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Board Addresses Peekskill High School Transcript Investigation

Peekskill schools Superintendent Jim Willis and board President Joseph Urbanowicz read statements regarding the district's investigation into credits that were improperly awarded to students in the high school.

Peekskill schools Superintendent Jim Willis said that he expected the vast majority of students affected by the district's investigation into a credit that was handed out for a course that is no longer being offered.

Willis read a statement during Tuesday's school board meeting addressing the district's investigation into 34 high school students who received credit for a work experience course that the district no longer offered.

Willis said the district's firsts order of business is to help out students who are on schedule to graduate this year. Willis said the district also wanted to look at the transcripts of former students.

"Just for a historical perspective, because we're taking no action against those former students," Willis said.

The district is currently in the process of scheduling interviews with students who are affected the transcript impropriety and developing individual plans for each of them. Willis said the district expected to meet with as many 10 students by the end of today.

The district announced its investigation more than a week ago. As a result, three guidance counselors from the high school and one middle school guidance counselor were placed on a paid administrative reassignment while the transcripts were being probed.

The district is currently in the process of recruiting and hiring additional guidance counselors to fill in the gap. An assistant high school principal and other school support staff are assisting until more guidance counselors have been hired.

George Ondek, a Peekskill resident, called the incident a black mark on Peekskill and demanded answers.

"Why would guidance counselor's want to change marks," Ondek asked. "Did it come from up above?"

Willis said he is hampered by what he can talk about, since the case is now being investigated by the Westchester County District Attorney's Office. 

"I know that this is frustrating to hear, but because of the nature of the investigation and the fact it's been turned over to law enforcement, answering specific questions will be very difficult," Willis said.

A video of school board President Joseph Urbanowicz reading his statement is attached to this story.

joshua tanner January 23, 2013 at 08:48 PM
I see some people trying to blame Willis but this obviously went back earlier. I also doubt this is unique to Peekskill.
Spruce Bringsteen January 23, 2013 at 09:03 PM
This is the Watergate of Peekskill Education. What did certain people know and when did they know it? Something is rotten in the state of Peekskill.
Liz Claire January 23, 2013 at 11:36 PM
This is much ado about nothing. Probably a bureaucratic mistake. End of day, all education is self-education. Learning doesn't begin or end in formal schools. Most of it happens outside of schools. Family is the principal facilitator of knowledge. Habits learned at home shape our lives. You can't expect teachers or school to change this most basic, fundamental instinct. Yes, it sometimes happens. But it's rare, Even the great Oliver Wendall Holmes said that the core of great education is getting lost in the library. Libraries are the pathway to discovery.
Jordan Ary January 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM
You spelled principal wrong...it should be "principle".
Liz Claire January 24, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Sorry schoolmarm. Most people forgive errors when we write such brief transitory things. Are you going to insult my use of commas as well? Which literary school do you subscribe to? Strunk and White? Or Fowler? Or Jacques Barzun? Or someone else?
leesther brown January 24, 2013 at 02:26 AM
A whole lot of folks up in that district knew what was going on.....#ain'tnofutureinfrontin'
Natalie Adams January 24, 2013 at 11:58 AM
Actually, Jordan Ary, the word should be "principal", in the sense of primary. Whatever happened with these "irregularities", right now all we have are allegations & before we start pointing fingers and blaming people, we need to find the truth.
Patty Villanova January 24, 2013 at 01:13 PM
You seem to be missing the point entirely: that it is now the State and Government that have taken over the "education" of our children. Parents have very little, if anything to say about how their kids are being indocrinated and brainwashed, unless they home school them. The Peekskill schools are no different than the ones here in Put Valley. They are arms of the State and increasingly parents are turning their children over at an earlier and earlier age- we now have pre-kindergarten "intervention" for toddlers. Take a look at your tax bill (if you pay property taxes) and you'll see that way more than half of it is for school tax. Parents and citizens don't have a choice if they have to send their kids to public schools. It's a one size fits all approach. What happened here was a criminal act- it's called forgery and tampering with public records. They are trying to put a smiley face on it. In the private sector, without union protection, these teachers and administrators would have been led out in handcuffs.
Emilia January 25, 2013 at 02:39 AM
Is anyone else sick to death of listening to P. Villanova, the biggest misanthrope in the world? No one escapes her insulting barbs. In her world, everyone is evil, especially people who work in education and local politics. Patty, can you see goodness in anything or anybody? Really, put a lid on it. it's getting sickening!

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