Looks like Delaware Met isn’t the only brand new charter school to open this year that is having problems. Turns out First State Military Academy in Kent County is feeling major opening pains as well. First State Military Academy (FSMA) picked the Innovative Schools inspired “New Tech Network” for their model. You would think with a technology-based program the school would have computers for all the kids. Nope, they are thirty short. Oops! Innovative Schools website describes this “New Tech Network as:
New Tech Network (NTN) is a non-profit school development organization that works with districts to build and sustain innovative K-12 public schools. NTN works to create a rigourous and engaging school experience that features the intense use of Project-Based Learning and technology to establish a positive and engaging school culture. In the seventeen years since its founding, the network has grown to 133 K-12 schools in twenty-three states and Australia. Innovative Schools has established partnerships with schools like Delaware New Tech Academy in Seaford and First State Military Academy in Clayton, to help bring the first New Tech Network model schools to Delaware. Learn More About New Tech
But the bigger problem has to do with special education. When FSMA opened they received forty students with disabilities. As a new school and students that transferred, the school has to redo all those IEPs. They have one dual-certified teacher to handle all forty of these students on top of being the one to handle all these IEPs. And here is the kicker- they have to be completed by October 30th. In five days! What is it with these charter schools that don’t anticipate large populations of special needs students? The state average is 13% and rising. Like Delaware Met, they didn’t count on this at all. It comes with the package, and the State Board of Education, the Charter School Office and the Exceptional Children Resources Group should be making sure all new charters have their ducks in a row with this kind of thing.
With this revelation coming out, I feel obligated to reveal a story I wrote about FSMA in the summer, but I never named the school. Yes, this was the school that had a special education coordinator that pretended to be on the IEP Task Force last year. This coordinator quit before school started. I wonder why?
As well, I’m hearing several students are having a VERY difficult time with the curriculum at this school. Some are failing. While these issues aren’t at the level Delaware Met is having, I would say they are very serious. Time to add another one to the pile Delaware DOE?