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Jane Addams H.S. Principal Resigns Amid Credit Scandal

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 11:43 AM

The principal of a troubled high school in the Bronx will resign at the end of this week amid accusations that she gave some students credit for classes they never took.

City officials said on Thursday that Sharron Smalls, the principal of Jane Addams High School for Academic Careers, will step down as principal on Friday, leaving her $140,000 job to become an assistant principal at another school.

In late November, Jane Addams teachers contacted city education officials, claiming that Ms. Smalls was giving cosmetology students credit for taking chemistry, even though the school does not have a chemistry teacher. Others who took an accounting class were also given credit for a business mathematics course, and many students had never taken trigonometry, which they needed to graduate.

Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Education, said that the city had completed its review of all seniors' transcripts at Jane Addams, but was still investigating allegations that the principal was at fault. City officials first informed reporters of Ms. Smalls's resignation on Wednesday night at a hearing on a proposal to phase out the school.

In an opinion post in SchoolBook last month, two Jane Addams teachers -- one is still at the school, the other is not -- said that the Department of Education's policies, not Ms. Smalls, were to blame.

Although city officials said in early December that only a small number of students were missing credits that could prevent them from graduating, Stephen Tavano, the school's chapter leader, maintained on Thursday that more than a hundred students had been affected and would need to take extra courses in the spring.

Neither the city's Department of Education nor its support network, Center for Educational Innovation -- Public Education Association, would confirm that figure.

Jane Addams students will receive new schedules on Tuesday at the start of the spring semester.

The city will appoint a new principal in the next several days, Ms. Feinberg said.

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