Jesup elementary principal reprimanded for ethics violation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jesup elementary principal reprimanded for ethics violation

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(KWWL) -

Long-time Jesup elementary school principal Brian Pottebaum was cited by the Iowa Board of Education in August for "misrepresentation or falsification" of standardized tests. After an investigation by the Iowa Board of Education found Pottebaum responsible and later disciplined, he was able to keep his position as principal. 

The Iowa Board of Education received a complaint against Pottebaum back in March. KWWL reached out to the Board of Education for the original complaint filed against Pottebaum, but they say those complaints are confidential.

The ethics complaint claims Pottebaum "Provided unauthorized accommodations to children who were not qualified for accommodations. The accommodations included photocopied test booklets provided to students, students provided answers in the photocopies test booklets, and adults later used the answers in the test booklets to fill out the students' answer sheets. This process is not in accordance with test administration procedures."

Pottebaum waived his right to a hearing, agreeing with the Board of Education on a settlement. The settlement agreement required Pottebaum to accept a written reprimand, and agree to complete fifteen hours in an "Ethics for Educators" course. 

KWWL reached out to Principal Pottebaum multiple times, but he refused to speak on camera. Instead, Pottebaum provided the following statement:

"We made accommodations for a small population of students with specific needs and allowed those students to mark directly on a test as they took the test. It was my interpretation that this was an appropriate accommodation.  I was made aware that this in fact was not.  Even though the accommodation ceased immediately upon receiving clarification on this accommodation, it still resulted in the identified violation.  The intention was to make sure these students could complete the required assessments without undue stress related to the mechanics of holding a pencil and filling in small ovals.  We were made aware this is not an acceptable accommodation."

Based on the 2015 State report card of Jesup Elementary, the school was labeled as a school in need of assistance in both the "math proficiency" and "reading proficiency" standardized test categories.

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