These five charter schools are very distinctive in one area: they all have low populations of special education students compared to their surrounding districts. But those aren’t the only comparisons among them. Two of them have school leaders that received salary bumps over $50,000 and then resigned or are set to retire. Pension law in Delaware sets your pension based on your three highest years of salary. Intentional? You be the judge.
These five charters range from near the top of Delaware in New Castle County all the way to the heart of Sussex County with one right near the middle in Kent. All of these charters have significant student enrollment and have taken many students from their surrounding school districts. They are also in very populous, and in some cases, fast growing areas of the state.
Continue reading “Charter School Salaries Over $100,000: MOT, Newark Charter, Odyssey, Providence Creek, & Sussex Academy”
Recently, I sent a Freedom of Information Act request to all Delaware school districts and charter schools. A week and a half later I put a post up regarding schools or districts that had not responded in any way to the FOIA request. I added MOT Charter School as one of those schools and this was an error on my end. I did receive MOT’s response last week but I filed it in the wrong folder on my laptop. I appreciate Ned Southworth from MOT getting in touch with me about this and I offer my humblest apology to MOT.
I made a mistake but I feel I am duty-bound to point out that mistake and offer public apology for it!
Three Delaware charter schools were up for charter renewal: Campus Community School, MOT Charter School, and Providence Creek Academy. The State Board of Education approved their charter renewals. Nice and short article. No drama. Done. Next up…Delaware Met…
Yesterday, the Charter School Accountability Committee convened for a trio of Delaware charter schools up for charter renewal. The three schools: Campus Community School, MOT Charter School, and Providence Creek Academy all received a recommendation to have their charters renewed with no conditions by the committee. The next step is the Secretary of Education, Dr. Steven Godowsky, and the State Board of Education agreeing. Their decision will occur at the December State Board of Education meeting.
This doesn’t always happen like this with Delaware charters. Providence Creek Academy had some organizational and financial issues in the past year, but the school proactively recognized and fixed the problems. With all the other charter news, it is good to see schools getting a green light at times. Some of the senior members of the committee and the Charter School Office looked visibly worn down and tired. While I am against many things at the Delaware Department of Education, we do need to remember these people are human and they do work hard. Many want them to work hard at other things though, and not necessarily on the accountability machine they have become under Governor Markell’s administration.
Congratulations to Campus, MOT and PCA on their own hard work at getting through this stage of their charter renewals. This is a far cry from last year when Reach Academy had their charter revoked, Gateway Lab School received the recommendation for revocation which was turned down by then Secretary Mark Murphy and the State Board of Education, and Family Foundations Academy emerged as a hot mess weeks before the State Board’s decision to place them on formal review for financial mismanagement by their former heads of school.
In MOT Charter School’s September 23rd Board of Directors meeting, Head of School Linda Jennings announced she was leaving her position at the end of this school year.
Mrs. Jennings also provided the Board with her letter of resignation; for which the Board was disheartened to hear. She will continue to serve as Head of School through the 2015-2016 school year and will further remain as a member of the Board of Directors. The Board will set up a Search Committee immediately and a plan for disseminating this news into the school community was discussed.
This comes at a crucial time for MOT as they are going through their charter renewal and they just opened up their high school. In terms of their renewal, the Charter School Accountability Committee had their initial meeting with MOT last week, and in a rare moment, the committee stated they did not need any additional information from MOT to proceed with the renewal process. MOT was recently cleared of any wrongdoing in an investigation from the Delaware State Auditor’s office. Linda Jennings has been with MOT since they opened in 2002, and has been the Head of School since the 2004-2005 school year.
Last Tuesday, the Charter School Accountability Committee at the Delaware Department of Education held their initial charter renewal meetings with Campus Community School, Providence Creek Academy, and MOT Charter School. Included below are the initial reports for each school. The other day I wrote about Response To Intervention (RTI) and how it is frequently used for special education identification purposes. Pay close attention to the following reports in regards to RTI and when it is used.
Organizationally and financially, Campus Community looks to be in good shape. Academically, they clearly have some things to work on, based on DOE standards. Especially with science, according to them. I find it interesting they are moving to “standards-based” grading.
How can you have a meeting like this and not once mention the fact that you are being investigated by the state auditor? Yes, they did the right thing with it, but I’m shocked no one at the DOE actually brought it up. Something seemed really off with what PCA was saying in regards to their academics. And what was Chuck Taylor talking about with the whole “we have a pond” thing at the end? And make a mental note on when PCA said most students get an IEP and the fact that students from Kindergarten to 3rd grade do not get basic special education funding…
Like I said last Spring, MOT’s charter renewal looks to be a slam dunk. The fact that they were investigated by the State Auditor and cleared of any wrongdoing will only support this.
My prediction with all three: all three will be renewed with PCA possibly going on probationary status because of the State Auditor thing, but I doubt that will happen. Unless something comes out of the woodwork like Family Foundations Academy did last year, this will be an easy process. Besides, DOE is going to have their hands full with The Delaware Met!
MOT Charter School responded to the Delaware DOE Charter School Office Charter Renewal report today, and like my earlier report on Campus Community School in Dover, I would have to guess things are looking good for MOT’s charter renewal as well.
This is a school that meets standards on everything and has the past few years as well. Nothing to report here. The only negative thing I’ve ever heard about this school, which I’ve heard about pretty much all the charters, is their responses to parent opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. But I can’t even say it’s a charter thing, cause many districts have been pretty bad in this area as well. This charter renewal should be a slam dunk for them though.
This letter was sent to parents of MOT Charter School today. When it gets down to the opt out section of the letter, it basically says don’t opt out, but go to Legislative Hall or the Governor’s office. As well, the letter says “As a community, we must not fixate too firmly on the dour projections being tossed about by our state leaders regarding student performance on the SBAC”. This is the most manipulative school letter regarding standardized testing and opt out I’ve seen. It’s as if MOT truly believes their students will soar on this test. I can’t wait to see their scores on Smarter Balanced next summer! In the meantime, if you are a MOT parent, and you want to opt your child out, please do come to Legislative Hall, next Wednesday, April 1st at 5pm for a Parent Press Conference covering this as well as other education issues in our state! With all respect to Head of School Linda Jennings, the most effect way to change this issue IS TO OPT OUT AND DEMAND ACTION FROM OUR LEADERS.