A Seattle Public Schools investigation has determined that Jim Valiere, former athletic director at Garfield High School, had manufactured grades for a Spanish class that didn't exist in order to keep a heavily recruited basketball player on course to attend his college of choice. Valiere was fired April 11.
As the University of Washington's top recruit, Tony Wroten Jr. needed two years of credit in a foreign language to meet UW admission criteria. Wroten, who some believe could jump to the NBA by the 2012-13 season, had received a D in first-year Spanish, a grade that would have prevented him from advancing to second-year Spanish during this, his senior year.
According to The Seattle Times, Valiere, who is certified to teach Spanish, says he received approval from Garfield principal Ted Howard for Wroten to repeat first-year Spanish under Valiere's tutelage during the spring 2010 semester - a claim Howard denies. Wroten and another struggling student told an SPS investigator that, despite Valiere's account of weekly independent study sessions, they in fact completed no course work, did not use a textbook and didn't attend classes. Both students received C grades.
Likewise, a summer-school class for Wroten that Howard had authorized Valiere to teach never took place. Records indicate that two tests were administered in June, when Wroten was out of town preparing to compete in the Under-17 World Championships for Team USA. Still, Valiere submitted a grade-change form for Wroten in September that was approved by Howard and a counselor.
According to the school district's termination letter, Valiere was attempting to add a grade for a summer course that didn't exist. The district also made note of Valiere allowing six ineligible football players to compete in a game, giving "secret waivers" for athletic fees to 19 students and misleading league and state sports administrators.
Despite all of this, Wroten's admission to Washington will clear if he receives a passing grade in a remedial Spanish class during his final semester. Garfield students have done without an athletic director since October, when Valiere was first placed on administrative leave. He has requested a hearing to dispute his firing.