In her resignation letter, former Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security Board of Directors President Sherese Brewington-Carr expressed a desire for the charter school to close. As well, she opened a can of extreme whoop-ass on Delaware Charter School Network Executive Director Kendall Massett. Five days later, the school and board went through their first meeting with the Charter School Accountability Committee and went through a very intense meeting. Las Americas Aspiras Academy Head of School Margie Lopez-Waite lambasted the school in the meeting while begging CSAC to keep the school open another year.
Her manner was most unhelpful, divisive and not in keeping what I understand the mission of the membership organization to be, one as an advocate and constructive critic. It is expected that this body should assist and support with charter accountability, as well as a critic to its members, but this manner is unacceptable and represents a direct abuse of authority. No one is allowed to address me in that manner and she was informed of the same. It was embarrassing.
The letter suggests many things, but it has to be read to be believed! And the way Brewington-Carr rips into Kendall Massett! Holy gamoley!
The Charter School Accountability Committee initial report:
The school’s presentation to CSAC is below, but it only gives highlights and doesn’t provide a lot of data.
My take? It sounds like Margie Lopez-Waite wants to turn the school into Aspira 2.0, with a high school version of her school. At the same time she is on her knees wanting the school to stay open another year, she is also reinforcing the reasons they were put on formal review in the first place. I would like to know who these potential partners are that she wants to buddy up with to save the school. Aside from the Vision Academies conglomerate (consisting of East Side and Charter School of New Castle) as well as her own school, who else is in this partner pool? She made a valid point about the Board’s failure to properly govern the school while not saying anything about the Head of School. He is just as important as the Board. The buck stops with both parties. Why is Herb Sheldon given such importance while the school fell apart under his “leadership”? Let’s not forget what his former role was: human resources at East Side Charter School (prior to their takeover of Family Foundations Academy).
I looked on the Delaware DOE website and did not see any major modification request.
I’m torn on this one. Lopez-Waite coming on the Board of Directors was the last move I expected. She does hold a significant amount of power in the Delaware charter world. But will it be enough to save the day? For once I agree with Chuck Taylor: these kids cannot afford to wait. But what Taylor seems to forget is how the school’s demographics changed so significantly: the large amount of charter schools approved in the Wilmington area over the years. We are still feeling the effects of those approvals. It threw the entire Wilmington education community into a tailspin. There are winners and losers from that scenario. It looks like DAPSS lost big-time!
Can Delaware taxpayers continue to keep this school afloat? Should they get another year? The big questions I have need to be answered with the documentation CSAC asked the school for. The key to all of this will be how in the hell they can get more students. In the CSAC report, Lopez-Waite states they are requesting a reduction in enrollment from 375 to 300 but later on Sheldon says the budget is based on 200 students. There is a serious disconnect going on here! While I don’t see any indication of financial fraud or abuse going on here, there are very serious financial issues plaguing this school.
In terms of the academics of the school, it is hard for me to rip into the school for that. The SAT transformed into a Common Core type of test in 2015-2016. The only grade taking this test at the school is 11th grade. I do not believe in the results of this test and see it as a Smarter Balanced type of assessment for juniors. It has become a socio-economic indicator that exists to test, label, punish and shame schools with high populations of special education, low-income, and minority students. But since assessment results are the central focus of the Delaware DOE, here we are!
Going forward, the school will have a public hearing on February 13th at the former Family Foundations Academy building which is now the administrative building for Vision Academies. Their next CSAC meeting will be at the Delaware DOE building in Dover on February 20th at 1pm. The final report will be issued on February 22nd with the CSAC recommendation. Following that will be a final public hearing on March 9th at the Collette Center in Dover (also a DOE building). That will also be the last day for public comment on their formal review. On March 15th, at the State Board of Education meeting, Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting will issue her recommendation and then the State Board of Education will vote on the fate of DAPSS.
Updated, 2:23pm: I corrected a previous error. Herbert Sheldon was with East Side Charter School in Human Resources, not Family Foundations Academy. As well, I searched the DAPSS website and their audio recordings to listen for Kendall Massett yelling at the Board but I could not find anything at all with Kendall even there. It could have been in Executive Session which would not be recorded.