CRCT Investigation Report: Deerwood Academy | Schools
3070 Fairburn Road
Principal: Dr. Lisa Smith
Testing Coordinator: Lavonia Ferrell
SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams
ATLANTA -- The Governor's Special Investigators concluded that CRCT cheating took place at Deerwoody Academy in 2009 and the summer of 2008.
Govenor Deal's Investigative Team determined that testing coordinator Lavonia Ferrell and Margaret Merkerson, a retired teacher who was brought in to organize testing materials, erased and changed students' CRCT answer sheets.
Numerous teachers claimed that some of their students couldn’t read or were underperforming, yet still ended up passing the test, according to the report.
Fifth grade teacher Betty Jean Peak denied that she cheated, but told investigators there were students in her class who couldn’t read, yet were still passed into the sixth grade. She said some of them passed the CRCT by only two or three points.
Ferrell threatened teachers with being “locked up” if they discussed erasing answers with investigators, according to some teachers' testimonies. They also claimed they were pressured to meet targets by Principal Smith; for her, it was important to “make the floor” each year.
Smith denied cheating, while Ferrell claimed she had "no information to provide" for investigators.