Principal of Ballou High School reassigned after investigation ordered into graduation policies

The principal of Ballou High School has been reassigned to another position following a report last week that claimed several students lacked the requirements to graduate despite all 164 students in Ballou's 2017 graduating class received their diplomas and were accepted to college.

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson said Monday that Dr. Yetunde Reeves was assigned to another function in the school district and Willie Jackson will serve as Ballou's acting principal starting immediately.

"We take this issue very seriously, and we know that policies must be explained clearly and implemented with fidelity," Wilson said in a statement. "This investigation will restore integrity to the process by providing students, parents, and the broader community with answers."

A joint report by WAMU and NPR found only 57 students were on track to graduate two months before graduation, according to an internal email. Dozens of other students were struggling with a high number of unexcused absences, missing graduation and community service requirements or failing classes needed to graduate.

Last Friday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered an investigation on the allegations and a review of the school district's graduation and attendance policies.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education has hired Alvarez and Marsal to conduct the investigation. It is the same consulting firm that conducted the probe into grade-fixing allegations against Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland.

"Alvarez and Marsal has a proven expertise in auditing school district policies and procedures to ensure integrity and transparency," the Office of the State Superintendent of Education said in a statement. "As the state education agency, we look forward to working with them to determine what happened at Ballou High School, but also to ensure we are looking deeply, system-wide, to ensure we are meeting our achievement goals."

The investigation is expected to be finished within 45 days and submitted to the mayor.

D.C. Public Schools said it will also conduct its own review of policies at Ballou.