**UPDATED**What Happened At Family Foundations Academy Today-Reporters, DOE & Letters, Oh My!

Family Foundations Academy

I just got this email:

  • Concerned Too 
  • Today at 5:03 PM


  • me

The Backstabbing and Nefarious Penny Schwinn’s Email With The Original Timeline To Christina School District

148th General Assembly, Delaware Priority Schools Takeover


This was sent to me anonymously via email just now.  I have no doubt this is real as it matches exactly with information I was given a week ago from the Friends Of Christina group.  Did Markell have a chat with Penny Schwinn to bump this up?  Why would the DOE all of a sudden change everything?  This is the evil tactics Schwinn and the DOE have been up to.  They play games constantly.  Don’t believe the spin the News Journal puts on this.  They toyed with Christina and the only reason for this change is to put the screws to them.

Sent: Friday, December 26, 2014 2:20:46 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Subject: Fwd: Thank you for your submission


Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

——– Original message ——–

From: Schwinn Penny
Date:12/26/2014 1:44 PM (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Thank you for your submission

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your recent submission of Priority School draft plans, the proposed MOU between the Department and the District, as well as the MOU between Christina School District and its collective bargaining agreement.

Please expect feedback to be returned to you within five (5) business days. For clarity, you should expect to receive feedback in the early afternoon of January 5th. (As a reminder, the State of Delaware granted 12/24, 12/25, 12/26, 1/1, and 1/2 as holidays/vacation days. The review days will therefore occur beginning at 12:30pm on 12/22 through 12:30pm on 1/5).

We recognize that the turnaround time for the District between 12:30pm on 1/5 to COB on 1/7 is likely too tight to be able to review, discuss, and implement the feedback that may be provided. As a result, the Department offers to do the following:

•        Further extend the initial plan deadline to 1/9/15 COB

•        The Department would conduct a review over five business days and provide the District with the plans status levels at that time

•        If the plans are “substantially approvable,” the Department would provide additional feedback to the schools

•        The Department would provide for a community engagement window to run through 1/21/15. This window would allow for a second opportunity for the community to provide feedback on the full plans and any revisions required

•        The final version of the plans would be due to the Department on 1/21/15 by COB (5:00pm)

•        The Department would review the final versions of the plans and provide a final announcement on or around 1/20/15.

We had also discussed the publication of manuals regarding “next steps.” Given the potentially extended timeline as well as our focus on reviewing your plans comprehensively over this condensed holiday season, we will also plan to publish the manuals shortly into the new year. We sincerely hope that this additional time, should you opt into accepting it, will allow for more community feedback in the month of January on the actual plans, should they be substantially approvable on January 9, 2015.

Thank you again for submitting drafts of your plans. We hope that the being able to provide feedback in advance of the final review will give the District every opportunity to solicit the feedback and make the revisions needed. Although the offers to meet in December were declined, the Department continues to offer the opportunity to meet to discuss the feedback and a list of the days and times available can be sent if CSD changes its mind and would like to meet to discuss any content regarding the Priority Schools.

Have a wonderful holiday and we look forward to connecting in the near future.


Penny Schwinn
Chief Accountability and Performance Officer
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901-3639

Who Shot The Blogger? Down To The Sweet 16! Who advanced and who was eliminated?

Murder Mystery


We are down to the Sweet 16!  Many hard-core eliminations in Round 1.  Here are those who have been cleared as suspects: Danielle Blount, Audrey Erschen, Senator Gregory Lavelle, Dale Brown, Pete Kramer, Brian Touchette, lastDEconservative, Arne Duncan, Pat Heffernan, Donna Johnson, Janet Miller, Vincent Winterling, Ryan Fennerty, Mary-Ann Mieczkowski, and Matthew Albright.

Now we go down to the next round, which will only run for 3 days!









*as always with this farce of an unreal situation, none of the suspects are actually violent people.  This is pure satire on my part, and I didn’t really get shot and killed or I wouldn’t be typing this.  I love all these people, like I love gum on my shoe.  They are a part of the landscape for education in Delaware.  That reminds me, I need to do some weeding….



The End?


Well said Jackie! Last night was painful to watch.

Minding My Matters

From my earliest years as an educator I’ve seen my career ladder as union instead of administration. Despite all the times I’ve considered getting out of education altogether, the other types of jobs/careers I’ve applied for, and the energy I’ve spent on uncovering other avenues of earning a living wage, being a union member has kept me in the game. I’m not just saying that; I am literally an educator at this time solely due to the potential opportunities open to me as a member of the NEA.

All that, however, may be changing. Last night I realized I may not have what it takes to be a union leader.

Over the years I’ve watched other union leader educators, many of whom I deeply admire and implicitly trust, make concessions I always felt I could never make. I’ve sat on the sidelines and taken the hard line approach, finding alternative…

View original post 530 more words

DOE Sets A Trap For Christina They Can’t Get Out Of, Penny Schwinn Sinks To New Lows Of Cunning And Manipulation

Delaware Priority Schools Takeover

At the Christina School District Board of Education meeting this evening, the board announced the Delware Department of Education has set new strict guidelines regarding their memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the priority schools.  The DOE gave Christina three options in regards to their very limited choices:

1) Approve their existing MOU which the DOE has already said is not approvable.

2) Develop a negotiating team made of 3 members of the board, the superintendent, and other members hand-picked by the superintendent.  This team would have to meet with the DOE by 1/9 (Friday) and agree to a memorandum of understanding.  The DOE would no longer give feedback on the plan.  If the sides were not able to come to an agreement, the district would have the opportunity to choose one of the three turnaround models-turn the school into a charter, school closure, or turn it over to a management company.  If the two sides were able to come to an agreement, the Christina Board would have to vote on it at their 1/13 meeting.

3) If no action is taken, and all items are tabled, the turnaround models would again be the only option.

The board voted unanimously for option #2 and to allow for three or more board members to attend the meeting.  As board member John Young pointed out, this put the board in violation of open meeting law because they would not have one week to publish a notice of an open meeting in the event four members of the seven member board, as per Title 29 regulations for the state of Delaware.  Another board member pointed out the DOE put them in this position.

The superintendent advised the board all of the options are horrible, but they are left with little choice.  State Representative Paul Baumbach advised the board it is a gesture of good faith, and if the board doesn’t honor this last ditch effort, basically it wouldn’t look good.

The board voted not to bring legal counsel to the negation meeting which the DOE advised they should.  They also voted not to invite any legislators to the meeting as well.  None of the members of the board or the audience were happy with the decision.  The DOE set a trap for the Christina School Board and they had little choice but to choose one of the three options and #1 and #3 were not even options.  This does not mean the Christina can’t or won’t submit a “nuclear option” at some point.

The board discussed how the DOE and Christina could not come to agreement on two key issues, the firing of two Christina priority school principals and laying off the staff and only half of them would be able to be rehired.

In terms of where this negotiation meeting would be held, a twisted yet hysterical part of the meeting came when board member Harrie Ruth Minnehan read DOE Chief Proficiency Officer Penny Schwinn’s hours of availability during the next two days.  The longest block of time she could provide was two hours, but only if they met in Wilmington, between 9-11am on Friday.  Yes, I can see how bad the DOE wants to negotiate in good faith…

The Christina Educators Association had a press conference before hand where CEA President Mike Kempski wanted to give teachers an opportunity to speak about the priority schools.  A few teachers spoke very heartfelt and candid speeches.  After that, Nelia Dolan, one of the founders of Delaware Parents and Teachers for Public Education, announced the creation of the group and their support for the Priority Schools.  The group plans to bring their iPetition to Governor Markell’s office in Dover on 1/12, but that plan may change given the change in the priority timetable.

This cunning and duplicitousness on the part of the DOE, who had changed the final date to January 16th and then did an about face on this 1/5 and changed the date to January 9th, has shown they do not care about collaboration or negotiation.  Which just proves my theory all along, which I advised the board of during my public comment, these schools will become charter schools at the Community Education Building in Wilmington.

Even though Red Clay Consolidated School District signed their MOU, the Delaware DOE has not fully agreed to it.  My prediction: six new charter schools will open in the next school year unless Christina chooses the nuclear option.  Or some 3rd party comes in and does something!