SPRING LAKE, Mich. — Spring Lake High School's Principal Mike Gilchrist's resignation was accepted by the Spring Lake Public School board on Thursday, Feb. 10 following findings from an investigation that revealed widespread altering of students’ academic records.
Gilchrist had been the principal at Spring Lake High School for more than 20 years. In late January, he was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The investigation revealed that 51 grades had been modified involving 31 students instructed by 17 different teachers over the course of an eight-year period.
Spring Lake Public School Superintendent Dennis Furton said in the report that a majority of the grade changes were made without teacher knowledge or consent.
During the school board meeting Thursday, Gilchrist made an apology to Furton, the Board of Education, the high school’s staff and students, and the community.
Gilchrist resigned and was not fired. Therefore, his pension is not affected.
Now, the school board is focusing on how to prevent any kind of records tampering in the future.
Furton has provided three ways to prohibit grade changes:
- Limit grade change access in the district’s system to only two individuals: the head technology coordinator and the high school registrar.
- Create a form for grade changes requiring teacher and principal signatures before submission to the registrar for any grade change.
- Yearly audit of grade changes made by either the curriculum director or the superintendent that will involve a paper trail. That will require a signature by the teacher and principal.
With Gilchrist no longer employed, the district will have an interim principal while the search for a new one is underway. School officials are hoping to have the desired candidate by July 1.
You can read the meeting minutes here:
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