Yesterday, a commenter on a Delaware Met post finally broke the silence coming from the embattled charter school! She has some very interesting things to say.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me see if you post this- and then I will follow with additional information.
To which I responded:
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.
And she came back:
“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.”
I look forward to hearing more from Sue Ogden!
6 thoughts on “Delaware Met Teacher Comes Out Swinging In Defense Of The School”
Sue Ogden actually told a student the school did not fit her and counseled her into William Penn High School. Sue said the internships weren’t made for the student 😳. This is not conjecture I was on the phone with Sue when she said this to me, which I replied that it’s illegal and Penn wouldn’t take the child. Sue then went on to tell me how she was going to call Colonial and would get the child in to Penn.
Sue may be well intended but Sue understands there’s a culture and special needs population the leaders in the school cannot address. Sue and people like her (like their board) are perfectly comfortable experimenting with our children. It’s a shame because I really think they think they know what’s best for our children. But how could they know?
Well hopefully they’re all willing to wager their careers on the successful turnaround of this school. Because it’s time we raise the accountability bar. If they want to participate and underserve our children let’s hold them accountable just like we do the traditional school district’s board members .
Finally Delaware education leaders it’s time to recognize that successful participation in an unsuccessful school start up does not qualify you to trash another start up.
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3 “I”s and 1 “my”
lots of “believe/personally/heart”
Here’s an idea, send links to the actual research, the actual efficacy of the model, and not your opinions. Make sure to send the peer reviewed studies, not the sponsored ones.
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“This is my third Charter “start-up.”
So how are the first two charters doing today?
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I would definitely like to know more about Sue’s first two charter school start ups and why she chose to move on…
I was part of the team that started Thomas Edison Charter school where I remained from 2000-2008. ( eight years) During the time I worked for Edison, the Edison team was awarded a Superior Status two years in a row and then was awarded two Super Star in Education awards. I worked on a winning team with strong support from the Edison Management Company. When the board severed the relationship with the Edison Charter Management Organization in 2007- a new principal was hired that had formerly worked for Red Clay and she asked me to leave along with 13 members of the Edison Leadership team. She wanted to start over without the Edison Model. More than 40 percent of that winning team eventually left although the school is still going strong. I left the school to work for the Edison Company for several years as a consultant or per diem team member and returned to help open Kipp West Philadelphia. I never really gave up my passion for the Edison Model but I was there for the Kipp West Philly opening and the hard work of the start up. I borrowed the opening activity from the Kipp opening for one of the activities we used opening The Met. I left in December 2009 deciding that I wanted to work for the State of Delaware and continue to work on the years I had accrued towards my pension. In 2010 – 2015 I worked as the Educational Diagnostician/Special Ed teacher in Gander Hill Prison which is part of DOE.
Kevin, Devon, John and others- it has been nice chattin with you all- but I will probably take a pass on any future opportunities to post about myself. The one thing I learned from my years working for and around successful charters- they are all about Team Work and Leadership Teams. The charter was not approved based on my credentials. I am only one member of the team. I offered some information about myself to respond to Kevin, thoughtfully- that the Delaware Met had Team Members, including myself, had significant experience working with students that are commonly considered “at risk.” along with other students that made a choice to attend this charter that are not considered “at risk.” I doubt other teachers will put this much personal information out on a Blog- because they can see how negative this forum becomes. I got a kick out of counting the “I” and “me.” It reminds me of the day in the Department of Corrections 10 week physical training and boot camp when the Correctional Officer Trainers said I was too bossy. I said ” how do you expect a teacher to go into a maximum security prison and capture the attention and increase achievement among men convicted as adult felons at 16 years old if I am not bossy!” No wimp is going to get those guys to graduate or get a GED! By the way, teachers had to fight a correctional officer ( wearing boxing gloves) without boxing gloves for 3 minutes and take them down to be able to work in the prison- so no wimps get to work in Gander Hill.
I hesitated to talk about my experience working for the World Wide Office of Education on the Seattle Campus of Microsoft in 1994-1995 for fear the Apple lovers would throw rotten apples- but I also can embrace the technology as an early adopter of the Microsoft platform- now morphing into Google so I support the overall platform at the Met.
There are many teachers at the Met that bring considerable experience as Highly Qualified and in my opinion- really interesting, talented and passionate about their work as teachers.
One of the things about Charters that boosts my commitment is the idea we are offering parents a choice. Whether this blog and forum characterizes the Met as an experiment or not – does not take away the idea that our parents exercised their rights as tax payers and members of our community to choose this model and program for their child.
Happy blogging- and if you want more info- check my Linked In or come visit!!!!