CHAPEL HILL -- As Chapel Hill High School deals with revelations of cheating and dishonesty, Principal Jackie Ellis is looking at the work East Chapel Hill High has done over the past several years to address both.In 2001, after learning some students at East had been cheating, Latin teacher Betsy Dawson and then science teacher Gail Boyarsky talked with Principal David Thaden and the faculty to better understand the problem. A student survey informed them that cheating was as rampant at their school as surveys showed it was nationwide, Dawson said. And they joined the Center for Academic Integrity, a national organization that was housed at Duke University. They adopted the center's proactive educational approach.That meant revamping the school's honor code to include clear definitions of cheating and the consequences for it. It meant putting brochures in the hands of every student that define honesty, integrity, responsibility and honor at the school. It meant recruiting students willing to meet with cheaters to talk about how cheating hurts all the students. It meant encouraging teachers to confront cheaters and hold them accountable.The school now has an academic integrity committee, which includes an administrator, two parents, teacher representatives from every department and students. East also has a student-run group called Student Academic Integrity and Leadership, or SAIL, which meets in Dawson's room on Fridays. About 15 students show up on a regular basis to talk about how to improve a culture in the school where doing one's work on one's own is more important than getting it all right.Dawson said although some teachers still don't turn in cheaters and kids still cheat, she has noticed improvement. She used to hear kids say, "Well, of course we cheat." "You don't hear that now," she said."We can't say that we've eliminated cheating," Dawson added, "but we can say that we have changed the climate to some extent and kids at least think about it." Cheating tends to be more common in high schools than in colleges, said Daniel Wueste, director of the Robert J. Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson University, which is now home to the Center for Academic Integrity. "I think more in high schools than in colleges, the problem is focusing too much on the product and neglecting the process," he said. "The product is the exam score or the final grade. But that's not the most important thing. The important thing is the process of learning."At Chapel Hill High School, about a dozen students were implicated last month in two cheating scandals. In one, a student used a camera phone to copy a teacher's answer sheet for a mid-term exam and sent it to a few friends. The investigation into that led to the discovery that copies of a school master key have been passed among students who have allegedly used the key to enter the school at night to obtain test answers. Students have admitted to having and using the key, but not to using it to cheat. Ellis said Thursday that she e-mailed all parents at the school more than a week ago because she wanted to stop rumors that hundreds of students were involved and to start discussions with students, teachers and parents about the incidents. "If you don't accept blame or acknowledge that a problem does exist, then how do you begin to address it?" Ellis said.Ellis, who is new to CHHS this school year, said she already knew there was a problem. To get more familiar with the school when she took the job, she had looked through last school year's yearbook and noted a story titled, "Cheating: how students got by." The story had a pie chart indicating that 80 percent of students admitted cheating. Last week, she learned the school newspaper ran an article in February 2007 written by a student who was outraged that students were cheating and everyone was letting them get away with it.Ellis said she wants to change that culture. The school formed an academic integrity committee this school year to come up with a long-term plan. That committee has contacted Dawson to learn what East Chapel Hill High School has done.Although the past week's discussions have been painful, Ellis said, some good has come out of these revelations."I hear the parents, teachers and students talking about it," she said. "It's not just an article in the school paper."