State Board Of Education Preview: WEIC, Assessments, Teacher Evaluations, Charter Modifications, And Maybe One Illegal Request

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At 9am this morning, the Delaware State Board of Education will have their first meeting of 2016.  Normally these meetings are at 1pm, but since Governor Markell has to give his big speech across the street at 2pm, they are having it earlier.  I thought they would make it a light schedule for this meeting because of the time change and the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission vote, but I was very wrong.  There is a lot going on at this meeting.  So being the good little blogger I am, I thought I would just go ahead and put up everything going on!  To get to the potentially illegal thing, you have to go all the way to the bottom…

I’ll start off with this very illuminating page called News Updates and Information.  Normally, I give this a cursory glance because it is all corporate education reform articles that are pretty much the opposite of anything I write on here.  But there were four things on this page that demanded a mention.  There are four videos called “Federal Flash” going over the changes coming from the Every Student Succeeds Act.  And who sponsored these videos?

The Alliance for Excellent Education has created a series of bite-sized materials—both print and video—that provides concise but comprehensive analyses of several key areas within ESSA.

I have no doubt they know about ESSA.  They should with this company.  And if the rumors are true, none other than Delaware Governor Jack Markell will be working for them in a year’s time.  Of course the hand-picked by the Governor State Board of Education would want to promote this company!  I wonder if he’s going to confirm the rumor during his State of the State at 2pm today!

I do admit it is very ironic they aren’t approving the minutes for their WEIC Workshop from January 11th, but I digress…

The big redistricting decision by the State Board is filled with WEIC reference materials on their website, same as the one above.  Just click on the WEIC Action tab.  Will they vote yea or nay on this one?  We will find out soon enough!

After that, they will be given an update on the State Assessments and all that goes with that.  They will talk about the SAT/SBAC decision for juniors, the legality of which I’m still trying to figure out since the legislature is the one that decided on that.

More educator evaluation presentations from Chris Ruszkowski and the gang in the Teacher Leader Effectiveness Unit.  Teachers may want to give this one a very careful read.  Not much on Component V in here, the part that ties Smarter Balanced scores to teacher evaluations.  Those have been waived for last year and this year to give Smarter Balanced time to transition into our schools.  But I have no doubt there will be a lot of talk in the coming weeks about that one.  With ESEA gone as of August 1st, and all the waivers gone, it will be up to each state to determine how they move forward with their teacher evaluation system.  And this is Delaware, home of Governor Markell.  We can certainly predict how he will connect the dots…

This next one shows all the charters doing their own teacher evaluation systems outside of DPAS-II, as well as a to be determined system by Colonial School District.  I find it very ironic that so many charter schools are doing this.  Almost as if…no, I won’t go there…  But they may want to take Delaware College Prep off the list since Red Clay shut them down effective the end of this school year.

After all of that, they will go over the Regulations, of which 616 should be a doozy!

Speaking of charters, it is modificationpalooza!  I wrote about First State Montessori, Great Oaks, Prestige Academy and Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security’s modification requests last week.  Below the update are updates on the other three!!!

Delaware Design-Lab High School isn’t having the best year.  They went under the formal review microscope last year because of low enrollment, and now they are officially asking for it to be lowered.

Odyssey Charter School wants to increase their enrollment by less than 15%, thus a minor modification request that only needs Secretary of Education Godowsky’s yes or no.

And last but not least, is Kuumba Academy, looking to increase their enrollment as well.  But their below application raises some serious questions.

In 2013, they submitted a major modification to increase their enrollment as well as grade levels, up to 8th grade.  Their application in 2013 would have put them at 644 students up to 8th grade by this school year.  The final report from the Charter School Accountability Committee put them at 644 students up through 8th grade.  As of the September 30th enrollment for this year, the school had 644 students.  However, the below application shows them having 735 students.  Now in their 2013 major modification application, it states the modification application, if approved, shall serve as the school’s new charter.  So based on that approved charter, the school should have 855 students next year, not the 747 they have projected for next year.  Their charter was approved based on that 855 students.  As well, why do their September 30th numbers for this year show 644 students when this application shows 735?  Where did those extra 91 students come from?  Charters are allowed to over-enroll by 105% of their approved enrollment.  So based on their approved charter, this school should have no more than 676 students for 2015-2016, but they are over this by 59 students based on their own numbers.  The key to this is in their 2013 modification request.  They had a request up to 7th grade for 644 students, but the DOE approved them for 8th grade with 644 students.  So what exactly is going on with these student numbers?  Am I being nit-picky or is there something seriously wrong here?  And shouldn’t they be submitting a modification for a lower enrollment, based on their approved charter in 2013?  I would find it very hard to believe this school received 91 students after their September 30th count.  Or did they?  Can someone please let me know what is going on here?  And if they are over their enrollment, why didn’t the DOE do anything about it?  They can’t submit a major modification based on false numbers!  And how could the Charter School Accountability Committee miss such a major part of this back in 2013?  Their modification application in 2013 explicitly says 644 students up to 8th grade!  Or is it 7th grade?  Are they even allowed to have an 8th grade this year based on their approved charter?  I’m so confused!

 

1st page of 2013 Modification Request for Kuumba Academy:

kuumbamodrequest2013

2nd page of 2013 Modification Request for Kuumba Academy:

Kuumbaprojectenrollment

Kuumba’s September 30th Count for 2015-2016 School Year:

Kuumba930

Maybe they just made a mistake with that 735 number in the minor modification request, right?

Minor Modification Request for Kuumba Academy, 12/21/15:

Kuumbaminormod

May 2015 Board Minutes for Kuumba Academy:

KuumbaMay15boardminutes

July 2015 Board Minutes for Kuumba Academy:

KuumbaJuly15BoardMinutes

So they were already over their 644 number as of July 2015.  But what are the real numbers for this school’s enrollment?  Can we get a headcount here?  Godowsky: I would double-check this application before you go approving it.  Something doesn’t add up here, or even subtract!  There is some funky Common Core math going on here.  I would love to see their board minutes for November or December, or even an agenda, which is required by law for all public meetings, but their website doesn’t even have that!

Kuumbawebsite

So this school with questionable enrollment numbers, which doesn’t notify the public of upcoming board meetings or even put an agenda up on their website, as required by Delaware law, is submitting a modification request with even more questionable enrollment numbers, and also had their Head of School as part of a probe by the Delaware State Auditor’s office, which found some pretty substantial financial oddness at this school involving extra money for her and a maintenance guy, is going to be the school the new Acting United States Secretary of Education John King is going to visit on Friday?  Alrighty then!  Makes sense!  Oh yeah, they did good on Smarter Balanced compared to other schools!  I guess all that money coming in from charter school performance funds and the Longwood Foundation pays off!

2 thoughts on “State Board Of Education Preview: WEIC, Assessments, Teacher Evaluations, Charter Modifications, And Maybe One Illegal Request

  1. Did DOE release the full results from the DPAS survey? Surfer dude lists it as a reference but I don’t remember seeing the results.

    Like

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