My moles across the state are telling me about emails going out to teachers and staff that schools will be physically closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This unprecedented and historic move is based on the remaining threat of Covid-19 in Delaware. At a press briefing today Delaware Governor John Carney, when specifically asked, had not determined the fate of the school year. But just as that was going on, an email was sent out to Red Clay Consolidated School District teachers and staff about the future:
From: Broomall Hugh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: April 9, 2020 at 2:45:55 PM EDT
To: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Red Clay 2019-2020 Grading Protocols
April 9, 2020
Dear Red Clay Staff,
Thank you for your efforts to connect with students and families as we transitioned to a remote learning environment. Red Clay’s remote learning plan focuses on student learning, not grades. During this closure, Red Clay is approaching grades with “a hold harmless” plan where grades will not go down; rather, they can only improve.
Highlights of the attached Update on 2019-20 Grading Protocols include:
The third marking period will end on June 9, 2020.
Grades are due June 16, 2020.
DSC will mail progress reports home.
Special Education Progress Updates will remain quarterly.
Teachers may allow students to make up work or re-assess learning which was previously covered.
The district will continue to review our guidance as more information on school closure becomes available.
Thank you for your patience and commitment to student learning.
Hugh Broomall | Deputy Superintendent
Red Clay Consolidated School District
www.redclayschools.com | #WeAreRedClay
The key here is the dates. Several school districts met this week and last to determine when their school year would actually end this year. As seen by Red Clay’s dates, even with NO more days off that would put it further out than the dates in this email. So something is afoot!
Governor Carney, in his press conference q & a today, said that despite models for Covid-19 spread showing Delaware already hit their peak today, warned the darkest days may not even be here yet. He cited other models showing Delaware, at least Northern Delaware, could become a “hot spot” much like we have already seen in Washington State, New York, and Louisiana. As part of the Philadelphia region, which encompasses Philadelphia, parts of New Jersey, and Wilmington, Carney warned Delaware could even be two weeks out from seeing the numbers from Philly becoming a “hot spot”. Which puts us into some rising numbers in the days ahead. Carney said the numbers for today are very high even though they have not been officially released.
As most Delaware students embarked on their remote digital learning school days this week with NO new content introduced, many parents have been scratching their heads. Most districts are giving shortened days and it is review material. Special education issues are popping up all over the place but the United States Department of Education is relaxing rules from IDEA. For parents who may want to go after a school district or charter school over these issues they will find their backs against the wall in most situations. Yes, a case could go to due process, but most hearing officers will side with the schools given the gravity of the Covid-19 situation. I did take issue with former Brandwine Superintendent Mark Holodick’s assertion in the News Journal that parents shouldn’t look to cash in because of it:
“One would hope that during incredibly challenging times such as this, that everyone would work as collaboratively as possible for what’s in the best interest of a student, and not be driven by an interest in making money,” Holodick said.
Bad form Mark! He wants folks to think parents of kids with disabilities are in it for the money. First off, he knows DAMN WELL how funds are distributed. They go into an educational trust. Second, he knows DAMN WELL that most special education cases go to hearings because someone screwed up at the school or district level. And that isn’t even counting all the special education settlements!
Meanwhile, the dysfunctional Christina School District Board of Education had yet another member resign Tuesday night. Angela Mitchell resigned. She publicly stated the final straw was because she wasn’t allowed onto the online board meeting because it had exceeded capacity. But like the other former board member Elizabeth Paige who resigned last month, it was due to the cabal on the board of non-transparent members who are in it for themselves. Two board members voted on a contact to University of Delaware for their Superintendent search even though they work at U of D. They should have recused themselves but I guess they are immune to those kind of ethics.
I want to hear from teachers, students, and parents about what they are hearing. What they are experiencing. How do you feel about no more physical school this year? Has anyone lost their mind yet?