Lessons Learned

By Tommy A. Purvis

23
Posted July 19, 2012 in Feature Story

At a Victorville charter school, critics say cheating on tests, extravagant spending and questionable academics are part of the curriculum

Most of the tweets about Excelsior Public Charter School in the High Desert with the hashtag ExcelsiorProblems are about far more than typical hormone-induced drama on the 7th-12th grade campus. The award winning charter school—a tuition-free, typically non-union, non-religious, publicly funded school that skirts most of the California Education Code provisions to manage curriculum and budgets—is known in some social media circles for big spending and the easy access students have to answer keys and schoolwork samples. Still, Excelsior won a bronze medal in the current U.S. News and World Report rankings for being one of the “Best High Schools in America” for the second time in the past four years.

But, records show, graduates from the charter school are remarkably unprepared for college. To even enlist in the military, recruits must first complete 12 units at Victor Valley College. The superintendent’s office—Michael R. Hayhurst and his assistant William Flynn—continues to take advantage of the California Charter School Act to manipulate textbooks and fix student demographic analysis in a slush fund business model that looks to be the future of public education.

“We deserve to be heard”

As Excelsior Eagles continue to fall behind in academics, frustrated parents and jaded students took to Facebook and Twitter to drop the dime on the quality of the charter school education they were receiving.

On April Fools’ Day, the Excelsior Parent Union Facebook page was made by a group of anonymous parents to spark a dialogue about finances and academics among other pertinent issues on campus. A treasure trove of documents from the Executive Governing Board was posted for public consumption to encourage discussion. The parents who chose to remain anonymous out of fear of blowback to their children posted this statement: “We deserve to be heard and our concerns should be taken seriously.”

“Hayhurst views our children as dollar signs,” says a parent that was instrumental in creating the Facebook page to expose the Excelsior misconduct. “[Hayhurst’s] answer to everything is that if parents don’t like things at Excelsior they have options for other schools.”

Students have also been using social media (#ExcelselsiorProblems) to raise red flags about campus conduct. An Instagram from Twitter user @wheel_u_uhm near the end of last school year was a note from the red pen of facilitator Diana Wright on an Excelsior pad. It read, “William was playing the guitar for tips in the quad—please excuse him for being late to math.” Excelsior student and Twitter user @Jay_Reezyy80left the tweet: “#IGoToASchool where everybody cheats on there [sic] homework.” Another tweet: “#ThingsISAYDuringSchool can I copy your packet?”

Go to twitter.com/excelsiorprobz and you’ll see the following note of explanation—and perhaps encouragement: “For all whose who currently go to or have gone to Excelsior, let it out. We know what it’s like!”

User @SammieHernandez tweeted: “#Everyonehasthat1freind that you can count on to copy packets from. And pass unit tests for you.” User @sallyjayy_ tweeted: “What Excelsior kids mean by ‘I’m doing homework’ with a picture of an answer book for the 5122 Economics class.”

Plus, the final tweet: “#seniorconfessionhour I don’t know how to study for a test, how to write a paper and what are finals? #excelsiorproblems #screwedforcollege.”

A Beleaguered District

In 2010 the California Charter School Association (CCSA) announced the largest one-year growth of new charter schools in the nation.

“This is an extraordinary time in the history of charter schools in California, as we are seeing unparalleled growth as the result of parents and communities clamoring for more choices,” Jed Wallace, the president and CEO of the CCSA, said in a press release. The Sacramento-based firm that lobbies for charter schools made the announcement as the content friendly documentary film Waiting for “Superman”—which purports to analyze the failures of America’s public schools—kept a lure on audiences across the nation. “We have surpassed expectations, and it’s a clear sign of the change in the education landscape our state is experiencing.”

Statewide there are currently 982 charter schools with 412,000 students due to the nearly 20-year old California Charter School Act. Five of the 115 new charter schools that opened their doors here in California a few years ago were in San Bernardino County. Oxford Preparatory Academy in the Chino Valley Unified School District was granted a charter and the rest—Garden Virtual Academy of California, Crown Ridge Academy, Excel Prep Academy and Hardy Brown College Prep—were all established in the San Bernardino Unified School District (SBUSD).

The increasingly beleaguered SBUSD is the center of the charter school movement in Inland Empire. In fact, 12 of the 34 current charter schools that operate in the San Bernardino County fall inside SBUSD’s boundaries. New Orleans Public Schools is the only district in the nation where the majority of students go to charter schools as part of the larger Recovery School District of Louisiana.

Keys to Success

The latest Score Accountability Report Card (SARC) for Excelsior’s 2010-11 school year, released in January, is the result of the The Classroom Instructional Improvement and Accountability Act from the ‘80s. The act—also known as Proposition 98—is an effort to guarantee accountability for tax dollars spent on public education through a snapshot that compares schools’ numbers in the district and statewide. It requires that “excess state funds be used directly for classroom instructional improvement by providing for additional instructional materials and reducing class sizes.”

Information on school finances, demographics and educational achievement contained within Excelsior’s 25-page executive summary account for the 62 teachers or “facilitators” with full credentials—and the seven without—responsible for the 1,244 students that make up the school. Most of the students attend class at the main facility in Victorville—on the campus of Victor Valley College—in a brand-new state-of-the-art 87,000 square foot building that cost $35 million to build. There are also two small satellite school sites in nearby Barstow and Phelan.

The mission statement and purpose in the report reveal an educational plan known as the “House of Excelsior.” A three-fold process to “prepare students to be successful adults” through a personal life plan that blends classroom, independent study and online classes. Teamwork, enthusiasm, communication, integrity, compassion and commitment are listed as keys to success. But if test scores and college admission data are indicators of progress, then the keys of success for Excelsior’s students could be simply measured by how they’ve mastered the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Money Spent

“Expenditures Per Pupil” at Excelsior—money that is not controlled by law or donor except for general guidelines—shows that an average of $5,812 was spent on each student. The amount is substantially more than the $4,284 spent per pupil for Victor Valley Union High School District’s non-charter students and also above the state average of $5,455 with far less success. The average pay for “facilitators” at Excelsior is $51,031, or about $13,000 less than the average teacher in the same district.

Superintendent Hayhurst—a retired Barstow police officer that moonlights as a rodeo clown—is paid $175,000 per year. Executive Assistant Lynn Micken makes $300 per hour, according to financial documents.

In 2008, the Victor Valley Union High School District approved a new charter for Excelsior that eliminated parent representatives and incorporated the charter school as a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation with a tax-exempt status for social welfare purposes.

Additionally, Excelsior pays CCSA $35,000 in annual dues.

The Weekly made several efforts to interview Hayhurst for this story—Excelsior staff told us, on one occasion, that the superintendent was preparing for a conference in Minneapolis. On another occasion, the Weekly was told Hayhurst was on vacation. Several email inquiries regarding Excelsior’s finances were not returned, too.

“White” Numbers

The dashboard metrics the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has on file to sort students by race and ethnicity at Excelsior shows an odd trend. The “White” student population on campus took a steep drop from being nearly half of the student population in 2007 to only four percent, or 54 students, last school year. The student enrollment numbers in the Excelsior SARC also show a downward spiral of “White” student enrollment during the same time frame with similar numbers. Either of these data sets can be visibly confirmed as being suspicious if one watches students stream out of campus at the end of the school day.

An anomaly can also be found in the “Graduates by Ethnicity” data for Excelsior in the Educational Demographics Unit of the California Department of Education files. Out of last year’s 227 Excelsior graduates, only 12 were listed as being “White, non Hispanic.” The ethnicity of another 141 were “Not Reported.” In comparison, out of Victor Valley Union High School District’s graduation class of 2,115 persons for the same year, only 12 graduate ethnicities were “Not Reported”—and that’s from a total of six other institutions.

Criteria for U.S. News and World Report’s “Best High Schools in America” rankings take into consideration minority enrollment and scores from state exit exams. The grants and loans that charter schools get can also be based on enrollment of minority students in the name of closing the ever-widening achievement gap. In other words, the more minority students a school can claim on paper, the more benefits—money, grants, prestige—a school can get.

Ready for College?

The Excelsior shot callers are rather proud of the 762 score from the most recent state Academic Performance Index (API) results. The total is 38 points short of the California goal used to measure performance and growth of schools on a variety of subjects.

The Standardized Testing And Reporting (STAR) results were far less impressive. Of the entire student body, 55 percent of the students were found to be proficient and above for their grade in English-Language Arts. The rest of the results went down from there with 46 percent of the same students to be found proficient in Science, and 38 percent in History-Social Science and 23 percent in Mathematics.

Both the SARC and the Victor Valley Union High School District report that while 80 percent of students graduate from Excelsior—none of them have completed the core requirement of classes to enter the California State University system. Of the four charter high schools in the district only Options for Youth reports any numbers in the category with 90 graduates ready for college compared to 342 graduates in the non-charter schools in the rest of the district. There were 32 students at Excelsior that were able to finish a career technical program along with their diploma.

The administration boast of having had a valedictorian who was able to graduate with a year and a half worth of college credit and move on to Stanford could not be verified by the Weekly.

A new report released last week from the the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University claims students in charter schools are not faring as well as students in traditional public schools.

Out-of-Control Spending

The Excelsior Governing Board has approved 14 conferences for Excelsior higher-ups at cost of $120,000 since last October. Assistant Superintendent Bill Flynn and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Alicia Anderson went to Harvard Negotiation Training for $8,000 in April. The dates of the events often coincide with expensive dinners and other extravagant spending on corporate credit card statements. The Excelsior Leadership Team had a $1,500 feast at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Palm Desert last December as part of a planning workshop in Palm Springs.

Mitt Romney’s former education policy advisor turned president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools was a keynote speaker at the end-of-the-year conference for Excelsior managers. The corporate sponsors for the four-day event in Minneapolis—the birthplace of the charter school movement—include investment bank and management firm Piper Jaffray and Charter School Capital. Workshops and seminars included the topics Replicating Success: Elements of Success Replication and Key Financial Metrics for Charter Schools.

The out-of-control spending and bland conference topics should be of concern for taxpayers and parents of struggling students looking for educational options. Sources tell the Weekly that Excelsior’s Governing Board is looking to expand their business model down the hill to San Bernardino or Upland.


23 Comments


  1.  

    Very interesting information provided. If we want to help our kids we are going to have to keep our leaders of education honest. I have discovered there are some other large issues, Excelsior included, for our charter schools in the high desert.




  2.  
    Concerned

    Wow, not one positive thing in this article…they even managed to turn the fact that Excelsior spends more on their kids into a negative, without mentioning the fact that the money is spent on iPads for the kids, field trips, and enhanced online tutorial programs. You might also want to do a bit of research on the graduates heading off to college…I don’t know many graduates from Excelsior, but even the few I do know are headed to Cal State Fullerton (pre-med), St. Johns University, CSUSB, Merced, and SDSU…not to mention the number of kids passing college courses DURING HIGH SCHOOL, before they even graduate. Also, you couldn’t get ahold of people IN THE SUMMER?! Shocking. How about mentioning the fact that all kids and parents actually feel safe at this campus? Oh…there’s cheating? You realize Excelsior is a parent involved independent study school, right? When kids are copying the PARENT guides it seems like somebody other than the teachers are responsible for that…hmmm..I know, it’s 2012, parents take no responsibility for their child’s education anymore, so it must be the teachers fault.




    •  
      Joann Ferguson

      How about the cheating in the testing lab? Is that the parent’s fault too? Last I checked, parents did accompany their students to the testing lab. The kids are saying that their friends take tests for them. As far as the college bound students go, the information was taken directly from Excelsior’s SARC report. If the information is inaccurate, maybe Excelsior needs to do a better job reporting the information. The article also forgot to mention that Excelsior is in Year 2 of program improvement. Maybe instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on needless conferences, they ought to put that money toward hiring fully credentialed teachers and work toward being NCLB compliant, so they can get out of program improvement.




  3.  
    Joann Ferguson

    This article is being widely misinterpreted. Nowhere in the article does it bash Excelsior students, past or present. Nor does the article accuse every student of cheating or being stupid. All it did was re-post what your fellow students were saying on twitter. It was other Excelsior students that wrote those things. Anyhow, the article was just trying to point out that students are saying that it is easy for students to cheat and that the admins need to do more to correct the problem. Even those who are pro Excelsior have admitted that it is easy to cheat if you choose to. Please read the article in the context that it is intended. When there is a problem, the only way to fix it is to bring attention to it. The rest of the article just states facts taken from released reports from Excelsior itself.




    •  
      Excelsior Eagle Dad

      I don’t think that this article is being widely misinterpreted. I think that you need to read the article in the context that it is intended starting with Tommy’s first sentence at the top of the article which says “At a Victorville charter school, critics say cheating on tests, extravagant spending and questionable academics are part of the curriculum”. Secondly, when did a couple of “tweets” on Twitter become concrete facts for which a journalist, and a magazine for that matter, could base his article on and have it featured as the front cover? I’d be concerned in a heartbeat about the outcome of students who attended Excelsior if the writer of this article, Tommy A. Purvis, was an Excelsior grad. I’ve been an Excelsior parent for three years now and have a pretty good idea as to what the school is and how it works, so allow me to fill everyone in on some basic information seeing as that Tommy A. Purvis did not, nor do I think he even knows. Excelsior first of sll has been around at least 15 years as i remember as I would drive by it on my commute to get down the hill. Excelsior is an Independent Study program (Aka homeschool) Charter School. It is a Parent Choice School, meaning as a parent you choose if you want your kid to go there, otherwise you keep them at whatever school they’re supposed to be at. No one is forced to go to Excelsior and no one is forced to leave, it’s the parents choice. (So if these anonymous parents aren’t happy with the school, then they should make the choice to take their kid and leave). So as a parent, once a month my daughter and I have to meet with her facilitator (teacher) and he asks her questions based on what she should have been learning that month to make sure she knows everything according to the CA standards (I know this as its outlined in the curriculum they give her and me) prior to taking her tests; at times she’s not quite ready so he tells her to go back home and study and then come back to tests another day. He even offers to tutor her and provides suggestions for how to best study for all tests. At these appointments we also receive her work packets which is everything she has to do for the month and I receive the Parent Guide which has all of the answers for all of the work she has to do that next month. The way the program works is that the student does the work, the parent corrects the work, and the facilitator checks to make sure that we’re both doing our jobs and that she understands what she’s learning. Every parent of every student at this school receives the answer guide and as a parent if you don’t keep it away from your kid then of course it could get out and others can copy from it. So what are these principals or superintendents of this school supposed to do, go into the homes of all of the students to check that the parents didn’t just toss it on the coffee table or hand it to their kid as soon as the appointment was over? Regarding the campus they do have classes that are run to assist kids with subjects they’re struggling in that parents, such as myself, don’t know how to help with. So my daughter gets to go their and get help when she needs it.
      Lastly, the article says that the “Excelsior Parent Union Facebook page was made by a group of anonymous parents to spark a dialogue about finances and academics among other pertinent issues on campus”. First of all there is no parent union, its just a page and It was started by one person who was a former parent. The site had maybe 30 followers, but a vast majority of those followers were either VVUHSD teachers or people that didn’t even have a student attending Excelsior. And all of the documents they posted were either from the School Board meetings which they already make available, or they were documents found online using the name Excelsior or matching the name of a teacher though it wasn’t actually that teacher. I really love what this school and I have seen a change in my daughter for the better in comparison to how she was attending a regular high school daily. It made me sick when I read this article. Tommy A. Purvis, you need to do a heck lot more fact checking and examining prior to writing anything. Writing an article based on the testimony of one “anonymous parent” and using the proper Facebook and Twitter links supplied as well by that person to use in your article as sources and quotes is irresponsible. I hope to see the Inland Empire Weekly either can your behind (not that they’re any better figuring they published the article) or print a retraction and then get a real reporter to highlight all of the positives that Excelsior does for kids like mine.




      •  
        Joann Ferguson

        It is obvious you are not an Excelsior parent. This response sounds like that of an Excelsior employee. I am certain that the writer of this article checked his facts thoroughly before writing the article. You also sound like someone who is friends with Mike Hayhurst since you paraphrase his most used line. Parents should have a voice, and the answer to solving problems is not for people to remove their children from the school (although, that is what is beginning to happen). The answer is to fight for change. If you don’t like the facts, then you should work to change them. The documentation is what it is. And unless you are a part of Excelsior parent Union, which you are obviously not, I would be very careful about making assumptions.




  4.  
    Noelle

    I graduated from excelsior this year. And I’ll admit sometimes, I absolutely hate being there. But other times it was great. Excelsior is the reason in majoring in my major. And yeah, I’m nervous about being prepared for college because of my study habits, but that’s not the schools fault. It’s mine. I cheated sometimes. I’ll admIt it. I copied from answer guides, as many people have. But also I know people who have never done that. But my study habits are my fault. Not the school. The school didn’t show me where my mom hid the answer guides. Any insecurities I have in college are my own doing. Not excelsiors or their teachers. No ones perfect, and I couldnt tell you about the lawsuits or the spending, but I’m sure other schools spend more per student as well. Seeming as the average is just a bit less. My teachers set me up for success. Always. It was my choice on whether or not to take advantage of the tools they gave me.
    And about cobalt being portables, we were portable buildings spread so far, that our band room was across the street from the educational classed. Also keep in mind that part of the spending is renting a football field from the college because we don’t have our own. We were lucky to get a new campus. And don’t be mad and whine because your school didn’t get a new campus. It’s not like the state wasn’t in on helping get this for us. I’m not saying there aren’t a few bad teachers or administrators, but there are also great ones. And unless you have a student that goes here. And have spent enough time there to know a majority of the staff and how it works, -which some of you have- then you have no right to comment on this issue.




  5.  
    Eileen Blanusa

    This really makes me mad I have two students that go to this school one doesn’t plan to go to a university and the other does she will be ready because she is determined everyone is different . I love this school and my third daughter will be attending in September this was the best move I could have made for my daughters. If children are cheeting it’s on the parents who give them the answer sheets that’s not me my kids work hard for there grades. My kids have done so well at this school and are so proud of them selfs.




    •  
      Teacher

      Well written…your children are absolutely wonderful! We are doing more to stop the cheating on tests…the teachers last year spent the entire year re-writing all of the tests so that we have a bigger bank of questions that will be randomized, meaning every kid will now have a slightly different test. Thanks for your support!




  6.  
    TRUTH

    Where to begin…Mr. Purvis, thank you for enlightening the taxpayers. Although, I do find it sad that many are either missing the big picture or intentionally glossing over it and redirecting attention to areas where less attention/accountability is placed on them. In the grand scheme of things, student cheating pales in comparison to exorbitant administrative spending and unethical practices. But let us begin with stating the obvious as I respectfully direct my attention to the students who are obviously upset by this article. “They practacly called us ALL stupid and cheaters,” comments where each word begins with a capital letter, admitting to cheating…none of these misspellings, admissions of guilt, etc. aren’t helping the argument that Excelsior is a great school teaching our students the fundamentals reading, writing, arithmetic, let alone, social skills and values. There will be cheaters in every school, but yours seems to make it extra easy for that temptation to creep in (which isn’t even the most serious aspect of the article I might add!). Misspellings in mind, there is one correction I would like to make to this article..in regards to Diana Wright’s note for a student to go to class (which, by the way, the student took a picture of and then uploaded this picture to Twitter which has her signature on the note) she had written “William was busy playing guitar for tips in the quad – plese excuse him for being late to math.” Yes, “please” was spelled “PLESE” which only goes to highlight the need for content area credentialed teachers to be placed with the responsibility of caring for our students.

    So much to address and so little time! Let me now direct my attention @Excelsior Eagle Dad who is obviously not such. How do I know this, their pro-Excelsior mantra chanting aside? Well, the Excelsior Parent Union Facebook page was a private page. For those unfamiliar with what that means, it means that only the person administering the page can see who exactly has “liked” the page to follow its updates. For those unaware, this page was hacked. Comments were deleted and the site was eventually shut down (not before printing all documentation, of course). So, how a random “parent” could know that “The site had maybe 30 followers, but a vast majority of those followers were either VVUHSD teachers or people that didn’t even have a student attending Excelsior,” is slightly fishy, no? It seems to me that someone has been working very closely with a hacker. Next, in response to “And all of the documents they posted were either from the School Board meetings which they already make available, or they were documents found online using the name Excelsior or matching the name of a teacher though it wasn’t actually that teacher” I sincerely urge the general public to look up teaching credentials from the staff at the school, as well as, criminal records. I believe this is what “Excelsior Eagle Dad” was referring to…that questions as to past criminal history were brought up regarding some staff members. All of this is public record, so if it’s important to you, by all means do some research and come to your own conclusions. And yes, the postings on the Excelsior Parent Union Facebook page were documents selected from public board minutes, but oddly enough staff members joined in on the thread to voice their anger at being “bashed” although no disparaging comments were made by the moderator of the page that I saw. Which begs the question, if these are your own public records of spending practices, why are you so upset about people seeing them? Reaction is a powerful admission of guilt. IE Weekly is not the Daily Press and does not have ties with Excelsior to feel any obligation to write glowing puff pieces to boost egos. Thank you, Mr. Purvis, for being responsible and actually doing your research like any self-respecting journalist should.




    •  
      ME2

      Well said. These folks will be rudely awakened when the police and the FBI ask for copies of the “books”. Excelsior exists to line the pockets of the administrators and Board – period! These tax-payer funded junkets, under the guise of “training” will be their downfall. The administrators that don’t have the proper backgrounds and documents to match their high-paying posiitons will be caught and prosecuted – in spite of their “public-be-damned” attitudes. And, worst of all, nobody can claim ignorance. Thank you Mr. Purvis. BTW, when can you do a follow-up piece? Plese, plese, purty plese….




    •  
      amy

      Seriously you are going to attack a teacher’s credentials because of a misspelled word? I am sure she had other things on her mind like possibly dealing with students who are struggling and not goofing off. Give me a break! In high school I was a top speller actually have been for years and caught numerous misspellings so should all of those teachers have had their credentials checked? Because if that’s the case Hesperia High School had A LOT! Or rather how about all of the college professors out there. You may want to go question their spelling skills as well. You know what you sound like, A UNION WORKER! Trying to stir up a hornet’s nest. And if parents like myself attend board meetings and pay attention we realize we don’t want the union involved with our children. The administration actually cares about the children at this school. Union reps on the other hand only care about their pocketbooks.




      •  
        Parent

        I do not believe for a second that a union worker/s are the cause of Excelsior’s problems. What an ignorant, uniformed statement. The facts are what the facts are. Work to change them if you don’t like them. The teacher that wrote that note only possesses a vocational credential. That means she is only qualified to teach “office occupations” not oversee a student’s education. And what qualified teacher would excuse a student from math to play guitar for tips in the quad? It appears to me that a teacher who cares about their students’ education would deem math much more important. I will make sure to post this comment in the on the teacher’s union website. I am certain that most union workers care a great deal about the students they are entrusted to educate. I find it hilarious (could not stop laughing) that you say a union rep only cares about their pocket book. That’s like the pot calling the kettle black. How much money was wasted on needless conferences and board retreats by Excelsior’s administration last year? Oh yeah, over $120,000. How did Excelsior’s administration spend money at the start of this year? Oh yeah, they had a leadership meeting at the beach. Hmmm. I guess that new campus wasn’t good enough. Oh maybe it’s because they don’t sell alcohol on campus.




  7.  
    Parent

    Thank you to all who have posted. I am learning a lot about a school I thought I knew. People need to talk about the problems taking place. There are some serious issues with Excelsior’s administration. If things don’t change, all students will reap the consequences. Parents need to educate themselves about the school their child is attending. Go to board meetings and take the time to read the board minutes. Do not take everything at face value. I encourage you to do your own research. Go to the website on California teacher credentialing. Check for yourself if your child’s teacher/facilitator is actually credentialed. Those who go through with blinders on will be blindsided when/if your good child/student encounters a problem. Pay attention!!! If you truly value your child’s education, question some of the practices in place. Know your facts. Do not take the article’s word for it or Excelsior’s word for it. Research for yourself. I think most would be shocked at what they will learn once the icing is off the cake. I know I was.




  8.  
    Robbie

    You all should take a trip to the Newport Beach Marriott for the next three days where the “management” is celebrating the start of the new school year. I wonder if Five Crowns in Corona Del Mar will be on the dining list?




    •  
      Parent

      Why would the administration need to have a leadership gathering in Newport Beach? No one is on campus right now. Is there something wrong with their brand new state of the art campus that it is not suitable for a leadership meeting? It seems good enough to hold board meetings there but not a leadership meeting?




  9.  
    Robbie

    News from Newport Beach! Very interesting information about who got “sh**faced” during the training days junket. Ask around, you’ll be shocked about who couldn’t walk back to their hotel room.




  10.  
    Disappointed Parent

    I just heard from my son, that his favorite facilitator has been let go from Excelsior. It was all hush-hush, but had to do with all of this negative publicity. I thought that the teachers had a union, but I guess not. The teachers were “bullied” into voting the union out then those fire-brand teachers that tried to make things better for the students were given pink slips. How long does this childish behavior need to continue? Why can’t Excelsior treat their staff as professionals and work together for the good of the students? I am truly, truly
    disappointed with Excelsior’s Administrators. Teachers, please continue doing what you do for the students. We parents appreciate you and all that you do – In Spite of Your Administration!!!




  11.  
    Returning student

    It’s somewhat of the parents fault. If you don’t hide your answer keys and leave them out, it’s a stupid idea. Your kids will take advantage of it. The cheating on tests however is the schools fault. Maybe if we had written tests we took in classrooms like we had awhile back (that actually worked). It would stop ALOT Of 1 test crowding and 2 people actually cheating *gasp*! I am also severely annoyed with the amount of stupidity in our administration. We need an administration change. SEVERELY. But us as students can’t make that happen. There are ALOT of teachers that comply with Excelsior for fear of being let go on their contract. Because after that schools won’t take them. They want better for the students s but simply can’t get it.




    •  
      Parent

      You are a very intelligent and perceptive student. What a well thought out response. I hope fore the sake of the students, the administration will be replaced. The teachers really do care about the students, for the most part. There are always a few exceptions. Unfortunately, there is not enough parent involvement to help make the necessary changes. I hope you have a great school year.





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