CRCT Investigation Report: Harper Archer Middle School | Schools
Harper Archer Middle School
130 Trinity Avenue SW
Principal: Michael Milstead
Testing Coordinator: Mary Brooks
SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotman
ATLANTA -- The investigation into Atlanta Public Schools concluded that CRCT cheating occurred at Harper Archer Middle School in 2009. "Although no one confessed, the teachers, almost unanimously, agree that cheating occurred." (282)
According to the investigation, Harper Archer students have a history of struggling in math, and SRT-4 executive director Tamara Cotman put pressure on principal Michael Milstead and the school's math teachers to improve scores so the school could make Adequate Yearly Progress. A subsequent jump in math scores left many teachers dumbfounded, as did the fact that students who could not read or who slept through the CRCT still passed the test.
Milstead allegedly thought Cotman was more interested in test scores than students, and he instructed his faculty to refrain from cheating. He left Harper Archer in 2009 because of his differences with administrators, but not before expressing his concern that incoming middle school students were several grade levels behind, despite earning exemplary CRCT scores. (284)
Nobody questioned by the Governor's Special Investigators believed that Milstead was involved in the cheating. Assistant principal Lebroyce Sublett said that Milstead left the school "because he was forced out by Cotman, who wanted higher CRCT scores to meet AYP and APS targets." (286)
The investigation discovered that some of the school's lowest performing students had the highest number of erasures and, consequently, the best scores on the 2009 CRCT. Still, nobody on the Harper Archer staff admitted to cheating.
Allison Marks is the current interim principal of Harper Archer Middle, according to the school's website. She replaced Frances Thompson, who was implicated in a similar cheating scandal at Blalock Elementary School.