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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Much to do about a culture of cheating

"What experience and history teach is this - that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it."  G. W. F. Hegel 

The specter of cheating is alive and well at Hamburg High School.  It has been reported to Concerned Hamburger that 11th grade students in an elective accounting course cheated on at least one exam, and were given a pass by the High School principal.  

An honor student in the accounting class opened the teacher's desk and took pictures of the answer key for an upcoming test.  The student photographer intentionally took the picture of the answer key and distributed it to other students in the class via an electronic device. 

The majority of the students benefited by obtaining the answer key and using it on the test.  A few students in the class did not obtain the answer key, and one of these students tipped off the teacher about the deliberate premeditated cheating plan.  

The students were called into the principal's office and some kids had their hands slapped and at least one was issued a few days in the in-school suspension room.  

In typical Hamburg style the vice principals and the principal blamed the teacher for the kids cheating, and did very little to the students who cheated.  

A major twist to this cheating scandal is that several of the student ring leaders where notified that they were chosen to be inducted into the National Honor Society. 

Yes, cheaters inducted into the National Honor Society at Hamburg High School.

This is nothing new to Hamburg High School. 

And if any of the commenters who urge Bored of Education action on this matter actually think this will happen, let us remind you of the cheating, lying and grade fraud scandal from the class of 2010. Priveleged students in the class of 2010 were given top ten honors based on manufactured grades. 

So, one could guess that a few privledged kids cheating in an elective business course was not taken seriously. 

Concerned reported on the class of 2010 fraud several times, and in the words of the superintendent the grade scandal may have changed the order of the top ten if the original grades were to stand. (See post: August 2010- in the beginning. reposted 3-3-13)

What did the Bored of Education do about the grade scandal in 2010? 

They acted to cover it up,lie and place the blame on the wrong people. 

So, Hamburg High School teachers, students and parents your school community has a culture of cheating, grade fraud and lying.  

So, if anyone has an expectation of integrity and honor, please review the history of the Bored of Education under Joan Calkins and the school district under Steven Achramovitch. 

The High School principals should have been fired 3 years ago for making up grades and lying about staff.  

In fact, Concerned was notified that Joan Calkins and Steven Achramovitch claimed they fired a probationary teacher for exposing grade fraud and talking to students about academic integrity. 

In fact, former Bored President Gregory Wichlacz chides and mocks the terminated probationary teacher on the Sept. 21, 2010 recording of the bored of education meeting. 

It is very clear listening to the bored meeting from that night, that Wichlacz, Neyman, Collins, Calkins, Reynolds, Dils and Harper towed the district's cover-up line.  These individuals  brazenly acted to cover up grade fraud, cheating and lies and ruined several teaching careers with their ruthless and rotten acts. 

Hamburg has gotten the school culture is has cultivated. 
Perhaps it is time for those with honor to take back and restore integrity from the top down.

More recently, Bored President Joan Calkins intervened in a widespread bullying plot at the high school.  Several priviledged and "connected" kids were caught using bingo dabbers to attack freshman.  Because of the last names of many of the student bullies, Joan intervened and the young thugs were given a pass for bullying 9th graders.   

It seems Joan only cares about image, and not integrity. 
Perhaps for once, the teachers should stand up to this issue. Perhaps the teachers should sign a petition condemning the principals and the bored of education for covering up the cheating.

What are kids in Hamburg being taught about integrity?  


Anonymous said...

May cannot come soon enough!!

Someone Who Cares.

parents upes&hs said...

I care more than most, because our daughter was not in the top ten because of the grade manipulation 2010 class. I have posted before and it is never going to change unless we shake up this school community this May. Sorry but I don't understand why someone who was caught cheating or stealing in this case both would be given the Honor of being inducted We care we still have 3 children in Hamburg. Parents

integrity needed said...

Thanks concerned, our crys would fall on deaf ears if it wasn't for this web site. The kids are all talking about these privledged kids with the right last names. My kids are good kids who know right from wrong and are not part of the Calkins clique.

Praise to the few in that class who didn't involve themselves in this cheating. Why is this tolerated in Hamburg, last name possibly?

Anonymous said...

I heard this story told by a Hamburg Alum about a student at an Ivy League school.

It goes something like this.

A young promising freshman in college asked for an extension on a paper when he was an undergraduate at an Ivy League school. The young man lied to his professor saying he needed the extension because his brother recently died.

The teacher naturally granted the extension.

During his senior year of college, this young man was applying to med school at this very same Ivy League school where he was an undergraduate.

In the interview for med school a teacher at the med school (who had read a letter of recommendation for the young man by the professor who granted the extension due to the claim of a death of sibling) asked the young med applicant about his brother, and the young med school student said my brother is fine and doing well living his life.

The student was caught in a lie he had told freshman year to gain an extension on a paper.

Due to this lack of integrity in lying to get an extension on a paper, the young man was expelled from his Ivy League School.

Distraught the student committed suicide.

A culture of lies, cheating and deception must be stopped now. Kids should never think it is OK to lie and cheat.

Its wrong on every level of humanity.

Adults must acts as role models and leaders.

high school parents said...

Why is the teacher being blamed when the kids stole the answers to the accounting exam? This is seriously flawed the full responsibility should fall on the students who cheated not this teacher.
This is not what we should be condoning here.

Ohio State lesson on cheating said...

Nothing new here, this kind of stuff has been going on for years here,difference now instant information. What is shocking is the Doctor on the elected board not addressing this. This sort of thing happened to a room mate of mine at Ohio State resulting in expulsion. Universities and Colleges don't mess around with cheating or plagiarism. Punish these students now and I guarantee they will think seriously about ever attempting this again. This is not the teachers fault and that would be the easy solution blame the teacher so principal doesn't have to deal with difficult parents "my kid can do no wrong" attitude. Make these kids take full responsibity for their cheating.

Anonymous said...

Hey why would the school board pres dr. calkins care, she and her friend supt steve achramovitch, dishonest both of them.

not the teacher said...

Where is the morality here? Sick of teachers taking the blame because of a house principal not wanting to deal with whining parents. I don't care what your last name is, a 17 year old needs to take responsibility for distributing the answers to a stolen test. Sorry this is why we have a problem here the teacher always takes the rap. Shame on this school board for rail roading our children's teachers.

My kid brought home details of this cheating. Kids fault not the teachers. We need to take back our schools, dump all that are in office now, starting with Calkins

stop this said...

Show these students a little pain and i guarantee this will be a lesson they will never forget. In college there is no blaming a professor you are out on your ass.

Anonymous said...

My child was one that was bullied, she has social issues and this just made it that much more traumatic for her. Some kids can fluff it off, but for someone like her it isn't like that. Dr. Calkins just thought it was a kid thing, and that may be for some, but it was scary for her.

Anonymous said...

So here we go again blame the teacher. This is one reason why we do not trust the Supt or School Board President. Dr. Calkins can make her rounds to all the buildings in her community rebranding tour but it won't work. We have been lied to and lied about by Dr. Calkins and Steve Achramovitch. Dr. knows that she is in a tight race against good morale candidates. We can see right through her she only wants our vote and we are sick of Joan and Steve. Lies, blame, punitive and dishonest. These are the discriptive language regarding these two. Dr. Calkins I am special attitude is not welcome here. Dr. Calkins has no business walking into the schools other than as a parent. NYS Ed. Law, she needs to stop violating the laws. Dr. Calkins does not own the Hamburg Schools and we are sick of what you have done to our fellow teachers.

Anonymous said...

Wait we are employing 5 lawyers here?

need to learn a lesson on honesty said...

Some 17 year olds are in college already. These kids need to grow up in a year or so they can vote and serve in the military. Mom & Dad will not be able to bail you out in a year or so. Cheating is cheating and should never be minimized. These kids will learn a powerful lesson in the adult world/termination or kicked out with a bad record.

Dad of 2010 graduate said...

This is a school culture of cover ups. Starting with the leadership of the schools. I am sour on Hamburg, my daughter was affected in 2010 and she deserved to be in that top 10 of that graduating class.


Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 3:03

A tight race for Calkins? I certainly hope not!! This district needs a total revamp - get the 3 incumbants out and elect new blood - people who actually care about the students, teachers, parents, community and the school district! If these people are not voted out this year there is no one to blame but those that don't come out to vote for change!! Someone who cares!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the accounting teachers should go to the board meeting on tuesday and blast mike gallager. If kids cheated and the teacher is being blamed id be damn sure the board knows about it.

Anonymous said...

Drugs, cheating we need to do better. Kids need to stop blaming the teacher and take ownership of what they have done. No consequences for cheating they will continue until it costs them. I hope all parents are notified of these events.

teacher only doing her job said...

somehow the district always seems to blame the teacher. Kids cheat and what is the teacher to do ignore the cheating to say their job. Shame on allowing this culture of fear to exist.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the students who didn't cheat, and who spoke up. They are the kids we our proud of.

class 95 said...

CONTROL & FEAR is management style of the Calkins/Achramovitch team.

Why is teacher being blamed for honors kids cheating/stealing test and distributing it?


Class 1995 graduate

Mom said...

When parenting mattered,

kids were afraid of a bad report from school, parents actually backed up the teacher and principal. Today parents are ready to take the heads off any teacher or principal who dares to punish his/her kid for cheating. Parents somehow manage to deflect their problem back on the teacher . Yes this group should be punished and stipped of any national honor society membership if they had any hand in this cheating. Administrators should be held to a higher standard than to allow this. Let our kids teachers teach and do their job. If my kid cheats I want to know about it and I can assure you they will be in more trouble at home then at school. Parents and Administrators do your job. Set some standards here. Kids are aware of the special treatment of some kids. Not right

Anonymous said...

The national organization of the national honor society should be notified.

Klozman said...

Someone with expertise in the field should establish a web site where people can render contributions to those board candidates who are committed to ridding us of Achramo and the Calkins contingent. I'd gladly grease that pot with coin of the realm. Fellow teachers, if you truly want to divest yourselves of these jerks, take a distinctly positive approach.

Anonymous said...

Kids call the shots in the high school; administration afraid of over bearing parents and the kids know it. Just a fact

Anonymous said...

Dr Joan Calkins and Steve Achramovitch are reckless with other peoples money. Using our tax dollars in legal pursuits for themselves and their own personal cash. Yes we are footing the bill in their quest to get rich on our tax dollar. This in it self should be their downfall.

Anonymous said...

Message to Joan Calkins.

Dr. Calkins you don't own the Hamburg Central School District, the taxpayers do. So Joan please mind your place and obey the NYS ED law as sb pres you have no more right than any other parent or taxpayer in the district to waltz into any school building unless you have sb approval.

Anonymous said...

Here's why this matters: If the administration feels no moral compunction about manipulating grades and the Top Ten placement of students, then what would stop the administration from manipulating a teacher's APPR rating? Loading one teacher will all the high needs, low scoring kids? The boe? Apparently not.

watching from the back seat said...

Concerned was mark Crawford and Wichlacz using school funds for this trip? Was there a motion? maybe Hamburg should make these people pay back the taxpayer dollars they spent. I heard Steve has a bigh shred-it truck parked outside his office....someone said there could be documents being shred. This is what the germans did in 1945. Ask Jen Lackie Kroll the secretary, and James the computer guy. Tens of thousands spent on Africa, and then Donald Ogilve took it over at BOCES. SOmeone investigate this scandal..

Summer Institute Staff travels to Rwanda with humanitarian Carl Wilkens.

Traveling with a delegation led by Hamburg School Superintendent Mark Crawford and Board President Greg Wichlacz, in July 2009 Summer Institute teachers spent two weeks examining genocide memorials, listening to the testimony of survivors, and seeing how the country is recovering. The trip was funded by private donations through the generosity of the Hamburg School Foundation and Churches in Action.

"The trip had a significant impact on all of us," said female teacher . "Both personally and professionally, seeing the cost of genocide first hand is something that has a huge influence on our teaching, and reaffirms our belief in the the power of education."

One experience that was especially memorable was the time the group spent with student members of the "Never Again" Club at Gakoni High School. "These students had the incredible job of going out into their communities to act out plays on reconciliation and tolerance," commented Male teacher. "The Rwandan government has really put an emphasis on human rights education, one that in many ways, has a lot in common with what we?re trying to do with the Summer Institute here at home."

Free trips to Africa said...

Hamburg paid taxpayer dollars for Wichlacz....he is a great big fat pig who did nothing. As a former BOE president, someone should sue his fat ass for overseeing the school district paying over $5,000 each...thats $25,000 for hamburg Staff to go to Rwanda. Wichlacz needs to be addressed.....a former "bored" that prick out of hiding.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Hamburg School Foundation money was to fund educational opportunities for STUDENTS!

Anyway,if Hamburg goes ahead an inducts the cheater, they could lose their NHS charter. Then all the kids lose. I wouldn't think they would risk it.

Anonymous said...


Crawford to leave Hamburg Schools for job in West Seneca
Editor The Sun

Mark Crawford, the superintendent of the Hamburg Central School District, will be leaving his position as Hamburg's top administrator later this summer for the same position with the West Seneca School District.

Crawford’s pending departure leaves the Hamburg School Board looking for a new leader at the same time that the Lake Shore School Board is seeking superintendent candidates and the possibility that the Frontier Central School District may soon be looking for a new superintendent.

Crawford, who was officially hired Monday (June 21) night at a special meeting of the West Seneca School Board, has served as Hamburg's superintendent for the past three years.

Crawford told The Sun earlier this week that the entire process “all happened very quickly” and that his decision to leave Hamburg was based on the Hamburg native doing what he thinks is the best thing for him both peronally and professionally.

District employees were informed of Crawford’s decision to leave last Friday (June 18) afternoon after Hamburg School Board President Gregory Wichlacz sent out a mass e-mail that included a statement that the board of education is ”confident that our district will continue to move forward.”

Donald Ogilvie, the superintendent of Erie 1 BOCES and a former superintendent of Hamburg, told board members that he is committed to assisting them as they begin the search for Crawford’s replacement.

“Dr. Crawford will be with us during this transition,” said Wichlacz, who also said Monday (June 21) that the board and other district administrators will discuss their plans to proceed with the search process during a work session set for 3:30 p.m. today (Thursday, June 24.)

In an interesting twist, Crawford will replace Jean Kovach as West Seneca’s superintendent. Kovach is a former employee of Hamburg, spending time as principal of Hamburg High School in the 1990s.

Crawford himself is a former employee of West Seneca, spending nine years as the principal of Northwood Elementary School.

The 58-year-old Crawford actually began his education career teaching at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (now Southtowns Catholic School) in Lake View. He later worked as a teacher and a principal at Nardin Academy and also served as a principal for the Williamsville School District before getting his first superintendent job in the Dryden School District.

Wichlacz is confident that Ogilvie, a Hamburg resident, will help set the stage for the district’s short and long-term plans to find Crawford’s replacement.

“Mark is a good man and he will be missed,” said Wichlacz. “He is doing what he believes is the best thing for him and his family and we respect that.”

Crawford will be leaving a job that found him dealing with a $1.8 million deficit that was discovered shortly after he was offered the job. He also had to deal with a recent budget process that evoked much emotion from students, parents and teachers, with the latter group currently at an impasse as the district and the Hamburg Teachers Association negotiate a new contract.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear how the administration and the school board are possibly trying to make what these kids have done, the teachers fault. It is such a joke. They seem to be trying to outdo themselves being more ridiculous and irresponsible than ever, and that, as we all know, is a stretch.

Anonymous said...

It does not matter who these children's parents are. If they aren't marching their kids into the high school principals office to face the music and apologize to their teacher then they aren't good parents. And they aren't doing their children any favors by encouraging them to be dishonorable people.

parent said...


Anonymous said...

Do you expect the supt to do anything right? "he lies even when he knows that you know that he is lying". Easier for him not to do the right thing. Let these kids know and their parents that this is not in the best interest to their sons or daughters to ignor cheating. It is sending the wrong message to the honest students. Rewarding students for this act is unthinkable. They don't deserve to herblot 865be in the national honor society.

drug free school please said...

kids smoking pot and busted allowed to continue playing on the lacrosse team. There are no consequences here and the kids know it. My kids need to be in a drug free school.

Anonymous said...

grade inflation disclaimer- I want to add that I in no way condone the culture that has developed, but it is certainly not a product of chance. There are reasons for this, and they all need to be examined.

Anonymous said...

Irony in Klozman going from the word jerks to talking about a distinctly positive approach.