Today, I got an email from someone about The Delaware Met closing next week. Usually, I want to get more information on something like this, so I reached out to the Delaware Department of Education and the leaders at the school. Not one response. I put out some more feelers, and it looks like this story has some weight to it. I don’t have specifics, but I’m hearing about multiple incidents of violence at the school, a student brought a gun to the school on the very first day, and students leaving the school in mass quantities. The school just opened a month ago.
This school is being touted as a “Big Picture Learning School”, whatever that means. But it looks like families aren’t buying it. Is this a sign of things to come for Delaware charters? I’ve heard that many of the new charters are not prepared for their students this year, despite what the DOE is saying. I’ve heard of multiple special education issues going on at many charters this fall.
Back to The Delaware Met, I’m hearing their relationship with Innovative Schools has soured to the point of breaking. This is not a situation where the DOE will be closing the school, but The Delaware Met will be voluntarily closing down. Has that ever happened before in Delaware? This is a charter school that met their enrollment figures last Spring when many other charters were struggling. So what happened? I’m hearing many of the students were at-risk students who were facing issues at other schools including potential expulsion and suspension issues. I have no idea how many students at this school are students with disabilities. But how prepared was the school to handle these issues? If the allegations are true, not prepared at all. It’s one thing to apply to open a charter and get through the DOE. It is quite another to actually implement all the talk and ideas once the school opens.
The other night at the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission committee meeting on Charter-District Collaboration, a Red Clay principal actually advised the committee he is getting a lot of students transferring back to traditional schools from charter schools. The charter movement in Delaware may be hitting the brakes folks. Is the party over? Between financial concerns, funding issues, transportation problems (more last year), special education, and Smarter Balanced results showing the most at-risk students in charters are no different than traditional schools, I think it is past time the Delaware DOE ended their love affair with the charter movement.
If the school were to voluntarily close next week, it would make sense because the school would receive funding based on their September 30th count. Better to do it now than to wait until after they get funding…
Updated, 5:44pm: This story is gaining traction by the minute. Multiple sources are confirming, but no official word from DOE or the school. The only question is exactly when and how many students are actually left at the school….
Updated, 5:47pm: Other sources are telling me this school received a significant student population from Moyer, which was shut down by the state a year ago and closed it’s doors for good on June 30th, 2015.