School district releases data on Beaufort High principal's grade changes

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comMarch 6, 2012 

  • Former Beaufort High School principal Dan Durbin changed 200 grades for 33 students from August 2011 to January. Here's a sampling of the changes:

    • 103 were alterations to core classes - subjects such as English, science or history
    • 22 were direct changes to students' GPA or granted them credit where there was none previously
    • For 13 students, grades were changed one to three times
    • For 13 other students, grades were changed four to nine times
    • For five students, grades were changed 13 to 30 times
    • Grades were changed on 27 occasions
    • About 65 percent were "F"s changed to "D"s
    • About 8 percent were "F"s changed to an "A," "B" or "C"
  • Get breaking news, story updates and interesting reflections on Lowcountry schools by following Homeroom on Twitter.

More than half the Beaufort High School students whose grades were changed by former principal Dan Durbin had lower than a "C" average, according to data released by the Beaufort County School District on Tuesday night.

The district released the data at a Board of Education meeting following Freedom of Information Act requests from local media -- including the Beaufort Gazette and Island Packet -- and questions from parents and the community.

Durbin resigned after admitting to changing 200 grades for 33 students. His last day at the school was Feb. 24.

Durbin has said that many of the grade changes were made for struggling students who had completed extra work.

According to district data, about 64 percent of the 33 had a GPA below 2.0. But no documents to support that the students did more work exist, the district said.

In fact, officials said, 145 of the 200 changes had no documentation at all.

District instructional services chief Sean Alford has said that before grades can be changed, documents must be signed by the teacher, principal and a data specialist and must note the reason for the change. Those documents would be kept in a student's file, he said.

Some of the 55 grade changes that have documentation conform to that process, Alford said. He could not say exactly how many grade changes were done correctly.

The majority of the 200 changes -- about 65 percent -- were from an "F" to a "D."

It's still not known how the grade changes, which were made from August 2011 to January, may affect class rank.

Superintendent Valerie Truesdale has said that information would be made public when it was available. District officials aren't sure when that might be.

Several community members spoke in support of Durbin. Beaufort High students filled many of the seats at Tuesday's meeting.

Durbin would do anything for his students, senior Kristyn Weidenhof told the board during the public comment portion of the meeting.

"When he sees potential in a student that isn't being used, he attacks it like an animal attacking their prey and does everything in his power to let that student wake up and shine as bright as they can," she said.

Weidenhof said after the meeting that she wished Durbin could have stayed through the end of the year.

"It took something special from the seniors," she said. "Nothing will be the same. Not pranks or prom or graduation."

An attempt to reach Durbin Tuesday night was unsuccessful.

Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.

Related content

  1. Parents demand answers following Durbin's resignation; Feb. 27, 2012
  2. VIDEO: Durbin's resignation from Beaufort High prompts outpour of support; Feb. 24, 2012
  3. Beaufort High principal says he changed grades to help students; Feb. 23, 2012
  4. Beaufort High principal Dan Durbin to resign Friday; Feb. 22, 2012

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