Mathews Elementary School

A former Greenwood elementary school teacher had her educator certification suspended over allegations she failed to provide requires student services and gave students answers on tests.

Shannon King Patterson was a special education teacher at Mathews Elementary School, with more than 23 years’ experience in education and no prior disciplinary actions on her record with the state board. According to an order of suspension, her certification was suspended for two years, starting Feb. 9, 2021 and ending Feb. 8, 2023.

The order of suspension from the state Board of Education said she was reprimanded Jan. 22, 2020 for failing to provide progress reports and failing to provide student services outlined in their individualized education programs.

“Her supervisors had addressed these issues with Ms. Patterson prior to the reprimand,” the order said. “The reprimand noted that several students were supposed to receive compensatory services to make up for time Ms. Patterson had failed to provide them earlier.”

Patterson said she provided those services, but couldn’t show any documentation proving which students had been served, and when. Then on Feb. 11, 2020, a teacher reported that six students had been sent to Patterson to receive IEP accommodations on their tests. When grading the test, the teacher noticed five of the students received perfect or near-perfect scores, and had the exact same wording in the short-answer section of the test.

The students were retested, and all five scored significantly lower.

“The administrator that retested the students reported that they were frustrated because they did not know the material,” the order said. “The students reported that Ms. Patterson always gave them the answers to the tests by writing the answers out on another sheet of paper for them.”

One student told administrators they didn’t need to pay attention in class because Patterson always provided the answers.

Patterson no longer works for Greenwood County School District 50, and Director of Communications Johnathan Graves said the district would not comment on the personnel matter aside from saying staff followed all appropriate procedures and policies regarding this matter.

The state board found this evidence showed Patterson behaved unprofessionally and unethically, and they suspended her certification. The order outlined a reinstatement process, which requires Patterson to complete a course provided by National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification.