Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg High School principal placed on leave as district investigates concern about grading.

The principal of Harrisburg’s largest public school has been placed on leave following a concern about grading, district officials said today.

School board President Judd Pittman confirmed this morning that Lisa Love, the principal at Harrisburg High School’s John Harris Campus, is on administrative leave pending investigation.

Pittman declined to comment on the nature of the investigation, but a district spokeswoman said it was spurred by a concern about adherence to the district’s grading policy.

“District officials have shared that a new grading policy and procedure were implemented during the 2017-2018 school year, and they are looking into an expressed concern to ensure that the policy and procedure were applied with fidelity,” spokeswoman Kirsten Keys said in a written statement. “Please note, any and all administrative leaves were procedural in practice and in no way imply any wrongdoing by the staff impacted by our decisions.”

Keys did not name any other staff who were placed on leave. She could not comment on personnel matters due to the ongoing, internal investigation, she said.

Love joined the Harrisburg school district in July 2016 as an assistant principal at Rowland Academy, according to school board minutes.

She became principal at John Harris High School in January 2017 after serving as a grant-funded transformation specialist at the same school.

As principal at John Harris, Love’s crackdown on unexcused absences led the school to issue more than 500 suspension notices on a single day in March 2017. At least 100 students served one-day suspensions, while others disputed the disciplinary action, according to PennLive.

She also hosted a series of community outreach forums, including public meetings with parents and “Dinner with the Principal” events.

Pittman did not say if Love is being paid while on leave. She is the second-highest paid employee in the district, taking home a $114,000 annual salary, according to documents obtained through a Right to Know request.

John Harris is the city’s largest public school, serving 1,056 students in 2017, according to Pennsylvania Department of Education enrollment data.

A Pennsylvania School Performance Profile shows that 83 percent of John Harris students are economically disadvantaged and 24 percent are English language learners. The school reported a 55 percent graduation rate in 2017.

Attempts to reach Love today were unsuccessful, as her address and phone number are not publicly listed. The district also declined a request to share her contact information with a reporter.

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