State Board of Education ESSA Meeting: 60 Pictures & Flipping The Narrative

Every Student Succeeds Act

At Grotto’s Pizza in Dover, DE, the State Board of Education held a workshop on the Every Student Succeeds Act.  The Capitol Room at Grotto’s was jam-packed with administrators, teachers, advocates, Delaware DOE employees, State Board members, a Congressman, education company employees, and even a blogger or two.  Sadly, there were not that many parents there.  Yes, many of these people play that role as well as their other jobs, but for a meeting the Delaware DOE will say is a true “stakeholder” meeting, this key group was missing.  I recognized a lot of the faces, but there were some I didn’t.  Some I was able to put together based on conversations I overheard.  This was the State Board of Education Workshop on ESSA.  Notice some of the tables where certain people are sitting together.  Especially the one Secretary Godowsky was sitting at…

I did not take these 60 pictures.  They were taken by an employee of Secretary of Education Dr. Godowsky’s office and put on the Delaware DOE Facebook page this morning.  Which means they are part of a state agency which puts them in the public domain!  Thank you DOE Photographer!


State Board of Education Executive Director Donna Johnson at the microphone, Deputy Secretary of Education Karen Field-Rogers in the pink jacket with striped shirt in the back, Susan Haberstroh with the DOE with the mid-length brown hair and glasses, Governor Markell’s Education Policy Advisor Meghan Wallace with the ponytail and glasses, Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky to the right near the screen.


State Board of Education member Pat Heffernan looks at the screen.


Secretary Godowsky stares at the camera as State Board President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, to the right of Dr. Godowsky, smiles at the pretty red walls.


Everyone is bursting at the seams for the show to start…


U.S. Senator Chris Coons addresses the crowd about how he is glad AYP is gone.  While this is going on, Mike Matthews manages to find a blog post of mine from a year ago on how Coons wants to continue AYP  and posts it on Facebook…  To the right of Coons is Bill Doolittle, Mike Matthews, State Rep. Kim Williams, and Campus Community Head of School Leroy Travers.  The gentleman in the blue is Capital School District Board of Education member John Martin.


Coons mesmerizes the audience on why ESSA is sooooo important.


He told the audience Delaware is such a great place because everyone gets a seat at the table but did note the meal isn’t always nutritious.  But nothing is more “Delaware” than Grotto’s Pizza.


See the scruffy guy in the background between Martin and Coons?  That’s me.  Trying to digest the meal Coons is lapping on everyone.


Font Size wasn’t a consideration for those of us in the back of the room…


Karen Field-Rogers introduces the ESSA and the purpose of this meeting.


Like some Hyrdra-Odessa tentacle complex conspiracy initiative, the ESSA will reach into all our lives…


They even had people text which questions were the most important, but it was all “anonymous”.


Donna Johnson explains that even though some questions had more responses based on the anonymous texts people sent, they were going to cover them all!


Johnson explains the Delaware School Success Framework (school report cards) put Delaware in a great position to align with the ESSA law that came out a few months later.  How convenient and what extraordinary timing.  As if they almost knew what the law was going to say…


Capital Superintendent Dan Shelton (middle) explains what the heck these slides say to Martin and fellow Capital Board member Ralph Taylor (left).  Martin ponders how in the world he can explain this law to the other members of the Capital board in any way that makes sense. DSEA’s NEA Director, Mike Hoffman, looks on.


I have no clue who these two people are.  This is where I need your help.  Please write in the comments if you know who these people are and in accompanying pictures.  This will be WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #1.


I’ll start with Godowsky and go around clock-wise.  Pat Heffernan, Blonde?, Providence Creek Interim Head of School – Delaware Charter Schools Network Board President – Delaware DOE Charter School Accountability Committee member Chuck Taylor, can’t see her face but next to Chuck is Delaware Charter Schools Network Director Kendall Massett, guy in light blue shirt with  glasses don’t know, First State Montessori Academy Head of School Courtney Fox, two gentlemen next to her no clue!  WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #2.


Early College High School Head of School Dr. Evelyn Edney, don’t know, and I want to say that is Teresa Gerschmann with Innovative Schools.  WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #3.


Many folks from Gateway Lab School and I believe some other charters.  The woman on the right in the middle is Rebecca Brooking, to her right is Gateway Executive Director Timothy Griffiths and to her left is Michael McCline, an Assistant Principal at EastSide Charter School, but the rest I need help with.  WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #4.


Red Clay teacher, former Red Clay Education Association President, and former Down With Absolutes blogger Mike Matthews gets his magic marker on and writes about what is currently covered in the Delaware School Success Framework.


Matthews listens to Mary Pieri and Jessi Smeigh, two Christina School District educators, as Leroy Travers and another woman with glasses look on.  WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #5.


Now these people I know!  Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams listens intently as Jackie Kook talks about the Adventures of Burger Girl.  Bill Doolittle studies something pertaining to ESSA that is most likely wrong.  Note the laptop with a plate of pizza on it.  That is the box of truth.  That is where the magic happens.


In the middle is Delaware Teach For America leader Laurissa Schutt.  The women next to her represent WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #6.


Yeah, I don’t know any of you! Sorry! WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #7.


Donna Johnson looks on as Susan Haberstroh writes stuff down.  Dr. Gray tries to understand what Haberstroh is writing as the three people next to her in WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #8 try to figure it out.


Johnson tries to figure out what to say next as someone looks on.  I’m not sure who the woman is with the glasses, but I think that is Melissa Hopkins with the Rodel Foundation but I could be wrong.  WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #9.


One represents what we have now in the DSSF.  Two represents what one table wants to see more of.


I know Ralph Talor on the right, and I just found out Val Hoffman, the Uniserv Director at DSEA for the Appoquinimink, Caesar Rodney and Polytech school districts is two down from Taylor.  Between them is her husband Mike Hoffman with DSEA, but the woman next to Hoffman gets the  WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #10 designation.


More posters filled out by tables.  I did ask Donna Johnson who paid for all this.  She said it came from grant money from the Feds.  I asked if that included the poster paper.  She said no, that came from the DOE.


Another paper clearly showing what we measure now and what this table would like to see.  The words “whole child” were mentioned quite a bit last night at Grotto’s.


More of the same.  I would love to know if “leverage technology for real time monitoring” is just another code for personalized learning.


This was my table’s poster.  I will fully admit I wrote “No participation rate penalties” and “uncorrupted data”.  Most of our table agreed on uncorrupted data.  Some felt I was just being me when I said get rid of SBAC and if we don’t let parents opt out.  Keep in mind, this was a State Board of Education sponsored event with many watching.  Those who don’t belong to anything associated with a paycheck in education can speak freely.  There wasn’t too many of us there.


Not sure if I agree that we are accurately addressing special education identification now.  I hate the words human capital in any form, but some seem to like this term…


This was either a moment of exact timing or Dr. Dan Shelton is putting people to sleep!  Just kidding Dan!  I know I wasn’t sleeping but I can’t speak for Capital Board member John Martin and the lady to Shelton’s right.


WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #11 lady at the microphone?  And the woman sitting in the background.  I’ve seen her before.  Who are you?


Donna Johnson ALWAYS has that cell phone in her hand.  ALWAYS!


Jackie Kook talks about “flipping the narrative” in a conversation about the elusive n # for Delaware schools.  The n # is the number of kids that aren’t reported in sub-groups for accountability purposes because they could be “easily identified”.  For Delaware, the n # is 30.  Some said to get rid of it altogether, like Kook, because it shouldn’t be about the schools but the children.  I agree.  Shelton tells Martin, “That is one of my teachers when I was Principal.  She turned out great!”


Kook, aka Burger Girl, aka Vice-President of the Christina Education Association, aka former Co-Chair of the DPAS-II Advisory Sub-Committee, tells the crowd we are missing the boat with what students really need.


WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #12.  I’ve seen this guy before.  I don’t know what he said that got Pat Heffernan all excited…


If you notice, we have the Secretary of Education and a State Board member hobnobbing with the Delaware Charter Schools Network Dream Team…


WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #13.  This guy talked about Delmar School District, so I assume he is from there.  Please verify.


Johnson tells everyone Smarter Balanced is gone, parents can opt out of whatever they want, teachers can teach what they want, and Common Core is going the way of the Ford Pinto.  Are you still awake?  Just checking.  Everything I wrote is a lie in the first sentence.


Lake Forest School District Superintendent Dr. Brenda Wynder has the brown shirt and tan sweater and Lake Forest Supervisor of Special Programs Bernardette Maxwell have been identified but the rest of you…WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #14.


State Board members Dr. Terry Whittaker and Nina Lou Bunting talk about something.  I have to imagine it is something along the lines of “Does any of this make sense to you?” followed by “Just go with the flow and vote yes.”


Leroy Travers asks Donna Johnson why he had to sit at the same table as the blogger.  Just kidding Leroy!  It was good talking with you yesterday!


Karen Field-Rogers chats with two women I already asked who they were in other pictures so I won’t do it again.


Secretary Godowsky makes a bet with Kendall Massett about how many Delaware charter schools will close this year.  Pat Heffernan thinks about “clown schools”.


This guy looks like he means business.  He was a part of WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #2.


Not sure who these two guys are but the guy on the left sure is having a good old time!  WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #15.


WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #16.  The only one I know at this table is Susan Haberstroh, leaning on her wrist with a blue magic marker.


Heff and Chuck listen intently as someone talks about something ESSA related.


As we can clearly see, the photographer thinks Pat Heffernan is very photogenic.


The guy who was having way too much fun for a State Board of Education workshop a few pictures ago.


Knee-deep in policy conversations about that student success looks like.


I would like to draw special attention to the ten Grotto’s soda cups.  You needed A LOT of caffeine to get through this thing!


My favorite part of this poster: “Let us tell our story instead of others interpreting.” AMEN!


John Martin and WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #16 guy give some hand gestures as Deb Stevens with DSEA laughs.  Not sure who is next to Deb.


Dr. Gray talks to Marsha Johnson with BSS (waiting on clarification for what BSS is) as WHO ARE YOU PICTURE #13 guy looks like he needs something stronger than caffeine!


Someone raises a point while Shelton thinks “I’m on Candid Camera”.


Secretary Godowsky urges people NOT TO READ BLOGS and ask questions there but instead to submit any questions to the Delaware DOE.  Okay, he didn’t say that.

As a bonus, it was revealed yesterday that the Delaware DOE had an ALL-STAFF meeting earlier in the day.  Based on the pictures, I believe this was at Dover Downs.  Which means they had to rent a room.  Which also means that costs taxpayer money.  Keep in mind, they have a HUGE school district all around them and I’m sure any of those schools would have let them use a gym or cafeteria to hold this meeting.  Or they could have used their really big conference room at the Collette Center, which is a satellite office of the Delaware DOE.  They had a surprise guest… Santa Claus?  Donald Trump?  Paul Herdman?  Nope.  None other than Delaware Governor Jack Markell showed up to thank the DOE for following his bidding for EIGHT LONG YEARS…




15 thoughts on “State Board of Education ESSA Meeting: 60 Pictures & Flipping The Narrative

  1. Who are you #7 – One of the most amazing administrators in the Milford School District, Dr. Bridget Amory, Director of Elementary Ed. Blonde hair leaning on her wrist. Loved your comments. Lots of familiar faces of those you don’t know but can’t place names.


  2. Saw no mention about achievement gaps? Which is good I think, if such is a true glimpse of the future..About time we consider children as children and stop focusing on just their degrees of separation…


  3. Who are you picture 10 next to Val Hoffmann is Karen Gordon, former BSD librarian and BEA VP and current BSD school board member.


  4. Just wanted to point out these meetings are taking place because department officials are wrestling to find the right balance of involving enough stakeholders so they’re not accused of operating in secret… Did they cover anything relative to the legislation particularly? Or was this a dog and pony show that amounts to nothing and they now can go on and do whatever they want? Would someone who stayed to the end care to offer their observation?


  5. The woman next to Deb Stevens (John Martin and unknown man making hand gestures) is Jen Smith – Appoquinimink Education Association President.


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