Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day to all the great Dads out there!  It was ten years ago when I had my first Fathers Day.  My son was only a few months old, but on that day I saw and heard him laugh for the first time.  My wife swears he had done it prior to that, but it was the first time I saw it.  Seeing that was the best Fathers Day present ever.  It’s a great day to be a Dad.  Summer is kicking in, everyone is outside, and the sun is shining.  This year my son made me a card, with all of his awesome artwork, and I will keep it forever!

Today is also the last day of Tourette’s Syndrome Awareness Month, so I thought I would post video about TS to show everyone what these kids go through.  It’s not an easy thing, this TS, but so many kids handle it with a grace that more of us adults should have.  We can learn a lot from them.  One of my favorite phrases I see about TS is “I have Tourette’s, but Tourette’s doesn’t have me.”

I will be finishing my Delaware Special Ed grades this week, along with my first interview with a Delaware special education advocate!

From the HBO Documentary about Tourette’s Syndrome

See how kids who have Tourette’s really feel!

Facts About Special Education at The Charter School of Wilmington (CSW)

Here are some well known facts about The Charter School of Wilmington, some taken from their very own website!

The founding companies behind CSW are DuPont, Ashland (Hercules), AstraZeneca, Christiana Care, Delmarva Power, and Verizon.

CSW has a whopping .6% of their student population with special education.

CSW was named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education.

This Wilmington, Delaware school had an African-American population of 5.5% for the 2013-2014 academic year.

CSW was ranked #62 on Newsweek’s 2013 list of best schools in America.

For their monthly Board of Directors minutes, nothing has been put on their website since 3/25/14.

They haven’t updated their finances since 3/25/14 either….

For their federal aid, it doesn’t break it down into subgroups on that financial statement, so there is no way to find out how much they get from the federal government for IDEA-B funding, which is the funding schools get based on their number of IEPs.  But wait, I’ll look at their 2013 Audit.  Maybe that will give me some more information!  Nope, just shows the amount of federal funding left over after the 2012-2013 school year to be $45, 174.00.  So how much does Charter School of Wilmington get for their Federal IDEA-B funding?  Someone had to have paid for those 6 special ed students from the 2013-2014 school year.  6 out of 970….

Before the charter school lovers go nuts, yes, I know, this is a STEM school.  One of the best in the country.  I guess special ed kids aren’t good at math or science?

Let’s take a look at their application process.  Maybe there is a good reason why special ed kids don’t make it into this prestigious school.  I would talk to their admissions panel, but as per the CSW website that information is CONFIDENTIAL.  So how do you get in?  As an 8th grader, you have to take a placement test in December or January.  That sounds fair.  I guess only the best get in.  Wait a minute, nobody would know that, because their INTEREST RUBRIC SCORES for the tests, which include test scores, an essay, and a recommendation form, are CONFIDENTIAL too.  And their admission scoring is proprietary.  And if you wanted to find out what your child scored on the test, apparently that scoring won’t be shared by anyone in phone or in person.  Well I should just stop looking at the frequently asked questions tab and go straight to the admissions policy.

Top priority goes to students who express a specific interest in going to CSW.  This is measured on a point scale.  198 points is calculated based on their placement test, which covers math and reading.  The applicants report card grades for 7th and 8th grade carry a weight of up to 120 points.  Another maximum of 65 points can be awarded to a student who excels in teacher recommendations, enrollment in honors classes for Math or Science, extracurricular activities in Math or Science, and an essay the applicant gets to write.  If you get 325 points, you meet the requirements for the specific interest.  Great!

Now if you get less than 325 points, don’t lose hope!  Cause you can request an interview with the school.  You could have an “otherwise compelling eligibility” and the President of the School can consider ANY additional information about you to make a decision!  You also have to reside in the Red Clay School District.  And you can get extra consideration if you have a brother or sister that goes there, or one of your parents works there!

Well, let me take a look at the actual application and see what it says on there.  Oh wait, I missed the boat!  The 2014-2015 application closed on January 8th of this year.  Oh well.  Maybe I can google it.  Awesome, the Delaware DOE website has it!  But it’s from 1996….but I can check that out.  Dammit!  That’s their application to become a charter school.  I can’t find it anywhere online.  Does anyone know if it asks if the student has an IEP or special education?

With their preferred interest test, does anyone know if they accommodate students who do have an IEP when they take the test?  Hmm….  Sorry folks, I tried to get more information on special education at Charter School of Wilmington, but it appears my well has run dry.  But I won’t give up!

 

Which schools got a D in Special Education in Delaware? Find out here!

I went over which schools got the Big F for special ed yesterday.  Those were schools that managed to have 7% or less of their student population with special education.  Today, I will go over the schools that got a poor D!  These are schools that have 7.1% to 8.5% of their kids with special ed.  Not good no matter how you look at it, but better than an F!

Academy of Dover (Charter): 8.4%

Brandywine Springs School (Elementary): 8.5%

Brookside Elementary School: 8.3%

Castle Hills Elementary School: 7.1%

Concord High School: 7.3%

Delmar Middle School: 7.4%

Downie Elementary School: 7.8%

East Dover Elementary School: 7.1%

Frear Elementary School: 8.4%

Gallaher Elementary School: 7.8%

Hartly Elementary School: 8.1%

Marshall Elementary School: 7.4%

Middletown High School: 8.2%

Mote Elementary School: 7.4%

Oberle Elementary School: 7.6%

Pleasantville Elementary School: 8.5%

Simpson Elementary School: 7.7%

Smith Elementary School: 7.5%

Star Hill Elementary School: 8.4%

Sunnyside Elementary School: 8.5%

Sussex Technical High School: 7.7%

Waters Middle School: 7.7%

West Park Place Elementary School: 7.9%

Only 23 public schools (public, charter and vocational) in Delaware got a D.  Not as bad as the F Club.  Some of you have a very strong chance of getting into the C club or higher during the 2014-2015 Academic Year.  I would make that happen.  You are no Charter School of Wilmington, but you need a great deal of work.  Don’t forget parents, these are based on the Delaware average for special education in our schools, which is at 13.5%.  Some have estimated that as high as 22% of kids in Delaware should be on an IEP due to their exceptionalities.  So as a state, we have a long way to go.