Christina School District Changes School Start & End Times Without Board Approval Or Letting Parents Know

Ah, it must be summer in the Christina School District.  The days when district leadership make changes to how the district operates without board approval.  In the latest round of “how can we make the district look bad”, the district has now changed start and end times for the schools in the district.  Some are good and some are bad but the fact it was a unilateral decision by the Superintendent (Richard Gregg, who the board hired) is a smack in the face to the governing authority of the district (the board).

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How this district leadership can be so infantile in its arrogant way of thinking is beyond me.  I guess they don’t have to care how these changes could affect the schedules of working parents, teachers, and extracurricular activities students might do outside of school.  And I guess they still haven’t gotten the memo that 7:05 is way too early for teenagers to go to school in the morning!!!!  Tsk, tsk…

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Email The Christina Board of Education To Vote NO On Any Reduction In Force Of Teachers

After failing to pass their referendum last week, the Christina School District Board of Education will hold a board meeting tomorrow night.  The first action item?  A reduction in force.  This means they will vote to fire a ton of teachers.  It won’t be the first time their board voted on something like this but they can do something different this time.  They can vote a resounding NO for this action item.

Many will ask the same question: then where does the money come from?  Simply put, Christina School District is too big to fail.  Who is going to take them over?  The Delaware Department of Education?  They don’t have the capacity or the money to do the job.  The charter schools?  Hell no!  They are not one organization with a ton of umbrella schools under the same name.  Like the banks in 2008, the answer is simple- a state bailout of the district.  Force them into a bankruptcy type situation and let the legislators dole out the money to save them.

For far too long teachers in this district have been forced to sweat it out come referendum time.  Their jobs, along with their livelihoods, have been put on the firing line every single time a referendum comes along.  The madness has to end and has to end now.  If you agree, email the Christina Board of Education between now and tomorrow night (May 7th) at 7pm or show up to their meeting at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School, 50 Gender Road, in Newark, DE.  Give loud and proud public comment urging the board to vote NO on their latest gambit to fire teachers.  Their email is CSDBoardMembers@Christina.k12.de.us and I would strongly suggest emailing them NOW!  Then go a step further and sign THIS PETITION on Change.org.

Yes, this is a drastic step.  But it is time for the state of Delaware to stop with their silly education funding games and finally take education seriously.  It is time for the legislators to stop whining and be forced to do something.  The students and teachers of Delaware can not afford any more half measures.  It has to be go big or go home!

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Christina? Cathy Hegedus Sure As Hell Isn’t The Answer!!!!

It wouldn’t be a school board election season without some controversy springing out of the Christina School District.  Hot on the heels of the district’s crushing loss in their referendum last week, Christina voters will head to the polls again on May 14th to elect the District D candidate.  Many are trying to make sure two-time board member John Young does NOT get re-elected.  But the biggest threat to the district does not exist with Young.  It lies within. Continue reading

Big Mac Attack! Christina 1:1 Device Plan Supports Poor Nutrition!

You might want to Super Size this article.  Continue reading

The Schols of Christina!

No, I did not misspell the word “schools”.  Apparently the Christina School District is now investing in tectonic plates made of ice.  I find this rather fascinating.  Yes!  This is what the children of Christina’s Wilmington schools need to succeed and compete in the global economy!

It makes sense in a bizarre way.  Schol, a dutch word for ice floes, is defined as any type of sea ice not attached to land.  This is exactly how the Christina Wilmington schools are in relation to the rest of the district.  They are an island, separated from the rest of the district.  I have no doubt in my mind this was the intention of the district when they created this video.  It was a Jedi mind trick to see how many people would get it.  You can’t fool this blogger!  But someone forgot to tip off Christina Board President Meredith Griffin.  He pronounced “schol” as “schools”.

Ten days ago, the Christina School District spent  an undisclosed amount of money on a promotional video for the “Wilmington Schools Partnership”.  For those wondering what that is, it is a result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the district, the Christina Educators Association, Governor Carney’s office, and the Delaware Department of Education.  The goal is to improve educational outcomes for Christina’s Wilmington students.  The plan is still in the implementation stages.  The jury is still out on whether it will be successful or not.  After ten days, as of this writing, the video has received an astonishing 22 views.

106 years ago, a schol caused a major problem for the RMS Titanic.  When the passenger liner collided with the schol, it caused the boat to sink hours later.  Over 1,500 passengers died in the Atlantic Ocean.  Another word for schol is iceberg.  Which is also the name of a kind of lettuce.  But that is different than Romaine lettuce.  People aren’t eating that these days because of another major problem.

 

Rep. Paul Baumbach To Christina: “Keep Moving As Fast As You Can”

At the end of the Christina School District Board of Education meeting last week, State Representative Paul Baumbach spoke before the board.  He thanked the board and the district for the changes they implemented in the past year and “strongly encouraged” them to keep doing it.  There was a specific reason Baumbach did this.  He admitted the General Assembly doesn’t help. Continue reading

Earl Jaques Is Really Pushing For State Takeover Of Christina

The most controversial piece of legislation in the Delaware General Assembly will be State Rep. Earl Jaques’ brainfart of an idea to have the State of Delaware take over the Christina School District.  Continue reading

Earl Jaques Planning To Draft Legislation That Would Put Christina In Receivership By The State

State Representative Earl Jaques has some mighty bold plans in the 150th General Assembly.  The biggest and most controversial will be a bill that would have the state takeover the Christina School District.  It is in the works and he is looking for sponsors. Continue reading

Christina Teachers Don’t Like That MOU! Will The Board Agree?

I put up the new Christina MOU the other day.  Since then I have heard nothing but outrage from Christina teachers.  Everything from pay to a change in seniority.  Veteran Christina teachers in the ‘burbs certainly don’t like the fact they could get rif’d over newer teachers in the city who sign a commitment letter.

The Christina Board will vote on this mess Tuesday night.  I would lay odds the board will vote in the affirmative on it.  But the members of the Christina Education Association will vote to ratify this a couple days later.  If they vote no on the MOU it is back to the drawing board.  What will that mean for the whole consolidation of the Christina Wilmington schools?

Air Quality & Mold Become Issues Again In Christina

The start of a school year is always going to have issues.  But when those issues could potentially have a health impact on students and staff, citizens are left wondering why these issues aren’t taken care of during the summer months when students are not in the buildings.  For Christina, several schools are having problems with their buildings. Continue reading

The Massive Teacher Shortage In Christina’s Wilmington Schools Is Now A Crisis

I’m hearing from multiple sources the Wilmington Christina schools are having problems of epic proportions.  Teachers are leaving these schools in epic numbers.  Continue reading

Christina School District Salaries Over $100,000

The Christina School District.  They have less administrators than they did four years ago, but they also have over 2,000 less students than they did then.  Much of that can be attributed to the very big charter school growth during that time.  Not only were new charters springing up all over the place, but existing charters expanded their enrollment by adding new grades.  Former Superintendent Freeman Williams resigned in the Fall of 2015 and the district did not get a new Superintendent until the beginning of 2017.  The Delaware DOE and various Delaware Governor’s public education target, Christina has actually come a long way.  Last month they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Governor Carney and the Delaware Department of Education.  They are taking a strong look at each of their schools, not only in Wilmington but also the Newark/Bear/Glasgow area as well.

I’ve predicted their demise but that was more of a warning shot to them.  Out of all the districts and charters in Delaware, I’ve probably written about them the most.  Which I feel gives me the ability to defend them when the need arises.  The district certainly has their challenges but all districts do.  Christina has some of the highest numbers of low-income and special education students in the entire state.  While they don’t have the highest percentage of low-income students, they have the highest number of students.  And many of those, especially in Wilmington, are students of poverty.  They aren’t the district I’m worried about.  More on that another day.

A very important note about their numbers.  The district itself has 75 administrators making over $100,000.  While that may seem like a lot, they also have over 15,000 students in their district despite the charter explosion in the past decade.  But they also hold special programs in their district, such as the Delaware Autism Program and the Delaware School For The Deaf.  With those programs, the district has 93 administrators making over $100,000.  This is an important distinction which will play out later on.  Four years ago they had 108 administrators hitting the over $100,000 mark.

Continue reading

Christina Missing A Special Education Director

When John Dewey retired from the Christina School District two months ago, it put the second largest school district in the state without a Special Services Senior Director.  This is the title for the person overseeing special education in the district.  So who is running special education in Christina School District?  With the number of complaints I receive about special education in Christina you would think they would make sure this key vacancy in their district is filled.  But nope, here we are two months later and nothing.  How long are they going to keep this key position vacant?

Christina Tables MOU Again But Does Pass Their Final FY2018 Budget

Last evening, the Christina School District Board of Education held their second board meeting of the month.  There were only two items on the agenda: a recommendation to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between the district and Governor Carney’s office and approval of their final Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

The board punted on the MOU vote again, choosing to table a vote until their February 6th board meeting.  All five board members in attendance voted yes on tabling the vote.  They were George Evans, Fred Polaski, Meredith Griffin, Harrie Ellen Minnehan, and John Young.  Board members Elizabeth Paige and Angela Mitchell did not attend the meeting.  The board has voted to table this vote several times now which must assuredly be frustrating Carney’s office.  When it came time to vote on their final budget for this fiscal year, all board members in attendance voted yes with the exception of Young.  The board voted on the same recommendation last week, but that failed with a 3-2 vote.

Governor John Carney’s office mentioned the proposed MOU in Carney’s proposed Annual Appropriations bill yesterday.  They have 15 million in capital funds earmarked for the district and 1.5 million in opportunity grants.  The capital funds would be used for construction costs for some of their Wilmington schools as the MOU calls for consolidation of Christina’s Wilmington schools from five to two.  Carney also mentioned Christina in his State of the State address last week.

The next day I posted a bold prediction for Christina.  I received no response from Carney’s office or Christina School District about those predictions.  I heard this information from various sources in Delaware.  The odd part is NO ONE has been talking about it aside from some messages I received from some curious and very worried district teachers.  I was not able to reveal my sources to those individuals.

As the district in Delaware that sends the most in local payments to Delaware charter schools, they face a potential financial hit with Carney recommending another 2% goes to charters in FY2019 due to “inflation”.

 

 

 

Kowalko Picks Apart Carney’s Not So Legal Christina-Wilmington Plan

Last night, the Christina Board of Education voted 5-2 to push back Delaware Governor John Carney’s consolidation plan for Christina’s Wilmington students until the 2019-2020 school year. They felt the initiative would need more time. The no votes belonged to board members George Evans and Fred Polaski. State Rep. John Kowalko gave public comment concerning the plan. To say he was not in favor would be an understatement. Kowalko brought up many good points which the Governor and the Delaware DOE ought to consider.

I and 9 other legislators attended a meeting called by Governor Carney less than a week ago purportedly to discuss the proposed Wilmington school reform plan and MOU proposal. Since we weren’t given copies of the MOU and it doesn’t seem to be available any longer at the link the Administration provided I cannot offer or challenge some of the specifics. At this meeting the Governor suggested that the MOU draft submitted by DOE would be changed and this board is not bound by it and should draft its own MOU proposal. The deadlines for Board action that the Governor and DOE appear to be imposing are substantively unrealistic and impractical for such a complex consideration with so many unanswerable questions.

Having examined some of the initial proposal and the details and expectations it held has led me to conclude that this is not a well thought out plan, that raises more questions and challenges then it has answers for.

I distributed some of my points of concern to the Governor and DOE and have copies for you that I will distribute. Due to time constraints I will try to focus on only a few of my concerns that I hope you will consider at this time.

I find it particularly harmful and hurtful to the “Southbridge” community, families and children to propose closing Elbert Palmer, one of the true neighborhood schools in walking distance and accessible to this Wilmington community. I hope that this Board’s counter-proposal would support closing that tired old monolith known as Bancroft and refurbish Palmer, Pulaski and Bayard to use for the suggested K-8 reconfiguration.

I also implore this Board to pay heed to the massive costs (which the Governor personally refused to speculate on) in refurbishing or renovating in order to make these consolidations. You should be acutely aware that any promise of funding cannot be guaranteed. In fact I would urge you to recall this Administration’s recently passed budget with concurrence of this current General Assembly cut traditional public school revenues by more than $36 million. Restoring that $36 million in cuts and adding even a small percentage of the proposed renovation costs would be much more beneficial and effective for Wilmington students if allocated to create smaller classroom ratios and hire reading and math specialists.

As I’ve looked at this reform proposal and its details and drawing upon my 11 years of experience as a legislator I am forced to conclude that this is a no-win situation for Christina, this Board and the children of Wilmington. Its predisposition to fail will be used to scapegoat the district and further stifle opportunities for Wilmington students and their families.

Finally I would suggest that this Board consider that traditional public school funding has received reduced funding since 2009 now totaling over $65 million per year. Ask the DOE and Governor:

Who is going to pay for the renovations?

Who is paying for longer school days and school years?

Who is paying for vacation academies?

Who is paying for after-school programs?

And why aren’t Reading Specialists and funding for them part of this plan?

At this point, Kowalko had several questions for Governor Carney as well:

1) If CSD does not approve MOU, more money will be taken from the District further harming prospects of Wilmington students and families. (“If it rejects the plan and fails to come up with an acceptable alternative, the agreement would be terminated immediately, resulting in the loss of any additional financial support for the district”).
2) Bayard/Bancroft are not appropriate buildings for little children even if renovated. Bancroft too old to make usable with renovations.
3) Trauma Training not necessarily (research?) effective but investing/funding 1 to 15 class size ratios would effectively improve the learning environment and outcomes.
4) Palmer became the first equity lawsuit in Delaware when Christina District (at Lowery’s behest) tried to close it 10 years ago.
5) Leaves no “Neighborhood Schools” for city children and in fact may violate the “Neighborhood Schools Legislation”.
6) Bancroft is far away from Palmer and Southbridge children who now walk would be unable to continue that practice.
7) Distinguish more specifically between renovate, refurbish and reconfiguration.
8) Why don’t we do things like “successful” districts? The most successful programs such as in New York and Massachusetts fund “reading specialists” and lower class ratios.
9) When the plan refers to “potentially” establishing “early childhood education” and “centers for students and families learning English” at a vacated Palmer are the planners aware that there are no ESL students at Palmer?
10) Have you considered neighborhood “gangs” being integrated from across Wilmington into the same building?
11) The suggested “Co-leadership” model re: principals and assistant principals belies the reality that these two jobs have never had the same duties and have always had designated responsibilities and functions.
12) “Loan forgiveness stipend” to young and “inexperienced” teachers does not reflect any benefit to already established teachers who have devoted their careers to inner-city education and “Who” is paying for these loans?
13) “Who” is paying for “longer school days/year”?
14) “Who is paying for “vacation academies”?
15) “Who is paying for “after-school programing”?
16) Why aren’t reading specialists part of this plan and therefore WHO IS PAYING FOR “READING SPECIALISTS” SO THAT CHILDREN ACTUALLY LEARN TO READ?

These are all valid questions that deserve answers. One of my biggest questions is why the Delaware Department of Education did not include this in their presentation to the Office of Management and Budget for the Fiscal Year 2019 budget a couple of weeks ago. Where is all this money coming from? The Christina Board of Education will vote on the plan again next Tuesday at their monthly board meeting. Revisions will supposedly go back and forth until February of 2018 which is Governor Carney’s deadline for the decision.

Christina Superintendent Gregg Releases Statement About Potential School Closures In Wilmington

After the proposed memorandum of understanding leaked to the News Journal yesterday, those affiliated with Christina’s Wilmington schools have been scratching their heads.  On the chopping block are three city schools.  It appears Superintendent Richard Gregg is perfectly okay with these changes that have yet to receive proper stakeholder feedback.  It looks like the “Community Conversation” meeting tonight at Stubbs Elementary School will give out a lot of the details.  I really hope the communities on both the East and West sides of Wilmington come and say “How dare you” to both the Governor and the district for embarking on a plan that could be approved before funding is even approved, gives no certainties about what happens to students after 8th grade in those schools, and has been planned and schemed behind closed doors long before the public caught wind of it.

 

 

WEIC Gets Stuck On A FOIA Technicality While Christina And Carney Scheme To Close Schools

I’d heard the rumor.  The five Wilmington schools serving Christina students would fold into two.  It was only a rumor until today when the News Journal published details of a confidential memorandum of understanding between the district and Governor Carney. Meanwhile, the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, which has outlived its usefulness as of late, decided to hold an impromptu meeting while breaking state FOIA open meeting laws.

As per Jessica Bies’ News Journal article:

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, a state advisory committee formed by then-Gov. Jack Markell to come up with ideas to improve education in the city, was also scheduled to review Carney’s proposal Tuesday night. It did not publicly advertise the meeting in compliance with state law or post the agenda for the meeting until late Monday, after a News Journal reporter called and asked when it would be shared.

As per a source, this WEIC meeting was planned six weeks ago and the Mayor of Wilmington came to speak.  A technicality of not posting the agenda in the required seven day window occurred.  When Tony Allen arrived at the meeting, he advised the committee of the technicality and that no action would be taken at the meeting, including approving the minutes for the last meeting.  While I have seen time and time again in FOIA complaints that a party forgot to post an agenda, it is my belief, even if a meeting is planned and they decide to only hold it for informational purposes, they should delay the meeting for appearances sake.  How confidential is this memo if so many people had access to it before the Christina Board of Education even has it? Sounds like Carney and Christina want it to get out. I’ve heard people rambling for years that Christina needs to consolidate some of their schools but the way this happened is shady at best.

If Carney’s office released the document, it doesn’t sound like Superintendent Richard Gregg was too happy about it:

Superintendent Richard Gregg recommended removing the names of schools from the document before it came to the school board for the vote, and there was a discussion about having the governor refrain from using the schools’ names in public.

Who were the three school board members who met with district staff, Carney’s team, and the union representative? Why doesn’t the News Journal name those board members? And where is all the scoop on the Empowerment crap Carney is trying to foist upon the schools? More questions than answers. And the Delaware DOE is going to be the one to implement all these changes? Has Christina lost their ever-loving mind? But this is the part that scares the living hell out of me:

The memorandum says Carney and the state Education Department would ask the General Assembly for additional funding to renovate the schools, as well as provide trauma-informed training to principals and teachers. It also promises funding for a dual-generation education center, as well as “philanthropic monies to support all Wilmington schools,” starting with those in Christina.

Philanthropic monies… and what will they want in return? This is the beginning of the end of public education. Once you get foundations actually funding schools (they already help fund charter schools), these schools are no longer public. They become part of Carney’s “public-private partnerships” where FOIA and open meeting laws go out the window. You heard it here first. Carney is just continuing Markell’s agenda who was following all the corporate education reform crap. At this point, I can no longer refer to Carney as Markell 2.0. He is Carney, through and through. Selling out schools to corporations. This is so deliberate and in your face. He played Christina and their board like a fiddle. This is when we start to see social impact bonds hit Delaware. And Rodel is loving every second of it with their competency-based education and personalized digital learning crap. I won’t go so far as to say Carney is the devil, but he is certainly his willing accomplice and Secretary Bunting is just playing the part of the yes-woman and kissing King Carney’s ring he wears for whichever level of Dante’s Hell he serves. I can see why Carney picked her now. She will do whatever he wants.

When I attended the very first WEIC meeting, I advised them transparency is the glue to whatever they do.  While I recognize human error, there is also accountability for recognizing that and taking the appropriate action.  Not go ahead and hold the meeting anyway.  The only way we can stop people from violating FOIA law is to call them out on it.  I have made it my mission to do so for over three years now.  I will not hold back on that for any organization that is subject to FOIA law.

I hope Carney locked the General Assembly into funding this hot mess, otherwise it becomes yet another unfunded mandate in Delaware.  I’m sure deals have been made behind the scenes.  If not, the philanthropic foundations like Rodel and the other vultures waiting to pounce on public education will assuredly send their lobbyists to hound them for the next seven months.

Condoms, Chlamydia, Christina, Closures, Carney and the Council

The Christina Board of Education meeting last night was filled with some awesome discussion about what appears in the title of this article.  I painstakingly transcribed the part of the meeting with the Superintendent’s report to the Board and the crazy discussion after.  Board member John Young was on fire!!!!  The topics dealt with Governor Carney’s plans for Christina’s Wilmington schools.  There is A LOT of information in here.  A ton.  From venereal diseases to transparency to possible school closures and more!  I have a feeling things are going to look VERY different in Christina’s Wilmington schools a year from now.  And for the record, I agree with John Young on EVERYTHING he said! Continue reading

Christina Falls For The Trap Set By Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting, and the Delaware DOE

It was just announced on the State of Delaware website that the Christina School District in conjunction with the Christina Education Association plan on working with Governor Carney’s Office and the Delaware Dept. of Education on a Memorandum of Understanding to improve the educational “success” for Christina’s Wilmington students.  In other words, they swallowed the bait and Carney is reeling them in.  There is no Christina Board of Education seal of approval on this letter of intent, but it does state the Christina board would vote on this MOU.  It appears Carney is rushing into this without a care in the world and he is bringing all the key players with him.  But let’s not forget, this is just another way to corporatize education at students’ expense.  This is priority schools under a new spin.  There is inherent danger here folks.  You play with the devil, you get burnt, plain and simple.  Notice this is only the Christina Wilmington students.  Nothing about the Red Clay or the many charter school students whatsoever.  This is not a Wilmington Schools Partnership.  This is a trap.  Jack Markell must be proud of this development.  Mark Murphy is probably going “Why didn’t I think of that?”

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, Christina School District Superintendent Richard Gregg, and Christina Education Association President Darren Tyson announced on Thursday that they have signed a joint letter of intent to work together and develop a partnership with the goal of improving educational opportunities in the City of Wilmington.

The partnership will address the long-term success for the 1,640 Christina students in preschool through grade 8 who reside in Wilmington and attend the district’s four city elementary schools and one middle school. These schools are Bancroft Elementary School, Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, Pulaski Elementary School, Stubbs Elementary School, and Bayard Middle School.

Christina School District will work with staff from the Governor’s office, the Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, and the Christina Education Association to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this calendar year and submit the MOU for approval by the Christina Board of Education.

The MOU will define the roles and commitments of each party in crafting a system designed to create great public schools for every Christina student in the City of Wilmington. Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, and Dorrell Green, Director of the Office of Innovation and Improvement, also signed the joint letter of intent.

“It’s always been clear to me that as goes the City of Wilmington, so goes our state. And improving our city starts with improving our schools,” said Governor Carney. “We are committed to working in partnership with the Christina School District, the Christina Board of Education, the Christina Education Association, families, educators, and community members, to improve outcomes for students in Christina’s city schools. We have a responsibility to do better by these students, and I look forward to getting to work.”

“The Christina School District is committed to exploring every option available to improving achievement for its students,” said Richard Gregg, Superintendent of the Christina School District. “We are willing to enter into this partnership to explore the development of an MOU that clearly outlines the commitments that will be made by all involved. The Christina Board has been clear that any agreement that is developed must focus on what is best for our students, and we will work with the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office toward this goal in good faith.”

“We welcome the Governor’s initiative to partner in service to our Wilmington students,” said George Evans, President of the Christina School District Board of Education. “We need to create and maximize new pathways to excellence and equity within our Wilmington schools.”

“CEA and its members look forward to entering into this partnership and working together to create an MOU that best serves and supports the Christina students in Wilmington,” said Darren Tyson, President of the Christina Education Association.

Read the full letter of intent here. (or you can read it below without even leaving this blog!)

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Governor Carney will join Superintendent Richard Gregg and CEA President Darren Tyson at two Wilmington town hall meetings to discuss the partnership between the State of Delaware and the Christina School District:

Town Hall Meeting on Wilmington Schools Partnership

This event is open to the press.

WHAT: Governor John Carney will join Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg, Office of Innovation and Improvement Director Dorrell Green, the Christina Education Association, members of the Christina School Board, and community organizations to discuss the partnership, and ideas for improving Wilmington schools, with families and educators in Wilmington. Governor Carney, Superintendent Gregg and others will take questions.

WHO:          Governor John Carney

Richard Gregg, Superintendent, Christina School District

Members of the Christina School Board of Education

Darren Tyson, President, Christina Education Association

Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary, Delaware Department of Education

Dorrell Green, Director, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Delaware Department of Education

WHEN:       Wednesday, October 18, 2017

6:30 p.m.

WHERE:    Bancroft Elementary School

700 N. Lombard Street, Wilmington, DE 19801

 

Town Hall Meeting on Wilmington Schools Partnership

This event is open to the press.

WHAT:        Governor John Carney will join Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg, Office of Innovation and Improvement Director Dorrell Green, the Christina Education Association, members of the Christina School Board, and community organizations to discuss the partnership, and ideas for improving Wilmington schools, with families and educators in Wilmington. Governor Carney, Superintendent Gregg and others will take questions.

WHO:          Governor John Carney

Richard Gregg, Superintendent, Christina School District

Members of the Christina School Board of Education

Darren Tyson, President, Christina Education Association

Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary, Delaware Department of Education

Dorrell Green, Director, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Delaware Department of Education

WHEN:       Wednesday, October 25, 2017

6:30 p.m.

WHERE:     Bayard Middle School

200 S. DuPont Street, Wilmington, DE 19805

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Christina Superintendent Gregg’s Reaction To Carney Comes To Christina

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:
  1. Giving school principals more control over decision-making
  2. Empowering teachers to have more input on how resources are used
  3. Addressing student achievement rates, including how current facilities can be used and improved
  4. Creating “trauma-informed classrooms” that ensure safe, supportive schools
  5. 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.” 
Sincerely,
Richard L. Gregg, Superintendent
Christina School District