Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg issued a statement today on the Christina School District website in response to Delaware Governor John Carney’s visit to a special Christina Board of Education meeting the other night. I wouldn’t expect an unfavorable response to the visit but it did a great job showing the Board’s concern with Carney’s “partnership” idea.
Message from Christina Superintendent Richard L. Gregg – October 5, 2017
Dear Christina Community:
On October 3, the Christina Board of Education held a Study Session that was attended by Delaware Governor John Carney, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting, and several other state officials and legislators. The Governor addressed Board members directly to personally request that they consider entering into a partnership between the Governor’s Office, the Delaware Department of Education, and the Christina School District to improve five of Christina’s schools in Wilmington: Bancroft Elementary School, Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, Pulaski Elementary School, Stubbs Elementary School, and Bayard Middle School. Governor Carney stated that together, Christina and the state need to focus on making changes that will raise the achievement levels of Wilmington students.
The first step in this process will be for Christina to work together with the Governor’s Office and the Delaware Department of Education, with the goal of developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU, subject to Board approval, would outline the details of an agreement to be implemented in the 2018-2019 school year. Governor Carney communicated to board members that the state’s focus is on five main issues:
- Giving school principals more control over decision-making
- Empowering teachers to have more input on how resources are used
- Addressing student achievement rates, including how current facilities can be used and improved
- Creating “trauma-informed classrooms” that ensure safe, supportive schools
- Establishing systems that can create meaningful, sustained change
These issues could be addressed in a variety of ways, including implementing new governance models, exploring additional learning time, providing trauma-informed supports, implementing programs for infants through adults, creating a pipeline of teachers and leaders, and addressing the root causes of poverty.
Christina Board members asked the governor important questions about the proposal. Their concerns included:
- the level of specifics being offered about the partnership
- the state’s commitment to acting as a true partner in the venture
- the importance of making changes in the best interests of children rather than adults
- the level of input Christina leaders and staff would have in developing the MOU
- how this proposal is different from past interventions by the state
Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting, and Dorrell Green of the Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement provided input on these concerns.
Governor Carney stated, “It’s clear to me that the most important thing we should do now is focus on making changes that will raise achievement levels for city children. That’s part of my responsibility as governor, Dr. Bunting’s job as secretary of education and your jobs as school leaders and Christina board members. We’re in this together.”
As our discussions with the state continue on this important topic, we will keep the Christina School District community informed of any opportunities that parents, students, staff, and the public will have to share input. We will also provide updates on any decisions made by the Christina Board of Education. We are committed to staying focused on being “One District” and doing what is best for our students. As Governor Carney said, “We’re in this together.”
Richard L. Gregg, Superintendent
Christina School District