Which Schools Will Become Priority Schools For 2015-2016? The List Of Contenders…

Delaware Priority Schools Takeover

The below email between employees at the Delaware Department of Education from June 21st, 2014, shows what criteria was used for picking the priority schools.  Five of the six priority schools chosen for 2014-2015 are in here, and I would have to assume some of these schools would be removed from the list based on their removal from partnership zone status earlier this year.  I have bolded the ones that are currently priority schools or are no longer turn-around schools.  Why isn’t Shortlidge on this list?

Even more interesting is some of the former partnership schools that were NOT on this list, but the reasons for that are clearly spelled out in the criteria.  What is truly bizarre is the addition of charter schools.  Especially the one that was closed a year and a half prior to this email.  Moyer and Reach have already been ordered to shut down by the end of this current school year, so my guess would be charters are no longer a part of this program since they are already subject to their own performance framework.

The press release they talk about in the email would most likely have been the one from May, 2014 on the new child nutrition “free lunch” program.  There is a DOE website in the press release for all the schools that qualified for the prior program.

Fri 6/20/2014 8:54 AM

Rivello Angeline

Found the list of schools

To   Cannon Tasha <tasha.cannon@doe.k12.de.us>

cc    Adkins Ruth E. <ruth.adkins@doe.k12.de.us>


I found the list in the press release.  It also explains at the bottom how they were selected.  Let me know if you have questions.  Trying to do clean up before vaca week next week. 🙂 

Eligible Schools

The initiative’s eligible schools for the next two years are:

· Brandywine School District’s Harlan Elementary

· Cape Henlopen School District’s Brittingham Elementary

· Capital School District’s South Dover, Towne Point and East Dover elementary schools and Dover High

· Christina School District’s Christiana High, Brookside Elementary, Bayard Middle, Elbert-Palmer Elementary, Pulaski Elementary, Oberle Elementary, Glasgow High, Stubbs Elementary and Bancroft Elementary

· Colonial School District’s McCullough Middle, Colwyck Elementary, Castle Hills Elementary, Downie Elementary and Eisenberg Elementary

· Indian River School District’s Georgetown, North Georgetown, and Clayton elementary schools

· Laurel School District’s Laurel Middle

· Red Clay Consolidated School District’s Warner Elementary, Highlands Elementary, A.I. duPont Middle, Mote Elementary, Richardson Park Elementary, Baltz Elementary, Lewis Elementary, Marbrook Elementary and Stanton Middle

· Seaford School District’s West Seaford and Blades elementary schools

· New Castle County Vo-Tech School District’s Howard High School of Technology

· Charter schools: Positive Outcomes, Thomas Edison, EastSide, Prestige, Academy of Dover, Family Foundations, Delaware College Preparatory Academy, Kuumba Academy, Pencader, Moyer and Reach

Delaware Department of Education chose the eligible schools, which have at least 100 students, based upon the following criteria:

· A school’s inclusion in the state’s Partnership Zone

  • A school’s appearance in the “Top 15 schools” in at least two of the following three categories: highest percentages of minority students, highest percentages of low-income students (students on free- and reduced-price lunches), and highest percentages of English language learners.
  • In addition, schools could be eligible if they have at least 75 percent of their students in any one of the three above categories.

 Angeline A. Willen Rivello

Director, Teacher & Administrator Quality 

Teacher & Leader Effectiveness Unit

Delaware Department of Education

Collette Education Resource Center

35 Commerce Way, Suite 1

Dover, DE 19904

302.857.3388 (T)  302.739.1777 (F)



DPAS II Proposal For DE State Board of Education, Prior To Their Vote

DPAS II, Uncategorized

The below e-mail and documents were sent to the Delaware State Board of Education prior to their vote to approve or decline the regulatory changes for DPAS-II.  This highly controversial regulatory change troubled the vast majority of educators in Delaware.  The last document is quite disturbing, as is the e-mail from Chris Ruszkowski to his superiors…

Fri 6/13/2014 12:47 PM

Ruszkowski Christopher

DDOE Deck in support of revisions to Regulations 106A/7A/8A

To  Murphy Mark <mark.murphy@doe.k12.de.us>; O’Mara Lindsay <lindsay.omara@state.de.us>; McLaughlin Mary Kate <marykate.mclaughlin@doe.k12.de.us>

cc  Niebrzydowski Eric <eric.niebrzydowski@doe.k12.de.us>; Young Shana <shana.young@doe.k12.de.us>; Alleyne Atnre <atnre.alleyne@doe.k12.de.us>; Haberstroh Susan Keene <susan.haberstroh@doe.k12.de.us>


Attached is a deck that we’ve put together for Donna’s internal use as she preps SBOE members for next week’s vote.  Shana did much of the heavy lift here, working with Michelle & Atnre as well to recap the year that was. 

Since the deck is meant for internal usage, it’s not polished in terms of messaging.  But what it does include is:

1) The twenty changes we’ve made to C-V based upon educator feedback

2) The numerous educator engagement meetings we’ve held this year

3) The rating patterns that lead to an overall rating of “Needs Improvement”, as proposed)

4) An awesome slide w/ data on the difference (for students) between being rated NI & HE

5) On overview of the high-level regulatory revisions in all three regs…including how we’re raising the bar for administrators

6) Within the second attachment, all of the revisions to teacher evaluation that got left on the cutting room floor as a result of educator feedback.

Working to get over the finish line next week, and to have us 100% ready to deliver training in July.  Susan has been instrumental in helping us coordinate on the regulatory work.

I’m thinking some version of this could be helpful in other avenues as well–just let us know.  Please don’t use it without giving us another shot at a second coat of paint.

And let us know if you have questions–


From: Young Shana Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:42 AM To: Johnson Donna R Cc: Ruszkowski Christopher Subject: Deck in support of 106/7/8

Hi Donna,

Attached is a background deck in support of the proposed revisions for 106A, 107A, and 108A. This document is intended for your internal use not for distribution so please let us know if you want a public version. We included and overview of the Department’s track record of engagement, stakeholder outreach, an overview of the proposed revisions, and some analyses of their impact. I hope this is helpful—please let me know if you’d like any other information.



Shana Young

Chief of Staff

Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit

Delaware Department of Education

401 Federal Street, Suite #2

Dover, DE 19901-3639

302.531.5243 (M) 

302.735.4131 (T)  302.739.5894 (F)





US DOE Letter To Delaware Governor Jack Markell re: No-Cost Extensions For RTTT Funding

Race To The Top Funding

While Delaware legislators are scratching their heads over the Delaware Department of Education’s need for additional funding in the 2015-2016 budget, find out what the US DOE wants Delaware to spend that money on.  Perhaps this will shed some light on the DE DOE’s request to take funds out of the General Fund…

What Is The Human Capital 2017 Program at the Delaware DOE?

Delaware DOE

Is this an active program at the Delaware Department of Education or something that was proposed and scrubbed?  Read the below information and judge for yourself!

The Secret Weapon Jack Markell Never Saw Coming

Governor Markell

For ten years, ever since Dr. Paul Herdman and his group of merry men published Opportunity Knocks, Jack Markell has been at the forefront in the conversation on education in Delaware.  But now, he is faced with an enemy that even he couldn’t foresee because he doesn’t have the capability.

Do you hear that noise Governor Markell?  It’s called chatter.  It’s the voice of the people and we are getting louder every day.  You hear it all around you.  It must be frustrating to witness your world crumbling around you, your legacy finally exposed.  It’s starting to crack and splinter, and it has to gnaw at you more and more every day.

Presumption and assumption are very dangerous things.  They are the bane of any strategist.  For years, you assumed we were okay with what you were doing with education.  You presumed to know what is best for our children.  We allowed this for a long time.   But then two little words came up in the conversation: opt and out.  It began as nothing more than a whisper, and then a small voice.  Now it is all you ever hear.  The echo down the hall, now a booming cacophony of destruction meant to tear down the wall that is corporate education reform.

You created this Jack, and now you are seeing the fruits of your labor.  In the annals of Delaware history, you will go down as the Governor who truly made the people speak.  You forced us into this position, all of us.  The parents, the students, the teachers, even some of your friends.  When anyone is pushed to the wall too hard, they will start to push back and fight.  It’s the nature of man.  You gave us an out through your own actions.  We heard the whisper, and opportunity knocked.

Freire Board Member Running For Brandywine School Board…Say, Isn’t That Against The Law?

Freire Charter School

Embedded in Delaware Title 14 is a little part of the law that states no charter school board member shall serve as a member of a publicly elected school board.  But here we have John Pierson, a director on the Freire Charter School Board of Directors, running for the board seat from District B in the Brandywine School District.  Did he resign from the Freire board?  Not according to his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-pierson/20/50a/486


And Pierson isn’t just a member, he’s also the President!


So what exactly does Title 14 say?

§ 504. Corporate status.

(b) The board of directors of a charter school shall be deemed public agents authorized by a public school district or the Department with the approval of the State Board to control the charter school. No person shall serve as a member of a charter school board of directors who is an elected member of a local school board of education.

Oops! I guess somebody forgot to read the law!  Speaking of law, how many of these ten items from Freire’s website match up with Delaware state code, are non-discriminatory, and don’t fly in the face of special education students?

Ten Things to Know About Freire Charter School Wilmington

1) Freire Wilmington serves any and all 8th-12th grade students in the City of Wilmington and surrounding suburbs. Where there are too many students and not enough spaces, Freire uses a random lottery system to determine enrollment. We do not discriminate based on race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, academic ability – or anything whatsoever.

2) The students who succeed at Freire are the ones who take action to help themselves, who see a bright future for themselves, and who are willing to do whatever it takes (i.e. long nights of homework; studying on the weekends; going to the library on a sunny day) to get the best high school education out there.

3) We mean what we say at Freire. Perhaps other schools tell you that if you break their code of conduct there will be consequences. But then when it comes right down to it, many of these schools do not enforce their rules. At Freire, we enforce everything we say. Honestly. We do what we say we are going to do. And we expect you to do the same.

4) We are a 100% nonviolent school. Safety is our first priority. If a student acts violently – whether in words or in actions- to anyone at school or on the DART bus OR ANYWHERE – he or she will be expelled. There are no second chances. Our second priority is helping students learn to resolve conflicts peacefully and without violence.

5) Freire is for students who plan to go to college. Do not send your child to Freire if college is not in the future plan. Your sons and daughters will not be happy at Freire if they want to do something other than college after high school.

6) Remaining a student at Freire takes hard work, courage, honesty, and constant determination every day. Getting into Freire means getting a space through our lottery. That’s the easy part. The hard part is staying at Freire. We guarantee there will be challenges at Freire, and we will ask community members to do things they think are beyond their abilities. Those who succeed at Freire are the ones who never stop trying, and who are willing to work as hard as it takes to achieve excellence. No excuses.

7) Freire teachers and staff are some of the most talented, dedicated and caring in the country. These professionals come to Freire to serve students and families to the best extent ever imagined in a school.

8) Parents/Guardians must be involved and must participate in their child’s education with us as equal partners.  We will expect and demand this of all our families. Freire students need support, family involvement and encouragement every step of the way through high school.

9) Learning at Freire is painful and joyous, hard and exciting. And learning happens everywhere – in classrooms, on school trips, at internships, on athletic fields, using the internet, planning the school dance, eating healthy food before school, and doing homework at night.

10) Freire is a place to take risks, dream big, and then work hard every day to meet  those dreams head on. We strive for excellence in our community every minute of  every day. Freire is a school for those who want to do and be their best all the time.

I like #5.  No selective process for enrollment whatsoever.  Why don’t they just say “If you’re too dumb to come to our school, we don’t want you.  If your parents don’t think you can get to college, don’t bother applying.  If you are a student with disabilities and you don’t and we don’t think you’re gonna go to college, there’s a snowball in hell you might want to go chase!”

To read more about the Freire top ten list, please go here: http://freirewilmington.org/10-things-to-know/

Say, isn’t this the same school that submitted a major modification request to lower their approved enrollment numbers and take out specific interest from their enrollment preference cause it wasn’t really suggested by the Feds based on some published guidance they had recently?  Yeah, it was.  But I suppose their top ten is okay?  Yeah, the Charter School Accountability Committee approved their request.

So my big question would be how Pierson could serve on a charter board with a zero tolerance policy, but be effective as an elected school board official for a public school district when it comes to behavior issues that may come up.  Not to mention the whole serving two schools within the same district thing.  And the funding issues like, oh yeah, Freire could conceivably take funds out of Brandywine School District through local funding.  And don’t the boards of public school districts vote on students who choice out or into their district?  Yeah, they do.  No conflict of interest whatsoever.  But maybe Pierson isn’t too enamored of Freire?  Yeah right…

From his very public Facebook account:

Secretary of Ed and state board approves Freire School charter. Good day for kids in Delaware.

Come out this Saturday to learn about options available for your children!

Discover your FREE charter school options at the Charter School Expo! The Delaware Charter Schools Network hosts its 2nd Annual New Castle County Charter Sch…
  • John Pierson @Di – I hear you on the brain drain concept. Charters are open to everyone but parents need a little info and be motivated enough to apply. We plan this school to be title 1 and to serve kids living in the downtown Wilmy area. We’re trying to duplicate the Freire school in Philly, serving 95% minority students…the vast majority from low income homes. That’s the hope! We’ll see who applies – but that’s been our market target audience. Not sure yet on the Nog.