Nancy Werkmeister, a former assistant principal at North High School involved with the problem-ridden credit recovery program, is now working at Montbello High School. Denver Public Schools spokesman Mike Vaughn says Werkmeister "has a part-time contract to help with scheduling to make sure students are matched with the right classes, so that they're getting all the credits they need to graduate."
At North, Werkmeister called several of the shots when it came to the school's credit recovery program. According to former staffers and e-mails provided to Westword, it was her decision to allow students to access websites such as www.answers.com, which staffers say they were using to cheat in online credit recovery courses.
An e-mail she wrote also implied that students would be allowed to skip the online coursework and go straight to the final exam. She wrote: "We have given the students the opportunity to demonstrate success in a failed class by allowing them to take the final exam from Apex," which is the credit recovery system North was using. "This needs to go through Nancy first," she added, referring to herself.
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After Westword wrote about reported issues with North's program, DPS asked the state Department of Education to investigate allegations of cheating. The investigation found that most of the allegations were true and blamed the problems on poor adult oversight. "The adults responsible for the problems associated with the North credit recovery program have been dealt with," the investigation report noted.
Vaughn says DPS is not concerned about Werkmeister working at Montbello, which also has a credit recovery program. "Ms. Werkmeister has extensive experience in this area (scheduling), and the high school office feels that she is providing important support to Montbello and its students," he wrote in an e-mail to Westword.
North's former principal, Ed Salem, also moved to a different job in the district. Originally, he was supposed to leave North to take the principal position at Abraham Lincoln High School. But last May, he backed out; in a letter, district officials said he "decided not to accept the role of principal in order to be able to spend more time with his family." Then, in July, Westword reported that Salem had accepted a job as a teacher at the Denver Center for 21st Century Learning, DPS's newest "multiple pathways" school.
More from our Education archive: "Denver Public Schools's graduation rate climbs while dropout rate stays the same."