- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Montgomery County Public School officials are investigating why Sherwood High School teachers gave grades, including two A’s, to a 14-year-old student who never was enrolled at the school.

“We don’t know how it happened,” county schools spokesman Brian Porter said yesterday. “An inquiry is under way.”

The inquiry began after The Washington Times yesterday reported that officials at Sherwood High sent Lauren Lee of Olney a progress report that gave her mostly high marks in classes at a school that she never attended.

Lauren is a freshman at Good Counsel High School, a Catholic school in Wheaton.

Although Lauren never has attended Sherwood High, the Sept. 26 progress report that the school sent home to her mother gave Lauren an “A” in an honors-level geometry course.

Sherwood teachers also gave Lauren an “A” in physical education and an “NC” in art, which means that the course is a noncredit class. She got an “E,” or an incomplete, in physics. The progress report indicated that Lauren never attended the physics class, but makes no mention of her nonattendance in the other three classes.

Mr. Porter said the inquiry also would focus on “how the integrity of the grading system is upheld.”

Lauren’s mother, Lauren Asbury, repeatedly has called the school to complain that her daughter doesn’t attend Sherwood High in Sandy Spring and to ask why teachers gave out grades to a student who never shows up for class.

Mr. Porter said officials will attempt to get those questions answered by tomorrow . He said the school system’s Office of School Performance is handling the inquiry.

“We’re looking into how this occurred and how we can ensure it won’t happen again,” Mr. Porter said. “We have confirmed that the student is not enrolled there and that people knew she wasn’t enrolled.”

Mrs. Asbury said yesterday she hasn’t heard from the school yet, but that she anxiously is waiting for an explanation.

Lauren’s mother thinks problems began when school administrators from Rosa M. Parks Middle School in Olney, where Lauren was a student for the past two years, sent Lauren’s school records to Sherwood High. Unless students leave the area or attend private school, graduates of Parks Middle School usually go on to Sherwood High, according to the county school system’s Web site.

Mrs. Asbury told school officials last year that she would be sending Lauren to Good Counsel instead.

However, Lauren remained in the school’s electronic database even though she didn’t attend the school.

“Somehow, the name continued to appear in the electronic system,” Mr. Porter said. “That was all corrected by the end of September.”

But even if computers indicated that her daughter was enrolled at the school, Mrs. Asbury said that doesn’t help explain why no one tried to contact her to tell her that her daughter wasn’t attending the classes.

Mrs. Asbury also wondered why a physics teacher gave her daughter an incomplete grade for not showing up, while geometry and physical-education teachers gave Lauren an “A.”

Mr. Porter said school officials don’t think there are any other students who received grades from a school they don’t attend.

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