These Schools in Delaware get a big F grade for Special Education

On the school profiles section of the Delaware Department of Education website, you can find what population of a public school in Delaware is special education. The state average is roughly 13.5%. These schools couldn’t even get above 7% of their population having special education. Something is wrong with this picture. Sure, no school can get dead on with an average, but that far below? Either students aren’t getting the services they are entitled, or there is some major cherry-picking going on! So without further ado, here are the schools that get the BIG F in special ed:

Appoquinimonk High School: 5.8%
Aspiras (Charter): 2.4%
Bunker Hill Elementary School: 5.8%
Calloway School of the Arts: 2.5%
Cedar Lane Elementary School: 6.4%
Charter School of Wilmington: 0.6%
Conrad Schools of Science: 2.9%
Delaware College Prep (Charter): 4.1%
Delaware Military Academy (Charter): 2.8%
Downes Elementary School: 6.0%
Dunbar Elementary School: 5.6%
East Millsboro Elementary School: 4.5%
Family Foundations (Charter): 5.9%
Forest Oak Elementary School: 5.8%
Heritage Elementary School: 6.2%
Kuumba Academy Charter School: 5.7%
Lewis Dual Language School: 5.4%
Linden Hill Elementary School: 3.7%
Loss (Olive B) Elementary School: 5.4%
MOT Charter: 5.9%
Newark Charter School: 5.7%
North Star Elementary School: 2.1%
Odyssey Charter: 4.0%
Providence Creek (Charter): 4.4%
Reach Academy (Charter): 5.3%
Shields (Richard A) Elementary School: 7%
Southern Delaware School Of Arts: 6.6%
Sussex Academy (Charter): 4.4%
Thomas Edison Charter: 6.8%
Welch (Major George) Elementary School: 3.0%
Wilbur (Kathleen H.) Middle School: 6.5%
Woodbridge Elementary School: 6.4%

Damn! Going through this I did not expect to find so many. 32 schools in the First State, last in special education. I did not include schools with just pre-K or kindergarten. These are all based on the 2013-2014 academic year. The GIGANTIC F goes to Charter School of Wilmington (CSW) who couldn’t even get into the 1% range with their miserable .6%. What is up with that? Special ed parents: You may run across some of these schools when you are looking at your choice options in Delaware. I would definitely use caution, but that may be what some of these schools want.

If any school wants to comment or send me a reason why their special ed numbers are so low, please do so and I will publish the response.  This information can be found here: http://profiles.doe.k12.de.us/SchoolProfiles/State/Default.aspx

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8 thoughts on “These Schools in Delaware get a big F grade for Special Education

  1. I don’t know that the percentage of Special Education students is a criterion for rating a school in Special Education. What are the statistics on the progress of those students at those schools?

    As the parent two teachers at a charter school, I would be leery of enrolling a Special Education student at a charter. I would wonder about the resources available there.

    CWS and NCS may be cherry picking their students. I don’t see how TPS can be doing so. I expect there may be some self selection involved in the numbers at Cab Calloway and Conrad and possibly at some charters.

    Certainly, listening to some of the stories from my kids I find the allegation that charters as a whole are skimming the cream of the crop ludicrous.

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    1. DE charters seem to come in quite different flavors. Some are happy to enroll any students who are interested, and their measurable outcomes are similar to or worse than those of TPS’s in their areas. The coveted ones, those attaining measurable results superior to those of most TPSs in their areas, do appear to “skim,” by family income and/or student ability (judging by DOE demographic stats and school application criteria). I’ve seen bar graphs of DE charter student populations by student race and family income. Nearly all DE charters have either very well-off and white/Asian student populations OR very poor and black/Latino student populations. There are only 2-3 with a more “integrated” student body, in terms of race and class/wealth.

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  2. All charters need to stop asking on applications if the applicant has an IEP or special needs. I would love to know how many parents have applied to charter schools with that question having been answered as yes and how many of those kids actually got in. Until I hear from a lot of parents that their special needs child got into a charter school in Delaware, I will not change my belief.

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    1. My son was wait listed after a lottery at #10. About one month later we got the call he was in. By then we had decided to sty in our traditional school.

      Many people think I am anti-charter. What I am against is any system that does not take all children into account and that includes choice options that do not consider the children whose parents don’t, won’t, or can’t choose either to apply for a charter or not.

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  3. JLF, do you have a sense how TPS’s could be actively reducing their spec ed numbers? Unless a large number of spec ed kids are going to a charter designed for their needs (like Gateway), or to a district school for spec ed children, I’m not sure where else those children could enroll, other than in their feeder school. Are you assuming that they’re homeschooled, or choicing out of unwelcoming feeders? It seems more likely, to me, that the % of spec ed kids varies significantly from community to community, to account for the variation in TPS spec ed percentages. But I don’t know. Thanks for your advocacy work.

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    1. Eve, when I’m done with all this grading, I’m going to take a strong look at that very question and see if I can spot some trends. I do know quite a few parents who have given up on any public school and gone the homeschool route.

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  4. As a special education teacher for 25 years and former Response to Intervention Coordinator in an elementary school, did it occur to you that schools might have a low number of identified special education students because they are providing differentiated instruction to address student needs and their RTI intervention programs are actually working?

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    1. Sure, but RTI is not and should not be used as a substitute for special education. Furthermore, the fact that basic special education in K-3 is not funded at all in Delaware schools speaks volumes about why RTI is utilized so heavily in Delaware schools.

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