The Delaware State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, December 15th has some very interesting presentations and action items! This could be Delaware Secretary of Education’s second to last meeting. He announced today that the earliest he would leave his position would be January 18th. More details on that, as well as his replacement, later in the article!
The most interesting presentation, in my opinion, will be the one about priority and focus schools. Representatives from Red Clay, Christina, Capital and Laurel will give updates on how their “turnaround” schools are doing. This includes the seven priority schools- three in Red Clay, three in Christina, and one in Laurel. I pray this isn’t a repeat of the meeting last December when State Board President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray had a meltdown over the Christina priority schools. I would tend to doubt it since that all got sorted out in the middle of the WEIC/State Board fiasco last February.
Speaking of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, it looks like someone from WEIC will give a presentation on where their redistricting plan is six months after the Delaware General Assembly did not pass legislation to fund the plan but instead gave them an extra year in the process. From what I’m hearing, there is some discontent on the main WEIC group and some tension is building. I reported last week Christina was getting a facilities evaluation for all their buildings in Wilmington. Tony Allen, the Chair of WEIC, did respond to me and stated this was part of the WEIC process from Senate Bill 300 but did not touch on the exact wording of the amendment on that bill. This is a VERY gray legal area in terms of the wording for this facilities review to even happen, but once again, this is Delaware.
We will get the usual monthly update on how things are going with the Every Student Succeeds Act. I expect a lot of head tilts from Gray as she tries to understand the new timeline. I pray someone brings up Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education pick. Please, make it happen! I can say the ESSA Discussion Group will meet at the end of January but exact dates have not been determined yet.
Academy of Dover gets their charter renewal vote at this meeting. I expect the State Board will approve it. There will be some talk about getting their enrollment up, but it will pass. Most likely a unanimous vote. No drama here.
This meeting will be a Regulation bonanza though! Regulations are a very tricky beast. When you look at just the description for the changes on an agenda, the true meat is in the actual regulatory changes. And there are tons and tons of changes for Regulations 1503 and 1510. Teachers, especially new teachers, will want to read these! But other staff in schools will also want to read these, especially counselors and nurses. Other regulation action items deal with Secretary-only ones that actually repeal old regulations dealing with school nutrition. A couple of regulations dealing with surrogates for IEP students above the age of 18 are also getting a State Board vote.
There are no major personnel changes. Secretary Godowsky’s Associate Secretary, Candice Brooks, will be moving to the Title I Family and Community Engagement area as an Education Associate. This signals a shift of employees coming at the Delaware Dept. of Education. Secretary Godowsky WILL be leaving. The question is when. The new Secretary may not start right at the beginning of Carney’s administration if they have to facilitate an exit from their current Delaware job. Yes, the new Secretary will be from Delaware. Godowsky did confirm that today (not that anyone thought otherwise). So Godowsky has publicly stated he will stick around during that transition. The new Secretary of Education announcement could come as early as this weekend but most likely next week, along with all of Carney’s Secretary picks. While this is not official, I am hearing the Secretary of Education pick is down to two people. All I can say is that they were on my poll last week. I will say no more! But Carney could make other sweeping changes to the DOE besides the supreme leader. The Governor picks the President of the State Board of Education, the Executive Director of the State Board of Education, and pretty much all the leadership positions at the DOE. Will Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, Donna Johnson, and Michael Watson survive the new administration?
If you are in Dover next Thursday, and have some time to kill between 1pm to 5pm (or 7pm if Dan Rich gives the WEIC Presentation, just kidding Dan!), come on over to the Townsend Building and bring popcorn! Maybe Governor Markell will pop over to give a farewell speech to the State Board!