Are There Human Rights Violations Going On At Delaware Met? Parents Need To Speak Up NOW!!!!

I received an anonymous message this morning concerning Delaware Met.  We may be entering a new level of abuse inflicted by this school on their students.  As if everything already happening isn’t bad enough, I am now hearing about issues concerning the school hiring prison guards to “control kids”, multiple suspensions, and issues with confinement.  While these allegations have not been vetted, it follows the alarming trends with this school.  To that effect, I emailed the DOE, Governor Markell, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn, and some legislators in regards to this.  I also called the Delaware DOE about this and left a message.  I did receive a return call just minutes ago from them and I advised the Charter School Office of the information conveyed to me.  Someone needs to do the right thing and get in there and shut this place down.  There are many students with disabilities in this school and not following, implementing, or creating an IEP for them is a recipe for disaster.  Below is the email I sent out not long ago:

From: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
To:
Nagourney Jennifer <jennifer.nagourney@doe.k12.de.us>; Blowman David (K12) <david.blowman@doe.k12.de.us>; Godowsky Steven <steven.godowsky@doe.k12.de.us>; Markell Jack <jack.markell@state.de.us>; O’Mara Lindsay (Governor) <lindsay.omara@state.de.us>; Denn Matthew (DOJ) <matthew.denn@state.de.us>
Cc:
Williams Kimberly (LegHall) <kimberly.williams@state.de.us>; Kowalko John (LegHall) <john.kowalko@state.de.us>; Baumbach Paul (LegHall) <paul.baumbach@state.de.us>; Sean Matthews <sean.matthews@state.de.us>; Gray Teri (K12) <teri.gray@sbe.k12.de.us>
Sent:
Thursday, October 22, 2015 10:54 AM
Subject:
Delaware Met

Good morning all,
I received an anonymous and very troubling message this morning concerning the Delaware Met.  As I’m sure you all know, this school is under formal review.  But if this message is true, there could be human rights violations going on at this school, in current time.  I know most of us don’t see eye to eye on education policies, but I’m sure we can all agree that no student in Delaware should have any rights violated whatsoever. 
The message I received concerns many of the items already covered in Del Met’s formal review letter, but also issues concerning the hiring of prison guards, multiple suspensions and issues of “confinement”.  The last of these concerns me greatly.  Many of these students may have IEPs and Federal and State law clearly indicates matters of punishment for students with disabilities.  Confinement sounds very serious, and I fear for these students safety. 
I’m not sure who has to get in there, but something needs to be done.  This school is out of control and something beyond a formal review needs to take place immediately if these types of things are going on.
Thank you for your time, and I appreciate any response to this very disturbing situation.
Respectfully,
Kevin Ohlandt
I strongly urge parents of students in this school to go public with what they know.  Do not let this school intimidate you or your child.  If what I am hearing is true, I would highly recommend you do not send your child to this school.  Let the cards fall where they may, but if it is a matter of safety and human rights, please do the right thing for your child.  This is a wake-up call for all of us in Delaware, and I am letting you know I care about your kids.  I have never issued a message like this before, but look out for your kids.  I strongly commend the DOE for doing the right thing with putting this school on formal review, but this has now become a matter beyond them if these events are occurring.  We need to keep our children safe, first and foremost.
Who is actually running this school? Is it Innovative Schools? The Delaware Leadership Executive Director who stated he would farm out the “day-to-day” operations to an intern?  What is going on inside this place?
To that end, parents need to name names and let those with the ability to do something operate out of full transparency so they can get in there.  Schools need to be a safe haven for children, but this sounds more like prison conditions.  I won’t deny there are probably some bad behaviors going on with some teenagers in this school, but if the school is unable to adequately deal with this than the center will not hold.  I heard from another parent of severe bullying going on at this school and the administration not dealing with this properly.  Something needs to be done…NOW!!!!
UPDATED, 12:10pm: This developing situation is being looked at very seriously by the Delaware Department of Education.  As well, I am being told there are two rival gangs within this school and this seems to be the heart of the issues.  Someone is going to get killed in this school if something doesn’t change immediately.  We need all hands on deck here, and parents should be very concerned.  I am begging the school: If you cannot handle this, do not hide.  Don’t think you can wave a magical wand and fix this.  If it is beyond your ability to control, please, just shut it down.  The Delaware Met is not an alternative school.  You do not have the necessary supports to handle those students.  Do the right thing.

12 thoughts on “Are There Human Rights Violations Going On At Delaware Met? Parents Need To Speak Up NOW!!!!

  1. My daughter attends Delaware Met, and she had got into trouble and was told she hadvtwo options after her five day suspension was up. I was told I could withdraw her and they accept my withdraw for her or the next time she gets in any trouble no matter what it was, she would be expelled. I chose to withdraw her and went to feeder pattern school registered her for her feeder pattern school. I received an phone call later that day saying the school was denying her registration. After going back and fourth with Delaware Met and Feeder pattern school for two weeks( almost a month of no school, no work for her, absences adding up. I found out feeder patteren school didn’t have to accept her after September 30th because of funding ( DelawarevMet all received funding for her) the last week of the month I called Delaware Met again about what was going on and was told ( oh well your daughter can come back, just non caring attitude, never mind she had missed multi days, they didn’t excuse her absences or anything!!! Now she’s back she came home told me with in the time frame she was gonna Delaware then hired all of theses husky dudes ( her words) and said it’s like jail in there!!!! DOE clearly told me I had no choice to send her back even though I didn’t want to because there was no good cause to get out of that contract!!! There school is an SET UP for BLACK CHILDREN!!!

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  2. Pingback: Delaware Met & Their Code Of Conduct: Circle Time Won’t Solve Some Of The Issues | Exceptional Delaware

  3. No doubt this school is in an absolutely horrible situation that is dire for the students but I am confused by the statement that its a setup for black children. Are you saying that African American students are treated differently? Or are you saying that the school was opened for the specific purpose of luring AA students and intentionally disrupting their education?

    To me, It sounds like it’s a school that’s bad for all students, regardless of color and it falls directly in the lap of Innovative Schools.

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    • In my opinion, there are far too many charters in Wilmington already and with Moyer and Reach Academy for Girls closing, Delaware Met received many of these students. Based on the demographics of these schools, I feel the administration, management, and basic tenets of the school model are not conducive to meet the needs of these students. I think it was a horrible mistake for the State Board of Education to approve so many charter schools in Wilmington within a 2-3 year period.

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  4. Pingback: Delaware DOE Responds To Current Discipline Issues At Delaware Met | Exceptional Delaware

  5. Reach served K-8. MET did not receive more students because it closed. Only what it would have from students advancing normally into 9th grade and there probably not that many that chose MET. Look much more to Moyer. Not that it matters. MET was Innovative Schools’ attempt to expand their business model into the actual classrooms and it has failed miserably. Regardless of how many charters were approved and all of that, the bottom line is that THIS school was not prepared for ANY demographic and has limited capacity to adjust itself to appropriately serve its student body.

    Groups looking to form schools are grossly underestimating the need to have educators and people with school administration backgrounds involved. Who in the heck opens a school without a discipline policy??? One that is being opened by people who don’t know what nuts and bolts go into the machine.

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      • Kevin,

        I am a teacher at the Delaware Met. I am going to use this comment space, to tell you about myself. After reading and sharing details about my long career in education, I am hoping you will use myself and other dedicated teachers to gather your information. Hopefully after reading my post you will feel more comfortable the staff at the Delaware Met in partnership with Innovative Schools and Big Picture Learning has the resources, talent and passion to create a better alternative for the students who selected the school as an alternative to the current offerings in New Castle County.

        Clearly I have led a long career learning how best to serve underserved students.

        After graduating from the University of Delaware Number 1 in my class and Student Teacher of the Year , I have worked for A.I Dupont High School; Ursuline Academy as the Swim Coach, Track Coach and Department Chair; been an instructor at the University of Delaware in teaching Social Studies and Science Methods for the Education Department; been the Achievement Director at a school with 90% Free and Reduced Lunch that was a Superior School ( 8 years); won two Super Star in Education Awards; attended a conference for the top 100 Charter Leaders in the Country; been a math instructional coach for several high poverty schools in Hawaii; participated on a team with John Chubb and Benno Schmidt, the former President of Yale, developing a curriculum for 400 principals in Abu Dhabi; paid out of pocket to take all the required courses and earned a degree in School Leadership at Wilmington University; paid extra money to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education Principal Academy for Urban School Leadership; interviewed 1,000 men under the age of 21 incarcerated at Gander Hill; developed 250-300 IEP’s for students at Gander Hill that had not reached the age of 21; personally delivered services to the most difficult offenders including decoding and basic reading support for students in solitary confinement; served as the Director of a STEM Camp in the remote desert above the Saudi Arabian oasis teaching girls how to fly drones and program semi-conductors; personally travelled to all of the high achieving Charters in New Jersey and above and interviewed all of the staff about best practices- I choose the Delaware Met to finish the last 3-5 years of my career.

        Let me know if you still think I am unqualified. I have 1000% confidence in the team, the model and the staff to make significant changes in the opportunities for the students in our town. If you want more information, please contact me directly at susiemurphyogden@yahoo.com.

        Let me see if you post this- and then I will follow with additional information.

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        • Sue, thank you for reaching out. I have to say, since all of this started with Delaware Met, you are the first person from the school to reach out to me. I emailed the President of the Board and the Head of School, both of whom I later found out have other things going on medically related. I applaud you for contacting me and commenting.
          My problem with all of this is this is an experiment. These students have been through the wringer. About 70% of the students at Del Met attended Moyer. While last year was a huge improvement for many of these students, they come from areas where all the expertise in the world do not apply when it comes to truly understanding them. I’m not saying you don’t, and your resume is certainly impressive. Do all the teachers at Del Met have a resume this extensive? Upon looking at your experience, you should probably be running the school! Seriously.
          My deepest concerns are with the leadership at the school and the board. These students don’t have time for the adults to figure it out and get it right. They should have been prepared from day one, not two months into school. I can not for the life of me fathom how they were not aware of the kinds of issues they could have with their student population. The fact there is no State Resource Officer in the school astounds me.
          I will always publish comments. I have never not published a comment unless it is an utter fabrication and lie. I prefer them to be the real person, but I accept anonymous comments as well. But I have outed one commenter who wanted to play some games with me, but that was a very unique circumstance.
          While I have your attention, this is the school’s chance to let us know what is going on there. When a school shuts down all communication, people wonder why there is a veil of silence. I will gladly listen to the story, and I’m sure my readers will want to know as well.
          Obviously there are giant issues there, otherwise the DOE would not have put a brand new charter on formal review. So please, if you are able, be the voice for this school that is so desperately needed right now.

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          • “My problem with all of this is this is an experiment.”..Not true-There is not one program, process or practice that is not grounded in research that I personally have experienced as effective. I would not have voluntarily given up my job in the Prison and walked away from a pretty straight forward path to retirement if I did not believe in my heart that this Charter had assembled the best minds for solving the most difficult problems that are hurting our city and ultimately damaging everyone who is associated with the reputation of our city as Murdertown.

            I spent 5 years locked in with the worst offenders under 21 and asked ” what could we have done better to have prevented you from committing your crime. ” Those young men told me their story. They started telling me about school as far back as they could remember and we talked about a way to improve their experience in school. One young man said ” you people are all talk and no action. You are not willing to come into the city and really do anything to help us.”

            When he left the prison to go home he was in his cell and he said ” I love you Ms Ogden.” I said ” I love you too, be safe and don’t get shot.” Less than a week later he had 8 bullets in his head and died on the street in a pool of blood. I was pretty shook up.

            I got a call from the Delaware Met and saw a connect between the Big Picture Model and everything I learned from the kids in prison. Not all of the kids at the Met are “at risk.” Many come from families with mom’s and dad’s that have great jobs. There is a very diverse population. The paradigm shift meets the needs of both the at risk kids and the kids from homes that are not at risk but want something different. There is great research behind every aspect of the model. Implementation of any new charter takes time and this is not my first rodeo with the first 60 days of a start up. Stay tuned for this Charter to fulfill the mission Charter’s were intended: To show alternatives that work – but not experiments.

            This is my third Charter “start-up.”

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  6. When I met the school Leader Tricia and her supporting Chief School Officer at Innovative I knew they had a winning combination. When I took the final exam at Harvard about being a Principal- my score came back that I was a great Number 2. I am much better working directly with the students supporting good school leaders who have to balance operations, etc. We have a Leadership Team which is representative of the Best Practices of all of the schools that serve high risk kids and I am on the Leadership Team.

    “When it comes to understanding them…” The Big Picture Model has the best professional development and model for understanding all children- not just the children characterized as the Moyer Kids. I have lots of experience with the kids typically from Moyer and they do not all fall into the same bucket anymore than all of the kids that attended Saint Marks fall into the same bucket. I was at Thomas Edison-as a start up staff member in the early years until 2008 and we had 90% Free and Reduced Lunch. Nuff Said.

    What I liked about Big Picture is that we think of every child as an individual and we take the time to find out what makes them tick. This is a very time consuming process.

    I was in school Thursday night until 8 PM sitting in my office that faces 10th street ( if you want to look in at night) and we were chatting after Cheerleading Practice. There were 5 or 6 girls- some who could walk home. There was boyfriend drama that day and the girls were processing the drama eating peanut butter sandwiches and making beaded bracelets. I find letting kids make bracelets with real gemstones like jade etc. reinforces content about minerals that is on the end of the 10 grade Science Assessment, lets them look at the beads and not look at you when they are talking, which makes them talk more openly, assemble around a round table that is the heart of the Restorative Justice Model and generally- give you a chance to understand the child. Several boys sat around the same table earlier in the week – and may were formerly at Moyer.

    Each teacher that interviewed to work at the Met, whether they were as experienced as myself , from the same team on the Middle East as myself, a University Professor, a seasoned Math teacher- etc. is each successfully making connections with kids through the combination of personal relationship building and the training from Big Picture. One guy has his dances-another has the fireplace he built- one lady bakes. Here’s the deal- they signed up to work with kids that were choosing a model where making sure “when it comes to understanding them” was the most important step we had to make. This all takes time and some kids are testing the model- but I have confidence we are not just an experiment and everyone from Big Picture to Innovative Schools to every teacher in the building is dedicated to understanding the kids and making sure they have great chances for success on the outside. I don’t think there are any teachers older than me- I was born in 1955- but there are teachers that are smarter than me- based on SAT scores and where they went to school, there are teachers that are more organized than me- but what makes a school like this work is the idea of “Teamwork.”

    I can tell you with 100% confidence that there is not a handful of people working for the City of Wilmington Police, The State Police, the DEA, the Vice Squad or Hawaii 5O ( just kidding) that know more about the gangs in Wilmington than I do. I have a combination of 5 years of talking with the kids in Gander Hill, looking at their Tattoos, taking classes with the Department of Corrections and having really good memory for details- and a history being paid to do genealogy and understanding how to put things together from Twitter and Facebook- so rest assured ” We got this.” . Our situation is no different than any other school that has kids from the City and some suburban areas- not to worry. The word gang causes everyone to get all excited- but if you really know the City- you will know the difference between a very small number of permanent gangs and lots of quasi gang like groups that are more commonly called squads.. but hate to bust the drama- most of the conflicts are… drum rolllllllll….. ” why she looking at my boyfriend…””””””””

    Last but not least- no one told us not to talk to blogs.. they are all too busy- but never has anyone given us a gag order of any kind. They are all toooooo professional to mess with the Constitution!!!!

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  7. Pingback: Delaware Met Teacher Comes Out Swinging In Defense Of The School | Exceptional Delaware

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