News Journal Jumps On The Delaware Met Story

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.

Prestige Academy, Freire, DE Design Lab, and Academy of Dover All Getting Formal Review

On the agenda for the Delaware State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 16th, it states under the charter section “Formal Review of a Charter School”.  I was curious which one it was and opened up the tab, and found that four charters are going to be put on formal review.

Details

The Department of Education will request the Assent of the State Board of Education to place the following charter schools on formal review
(Specific Information will be provided by the DOE by 4/14)
  • Academy of Dover
  • Delaware Design Lab High School
  • Freire Charter School 
  • Prestige Academy
The Department of Education will request to remove Academia Antonia Alonso from probationary status

Academy of Dover, Delaware Design Lab, Freire and Prestige Academy are all getting this designation on Thursday.  I imagine DE Design Lab and Freire will go under review for enrollment.  I’m guessing they are not at 80%.  As for Academy of Dover and Prestige Academy, I have some guesses.  Academy of Dover had some financial problems last fall when Head of School Noel Rodriguez “resigned”.  The DOE still does not have the financial part of the school’s performance framework on their website, over six months later.  Prestige Academy had their December board meeting at a restaurant/tavern and their website is a mess.  It would seem very late in the year for these schools to go under formal review for academics.  Anyone out there know anything specific?

The Delaware DOE website has no mention of this, probably because the State Board of Education meeting would be the official announcement, but their notes do say information will be forthcoming tomorrow.

What’s Going On With $$$ At Academy of Dover?

The Charter School Performance Framework was published by the Delaware Department of Education in September, 2014.  In a couple days it will be March, 2015.  Six months later.  Guess who still doesn’t have their financial information listed on the DOE website concerning this?

http://www.doe.k12.de.us//site/Default.aspx?PageID=1731

Academy of Dover and money seem to be issues this school has been plagued with.  There is the unconfirmed by the school or the DOE that a former head of school who resigned had some purchase card issues.  Earlier this month I presented some board minutes where the school refused to pay paraprofessionals more money when they served as substitute teachers for the entire class.  And now this.  No entry in the DOE’s annual report on ALL the charter schools.  Any response to this DOE or Academy of Dover?