The Melting Students And Teachers Of Delcastle Technical High School

Students and staff at Delcastle Technical High School in the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District have been sitting in classrooms with unbearable heat for over a week.  But the district is refusing to fix the real problem. Continue reading

New Castle County Vo-Tech Salaries Over $100,000

New Castle County Vo-Tech School District has a lot of very high-priced administrators in their district.  Their leader, Dr. Victoria Gehrt, is the second highest paid Superintendent in the state.  Their enrollment has gone up in the past four years by over 168 students but they have eight less administrators making over $100,000.  What is very interesting with them is their Assistant Principals seem to begin in the $120,000 range, which is significantly higher than the rest of the state.  All of their Principals are in the $140,000 range.  This is what happens when the General Assembly approves a line-by-line budget as they do with all the vocational districts in Delaware.  I do get that all of their schools are high schools and those usually require Assistant Principals.  It just seems way out of proportion when compared to other districts.  Of note is the fact they do not appear to have an Assistant Superintendent so perhaps that is a wash. Continue reading

UPDATED WITH VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!! Parents Concerned About Murder At Howard High School Should Go To District Board Meeting Monday Night

Updated, 8:32am: I have just heard from a few sources that the district has changed their meeting to their district office at 4pm.  And the meeting will be held in a conference room that holds a maximum of 15 people.  Apparently there is a Town Hall at Stubbs Elementary School tomorrow night which is being led by Wilmington Councilman Darius Brown, which precipitated the time change for the board meeting.  The district did reach out to advise me this is the reason for the board meeting change.  Several folks were upset about this, and I did suggest to the district they might want to change the board meeting to another night when parents and members of the community are more easily able to attend.  There is another Town Hall this week for parents to talk about the situation.  I will update that information when I know when and where.  One thing I would remind everyone to do is think of Amy and her family and friends.  And please continue praying for all of them.

Howard High School of Technology belongs to the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District.  The district has a board meeting Monday night, 4/25, at St. George’s Technical High School in their Media Center at 7pm.  Howard was the high school where Amy died last Thursday.  I believe the district has a lot to answer for.  While I don’t believe the district is directly responsible for what happened to Amy, there were circumstances that allowed the situation to happen in the first place.

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Why are students allowed to enter the school at 7:15am in the morning to gather and do what they please.  I’m hearing hall monitors are sparse, when they do come, and when they arrive on time.  I’ve heard many who want to blame the teachers for what happened.  Nope.  They are in district mandated professional development during some of these mornings.  To accommodate this, the district changed the start time for the first classes a couple days a week.  Let’s make one thing clear right off the get-go: teachers hate professional development.  I don’t care how many surveys the Delaware Dept. of Education dredges out.  The abuse of Delaware teachers doesn’t begin and end with their evaluations.

Our school districts have become so enamored with the Delaware Way, that horrible situation where all tables must come to the table and compromise while the more powerful of the parties ends up getting their way (in most cases the state DOE/Rodel Foundation for education).

Could Amy’s death have been prevented?  I would like to think it could have.  One thing is crystal clear.  The discipline and fighting figures we see are not honest.  There may be a few out there, but I think a lot is going unreported.  There are things our schools are trying to hide which is making problems worse, not better.  In many of our schools, students hit teachers all the time.  They curse and roam the halls in some schools.  Some students are expelled or sent to alternative schools in the hopes they will become better students.  But the class sizes in these schools now make it impossible for a teacher there to get anything done.  There is also this absurd culture where students have no authoritative role models anymore.  Some of them don’t get it at home or school.  A school should not be the Band-Aid to cure what ails so many of our students.  But this seems to be what our state and the corporate education reform companies want.

Don’t get me wrong: students should not encourage fighting, nor should they build a blockade so teachers or other adults can’t stop what is going on.  The students involved should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  In my opinion, those who stood and watched while filming the tragedy should be held accountable as well.  They are just as guilty.  But the schools, districts and administrators who stand back and let these things happen time and time again need to realize how serious these things can get.  A student died in one of our schools in Delaware.  She was murdered.  We can’t forget that and it would dishonor Amy’s life to think otherwise.

The parents of students at Howard High School of Technology have every right to voice their concerns.  I strongly encourage all of them to attend the board meeting Monday night in Middletown.  If they are unable to get there, other parents should offer a ride or perhaps the district should arrange busing for them so they can make their voices heard.  This meeting could get very real and the district may be forced to hear things they would rather not hear.  But I’m sure Amy’s parents heard something they never wanted to hear the day she died.

Who Is Dr. Steven Godowsky?

Dr. Steven Gadowsky

Dr. Steven Godowsky

It was announced today in every single Delaware media outlet that Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy is “stepping down” and Dr. Steven Godowsky, the former Superintendent of the New Castle County V0cational Technical School District, will fill the role on an interim basis pending a special hearing with the Delaware Senate to accept Governor Markell’s nomination on October 20th.  Who is he?

According to his LinkedIn account and his biography with the University of Delaware, this would not be his first rodeo with the Department of Education.  He served as a Supervisor there from 1977-1982 after serving a short stint in the former Alfred I. DuPont school district as a special education teacher.  He ran the Exceptional Children/Special Education division before becoming returning to teaching at New Castle County Vo-Tech.  In 2000, he was appointed Assistant Superintendent and three years later he became the Superintendent, a role he served faithfully for the next eight years.  Upon retiring in 2011, Dr. Godowsky served as a Supervisor the University of Delaware’s Delaware Academy for School Leadership (DASL).

I ran across him for the first time from the DOE’s Charter School Accountability Committee final report for Gateway Lab School’s charter renewal last fall.  He helped the school to overcome the odds when their charter was renewed last December after the CSAC recommended their charter not be renewed.  He also assisted the Pencader Business School Board of Directors in board governance training at the former charter school in 2012.

As a former Superintendent of the Year in Delaware, Godowsky also served as President of the Delaware Chief School Officers Administration (now called DASA) in 2008.

It sounds like Godowsky has decades of experience with Delaware education, and I am particularly impressed he has a very rich background in special education and is willing to fight for students with disabilities, as evidenced by his work with Gateway.

New Castle County Vo-Tech Education Associate Danny Rufo tweeted the following statement earlier today:

While some may lament his time with the Vision 2015 workshop, and their ties to Rodel, let’s be honest and face facts.  Most of the higher-ups in Delaware school districts and charters have spent some sort of time on one of these committees.  It does not mean they are “bought and paid for” by Rodel, especially in the pre-Race To The Top years.

I definitely think he is much higher up the education ladder in experience compared to Mark Murphy.  It has become more than obvious what we don’t need in a Secretary of Education, so this is a step in the right direction.  Nothing against Dr. Godowsky, but I really hope the Delaware Senate asks him many questions in regards to the future of Delaware education.  When Mark Murphy passed the nomination, the questions from the Senate were very limited in scope.  We must not make the same mistake again.  I feel confident, based on his vast experience as well as ringing endorsements from several Delaware legislators, he could be the right man for the job!