A Delaware County elementary-school principal and two teachers were suspended this week amid suspicions that they were involved with improper standardized-test procedures or record-keeping.
The circumstances surrounding Tuesday's suspensions at Aldan Magnet School remain largely unknown to the public - and even to some school board members - because William Penn School District officials are remaining tight-lipped.
But sources told the Daily News that the suspension of Principal Sherrell Mickens and two teachers involves allegations related to the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests that are used to determine schools' compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Mickens, the principal for five years, would not discuss the issue in detail yesterday, but vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
"The allegations against me and the teachers that work for me are 100 percent false and I'm looking forward to a speedy resolution," she said. "I'm dedicated to excellence, I love the children I work with and I want to see them do well. I am very committed to my school and I'm looking forward to coming back to work and having all the allegations against me cleared."
Betty Pehlman, the district's human-resources director, declined to comment on the suspensions or confirm that they had occurred. She said such personnel matters are considered confidential.
William Penn School Board President Charlotte Hummel also declined to comment, saying that the board must remain neutral in the investigation because Mickens' case could come before the board if she appealed a disciplinary action.
"I can't talk about it, but I'm concerned that I don't know what's going on," school board member Diane Leahan said yesterday. "We're not being given a lot of information, and that's disturbing."
Students at Aldan Magnet School generally test below the state averages in math and reading, but the school district, which covers municipalities near the Southwest Philadelphia border, has a higher poverty rate than most other districts. Last year, some of the Aldan students' PSSA scores spiked dramatically, then plummeted this year.