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Principal accused of grade-changing could be leaving Lehman

Beleaguered Lehman High School could be getting a new principal, just three years after the city gave Janet Saraceno a $25,000 bonus to take the job, the New York Times is reporting.

As a GothamSchools reporter, Anna Phillips broke the story that Saraceno was accused of padding students’ transcripts with courses they didn’t take and grades they didn’t earn. A city investigation followed. Now that she’s reporting for the New York Times, Phillips is continuing to follow the Lehman story, and today’s update is that Saraceno won’t return to Lehman this fall.

Phillips writes that faculty and staff lobbied against Saraceno in an unsigned letter sent to news organizations last month:

The letter, which was not signed, criticized Dr. Saraceno for being “highly unapproachable” and rarely visiting teachers’ classrooms or observing their lessons.

“Perhaps the most egregious example of Dr. Saraceno’s gross negligence is her advocacy for a weak and poorly executed credit recovery program,” the letter states.

“On several occasions Dr. Saraceno has requested, via her assistant principals, that teachers get on board with grade changes simply because we cannot have students not graduate,” the letter says.

A spokeswoman for the principals union told me that the union could not confirm Saraceno’s departure. “We’ve heard that she might leave, but it’s hearsay,” said the spokeswoman, Chiara Coletti. “She’s a very good principal who was put into a school culture very different from the one she came from, and that can’t be easy.”

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