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Madison Park administrator placed on leave

Madison Park Technical High School in Roxbury.
Madison Park Technical High School in Roxbury.(John Blanding/Globe Staff)

The Boston School Department placed a low-level administrator at the city's vocational high school on paid leave Thursday as school officials investigate problems with class schedules that have created havoc for more than a week.

Lee McGuire, a School Department spokesman, declined to identify the administrator at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School or any specific allegations they are looking at, saying only that “it is related to some issues we’ve been seeing in the school regarding schedules.”

The administrator is not part of the school’s leadership team and is considered more rank and file, qualifying for membership in the Boston Teachers Union.

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Richard Stutman, the union’s president, defended the administrator. He said the School Department is wrongfully using the administrator as a “scapegoat for the travesty Madison Park has undergone for the last few months.”

“This one person, I would argue, is not at fault at all,” said Stutman. “He’s been doing his job methodically and well for decades at Madison Park, and people are outraged that he would be singled out.”

He added, “I think the problems at Madison Park start at the top at Madison Park.”

The move came as many Madison Park students endured a sixth day of school with faulty schedules. Problems include students being assigned to classes they have already taken or being assigned to the wrong classrooms, according to school officials. The School Department is planning to work through the weekend to fix the programs, McGuire said.

Headmaster Diane Ross Gary attempted to address the problems and boost morale in a letter she e-mailed to staff members after school ended Thursday.

“We are in a much better place now than we have been before here,” Gary wrote in the letter, which the School Department provided to the Globe.

“I want you to know that we recognize the work is not yet finished and that we are listening and responding to every issue you are raising,” she added.

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For the first four days of school, most students and teachers went without a schedule , preventing classes from being held. The crisis culminated in a student-organized rally Tuesday morning during which they demanded that their education begin immediately. By day’s end, the School Department reported that schedules for all students had been generated; they continue, however, to be riddled with problems.

City leaders from Mayor Martin J. Walsh to Boston School Committee members have blasted the School Department, calling the scheduling problems unacceptable.

A number of issues created the scheduling problems, such as switching from a seven-
period day to an eight-period day and increasing the consecutive hours that students spend in vocational programs, school officials have said.

The School Department also ordered Madison Park to make fundamental changes in the way it schedules courses so that all students, regardless of their learning challenges, had equal opportunities for placement.

In previous years, the school assigned regular education classes first and would then admit students with disabilities or those with limited fluency in English if there were enough seats or if an aide were available to help them.

Chassity Burton of Dorchester said her daughter is still being assigned to wrong classes. For instance, her daughter has been placed in an English class for students learning how to speak English, even though the girl is fluent. Burton also faulted the administration for not keeping students abreast of all the problems.

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Most of all, she is concerned about the loss of learning time.


James Vaznis can be reached at jvaznis@globe.com.