You won’t find this on the News Journal. Or on Freire’s Facebook page either. But the school had a bomb threat today which caused at least seven Wilmington police cars to come to the school. After the police investigated, the students were allowed back in the school an hour later. Not confirmed is a school authority advising a local resident that several students were suspended and the matter is still being investigated. Were parents of the students notified about this? Where is the transparency in our Delaware charter schools???
As well, there have been at least five visits by the Wilmington Fire Department at the school since they opened in August over fire alarms.
Freire Charter School of Wilmington opened in August after a hellacious year involving issues with the Midtown Brandywine Neighborhood Association. When the neighbors protested the school’s opening without a clear plan on the increased traffic, the former Head of School got into an exchange with one of the protesters which resulted in charges filed against him. He “resigned” from the school shortly thereafter. Freire’s original model was a “zero tolerance” charter school, but they changed that last year because of the “specific interest” clause in their admission policy. They applied for a federal grant for startup costs which specifically prohibits any type of specific interest in their enrollment strategies. The above picture is the emblem of Freire, but I’m not sure what a fire-breathing dragon has to do with a charter school…
Meanwhile, Delaware legislators in Washington D.C. wrote the FBI to look into the multiple bomb threats across Delaware the past few weeks and when the FBI should act on this. According to the article by the Middletown Transcript, only state and local authorities have been investigating the Delaware threats.
Providence Creek Academy wrote an official response to the Delaware Auditor of Account’s investigative report on their school finances which showed outright theft of school funds through purchase cards and the payroll system. This appeared on the Providence Creek Academy Facebook page today at 7:32pm.
The Board of Providence Creek Academy Charter School wishes to address the January 27, 2016 Inspection Report issued by the State of Delaware Office of Auditor of Accounts, and to clarify information misstated in media accounts of the Inspection Report. At the end of 2014, the Board became aware of potential financial improprieties during the process of terminating an employee in charge of finances for Providence Creek Academy. The Board promptly engaged its outside auditor to evaluate the matter. The Board also self-reported its concerns to the State for it to conduct an independent audit. To the extent media reports suggest the Board was not proactive in addressing these issues once they came to the Board’s attention, or that such issues were only brought to the State’s attention through an anonymous tipster, that is inaccurate. At all times, the Board fully cooperated and worked with the auditors to identify problem areas so that appropriate remedial measures and safeguards could be enacted. The Inspection Report identifies no concerns after December 2014, which makes evident the Board’s commitment to having in place the right personnel, policies, and procedures for handling the finances of Providence Creek Academy.
The comments after this, including ones from myself, are going unanswered… for now…
*Updated 1/28/16: I took out the picture in this post. I understand the “duct tape the teacher to the wall” picture stemmed from a charity event at the school. I think it is hysterical and it is a classic picture! As well, I am also taking out other posts from their Facebook page since they don’t really relate to the auditor matter. I apologize for any staff members who may have been offended at the school. My intention was not to offend.
As revealed just half an hour ago, Providence Creek Academy was the latest in the never-ending “Delaware Charter School Financial Abuse Scandals”. They knew this report was coming out. You would think they would have shut up about charter school audit bills given this information. But no, they went on their Facebook page and encouraged parents of students to fight State Rep. Kim Williams House Bill 186, which would help prevent these scandals from happening.
I heard Providence Creek Academy’s Head of School, Chuck Taylor, was in attendance at last week’s Senate Education Committee meeting, along with the Delaware Charter Schools Network, of which he serves as the President of their board. Unconfirmed, but on the rumor circuit is the PCA board voting to oust Chuck as soon as they get a new school leader because he is not qualified to run the school based on what they want in a school leader. The school has been without an official head of school since Chuck “resigned” back in 2013. The current principal, Audrey Erschen, has been around this whole time but the board at PCA seems to be very loyal to her, despite family members causing problems at the school in the Fall of 2014. The DOE and the State Board of Education, fully aware of some of these financial abuses and that the school was under investigation, renewed PCA’s charter last month. While the school told the Charter School Accountability Committee about how they have improved financial control through all of this, they were not exactly forthcoming about the nature of the abuses. I even congratulated them on their supposed transparency based on what I knew, which wasn’t even close to what was in this report.
The Delaware Auditor of Accounts just released an inspection report on Providence Creek Academy showing many violations in procurement card spending and very questionable payroll expenses. The office was tipped off over a year ago, around the same time as Family Foundations Academy, about alleged financial improprieties at the school, as well as the Delaware Department of Education. Abuses revolved around personal purchases through the State of Delaware p-card, payroll expenses that were not justified, and even a conference in Las Vegas in the Summer of 2014 that four employees of the school attended (as did representatives from Academy of Dover and Family Foundations Academy). The school’s auditor from 2012 to 2014 found none of this in their annual audits of the school.
While the abuses were not in the scope of Academy of Dover or Family Foundations Academy, they are still illegal and against the law. Please support State Rep. Kim Williams House Bill 186 to help prevent these abuses from being missed by the charter school auditors and to bring transparency to light before these investigative inspections even have to occur. Senator David Sokola’s Senate Bill 171 does nothing to stop these events from happening.
Tamara Varella worked at The Delaware Met as part of A.J. English’s mentoring team. She reached out to me and asked me to share a post she wrote on Facebook about her time at the school. She offered some insight into what went on at the school from a very different perspective. I think most people are in agreement that Delaware Met was cursed from the onset, but could it have been saved at some point?
This post is to all of my family, friends, followers, current/past/future clients. Thank you to everyone that has checked on me, prayed for me and even slightly noticed my drastic pull back from social media the last 4 months. I more than appreciate you! The DE MET School closed last week, literally 5 months after opening its doors. Back in September I was asked by my client, AJ English to help him transition his after school mentoring program to a full-day in-school program at the Delaware MET Charter School. When I went to the school and saw how great the need was I knew I could not walk away and turn my back on “Our Kids”. I made a conscious decision to put my business and whatever plans I made for my future on complete hold because I personally felt it was warranted and would require that level of dedication. For the last 4 months AJ, Cheris Monique and I have been literally pouring out our heart, tears and soul every day ministering to the students at the MET. It just so happens that the majority of students at the MET were the At-Risk, troubled youth no one wanted to deal with let alone play a role in shifting their lives. Regardless of what you read in the paper or heard in the streets, the students at the MET were not animals or just numbers tied to funding! They were our babies that needed direction and more importantly someone to care enough to show them love and correction. The way God used our team, English Lessons, during this time was miraculous. We have countless testimonies of students changing, improving grades, being respectful to adults, restoring relationships w family members and most importantly getting to the root causes so students could be made whole. Our in-school fight prevention rate was insanely high as we were able to resolve issues, restore respect among peers and instill a level of respect for each person involved in a disagreement that was brought to our attention prior to an altercation. School administrators had never seen this done before. The work we did transcends school walls and was felt in the streets of Wilmington as our interventions involved predominantly “street issues”. Students come to school with issues and problems that the average adult would not be able to handle AND go to school and learn!!! From being hungry to almost getting shot the night before, to fear of getting jumped when they get home, to getting kicked out the house and I could go on and on. If you have not viewed Monique Taylor-Gibbs testimonial of the state of our children in DE Schools I beg you to click the link below or look at my last post.
I’m sharing all this not to gloat but to put a call out to everyone taking the time to read this….. Our kids need US!! Not a new system, not a new program, not a bunch of hype and empty promises. Our kids need YOU!! We won’t see a change in our community, the city of Wilmington or even our state until YOU show up!!! YOU have what our kids need. Your story of overcoming, your story of a shady past and bad decisions, your story of being told u would be nothing but proved them wrong, your story …. which comes with the ANOINTING TO BREAK THE YOLK. This generation is a different breed. They only want to hear and receive from those who can relate. I could go on and on abt the system and how they failed our kids but that would be a waste of time.
Please come back to the HOOD, ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES AND GET INVOLVED!! Thank you to both AJ and Cheris for allowing me to be part of the team. Thank you to all my clients that were patient and understanding. For those of you who were upset about my not doing my workshops, I promise I’ll make it up to everyone! Please keep praying for me as the closing of the school and worrying about the students has me hurt and saddened. This whole experience has caused me to shift internally …. Not clear yet on what that means… But it is definitely time to get back to business. See you all soon!
PLEASE VIEW: Link to Monique’s testimony abt the state of DE Schools
Or you can access it on my last Facebook post.
It takes devious minds to come up with a plan that ultimately destroys what is good. It takes years of very careful steps, and constant collaboration every step of the way. It takes money and resources and legislation designed to paint a picture of failure. It takes pawns, willing and unwilling, to craft a tale. It takes deception and manipulation to design a system where some win and many lose. This is The Truth. This is our life. These are the lies. In the coming months, I will be shining the light through the window for all to see. The paths are very subtle and it is easy to miss the forest around them. You only think you know what this has all been about. The greatest deception Delaware has ever known will soon be revealed. So far, we have seen bits and pieces of the puzzle. The picture will show how we have all been used for an agenda so nefarious and calculating, your head will spin.
The grabbing hands, grab all they can. Everything counts in large amounts. -Depeche Mode
It’s all about the SJR folks…