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Testing irregularities at Knightdale Elementary probed

Posted August 5, 2008

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— The Wake County school system is investigating an allegation of testing irregularities at Knightdale Elementary School.

The investigation comes as Knightdale Elementary Principal Michael Williams is serving a suspension.

Williams was suspended with pay on July 14, but Wake County school officials haven't disclosed the reason for the suspension.

"The only thing I know is that he's suspended with pay, and the rest is a confidential personnel matter," school board Chairwoman Rosa Gill said.

Williams declined to discuss his suspension, calling it an "unfortunate situation."

Lou Fabrizio, director of the Division of Accountability Services for the state Department of Public Instruction, said state officials got a complaint about a week ago concerning testing procedures at the school. The complaint came from outside the Wake County district, he said.

The issue was turned over to district administrators for an internal investigation, he said.

Knightdale Elementary students made adequate yearly progress in state-mandated reading and math scores every year from 2003 to 2007. The school failed to meet the math standard last year; the latest reading scores are still being tabulated.

About a dozen testing-related complaints are filed each year in North Carolina, Fabrizio said. An outside investigator is looking at the Scotland County school system, for example, because of a complaint that some high schools students didn't take their standardized tests, he said.

"No Child Left Behind and the ABCs accountability program, these are high-stakes (testing) programs. We want the public to feel confident in the results we've given them," Fabrizio said.

Williams has been principal at Knightdale Elementary since last fall and served as interim principal for a year before that. He has worked with the Wake County school system since 1999.

Knightdale Elementary is a year-round school that has been in session since early July, but several parents of students said they were unaware Williams had been off the job for most of the school year.

"I wish we'd been notified from the beginning," parent Kim Johnson said.

The school board on Tuesday granted Williams' request for a transfer, reassigning him to Wakefield High School for the upcoming school year.

He will be replaced at Knightdale Elementary by former Principal Judy Dudley, who will serve as interim principal from Aug. 7 through Nov. 7.

"I asked for a transfer because I wanted more experience," Williams said.

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  • megnshell Aug 6, 2008

    Michael Williams was a breathe of fresh air during his time as principal. He was loving, sincere, caring and a lot of fun. The children adored him as the parents. I will miss you, Michael and thank you for all of your hard work, time and dedication to the children of Knightdale.
    Much blessings on your new path of life....
    You are missed,
    Michelle

  • donnacronin Aug 6, 2008

    I have one child currently at Knightdale Elementary and a child that was there several years ago. Mr. Williams was wonderful to the children and he will truly be missed. I wish him much success at his new school.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 6, 2008

    beachgal: You're getting blasted by everyone, because you created a straw man argument (this an online message board, not a GRE exam) and then ignored the teacher's points: teachers work hard, have 30 (mentally diverse) kids in one room, make little salary, work after hours, deal with uncooperative parents – why don’t you try it? Finally, she (whatistheworldcomingto) said that EVERYONE in society needs to be accountable to ensure that our students succeed. So, how about addressing those points?

    Whatistheworldcomingto: Thank you for working so hard to make this a better world! We’re behind you. :-)

  • dlbwall Aug 6, 2008

    I presently have a 5th grade child at Knightdale and have one going to college that went to Knightdale. Having gone through all grade levels I will tell everyone that Mr. Williams is a Gem. My 5th grader is not the perfect child he has to work very hard to get his grade. Mr. Williams was aware of the struggles that my child had and he cared. Mr. Williams also always treated my child as if he was on of the best. Mr. Williams loved all of his children at Knightdale. Wakefield has gotten a gem. Mr. Williams will be missed. Wish it wasn't to late to get you to stay.

  • justanotherday Aug 5, 2008

    My family is disheartened that Mr. Williams will no longer be at KES to carry out his dynamic vision. He has implemented such wonderful programs at KES. The job he has done is outstanding. He is a top notch principal and should be seen as only the best! His high expectations of staff, students and parents were exemplary. Our thoughts and best wishes go with him to Wakefield High. Wakefield is definitely going to be on a "Road to Success" with having Mr. Williams there. We as well as many students, staff, parents and community members will truly miss Mr. Williams. With sad and broken hearts we can only look to the future and know that great and positive things are on the horizon for every child and every person that Mr. Williams impacted through his leadership.

  • ++Ajax++ Aug 5, 2008

    Beachgal, just for your info students can be placed in aig math but not necessarily reading. My daughter is AIG in Math but not reading. So far as kid's graduating and still can't read is because a student can be retained once in elemantary, once in middle school and they have to recieve the appropriate credits in high school. No the facts before you spout off about that which you do not know.

  • computer trainer Aug 5, 2008

    beachgal, I think that it is wonderful that you have never made a mistake in your writing, and are so superior that you can tell someone else how to correct their mistakes. Since you felt you needed to help out others, let me HELP YOU:

    You said:
    I know of several students in local high schools who told me personally that they are in honors classes and that anyone take them.

    Did you mean:
    I know of several students in local high schools who told me personally that they are in honors classes and that anyone can take them.

    Also, I bet you have never met a teenager that lied about what type of classes they were taking. I know a young man who told me that he was in all Honors Classes. He was making D's and F's. Told his parents that those were really A's and B's. Guess what, Wake Tech would not even take him!! I am sure that it was the school's fault, though!

  • beachgal Aug 5, 2008

    tanahusky: Yes, I make typing errors frequently, but not grammatical errors. There is a difference.

  • beachgal Aug 5, 2008

    jlh4jdj: I would have never thought of those reasons. Wow, thanks for bringing them to my attention.

  • jlh4jdj Aug 5, 2008

    NCTeacher--Be careful they will say that it is your fault that a student got sick and you should have avoided it.

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