Snow storm “Grayson” (can’t believe they give them names now too) caused schools to be closed today, Thursday, January 4th. Districts and charter schools already began announcing closures for tomorrow, January 5th. Last updated: 8:12pm. It looks like ALL Sussex and Kent County school districts and charters are closed tomorrow. New Castle County districts and charters are also announcing closures. I am getting this information from the State of Delaware website as well as school district or charter school social media pages. This is what I have so far and will announce more as they come:
Academia Antonia Alonso
Academy of Dover
Campus Community School
Charter School of New Castle
Charter School of Wilmington
Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security
Early College High School
East Side Charter School
First State Military Academy
First State Montessori Academy
Freire Charter School
Las Americas Aspiras Academy
MOT Charter School
Newark Charter School
New Castle County Vo-Tech
Odyssey Charter School
Providence Creek Academy
Red Clay Consolidated
Thomas Edison Charter School
ALL the traditional school districts are closed. I am awaiting word on the following charters: Kuumba Academy, Great Oaks Charter, Delaware Military Academy, and Gateway. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume they will be closed tomorrow but don’t take my word for it!
I reached out to Delaware State Representative Paul Baumbach on the proposed legislation that would remove a school district board member under certain conditions. I haven’t seen a bill pre-filed so I thought I would ask the sponsor. This is what he had to say: Continue reading Paul Baumbach On Status Of Potential School Board Member Removal Bill
It must be education legislation pre-file day today! State Representative Earl Jaques with a Senate sponsorship by Senator Margaret Rose Henry pre-filed House Bill #292. This legislation is very similar to the 148th General Assembly’s Senate Bill #92 which failed to get out of the Appropriations Committee due to state budget constraints. The key difference between HB #292 and SB #92 is the fiscal note was lowered for the new bill. I love that Alex Eldreth, a longtime advocate for students with Autism in Delaware, is honored with this bill. Eldreth, from Autism Delaware, passed away in November of 2017.
This Act implements the recommendations of the March 2015 Autism Educational Task Force report regarding § 1332 of Title 14, the Program for Children with Autism and its Special Staff. Enacted nearly three decades ago, this law established a network of educational programs initially within a separate school structure known as The Delaware Autism Program (DAP). Today, this network continues as a combination of both separate school programs and within local school district support services. However, the current model does not reflect current practices in special education, especially regarding inclusive education, and parents’ desire to have their children educated in their local communities. In addition, the increase in students with an educational classification of autism spectrum disorder (“ASD”) has made it difficult for the Statewide Director to provide the level of services and support that once was offered. This Act establishes the qualifications and duties of the Statewide Director and enhances the current mandatory committee structure to include a Parent Advisory Committee, in addition to the Peer Review Committee and Statewide Monitoring Review Board, to increase family input, monitoring, and protections. This Act creates a 3 year pilot program that revises the concept of DAP toward a system in which the statewide Director will work in collaboration with a team of experts to provide technical assistance and training to districts and educational entities. It allows for and provides adequate resources for all students with ASD in Delaware by eliminating the distinction between DAP-approved programs and other in-district options and by providing in-state experts at a lower cost than out-of-state residential treatment and consultants. The pilot program created under this Act makes changes that recognize and support the need for specialized technical assistance and training staff to be available to build capacity for teachers in all districts and other programs educating students with ASD. These changes expand available supports so that excellent, evidence-based training and technical assistance can be made available to all Delaware schools and the students who attend them. The pilot program created under this Act establishes a technical assistance team of educational autism specialists numbering a ratio of 1 for every 100 students (currently estimated at 15 positions). The fiscal mechanism to support the pilot program will be accomplished through mandated district participation that is consistent with the current needs-based funding system in Delaware and by redirecting state spending towards lower cost, community-based supports from out-of-state residential placements. The number of training specialists will be phased in over several years or until the pilot program ends. Finally, this Act is known as “The Alex Eldreth Autism Education Law” in memory Alex Eldreth, who passed away unexpectedly on November 24, 2017, and his dedication to this work.
State Representative Kim Williams pre-filed legislation today that would do away with emergency certifications for pending special education teachers in The First State. As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act, this is no longer allowed in public education. From the bill’s synopsis:
Enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act amended the Individuals with Disability Education Act (“IDEA”) by mandating that special education teachers must have obtained full certification and may not be working under emergency certifications. The Delaware Department of Education must stop issuing emergency certifications in special education in order for the State to continue receiving $36 million in federal IDEA funding for our schools. This Act creates a mechanism that is in compliance with federal requirements to enable educators to obtain a certificate of eligibility in the areas of special education. Educators will be able to meet federal requirements while being enrolled in an approved, alternative routes to certification program. This Act will allow local education agencies to staff special education classrooms while ensuring the educators are receiving high quality training working toward their standard certificate in the appropriate area of special education. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
Also sponsored by State Senator Nicole Poore, this bill has many co-sponsors by several Democrats but no Republicans. But that shouldn’t matter as this is a federal requirement now. So what does this mean? It means you can’t just be put into a classroom that has students with disabilities with an Individualized Education Program based on an emergency certificate. You have to already be going through some type of program that would allow you to be heading towards full certification. I expect this to pass with no problems.
As well, Williams also pre-filed legislation today concerning special education diplomas with House Bill #287 which I wrote about here. To read the full pending legislation for House Bill #286, please go here.