Read The Survey DOE Sent To Focus School Teachers To Prep Them For DOE Intrusion

The Delaware Department of Education is naming 10 Focus Schools (think Priority Lite) in addition to 4 Focus Schools which will become Focus Plus.  This is in addition to the 7 Priority Schools in Delaware.  And it doesn’t look like the soon-to-be-voted-on by the State Board of Education Regulation 103 will ease this plethora of schools the Delaware DOE wants to punish in the future.

As part of their prep work for the new Focus Schools, the DOE sent a survey for teachers to fill out.  They gave them a lot of time too.  They got it today and it has to be done by Monday.  Yes, I said Monday.  It is all voluntary, but I digress…

To say some of these questions are very intrusive would be an understatement.  The DOE is disturbing me on more levels than ever before.  And that’s just in the past two months.  What they are doing to education is going to have damaging effects on students, teachers, schools, parents, communities, and themselves.  It’s one thing to follow Federal mandate, but to do what they are doing is way beyond what any Federal mandates or even non-regulatory guidance suggest.  It’s like poor schools are the DOE’s lab rats and they keep wanting to change the catalysts to completely destroy them.  It is a sickening thing to report on, and I hate it.  The DOE has no concept of human dignity anymore, and it is shameful.  But what can I expect from a state agency that refers to educators as “Human Capital”.  But someone has to report this stuff so the public knows what is going on behind all the press releases they send out.  “Who watches the watchmen?”

Below is the survey sent to the teachers at these 10 Focus Schools.  Did this come from the mind of Penny Schwinn or Christopher Ruszkowski at the DOE?

* 1. Teachers at my school follow an established curriculum and appropriate pacing.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 2. Teachers at my school routinely differentiate instruction based on data and the needs of students.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 3. Teachers at my school have a strong understanding of the academic content standards that make-up the curriculum.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 4. Teachers at my school are aware of effective instructional strategies to promote student engagement.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 5. My school has a formal process or model for designing lessons.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 6. Teachers at my school utilize various formative assessment strategies.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 7. Student progress at my school is monitored regularly.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 8. Individual teachers and/or teams of teaches set academic goals related to student achievement.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 9. School or district developed benchmark assessments are effectively used at my school.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 10. Teachers at my school review and analyze data together.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 11. Teachers at my school have easy access (electronically or hard copy reports) to student achievement data.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 12. I feel comfortable using data to inform my teaching practices.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 13. There is an effective process to identify academically struggling students at my school.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 14. Our school’s RTI or intervention system is effective.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 15. Teachers new to my school are given an appropriate amount of support.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 16. Our school has a difficult time getting good candidates to apply for openings at our school.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 17. School sponsored professional development activities address my needs.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 18. I receive feedback on my teaching practices at least once per month.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 19. There is a process for teachers at my school to receive assistance and coaching when needed.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 20. Our school has a functional building leadership team.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 21. Teachers are often asked for input on school matters at my school.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 22. My school’s most critical priorities are known by most staff.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 23. Teachers participate in setting school-wide achievement goals each year.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 24. This year my school has implemented effective strategies to engage parents.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 25. I feel comfortable talking with school leaders (administrators or teachers) about instructional practices.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 26. Our school does a good job of utilizing resources (time, money, personnel).

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 27. Established school rules are followed by students at my school.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 28. School leaders at my school monitor student discipline data and implements effective systems to promote positive student behavior.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 29. The teaching-learning process in my classroom is frequently made more difficult because of poor student behavior.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 30. My school has implemented effective strategies to promote student attendance and punctuality to school.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 31. My school has effective resources in place to support students’ social and emotional needs.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 32. Students at my school are expected to achieve and conduct themselves at a high level, and students are recognized for doing so.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 33. Teachers at my school believe students’ backgrounds are major barriers.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 34. Teachers at my school often stay after school or work on weekends.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 35. I am excited about the future of my school.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 36. I believe most of my students are capable of pursuing post-secondary education.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree

* 37. Teachers at my school are committed to supporting new educational initiatives.

Strongly Agree
Agree
Unsure
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Prev Done

Education Polls That REALLY Matter In Delaware!

Some of the Markell choices are ACTUAL rumors I have heard.  Okay, two of them are.

belle

Delaware DOE wants to charge $300 “DTI Fee” For Any FOIA Request Submitted Now

If you file a Freedom of Information request with the Delaware Department of Education for anything electronic, you can be sure you will be charged an “entrance fee” of $300 right off the bat.  Even if it is one email, for one five minute period of a given day.  How the hell does this make sense?  What is the point of FOIA if the General Fund is just going to reap the benefits?  This is highway robbery.  The F in FOIA stands for Freedom, not Fee.  When I have to search my email for something, it takes about three minutes if I have a lot of entries for that person.

Alison May is the Public Information Officer at the DOE, Katisha Fortune is the attorney at the Department of Justice who handled my FOIA complaint earlier this year and ruled the DOE overcharged me by almost $7000.00 for a FOIA request, Catherine Hickey is the DOJ attorney assigned to DOE, and Jackie Edge is…the survey monkey employee at DOE?

From: DOE FOIA <DOE.FOIA@doe.k12.de.us>
To: “kevino3670@yahoo.com” <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 8:07 AM
Subject: RE: FOIA request

Kevin,

The DTI estimate for this request is $300, which DTI says covers the staff time to extract data that meets your criteria from email archives.   The DTI Engineering Team’s labor rate is $100/hr.  According to DTI, the tasks that are involved with compiling this e-records request include:

·            Configure search strings

·            Conduct search

·            Scrub results to ensure no unintended content is included

·            Compile results

·            Commit results to media     

DTI requires payment before it does a search. Please make sure your check is made payable to DTI, not DDOE.

The Department of Education is responsible for redacting any emails deemed to be non-public, as defined by  the FOIA Chapter of the Delaware Code at 29 Del. C. sec. 100, including emails to/from the Controller General’s Staff, General Assembly and staff (29 Del. C. sec. 10002(l)(16)).

If this takes more than an hour, the rate for this work is $22.27 per hour. This payment would be due to the Department of Education and may be required before work begins.

To proceed with the request, please submit a check for $300 payable to DTI and send to:

DTI FOIA Coordinator

William Penn Building

801 Silver Lake Blvd

Dover, DE  19904

Once a check is received the data will be loaded on a CD and delivered to DOE. I will update you at this time.

DTI has this request in its queue but will not start work until it receives the check from you.  If DTI does not receive payment in 30 days, DTI will close the request.


From: kevino3670@yahoo.com [mailto:kevino3670@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 11:48 AM
To: DOE FOIA
Cc: kevino3670@yahoo.com
Subject: FOIA request

 

Request Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015

Recipient: Doe.foia@doe.k12.de.us

Name: Kevin Ohlandt
Address1: 9 Crosley Ct
Address2:
Address3:
City: Dover
State: DE
Zip Code: 19904

Phone: 302-922-7244
Email: kevino3670@yahoo.com

Request: Please forward me, in digital format, any emails between Susan Haberstroh, Donna Johnson, Ryan Reyna, or Penny Schwinn to Yvette Smallwood or Vicki Schultes between the dates of 8/1/15 and 8/31/15.

Cost: 9.10


From: Kevin Ohlandt [mailto:kevino3670@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:05 AM
To: DOE FOIA
Cc: Fortune Katisha D
Subject: Re: FOIA request
 
Dear whatever Human Being is actually reading this:
 
Are you trying to tell me that ANY FOIA request submitted to the Delaware Department of Education for anything electronic will always have an automatic $300 fee?  This is ridiculous.  You do realize you are using these fees to consciously prevent Delaware citizens from reasonably getting information, right?  I will make sure the people know about this policy of yours.  It isn’t right, and it should not be legal.
 
Kevin Ohlandt (a real human being)

From: DOE FOIA <DOE.FOIA@doe.k12.de.us>
To: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
Cc: Fortune Katisha D <katisha.fortune@state.de.us>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:17 AM
Subject: RE: FOIA request

Kevin,

This is a DTI, not a DOE, charge. You should contact DTI with any questions related to its work.
Sandra.Alexander@state.de.us is the DTI contact.
Alison
 
Alison May
Public information officer
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, DE 19901-3639
302.735.4000 (T) 302.735.4654 (F)

From: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
To: DOE FOIA <DOE.FOIA@doe.k12.de.us>
Cc: Fortune Katisha D <katisha.fortune@state.de.us>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:24 AM
Subject: Re: FOIA request

Alison,
So let me ask this.  If I were to just simply ask the DOE for this information, would they provide it?  Instead of filing a FOIA request?  Because I did that last Spring for an email that I know exists, from one person, for a two day period, and I was told it wasn’t found, but DTI could do their $300 search…
Has the Delaware Department of Education become so corrupt that they will conduct official state business in email that will never see the light of day unless you are wealthy enough to afford it?
Katisha: Please add this to my numerous complaints I filed with the DOJ against DOE yesterday.  Thank you,
Kevin Ohlandt

From: “Fortune, Katisha D (DOJ)” <Katisha.Fortune@state.de.us>
To: ‘Kevin Ohlandt’ <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
Cc: “Hickey, Catherine T. (DOJ)” <Cathreine.Hickey@state.de.us>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:32 AM
Subject: RE: FOIA request

Kevin, are you now filing a formal complaint with the AG’s office under 10005(e)?

 From: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
To: “Fortune, Katisha D (DOJ)” <Katisha.Fortune@state.de.us>
Cc: “Hickey, Catherine T. (DOJ)” <Cathreine.Hickey@state.de.us>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: FOIA request

Kathisha,
Yes, I am afraid I am, twice in one year. 
Thank you,
Kevin

So if I’m not already ticked off, look at the email I get while all of this is going on:

From: “jackie.edge@doe.k12.de.us via surveymonkey.com” <member@surveymonkey.com>
To: kevino3670@yahoo.com
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:22 AM
Subject: Reminder: We want your opinion!

DE School Success Reports: Parent & Community Survey
The Delaware Department of Education needs your feedback on how best to present information on school performance to parents and community members! Would you please consider sharing two minutes of your time and participate in our survey on Delaware’s School Success Reports?

Click the button below to start or continue the survey. Thank you again for your participation, and please share the survey broadly with your friends and networks!

Click the button below to start or continue the survey. Thank you for your time.

Begin Survey
Please do not forward this email as its survey link is unique to you.
Opt out of receiving surveys from this sender
Powered by SurveyMonkey Logo
 Okay, they don’t want parents opting out, but I can opt out of this?  I sent a response:

From: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
To: “jackie.edge@doe.k12.de.us” <jackie.edge@doe.k12.de.us>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 11:26 AM
Subject: Re: Reminder: We want your opinion!

Jackie,
Stop sending me this email to your ridiculous survey.  This is the 3rd one in four days.  Enough.  Now DOE wants parent & community feedback? After they already submitted stuff into a regulation that will screw over every school in the state? Really?
Kevin Ohlandt

And the beat goes on…

Yesterday, Mike Matthews referred to the DOE as a “Mobius strip of bullshit”.  I completely agree Mike.

14 Years

Those In Favor

photo by Ben Sturner photo by Ben Sturner

Sitting in my history and systems of psychology class in Memorial Hall at UD taught by Dr. John McLaughlin. Sitting in the second to last row of desks, just to the left of his desk. Just before the end of the class, someone came in and whispered something in his ear and he ended class by saying something had happened in New York and DC and we should head straight back to our dorms and find out what’s going on. I walked out of Memorial to see my sister, and my girlfriend at the time both coming up the steps in tears, almost hysterical saying a plane flew in to the WTC. Didn’t believe it at first. Got back to my room, turned on our little 13″ TV and my jaw hit the floor. Saw the 1st tower go down. Saw the second one go down…

View original post 115 more words

Wish You Were Here

11987150_10153587921674099_7535708879419274123_n

Ben Sturner took this picture, and NBC News 10 from New York City posted it on their Facebook page.  What a symbolic and beautiful message for hope.

14 years.  5,113 days.  That’s how many days the families and friends of nearly 3,000 lives have been in mourning for the loved ones lost that day.  I didn’t lose anyone I knew that day.  But I know many who did…

I know a spouse of someone who passed that day.  Her world was torn apart, but she rebuilt her life.  She got married again, and raised her children, including the one she carried inside her that day.  Every year, I see her Facebook page, and the amount of love and support she gets is amazing.  There are no words that will ever take away what happened, no magic to make it disappear.  The question mark will always be there.  But life does move on, one day at a time, one year at a time.

We all, at one point in our lives, wish someone else was still here.  I have quite a few.  Anniversaries are the worst.  But then again, there are the moments we experience, when we can almost feel that person right next to us, hear their voice in our mind, see their eyes.  I don’t think any of us can imagine what it feels like to lose someone until they are gone.  I believe they are in a better place than here, watching over all of us, pushing and pulling, trying to show us the paths we need to take.  We don’t always hear them.  The logic coming down from where they are is very different than the logic on this mortal plain.  The ghosts that we knew…

Walk On: In Remembrance of 9/11

9-11-never-forget-1

I wrote this many years ago on my older blog, Tales From Another Time, but I still believe in these words.  14 years later, when I really remember, I can still vividly recall every second of that horrible day.

Those four key strokes bring back so many memories for so many. For me, it reminds me of the darkest day I have ever known. Full of death, and fear, and tragedy. Any innocence I may have had, any idealistic hope I had for world peace, it died that day. I saw the face of hatred. I felt the fear the word terror brings. We all did. We cried. We prayed. We sat in front of our television sets and watched horror unfold before our eyes. We looked at an empty sky with a mind-numbing feeling of disbelief. We were in shock for weeks after. We knew there wouldn’t be many survivors. We wanted to close our eyes and pretend it didn’t happen, that people didn’t die that day, and yet, we couldn’t. We knew.

Every year, on that day, I try to remember it. I firmly believe it should be a national day of mourning. Not a holiday. A holiday is a day of celebration. This day should be a somber day. A day of remembrance. A day of solitude.

I honestly don’t think there has been a day since that I haven’t thought of it. It still makes me sad and angry. I think about my son, who will be five next week. And how he didn’t have to live on that day. He was born more than two and a half years later. For him, it will be a very important chapter in a history book. He will ask me what happened that day, and I will tell him. He will ask why, and whose fault it was. And I really don’t know what I will tell him. You can blame Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. You can blame the agencies that could have prevented it had they simply communicated with each other. But at the end of the day, what will that change? What happened, happened.

I think about the jumpers from time to time. And that painful choice they must have had. Die of fire and smoke or leap to certain death. For those who chose to look in pictures and on tv, those images will stay with us forever. I was raised Catholic. To me, suicide is not an option under any circumstances. But what do you call that choice? You know you are going to die. You won’t be saved. What do you do? I pray to God no one ever has to make that choice again.

Since that fateful day, the world has become a chaotic place. It has always been that way, but the mask was torn off that day. What we hoped and prayed wasn’t the case turned out to be very real. Wars have been fought, greed has elevated, and the world’s economy is the worst since the pre World War II years. I believe what we are looking at is evil run rampant. There is no black and white, or even gray areas. It is what it is and it is called chaos.

In the coming years, we will negotiate with fundamentalists who destroy lives. We will see the seeds of greed in our own homes, as the economic meltdown gets worse and every single household is affected. We will see uglier terroristic attacks and somewhere someone will die because of it. We will see the world reject us more and more as our environment is changed in ways we never imagined or in ways we didn’t want to see. We will see areas of the world once vibrant with life turned into desserts.

And yet, we will survive. We will do what we did in those days and weeks after 9/11. We will pick up the pieces of our shattered lives, and look for hope. I pray we will unite and conquer these problems together. Not by electing someone to lead us, but by truly coming together and defeating the evils that plague us. We need to stop blaming others for the shape of the world and form new shapes. We need to recognize that what someone believes in isn’t always wrong, but their own point of view. We need to walk on.

*Editor’s note: The original version of this appeared a year ago today.  I have added the U2 video and changed the number of years.

In Remembrance… Everyday

We remember…

The pain always comes back today…

But for some, they carry it…everyday…

Poverty Matters! The Smarter Balanced Impact: Capital School District

This series began with Delaware charter schools and the four Wilmington School Districts.  Now were going to the middle of Delaware, to the Capital School District in Kent County, home to our state capital, Dover.

CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
SBAC ELA & MATH RESULTS and LOW-INCOME PERCENTAGES

Capital-SBAC

The above graph shows some trends, but not as noteworthy as Red Clay and Christina School Districts.  Capital, like many other districts “south of the canal”, does not have more than one middle school or high school.  In fact, there “two” middle schools consist of William Henry which serves grades 5-6 and Central Middle, 7-8.  The true outlier in this graph is Dover High School and their very low Math Smarter Balanced results.

While this looks like no true trends exist, if we take out Dover High, Central Middle, and William Henry (where all three have all the Capital elementary schools converging into one building in all future grades), we are left with Capital’s elementary schools which only go up to 4th grade.  We can see an overall trend in the below graph similar to the Wilmington school districts and Delaware Charter Schools: low-income level is high, Smarter Balanced Scores are lower, and vice-versa.

CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

LOW-INCOME & SBAC RESULTS

Capital-Elementary-SBAC

In the below graph, I threw in the true charter schools that primarily exist within the Capital School District, Campus Community School and Academy of Dover, just to see what would happen.  There isn’t too much change.

CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT & LOCAL CHARTERS

LOW-INCOME & SBAC RESULTS

Capital-Charters-SBAC-PLI

In the below graph, I threw in the district’s special education and English Language Learner percentages for each school based on DOE School Profiles data on their website for the 2014-2015 year.  The grey special education area does show a slight downward trend in schools the higher the population gets for each school, with the exception of Booker T. Elementary School.  This school also houses the district’s talented and gifted program, so there numbers should be a bit higher given that.

CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

SBAC RESULTS, LOW-INCOME, SPECIAL EDUCATION & ELL

Capital-SBAC-ELL-SPECED

Sandwiched in the middle of the state, Capital is a unique district.  The more affluent areas exist within the Hartly area, which shows much higher scores than all the other schools in the district.  But I foresee Capital’s numbers drastically changing in the future as some schools are set up with the World Language Immersion program, and others are not.  Since special education students and “problem” students don’t usually enter into these types of programs, we could eventually see some Capital schools bottoming out on SBAC if it stays on the same course.  Hopefully Capital will self-correct their internal student population otherwise they could be looking at priority schools in 4-5 years time.  Of course, the grand hope is ALL of this high-stakes testing and accountability nonsense will be gone by then!

Like I said up above, the trends in Capital don’t exactly mirror the schools in Wilmington due to some of the unique nature of their district alignment with schools.  When my son attended an elementary school in Capital, he went to Booker T, even though we passed North and Fairview before we got there.  So there feeder patterns are a bit different as well.

One final graph I did want to point out, which doesn’t really have much to do with Smarter Balanced scores, but does show an interesting graphic is the correlation between low-income and special education within Capital.

CAPITAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

LOW-INCOME & SPECIAL EDUCATION

Capital-PLI-SpecialEd

The numbers on this fluctuate a bit, but there are some indications of a trend.  With that being said though, special education can be a very tricky beast and no school is the same.  We will have more of an idea how special education students fared on the Smarter Balanced in six days when the sub-group data is released by the wild bunch down at the DOE.