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Douglass transcript findings spur call for wider auditing

An Oklahoma audit of Douglass Mid-High School found that 87 of 107 seniors aren't on track to graduate. The principal resigned early this month amid allegations of fraud.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: November 29, 2012

As soon as the Oklahoma City School Board heard the allegations, they took actions, board Chairwoman Angela Monson said.

“We did not fail our students,” said Monson, who graduated from Douglass High School in 1973.

“Unfortunately, there are students in this school who have an extreme challenge in front of them.”

Recovery plan put into place

According to district data, the state audit revealed that 87 of the 107 seniors at Douglass are lacking credits needed to graduate or haven't passed state-mandated end-of-instruction exams.

Interim Principal Barbara Davis met with the seniors Thursday.

“We discussed some options we could do to help them succeed,” she said.

Davis and others have come up with alternatives for students who are behind:

• After-school tutoring.

• Night school through the district's adult education program.

• Saturday school, which would be paid for by the district. Transportation would be provided if necessary.

• Summer school, even though the district no longer offers it in general. A summer graduation ceremony is also on the table.

• Intensive intersession classes, which help students study for state exams during school breaks like the winter holiday.

• Changing the school's master schedule to beef up core class offerings.

• Online classes through iOKCPS, also called Innovations Virtual School.

It's tough, but doable, Monson said.

“We are very concerned,” Monson said. “We are very serious about this situation. But we are ready to meet the needs of the students.”

Community members already have started coming forward, offering to help students at Douglass, Monson said.

For example, ministers have offered to bring in food for weekend or night classes.

Churches have offered to provide care for younger siblings while their older siblings are in after-school tutoring and their parents are at work.

It's this kind of effort that will be necessary for the seniors at Douglass to succeed, Monson said.

“We know the challenges are great,” she said.