The Sound Of Angels

So I’m driving around earlier today putting up campaign signs.  I see one of my opponents has been very busy, so the hunt is on!  I’m driving by Dover High School and I see tons of cars there.  I decide to check it out.  If you have never been in Dover High School, the place is huge!  I see all these teenage girls running inside with black dresses.  I didn’t think it was prom, unless black is the new prom dress color.  I walk into the auditorium to hear two teenage girls singing “Killing Me Softly With His Love”.  It was a Choral concert.

For two hours I sat in that auditorium absolutely mesmerized.  It’s been a stressful couple of weeks.  But man, can those kids sing!  If I was blindfolded and didn’t know where I was, I wouldn’t have been able to tell if I was in the Vatican for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve or at Dover High School.  They were that good!  I saw these high school students putting everything they have into this concert.  It was truly a gift from God.

A couple of students sang songs for their mothers and I doubt there was a dry eye in the place.  It made me think of my mom who passed almost three years ago.  But in-between my pangs of sadness, I felt a soothing and calm peace, like I had been lifted away from the burdens of the everyday world and brought to a magical place.

I recognized a few of the students from four years ago when I was a paraprofessional at a nearby charter school.  My how these kids have grown and their talent skyrocketed.  When I started my campaign for Capital’s school board, I came out with a lengthy article about things I wanted to see in the district.  If today was any indication, this district has the arts covered!  It’s the old saying, “Seek, and ye shall find.”  I didn’t think I would hear the sound of angels this afternoon, but I’m sure glad I did.

Mr. Brad Whitenight, the choral director at Dover High School, should be immensely proud.  What he has crafted is a miracle.  I thank you and the Dover High School Choir for the journey to peace today.  If you should ever happen to be driving around Dover one day, take a chance.  You truly never know what you will find.

Shameless Plug: Vote For Kevin Ohlandt for Capital Board of Education on May 10th!!!!!

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Delaware House Education Committee Releases Two Autism Bills But Kills Controversial Amendment

The Delaware House Education Committee released Senate Bills 92 and 93 yesterday at their weekly meeting.  The unanimous release was expected, but an amendment on Senate Bill 93 was taken off by the committee.  If the full House passes Senate Bill 93, it will go back to the Delaware Senate since the amendment previously approved by the Senate was taken off.  Since there is a fiscal note for both bills, they are going to the House Appropriations Committee.  The amendment that was removed by the House Education Committee states the following:

AMEND Senate Bill No. 93 by deleting lines 58 through 60 and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

14) A representative from the Delaware Collaborative for Educational Services (DCES) or, until DCES is created, the Special Education Officer for Strategic Planning and Evaluation at the Delaware Department of Education;

15)  A representative appointed by the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services;

16)  A parent or caregiver of a child or adult with ASD from each  county in Delaware;

17)  An individual with ASD.

FURTHER AMEND Senate Bill No. 93 by inserting the following after line 102:

(t) The Network and the Network Director shall collaborate with the Delaware Collaborative for Education Services (DCES), an entity to be created out of recommendations from the Special Education Strategic Plan, a plan directed by language in the FY15 Budget, Section 307 Epilogue.    The collaboration shall begin after the DCES is formed.  In particular, the Network shall collaborate  with DCES to develop coaching, professional development, and technical assistance in areas where there is overlap with services provided to people with Autism Spectrum Disorders as well low incidence disabilities, including but not limited to visual or hearing impairments, or simultaneous visual and hearing impairments; significant cognitive impairments; or  any impairment for which a small number of personnel with highly specialized skills and knowledge are needed in order for children with that impairment to receive early intervention services or a free appropriate public education. 

 

SYNOPSIS

           This amendment adds a representative from the Delaware Collaborative for Educational Services (DCES) or, until DCES is created, the Special Education Officer for Strategic Planning and Evaluation at the Delaware Department of Education as a voting member of the Interagency Committee on Autism (ICA).  It also adds a new paragraph (t) at the end of the bill containing provisions for the collaboration between the Network and the Network Director and the DCES, after it is created.

Many members of the Delaware Autism community did not like this amendment and felt the Delaware Department of Education was overstepping quite a bit.  I wrote about this a few weeks ago.  Apparently the legislators in the House Education Committee agreed.