BANGOR, Maine — Two months have passed since Bangor’s assistant superintendent was placed on paid administrative leave while the school department investigates allegations that he told staff members to allow some students to alter their answers on a 2011 standardized test while he was Orono Middle School’s principal.
That investigation continues, Superintendent Betsy Webb said Monday as the inquiry entered its third month.
“We want to do this as efficiently as possible, but it also has to be thorough,” Webb said.
Attorney Daniel Stockford of the Lewiston law firm Brann & Isaacson was assigned to conduct the investigation.
Stockford has been working to gather materials from groups involved in the earlier testing investigation, including the Maine Department of Education, but “there have been requests for information that we haven’t received,” said Webb. She said she couldn’t legally elaborate on what unreceived information was holding up the investigation.
“We’re moving as expeditiously as possible and still gathering information,” Stockford said, declining to go into further detail because it is a confidential personnel matter.
Webb said the school system would come to a determination “as soon as possible” after all the materials are collected and reviewed.
Lucy’s leave started Sept. 19, the day after the Bangor Daily News published details of a 2011 report from the Maine Department of Education which found there was “incontrovertible evidence that some students revisited the [New England Common Assessment Program] test after the time permitted” and that those actions violated “clearly stated” testing rules and guidelines.
The department conducted its investigation in 2011 after Orono Middle School staff reported Lucy reviewed test booklets, some of which had been packed into boxes at the conclusion of test sessions, and marked questions students had missed or answered too briefly, according to the report. The department investigated the tests of six students, five of whom had disabilities.
Students with disabilities may be granted several accommodations for timing, setting and response methods on NECAP tests, “but none of them allows for testing beyond the testing period,” said the Department of Education report.
As a result of its investigation, the Department of Education directed Lucy, test administrators, the test coordinator and special education director to undergo training. The department also invalidated scores for some answers on four students’ tests and the entire test of one student.
The department forwarded information from the investigation to its office of certification for review. The department cannot comment on an individual’s certification status unless some action is taken and the person’s status changes, according to Department of Education spokesman David Connerty-Marin.
The Bangor school system hired Lucy as assistant superintendent in May. Webb has said she wasn’t aware of the reported testing violations or Department of Education report before September.
Lucy maintained in letters submitted to the Department of Education that he didn’t believe he overstepped his bounds and duties as principal and co-test coordinator, and that he was trying to act in the best interests of his students and school.
“I try to convey high expectations for learning to all of our school community,” Lucy wrote in one letter, “but I am not doing that because of my self-worth or our school image, but rather to try and ensure each student is given the opportunity to realize their greatest potential.”