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Friday, March 9, 2018

Pierre Orbe, Principal of DeWitt Clinton High School, Uses Skedula To Change 'Hundreds' of Students Grades

DeWitt Clinton Principal Pierre Orbe
Pierre Orbe has made a grave error, thinking that he can order teachers to change grades by filling out a Transcript Update Form, and threatening the teachers who wont do it.

That was school year 2016-2017. I heard from many sources that both the UFT and Tweed put a stop to this effort to put teachers in a situation of grave consequences if they did not obey his directive.

This raises a serious question which each person undergoing this moral and ethical rock-and-hard-place situation must answer for themselves: 

"should I go against the principal's directive and maybe lose my job, or should I say "no" and suffer consequences which may lead to losing my job or 3020-a charges?"

I am currently working with an Advocatz attorney on two 3020-a cases of teachers at De Witt Clinton High School who said no.

More in a future post, but if you have a situation similar to what is described in today's NY POST article written by Selim Algar, email me at We keep all information confidential.

Betsy Combier
Selim Algar

Furious teachers at scandal-plagued Renewal school DeWitt Clinton HS claim administrators are changing student grades — and putting the instructors in the line of fire.
A letter from a distressed teacher to the Special Commissioner of Investigation said an assistant principal at the Bronx school accessed a computerized grading system and altered “hundreds” of grades.
“I am formally informing you that an administrator at DeWitt Clinton High School who has access to teachers’ grading system has changed the grades of hundreds of students for marking periods 1, 2, 3 and 4,” reads a copy of the letter, obtained by The Post.
A school source said that Principal Pierre Orbe — who has previously been accused of pressuring teachers to doctor marks — forced staffers to use a new grading system.
Orbe pressed for the switch so that his “administrators can get into that grading system and change the students grades as someone collectively did just now,” the Jan. 25 letter to the SCI states.
The letter notes that “many teachers” were impacted, and lists six by name whose students’ grades were changed between September 2017 and January 2018.
A source said DeWitt Clinton teachers were fearful of taking the fall if the fraud were discovered, and pressed for an immediate probe to clear their names.
DeWitt teachers were opposed to the use of the Skedula system because they knew it was vulnerable to manipulation by administrators, according to a source.
“I would like to formally request on behalf of all these teachers and myself an immediate investigation of this disturbing matter,” the letter reads.
The SCI said Thursday that the case has been referred to the Department of Education’s Office of Special Investigation along with state education officials.
Orbe has previously been accused of pressuring teachers to bolster grades in order to polish the school’s dismal metrics.
DeWitt Clinton is one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s largest Renewal school reclamation projects. The struggling schools have been pumped with consultants and cash in order to spur turnarounds.
The Bronx school — which counts Ralph Lauren, Charles Rangel and Neil Simon as alumni — has been mired in scandal and mediocrity for years.
Orbe’s predecessor, Santiago Taveras, was removed as principal last year for changing grades and threatening an assistant principal for refusing to tinker with transcripts.
DeWitt Clinton teachers have also accused Orbe of referring unqualified students for “credit recovery” — online courses that allow for failing kids to make the grade.
Excessive or improper credit recovery was at the root of a devastating recent probe into seemingly stellar graduation rates in Washington, DC.
The investigation there concluded that one in three 2017 high school graduates should not have been granted diplomas.
“Ensuring academic integrity in our schools is critical,” said city DOE spokesman Michael Aciman on Thursday.
“These allegations were referred for investigation and we’ll ensure any necessary follow-up action is taken.”