In April, the El Paso Independent School District admitted infractions of its staff members, including potentially illegal actions that took place at Bowie High School.
According to sources, those same actions may have been taking place inside Jefferson High School at the same time.
Terri Jordan revealed an internal audit several weeks ago that included allegations of promoting and holding back students inappropriately, and information about potentially forged documents.
As a result, current and former EPISD employees contacted ABC-7 to give confidential information that there were more issues than first revealed, and that the same actions may have been taking place at other secondary schools.
Adequate Yearly Progress reports, known as AYP reports, track many things. That includes Limited English Proficiency students who have trouble performing ordinary class work in English.
These are the students that one Bowie teacher told me were, "killing our scores."
The No Child Left behind Act requires schools to track the progress of students. If you have at least 50 students in any subgroup, including LEP, special education, and others, they count separately toward a school's pass or fail rating.
Documents obtained, and analyzed by the ABC-7 I-team, show that from 2004 until 2009 Bowie and Jefferson High Schools were mirror images. Both schools often missed required progress measures, but always hosted enough LEP students to be tracked. At times more than 100 LEP students were registered in AYP reports.
In 2010 something remarkable happened, LEP students disappeared.
For the first time of all records made available by the Texas Education Agency online, neither school had enough LEP students to count against them. Bowie and Jefferson simultaneously graded as "academically acceptable" for their federal accountability rating. The first time both schools earned that achievement the same school year of all records ABC-7 checked.
Two teachers, and one administrator, who spoke with ABC-7, questioned how two schools so close to the border of Mexico could have lost so many LEP students that they would no longer be tracked.
When asked how those numbers could dip below the magic number of 50, allowing the schools to achieve higher academic success than in previous years, one teacher said, "They couldn't, not unless they manipulated the numbers."
When asked for an explanation of those numbers, the EPISD took two weeks to formulate a response. Rather than field questions a spokesperson responded, in part: "Allegations similar to those your station is inquiring about have already been shared with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
The EPISD added that it's working with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Education and wouldn't comment further in an attempt to avoid interference with an ongoing investigation.