Three more charter schools. Two in New Castle County, one in Kent. One centers around Spanish language skills. Another is a special education theme. One originally began with a theme of zero tolerance with school discipline but changed its tune. One had a ruckus last fall when their school leader was placed on leave because he wanted more pay for teachers. Continue reading
Last month, the Delaware Charter Schools Network celebrated their annual IDEA awards. Not to be confused with the Federal IDEA program for special needs students, their IDEA stands for Innovation, Dedication, Education, and Admiration. This years big winners were charter leaders, legislators, teachers, and even students. Here is a list of the winners, direct from the Delaware Charter Schools Network website. I know quite a few of the individuals on this list, either through writing on this blog or actually meeting them before. Some I have never heard of, but congrats on your award. While I have been a teeny tiny bit critical of charters on rare occasions (okay, a lot), at the end of the day, it is about the students. And if the traditional school districts can have a teacher of the year and all that comes with that, the charters should be able to have their own shindig. While I may not agree with many of the funding issues with charters, some of their enrollment practices, financial issues, and special education issues, they are still schools with children in them.
2015 IDEA AWARD WINNERS
COMMUNITY TIES AWARD
Charles S. McDowell, Esquire, EastSide Charter School
Henry Clampitt, The Charter School of Wilmington
GIVING BACK AWARD
Caroline Dowd, Providence Creek Academy
Johnny Means, Delaware Military Academy
Jagger Peck, Gateway Lab School
Eric Long, The Charter School of Wilmington
Hannah Cote, Campus Community Charter School
Ed Emmett, Positive Outcomes Charter School
Sally Maldonado, Kuumba Academy
IMPACT AWARD TOO
Denise Parks & Kathryn Standish, Odyssey Charter School
Kristen Egan, Las Americas ASPIRA Academy
Kelly Hanson, Providence Creek Academy
Robert Lingenfelter, Delaware Military Academy
Trina Willey, Providence Creek Academy
Great Oaks Charter School Wilmington Founding Tutor Corps, GOCS-W
Cathie Kennedy, The Charter School of Wilmington
Kuumba Academy; Sally Maldonado, School Leader; Joan Coker, Board President
Newark Charter School; Greg Meece, School Leader; Stephen Dressel, Board President
STATE LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARD
Senator Brian Bushweller
Representative Joseph Miro
FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARD
Senator Tom Carper
Senator Chris Coons
Congressman John Carney
Matthew Albright with the Delaware News Journal finally jumped on the Delaware Met story three days after this blog broke the news about it’s pending closure. The article does not state the school is closing because the board is meeting tonight to decide if they should hand in their charter. I would fully expect a mainstream media source to take this route. However, I do take offense to this part:
Rumors circulated through the weekend that Delaware Met had already made the decision to close. Students did not attend school Friday – Harrington said the school scheduled professional development for teachers – but kids were back Monday.
“We’ve been trying to get the message out to parents that no decision has been made, but they keep hearing people saying it’s already happened,” Harrington said. “It isn’t helping.”
Why would Albright only contact the school about this? There was no mention of the Delaware Department of Education who I’m sure would have been notified. As well, he knew what the source of the “rumors” was and I never heard from him. But he was up in Philly for the Papal Visit. Mr. Harrington, you could have easily contacted me as well, but the school did not respond to my two emails on Friday. Nor did the Department of Education.
Is this school a special education school? Calling it a “Big Picture School” is not indicative of what has been going on there.
Second, the board will decide whether the school can get a handle on problems with school climate. Harrington said there have been fights and incidents in which students have been disrespectful towards school staff.
“We’re talking about kids acting out,” Harrington said. “Our board’s and leadership’s priority is making sure we can provide a safe environment for our students.”
Part of providing a safe environment for students is having a firm handle on student’s Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) prior to the start of school. Being that there was no board meeting in August, I would really have to wonder how prepared this school was for opening day. I do have a lot of respect for Ed Emmett from Positive Outcomes, and he could be a valuable source for helping the school understand special education issues. But I think their financial issues may be beyond just an enrollment issue. How much are they paying to Innovative Schools for rent? Since they have NO financial information on their website (which they are required to do monthly as per Delaware law), how could anyone ascertain what their financial picture is?
I also have to question the role Innovative Schools plays in Delaware education. Their name has been attached to far too many charters that close or have huge financial issues at some point. Is it time to reel them in for a serious investigation? And of course Kendall Massett with the Delaware Charter Schools Network is riding in for the rescue. But is it too late? Given everything I have written about this school in the past few days I would be very concerned as a parent of a teenager attending this school. Conflicts of Interest are as transparent as Saran Wrap and this school has red flags all over it.