The 2018 Exceptional Delaware Hero of the Year & Other Awards

I was really torn on who would get the coveted Exceptional Delaware Hero of the Year Award for 2018.  There were so many great choices.  I covered some of them in the Movers and Shakers posts I put up.  But in the end, the choice was obvious! Continue reading

The Top 18 Most-Read Articles Of 2018 & By The Numbers Recap

I’m a sucker for year-end lists.  Some folks like ’em and some hate ’em!  Most of the articles that generated the most hits were ones where I either broke a story on or offered a perspective that couldn’t be found elsewhere.  One story generated so much controversy I had to put all comments in moderation!  District salaries became very popular and the hits on those continue to grow every single day since I posted those last March.  Sadly, the subject of one of my articles was myself. Continue reading

The Movers And Shakers of 2018: Part 3

2018 had some colorful characters here in Delaware.  I covered some of them in Part 1 and Part 2.  As we close in on the final cast of players it is important to know that 2019 will continue some of these sagas.  Here there be heroes… and villains! Continue reading

The Movers And Shakers Of 2018: Part 2

2018 was a year of heroes and zeroes!  Shakers and movers!  The list here includes some well-known Delawareans and ones that came out of nowhere to shock us all.  One isn’t even a person.  Another is from out-of-state.  One is anonymous.  But they ALL made an impact in 2018! Continue reading

The Movers And Shakers Of 2018: Part 1

Who made waves in 2018?  Quite a few!  So many I’m gonna have to do this in multiple parts!  Instead of doing one article for each person (which I haven’t had time to do the past two years), it’s time to consolidate!  These people made 2018 a very interesting year.  Some were good things and some were… not so good. Continue reading

A Look Back At 2017 And Leaping Into 2018!!!!

2017 will go down in the record books.  As what remains to be determined.  It had it’s highs and, for me, it had some unbelievable lows.  For those who know me “outside of the blog”, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I’ve danced around on it several times on here this year.  For my faithful readers, you can probably figure it out.  Those “events” cast a shadow on this blog resulting in periods where I didn’t write anything.  Sometimes for weeks at a time.  Compare that to 2015 when I wrote a blog post every single day and very close to it in 2016!

I like to take a look back at the “best” of the blog at the end of each year.  Instead of just doing a top ten list or whatever of the top articles, I want to try something different.

January: Thom Labarbera, Brandywine Social Studies Teacher Passes Away 

This was probably one of the fastest articles I ever wrote.  I saw something on Facebook about this teacher passing so I thought I would make a post about it.  The fact it was the most-read article of the month shows a great deal about how loved this teacher was.

February: Delaware Racism: It Is Reality And It Isn’t Going Away

I wrote this in the wake of allegations that Delaware Military Academy’s basketball team was shouting racial stuff at a Red Clay basketball team during a game.  It was never proven definitively if it did happen, but it got a lot of us thinking.  It made me write about how widespread I believe racism is in Delaware.

March: Don’t Let Your Special Needs Child Fall Victim To “New” Federal And State Voucher/Choice Policies

This was actually a guest post by Steve Newton.  He posts some amazing and insightful words on Facebook.  When I read this, I immediately reached out to him and asked if I could publish it.  I would love to continue sharing Steve’s well-written words on here, but that is certainly up to him.

April: Silence Is Complicity: Human Sex Trafficking In Delaware And How I-95, Craigslist, Backpage & Kik Make It Thrive

The day I wrote this I attended a seminar on human sex trafficking up in Red Clay.  It struck a chord with me.  It should with everyone living in this state.  I went way out of my comfort zone with this article but I was happy to do it.  The Delaware General Assembly passed a couple of new laws about this type of thing not long after this article.  They would have passed them whether or not I wrote about it, but this post opened some eyes in Delaware.  Every time I look at my stats, I see this article continue to get hits just about every day.

May: Newark Charter School Doesn’t Want Wilmington Black Kids Or Wilmington Special Needs Kids Going To Their Private School

This was the most-read article of 2017.  It was based on a House Bill that aimed to get rid of the 5-mile radius that a few charter schools have as an enrollment preference.  Once Senator David Sokola got wind of it, he demanded the bill had something added to it.  Something that would only benefit one school in the entire state… Newark Charter School.  Eventually, Governor Carney vetoed the bill because of the NCS exclusion.  Most likely it was planned that way the entire time in Sokola’s mind.

June: Pray For New Mexico! Surfer Boy Is In Charge Now!

Give a former Delaware DOE employee the keys to the New Mexico Secretary of Education car and watch heads start shaking both in Delaware and New Mexico.  Once New Mexico teachers caught wind of this, they immediately wanted to know what Christopher Ruszkowski did for good old Delaware.  He recently pulled a priority schools fiasco in Albuquerque pissing off pretty much everyone.

July: The Hidden Secrets Behind Providence Creek Academy’s Bomb Threat & Audit Investigation

The jury isn’t out on this one.  It never got to that point but it should have.  Nothing happened because of this article which really pisses me off.  I’m hoping that changes one day.  If it doesn’t, it just goes to show how corrupt this state really is.

August: Massive Teacher Exodus At Providence Creek Leaves Parents Shaking Their Heads

Shortly before school started, many teachers had left PCA.  Parents from the school accused me of beating up their school and I had no clue what I was talking about.

September: Breaking News: Governor Carney Signs Cursive Bill! Take That Kate Gladstone!

In the Spring, the Delaware General Assembly passed a bill mandating cursive writing be a part of English/Language Arts curriculum for students in lower grades.  It was controversial.  Some of my biggest allies loathed and hated this bill.  I still think it is very important.  Governor Carney signed the bill in September and I was able to get the exclusive on it.

October: Caesar Rodney District Staff & Admins Watched Disabled Kid Get Beat Up And Did Nothing

Shortly after the whole Caesar Rodney mascot thing exploded in the news, bigger news came out about a disabled student getting beat up in the cafeteria.  Another student filmed the whole thing.  When I found out that district staff and administrators were in the cafeteria that day and didn’t do a damn thing to stop the fight, it really ticked me off!

November: Delaware Politics Explodes With Regulation 225

Probably the biggest education news of the year.  A regulation about transgender students turned Delaware upside down.  11,000 public comments later, the Regulation is getting a second look which will cause it to come roaring back in 2018.  Parental rights are at the heart of the regulation.  It will be interesting to follow, that’s for sure!

December: The Exceptional Delaware Hero Of The Year 2017: Laurie Howard

Like the January article, this post was about a beloved teacher who passed away.  This one hit home for me though.  Laurie was a friend of mine.  I wrote this less than 24 hours after she passed away.  There will never be another like Laurie Howard.  I was glad nothing else I wrote this month came close to beating this article.  A fitting tribute to an awesome woman!  Even Diane Ravitch picked up on it!

While I didn’t come close to the number of hits I received in 2016, I wrote less articles.  So altogether, most of those articles on average did better than articles that came out in 2016.  The top search terms that brought readers here included the following: Exceptional Delaware, Backpage, Craigslist, Trinity Carr, Susan Bunting, Thomas Edison Charter School and John Marino.  Some of the oddest ones were: Chakeria sex video, omegle, abc reading eggs where children, and how do I join the illuminati if I live in New Castle Delaware.

I imagine I will continue to write less in 2018.  Just like I did this year.  But I do plan on writing next year’s articles with more facts.  I know, I’ve said this before.  I’ve said I will reach out and get more info before I just throw it up on here.  I think I break this New Year’s resolution every single year.  Will this be the year?  We shall see.  But I do know I will branch out more from education into other areas.  I will experiment where I can.  I will also be writing more personal stuff.  Not everyone’s cup of tea.  But I do that for me more than anyone else.  I find writing to be very cathartic.  I may have a few other tricks up my sleeve, but that will have to wait.  I’m sure I will piss off people like I do every year.  Can’t please everyone!

But I do want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!  Be safe tonight.  Chances are pretty good if you don’t read this tonight you are having fun somewhere.  Just be safe in your travels and tell those you love how much they mean to you!  As for me, I can’t wait for 2018!  2017 sucked in a lot of ways for me.  But like anything in life, you have to take the bad with the good.  I learned a lot this year.  And sometimes those growing pains (even for a 47-year old man) are very important.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring and the other 364 days in the year.  Bring it on!  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I’m ready for it!

 

 

Merry Christmas From Exceptional Delaware!

Just wanted to take a few minutes this sunny yet chilly Christmas morning to give holiday greetings to my readers.  To say this year was a bit crazy would be the understatement of the year.  While I am not in the same place I was at the beginning of the year, I must say I am in a better place.  Sometimes I used this blog to vent some of my feelings about those changes in ye olde personal life.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank those who helped me along that journey.  There are so many.  And my gratitude knows no bounds for that.  I can honestly say I may not have made it through the past year without some of you.  You were my rocks keeping my two feet on the ground when I thought I was lost in a desert.

I can only hope for a better year in 2018.  But the important thing is having that hope.  I was talking to someone about that yesterday.  It is very easy to think things will never get better, to get swallowed up in that darkness.  For some, they live with that every single day.  There can never be hope unless you believe in that hope.  That isn’t just a Christmas thing, it is an every single day thing.  It is the tether to life.  There will never be anything close to perfect.  There are always going to be fires to put out and rivers to cross.  It is the way of things.  But it is how we handle it that determines who we ultimately are as a person.

While I don’t have much to physically give others this year, I do offer some kernels of wisdom.  Give all that you are.  Be what you want to be.  And never be afraid of the darkness because the light is so much stronger.  If you’re at the end of your rope, give a shout.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  You might be surprised who helps you out!  And when you get your strength back and get back up again, return the favor a hundred fold.  Be the light in the darkness for someone else!  Love each other with all that you are.  That is the true message of Christmas.

Merry Christmas fair readers!  May your days be merry and bright.  Love the ones your with.  Celebrate the bonds that connect us all.