Teacher in sex abuse investigation rated as 'average' instructor
The Miramonte Elementary School teacher arrested Tuesday on suspicion of committing lewd acts on students ranks as a teacher of average effectiveness, according to a Times value-added analysis of standardized test scores.
Mark H. Berndt, who was a third-grade teacher before he was fired, was found to be of average effectiveness in 2010 in both math and English, based on the test scores from 90 students. Teachers were invited by The Times to comment on their scoring, but Berndt did not.
His 2010 rating was an improvement over 2009, when he rated less than average at improving student test scores in math.
Berndt began teaching at Miramonte in August 1979, according to his L.A. Unified School District employment history obtained by The Times. He also worked for the district from September 1976 to June 1977 as a teaching assistant.
The document says that Berndt met standard performance in five evaluations over the last decade, and that no disciplinary issues are on file.
Miramonte Elementary, located in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone neighborhood of southeast Los Angeles, ranks as a least effective school, according to an analysis. The analysis showed the school was considered least effective overall, as well as in math and English.
Overall, Berndt was one of the more effective teachers at Miramonte, according to the Times’ formula.
According to data from the 2009-10 academic year, Miramonte had nearly 1,500 students, with about 56% receiving free or reduced-price lunches.
Berndt was arrested Monday and charged with lewd acts on 23 children for allegedly tying them up, placing giant cockroaches on their faces and possibly feeding them his semen from a spoon, authorities said.
He was arrested after a nearly yearlong investigation by the L.A. County sheriff's special victims unit that began when a photo processor turned over pictures of some of the alleged acts to authorities.
Capt. Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the victims identified so far are 23 boys and girls aged 7 to 10 who had contact with Berndt between 2008 and 2010.
-- Rick Rojas and Howard Blume
Photo: Mark Berndt. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department; The school. Credit: Google