Bronx High School Principal Accused of Fixing Failing Grades Behind Teachers’ Backs

Santiago Taveras, principal of DeWitt Clinton HS (Photo: J.C. Rice)
Santiago Taveras, principal of DeWitt Clinton HS (Photo: J.C. Rice)

The principal of DeWitt Clinton HS, a struggling Bronx school in Mayor de Blasio’s multimillion-dollar Renewal program, changed students’ failing grades to passing without teachers’ knowledge or consent, insiders told The Post.

In one case, Santiago Taveras gave a senior who received a “no show” in a global-history class a 75 and changed her failing 55 grade in gym to a minimum passing 65, records show. She then got a credit for each class, which she didn’t deserve, several staffers charged.

“He thinks he’s God and can do whatever he wants,” one said.

The office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools is probing the allegations, said spokeswoman Regina Romain. Taveras did not return a call or e-mail seeking comment.

Taveras, 50, a former deputy chancellor in the city Department of Education who closed failing schools, left a private job to lead DeWitt Clinton in 2013, vowing to revive the once-great Kingsbridge school. Its many VIP alumni include playwright Neil Simon, writer James Baldwin and comedian Tracy Morgan.

But last July, the state Education Department gave DeWitt Clinton and other lagging schools two years to show “demonstrable improvement” or face a takeover.

The 2,100-student school boasts an honors program and winning sports teams but has overall low attendance and 45 percent graduation rate. It’s also one of 94 Renewal schools the mayor and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña say they’ll fix with an extra $400 million in three years.

Normally, a teacher requests a grade change if warranted. The teacher submits a written request to an assistant principal.

But in several cases reviewed by The Post, Taveras signed the forms himself. The teacher’s name is printed on the forms, but space for the teacher’s signature is blank.

Taveras changed a student’s failing 55 grade in an English class to 90, granting a credit. He submitted the forms last summer.

For another student, a failing 55 in algebra for a summer class in 2014 was changed to 65. Taveras filed the forms that October.

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SOURCE: Susan Edelman 
New York Post

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