CRCT Investigation Report: Venetian Hills Elementary | Schools
Venetian Hills Elementary School
1910 Venetian Drive SW
Principal: Clarietta Davis
Testing Coordinator: Milagros Moner
SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotman
ATLANTA -- The investigation into Atlanta Public Schools concluded that CRCT cheating at Venetian Hills Elementary School began in 2004 and occurred for six consecutive years.
The Investigative Team also determined that seven teachers -- Jacquelyn Parks, Melba Smith, Alma Keen, Angela Bennett, Tyrone Hanekrson, Hardy Scott and Milagros Moner -- altered test documents. The teachers routinely met in a windowless office and changed answers the morning after the test, according to the report.
Parks confessed to cheating every year from 2004 to 2009, and claimed Moner and the aforementioned were members of a special group of teachers called the “chosen ones,” who were composed of veteran teachers or members of the leadership team, and were hand-selected by principal Clarietta Davis.
Parks indicated that “the culture at APS is that if you’re not a team player, there are ways that APS can get back at you.” She also was quoted as saying “APS is run like a mob.”
Moner said that “teachers are afraid of losing their jobs and teachers compel themselves to do whatever they need to do to make sure that they do not lose their jobs . . . everybody was in fear.”
Additional teachers told investigators that the culture at Venetian Hills was basically "rule by fear."
The School Reform Team allegedly favored Davis because she won many awards and helped to fuel the school district’s desire for pageantry and bragging rights among their peers. Davis was described as the "meanest person you’ve ever met" by one of the teachers, who also said "everything was about the test" for school administration, according to the report.
Teachers interviewed denied cheating but claimed to know it was going on. Teacher Karen Batiste told investigators that she heard there was a recording of another teacher giving her students the questions to the fifth grade writing test. Other teachers claimed that they would use answer keys to change answers and that the principal would “ride their back” until they had manipulated testing materials to her satisfaction.
When questioned about the cheating by investigators, Davis pleaded the Fifth Amendment.