Capital School District, located in Dover, DE, will be going out for a referendum next year to help build two new middle schools in the district. Tomorrow night the district will be holding a public forum at Central Middle School to get public input on their plans for the district. Tonight, Superintendent Dr. Dan Shelton sent the following message out to parents in the district:
Central Middle School
16 Very Tough Questions With Capital School District About In-School Alternative PlacementsCapital School District
A month ago, I posted an article about an In-School Alternative Program the Capital School District Board of Education would be voting on at upcoming board meeting. When I read the contract and heard the board audio recording, I had several questions about the program. I do understand the Christina School District runs the same program but I had some concerns for it in Capital’s middle schools and high school.
Catching Up On Delaware Education And PoliticsDelaware Education
It’s been a while. At least for me.
I haven’t been blogging as much. Like I’ve said before, sometimes you have to take a break and recharge your batteries. But it doesn’t mean things aren’t happening offline or in sidebar conversations. These are just some of the things I’ve seen and heard the past few weeks:
Capital School District Does The Administrator ShuffleCapital School District
For many students in Capital School District, their building leaders will look different in August. Capital is moving Principals and Associate Principals around as a part of their Strategic Planning Process.
For Booker T. Washington Elementary School, Dr. Paige Morgan will replace Dale Brown who resigned/retired earlier this year. William Henry Middle School will look very different. Charles Sheppard, the current Principal of Towne Point Elementary, will be the new Principal while Linda Daye will take on a role of Associate Principal, coming from Central Middle School. Current William Henry Middle School Principal Tori Giddens will take Sheppard’s spot at Towne Point. Current Associate Principal Lurleen Lumpkin will become an Associate Principal at Central Middle School taking Daye’s former spot.
I know a lot of these administrators and they are good people. I believe this is a positive step for Capital. Sometimes you need to mix things up a little!
According to a letter sent from Superintendent Dr. Dan Shelton, these changes are being made to help the district grow.
Capital School District has engaged much of the community in its Strategic Planning Process over the last 2 years. As part of that process, we are working to ensure we have opportunities for all staff members to learn and grow. We are also being very reflective on how we can advance the district.
As part of that reflective process, some administrative changes were identified. We believe that these changes will help everyone as we educate the whole child.
Dover High School’s Anti-Bullying Plan Should Be A Model For All Schools In DelawareBullying
Bullying. It can be one of the most damaging experiences any student goes through. It can cause school-wide disruption in some cases and robs students of the ability to learn. Are Delaware schools safe? Do they take the best steps to prevent bullying from happening? Dover High School, in the Capital School District, is in the midst of launching an Anti-Bullying Protocol. They will be discussing this at the Capital Board of Education meeting this evening. Principal Courtney Voshell has heard the concerns and sees what happens when bullying happens. This school, students and staff alike, are sick of the bullying and are saying “Enough is enough!”
Any stop bullying plan is only as good as the implementation of it. I believe the drive to make this plan work is there, but it’s long-term outlook is unknown. I believe it is a good plan, but I do have some concerns. The words “students with disabilities” or “special education” are not mentioned once in the below document. Special needs students have been the victims of bullying and have also been the agitators of bullying. There are very specific laws, at a federal and state law, that protects these students in certain situations. Can a school-wide plan contradict an IEP team, state law, or federal law? If a school isn’t implementing an IEP correctly, should a student be punished for behaviors that are a manifestation of that disability? This is a very hard question to answer and I don’t have the answer. I am not saying this to be a Donny Downer on the plan. I think it is excellent, and if it takes off, it should be a model for many schools in Delaware. But I believe this is an angle they should look at.
My other concern is this: Why is this being done at a high school level and not the elementary or middle school levels? One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard in the Capital School District is the middle schools. Students are coddled in the elementary schools which go up to 4th grade in this district. But then they are thrown into one school for 5th and 6th grade, and then another for 7th and 8th. If those schools aren’t aggressively tackling the bullying issues (and they might be but I haven’t seen any plan this extensive coming from them), leaving the burden on the high school could be a lesson in futility. I strongly urge William Henry Middle School and Central Middle School to take a hard look at this plan and try it out in their own schools.
I would say a lot of responsibility for bullying should be on the part of parents. If they see their child participating in any type of bullying activity, they should crush it at the onset. I always tell my son when he is crossing a line with friends or online. Even though he has disabilities that affect his thinking at times, it is my duty as a parent to let him know what is right and what is wrong. By the same token, when I see him standing up for others who are bullied, I congratulate and praise him. This is just as important. I firmly believe parents need to watch their children’s social media and online activities, even if they are in high school. Things happen outside of school that may never manifest itself in that setting. Parents or guardians need to know who their kids are hanging out with and who could be seen as a bad influence. If they know of something going on outside of the school, I believe they should proactively tell a school to inform them of the situation. I don’t expect the school to fix those issues, but knowing about things is half the battle.
If other schools or districts in Delaware are already using this type of bullying plan, I apologize in advance for giving Dover H.S. the credit for all this. If that is the case, kudos to those schools and to Dover H.S. for picking up the ball and running with it. This is what we should be doing in Delaware: finding out what truly works and emulating it so all our students can truly succeed (this is not an endorsement for Common Core, Smarter Balanced, or any corporate education reform Kool-Aid agendas).
Capital Board of Education Candidates To Debate Tonight At “Meet The Candidates Night”Capital School Board Election
The League of Women Voters and the Central Middle School PTO are holding a Meet The Candidates Night at Central Middle School at 7pm this evening. The candidates (shameless plug: includes me) are Andres Ortiz, Chanda Jackson, and Kevin Ohlandt.
Each candidate will give a three minute introductory statement and then questions will be asked by the audience. Each candidate will have one minute to respond and one minute for rebuttal. I can’t speak for the other candidates, but I can certainly say this will be an evening citizens in the Capital School District will never forget. For anyone that knows me, you know I go into education issues with a ton of research. That’s all I’m saying!
The Dover Post had an article today on the candidates where one candidate stated:
First off I do not believe the Capital School District has issues, I believe we have opportunities to build a better tomorrow.
They are only opportunities if every single issue becomes an opportunity, but I will have more to say on that tonight…
For The Love Of God Godowsky, What Are You Even Talking About? And General Assembly: A No Is A No To Your ConstituentsDelaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky
Dr. Steven Godowsky, Secretary of Education for Delaware. Are you really telling people “Don’t worry about the override, schools are okay with opt-out. They understand.” Have you lost your mind? We ALL know you are Governor Markell’s education puppet, dancing on his string. Do you really think people don’t get what you are trying to do? I could name twenty things that happened last year in Delaware schools without even looking back at my notes and the messages parents sent me about what schools did to prevent opt-out. Campus Community School’s Board of Directors issued a policy mandating ALL STUDENTS SHALL TAKE THE TEST. Appoquinimink sent out highly questionable letters asking parents if they understand the law. Charter schools flat-out told parents no. The endless litany of funding threats. Students asked to lie to other students when they are opted out. Moms brought to tears due to weeks of fighting with a school district. “You have to bring in a doctor’s note” came up a lot last year. School boards that pass resolutions and policies that are ignored by administration in the district. Your Department has publicly stated parents can opt out but they have done everything they possibly can to prevent it behind the scenes. Do you really think parents are that stupid? Maybe we weren’t rigorously brought up with Common Core and career and college ready standards, but I think it’s safe to say we did some pretty important things in the past twenty to thirty years.
Why are people trusting this guy? He is NOT a breath of fresh air. He is just a more experienced and polished Mark Murphy. It doesn’t matter who wears the suit, it is still Governor Markell’s words coming out of their mouth. If any legislators actually believe this complete and utter nonsense which was all I heard about today from tons of people, you need to wake up. There are many reasons why we are at this point of utter stupidity. I take back what I said the other day, Markell has not used up his bag of tricks. I fully expect to hear some brand new bizarre “talking point” to come out of the Governor’s mouth or one of his other puppets.
Secretary Godowsky, we have bomb threats in multiple schools across our state and guns going off in the Central Middle School bathroom, and you are cluelessly (yes, I made up that word) walking around telling people “don’t worry about opt-out, don’t worry about the override. We don’t need it.” Are you serious? There is NOTHING better you could be doing right now? Like working with the FBI to find out why all these schools are getting automated messages with bomb threats? You are the Secretary of Education Sir! Get with the program and stop fumbling around Dover doing the Governor’s last-minute desperate pleas to stop the override. If you want to fight the parents, at least come up with something tangible and real. Stop making up stuff!
Delaware legislators, this is a VETO OVERRIDE. This isn’t a regular bill. If this bill winds up going back to committee, during the long months stretching until the end of the 148th General Assembly, with parents basically lining up with pitchforks at Legislative Hall demanding this bill be heard, sucking up all the oxygen in the room, as you are trying to gear up for your upcoming elections, and you voted no for a suspension of rules…you are asking for all of what comes next. We know Earl Jaques will keep this bill dangling and will let it just sit there. It will never be heard. And in the off chance that it does, and the House passes it, then we have Sokola over in the Senate. And it starts all over again. Opt out of saying no to the suspension of the rules. This bill was ALREADY heard in committee. It was voted on twice by both chambers. If I hear about one more person saying “I’m voting no on suspension of rules but I support the override” I’m really going to lose my mind. I don’t care if you are a Democrat or Republican. Do the right thing for parents and students. Let it be heard in the House without this endless committee crap. And that goes for the Senate too! Parents and your constituents deserve better than that. The voting public does not care about any of these political games of one-upmanship and bi-partisan revenge tactics. A no is a no, whether it is a vote against suspension of rules or a vote against the override. In other situations, yes, this could be an issue. But not this time. You guys had your day of fun today and bringing your dog to smile for the camera (sorry Rep. Paradee)! Now it is time to show the parents and students of Delaware where you stand: with us or with the Governor!