure this does not happen again."
Parents are mystified over how this happened and have come up with their own conclusions, like trying to get government funding.
"The school gets paid to keep each student," Drewery said. "Maybe to keep the school open if you retain a large number of kids now."
That same school spokeswoman who sent WBRZ a statement did not answer any additional follow-up questions.