EastSide Charter School & Charter School of New Castle Break Up Partnership

Last month, the boards of EastSide Charter School and Charter School of New Castle decided to break up the unique partnership between the two schools that had been in existence for nearly five years.

In late 2015, when Family Foundations Academy was under formal review for financial and governance reasons, the Board of Directors at EastSide Charter School stepped in and essentially took over the school.  EastSide Head of School Director, Dr. Lamont Browne, took over as leader of both schools.  The former Heads of School at FFA were charged with theft of school funds.  Sean Moore served time in federal prison for his role in the crimes.

In 2016, Browne left for a position in Denver, Colorado and Aaron Bass took over the role as the leader for Vision Academies (the name of the partnership between EastSide and FFA).

In 2017, Family Foundations Academy changed their name to Charter School of New Castle.

Bass will continue as the Head of School for EastSide Charter School while Charter School of New Castle will continue to have LaRetha Odumosu as Principal of their middle school and Rachel Valentin as Principal of their elementary school.

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Delaware Design Lab Submitted A Modification To Change Their Name To Design Thinking Academy

Updated, 9/25/18: The title of this article has been changed to reflect that the school did submit a minor modification request to change their name.  This was approved by Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting at the end of August.

As announced by Jessica Bies with the News Journal last week, Delaware Design Lab High School is now Design Thinking Academy.  The charter school did submit a major modification request last year to decrease their enrollment but they never submitted a minor modification request to change the name of the school. Continue reading

Still Breakin’ The Law: Laurel School District, Charter School of New Castle, DAPSS, DE Military Academy, Eastside, Early College High School, & Freire

Hey, I know I got some districts and charters moving last weekend when I posted how they were not following state law in putting up their board audio recordings, but some of you didn’t get the message!

So… Laurel School District, Charter School of New Castle, Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security, Delaware Military Academy, Eastside Charter School, Early College High School, and Freire… I will do this as much as I can until you are COMPLIANT with the law!

State law says you must record your board meetings and put them on your website within seven days.  No excuses, no exceptions, just do it!  I would have loved to go to your websites and not have to write this article.  Yeah, I know, I’m a pain.  But guess what?  I’m not breaking the law!  And until someone from the state calls you out on breakin’ the law, I’ll continue my citizen audits!  Transparency Rules!

And Laurel, you need to put up your board agenda.  That is a big FOIA no-no!

Charter School Salaries Over $100,000: Academia Antonia Alonso, Academy of Dover, Campus Community, Charter School Of Newcastle, Charter School Of Wilmington, & East Side Charter School

I did not forget charter schools in my mammoth Freedom of Information Act request!  With the above charter schools, the amount of employees making over $100,000 varies, usually based on student count.  Two of them have NO employees making over $100,000.  For Charter School of Newcastle and East Side Charter School, they are grouped together because they fall under the umbrella called Vision Academies.  For five of these charter schools, comparing their demographics to Charter School of Wilmington is crazy.  It has never been a secret that I have extreme issues with CSW’s demographics.  Two of these schools are in Dover, one is in New Castle, and the other three are in Wilmington. Continue reading

The Behind The Scene Plans To Save DAPSS & What The DOE Isn’t Telling Us

On the surface, Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security is toast.  But many key players in the Delaware education world are busy making plans to make sure that outcome does not happen.  How do you get a school way below enrollment to survive?  You partner up and you do it fast! Continue reading

Ex-Family Foundations Academy Leader Sean Moore Gets 18 Months In Federal Prison

Finally! I’ve been waiting for this news for a long time. The News Journal reported earlier today that the former Family Foundations Academy Head of School was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for embezzlement.

According to the article, Moore had a bizarre confession to the court:

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Moore claimed “he was suffering from a ‘severe level of sexual addiction and shopping addiction.'”

Alrighty then! Finally this shameful chapter in Delaware public education can come to a close. I highly doubt the school will ever see the return of these funds, but justice has finally been served for this man.

It was three years ago that Kilroy’s Delaware and this blog began to look into the crazy happenings at this school. I spent hours going over their expenses and knew right away something was way off. So did the Delaware Auditor of Accounts office and the Delaware Dept. of Education. It nearly shut the New Castle charter school down. Because Moore used federal funds in his embezzlement, he was brought up on federal charges. The other Head of School, Dr. Tennell Brewington, took state funds so her punishment was not as severe. Last year, Family Foundations Academy changed their name to Charter School of New Castle, perhaps in an attempt to get rid of this dark part of their history.

What Happened To Sean Moore’s March 2nd Sentencing?

Former Family Foundations Academy charter school leader Sean Moore was supposed to receive a federal sentencing for his role in embezzlement of school funds.  Nothing of record shows up anywhere.  This is very puzzling.  Why wouldn’t Moore have been sentenced?  I received an anonymous tip a couple of months ago that suggested Moore may have cut a deal with the authorities.  Who these authorities may have been is unknown or what the nature of the deal was.  Moore was charged by the federal government so any deal would have been with the feds.

If Moore did cut a deal which would be unrelated to education, many Delaware citizens would be VERY upset.  This was a man who was charged with looking out for the best interests of children.  With a documented amount of over $160,000 stolen from the school, it is painfully obvious Moore had his own best interests in mind.  When the allegations first came to light, many parents from the school refused to believe the leader would ever do this, but when it was revealed he did abscond with money meant for kids, parents were disgusted.  This was just one of a few Delaware charter schools that came under the spotlight for this sort of thing but it had the biggest profile in the media.  If Moore did get a sentencing, it should be public knowledge.  He could have faced up to 30 years for his crimes in federal prison.

This saga has dragged out for years.  It finally came to light in December of 2014 during the school’s charter renewal.  Moore and fellow school leader Dr. Tennell Brewington were terminated.  Other members of the board resigned and eventually the board was reconstructed with new members.  The school entered a partnership with East Side Charter School which is now under the umbrella called Vision Academies.  Family Foundations recently changed its name to The Charter School of New Castle.

East Side and FFA Board’s Big OOPS & How To NOT Hire Teachers!

East Side Charter School and Family Foundations Academy (now Charter School of New Castle) share the same board under the umbrella name of Vision Academies.  Yes, that name should sound very familiar to Delawareans.  I guess throwing the word “vision” into the name lends clout in certain corners of the state.  But what did the board do in December that could be seen as a big no-no and has even been named as something school boards shouldn’t do in recent audit investigations?  And is their latest recruitment strategy really something that screams “Hire me”? Continue reading

Family Foundations Academy Is Now Charter School Of New Castle

Blink and you miss it.  I blinked.  On January 5th, former Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky approved a minor modification request for Family Foundations Academy to change their name.  It is probably a good name.  Family Foundations Academy, when mentioned, brings Sean Moore and Tennell Brewington to mind.  The Charter School of New Castle sounds better.

The change won’t go into effect until July 1st of this year but it is already being used for marketing purposes.  Will we see other charter schools in Delaware change their name?

Meanwhile, I have been getting tons of hits on old Lamont Browne articles in the past couple of weeks.  Browne was the Executive Director of East Side Charter School and Family Foundations Academy before he resigned and moved to Colorado.  What is Browne up to in Colorado that is garnering this renewed interest in his time in Delaware?  Aaron Bass took over after Browne left.

It has been a fairly quiet school year for Delaware charter schools.  No outright scandals have come out.  None of them, as of this writing, went under formal review.  Academy of Dover passed their renewal.  Prestige Academy announced they will shut down, voluntarily, at the end of this school year.  I am sure the Delaware Dept. of Education is hoping this trend continues with a more calm year!