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Carver Elementary parents aim to reboot PTA after SOL cheating scandal

RICHMOND, Va. -- There hasn't been an official Parent-Teacher Association at Carver Elementary School since 1998, according to school leaders.

Only three parents showed up to an informational meeting Tuesday night to reboot the organization on the heels of an SOL cheating scandal.

A report released Monday afternoon into "testing irregularities" at Richmond's George W. Carver Elementary School detailed inappropriate assistance provided to students at the school.

Investigators who spoke with multiple students admitted a group of teachers helped them correct wrong answers during the most recent round of state sponsored Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.

There were more members of the media who showed up to the PTA meeting at VCU's Office of Community Engagement than there were parents.

RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras, School Board Member Scott Barlow, and other school leaders were present as well.

Kamras said questions about the Carver report will be answered and discussed when parents and administrators meet at the elementary school Wednesday night. This meeting was about organizing a new PTA, he said.

"It's about building trust and you can’t have a PTA with three parents," the former PTA President Mariah White told the group.

The Carver report recommends RPS look into "Licensure Regulations for School Personnel in the Virginia Administrative Code.” This section of state law outlines the process for removing a teacher’s license for “acts related to secure mandatory tests,” such as S.O.L. testing.

Part of the uncertainty over the future of some Carver teachers carries some of the distrust among parents, according to White.

White explained those parents live predominately in the Gilpin Court housing community and are often hardest to reach to support the administrators.

"The parents don’t really feel welcome when they come in the school. You have to go in the community for them to get out," White described.

Mariah White

White is a school mentor and parent to a fourth and first grader at Carver Elementary School this coming fall. The mother served as the school's unofficial PTA president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary last year since so few parents wanted to participate.

For 2018, parents Katie and Jason Snook said they planned to take a leadership role in the newly formed PTA at Carver Elementary. Their daughter, Grace, will begin first grade at the school in the fall.

"I'm very confident in all the teachers they have there. I think they are going to do a good job and we are standing behind the administration and the principal," Snook said.

Katie and Jason Snook

Former principal Dr. Kiwana Yates lead the teachers that were labeled her "inner circle" during the cheating scandal, according to the report.

In June, it was announced that Yates was being removed as school leader. Tiawana Giles, who was present during Tuesday's meeting, was announced as her replacement.

RPS said they cannot comment on the employment status of the teachers involved, per district personnel policy. CBS 6 visited several addresses listed to teachers and administrators named in the VDOE report, but no one answered the door at any of the locations.