Shelley Suchyj is an educator from the Christina School District. She was also the Exceptional Delaware Hero Of The Year for 2016 for speaking out about the mold issues in her district. As the School Choice window in Delaware will end tomorrow, Suchyj put up a Facebook post with some information that was left out of a recent Delaware Today article by Larry Nagengast.
This is a must read for every politician and parent in Delaware so please share. As the Talented and Gifted Educator for the Christina School District city schools; I have spent over 30 hours already this week, going to student’s houses and helping their parents fill out Choice forms on my personal computer. This is on top of the hours spent with a “carload of parents and students” that I attended open house with at the new Christina Honors Academy two weeks ago. There is a lot that this article doesn’t include, that most don’t even understand. Like the fact that the choice website is only in English and most city parents don’t realize that you only have from November- January of the previous year to apply for Choice in the following year. The biggest hurtle is a perception of what a “good school” is.
I have been an educator for over 23 years, 16 years as an 8th grade teacher helping parents navigate the high school choice decision. Having taught most of my years as an inner city teacher. I have had siblings in the first graduating classes of both Wilmington Charter and Newark Charter when they both opened. I have sons that have attended public, catholic, charter, magnet and choice schools in the state of Delaware since choice began in 1997 and currently. I have to say the biggest issue for everyone in the state of Delaware to understand that there are GREAT programs and things happening in every school.
My own mother thought I was crazy when I took my son out of the, believed to be best catholic school, and put him in a public school. But to this day Marbrook, and the friends, teachers and experiences he had there can not be matched. But that was for him. He learned to speak Spanish fluently not because he learned it in school, because he didn’t, it was because his best friends spoke Spanish when they arrived at school and he needed to be able to communicate when they played soccer at recess and hung out after school. He got to learn a new sport at Dickinson playing varsity lacrosse that he never would have been able to play at Sallies or Wilmington Charter because of the number of kids on the team.
My belief is that every school should have an engineering class, computer class, arts class, music classes, languages and personal finance class option for every child in grades 4-12. Lets figure out what kids are talented in and grow those talents. We have changed the location of where our children can go to school in Delaware through Choice and Charter. Shouldn’t we change what they are taught in school to be successful too? It isn’t 1950 any more.
With sincerest apologies to Suchyj, I promised her I would get this up when I saw it over the weekend, but due to weather and work constraints I was unable to do so. Every parent interested in choicing their child to a different school should look at every possible option and not go solely by reputation. Each child is different and has unique learning methods.
One thought on “Guest Post: Shelley Suchyj On School Choice In Delaware”
Well stated. There are good things going on in virtually every school in Delaware. The best school for your child might very well be the one closest to your home. Choice provides families with options, and parents should use those options to place their children in a school that is both a good fit for them and easily accessible. That doesn’t necessarily mean the school with the highest test scores because going to that school isn’t magically going to make your child a genius.
By the way, choice hasn’t necessarily made schools better, but it has given families a way to migrate from schools that they don’t consider good. However, the determination of what makes a school “good” should not be based on numbers (test scores, percentage of minority or low-income) alone. Different people will find different schools “good” for different reasons.
So, parents, do your homework. Check things out, and make your decisions for positive reasons. Don’t run away from something you don’t like unless you’re sure you’re moving to something better. And, if you feel that you’re in a situation you don’t like, step up and do your part to make it better. Not working to fix an unfavorable situation is the worst choice of all.