Paoli Out at Charter School of Wilmington

After years of controversy, Dr. Sam Paoli is out at Charter School of Wilmington. Effective June 30th this year, Dr. Paoli will no longer lead Delaware’s first charter school. In an email sent out from their board, parents were notified of the news.

Following several years of disenchantment from educators at CSW, the board finally decided enough is enough. Last year, CSW educators joined the Delaware State Education Association. Despite complaints to the board about him, Paoli was allowed to stay on. Finally some sanity from this board!

In the below letter sent to parents, it mentions nothing of a “resignation” or “retirement”.  Just that he is gone the end of this year.

Who will take Paoli’s place?  Will they search from within and have former Delaware Department of Education employee Angeline Rivello lead the school?  Rivello is Paoli’s second-in-command at the school.  Or will they take someone from the outside and find a way to bring CSW into the 21st Century (or make that the second half of the 20th) and increase their diversity?

Appoquinimink To Create Safety Task Force Due To Incident Yesterday

Appoquinimink Superintendent Matt Burrows sent an email to parents minutes ago giving more detail about the district’s role in the handgun incident yesterday at Middletown High School.  I will certainly give Burrows credit for fully owning up to the omission of details in his parent letter yesterday as those facts seem to have been discovered by the Delaware State Police after he sent out the parent letter.  While I am not a member of the MOT Residents Facebook page, I understand parents have been going off on there all day long about the differences between the parent letter and the Delaware State Police press release.  I just have one question, and it is a big one: who discovered the student pulled out the gun on another student?  Was it the district or the State Police?  I posted my article about those differences less than two hours ago.

Appo Superintendent Matt Burrows Failed To Disclose Student Pointed Handgun At Student In Parent Letter

The Delaware State Police issued a press release today about the arrest of Tymere Moore, an 18 year old Middletown High School student in Appoquinimink School District.  It gives much more information than the statement Appoquinimink Superintendent Matt Burrows sent to parents yesterday.  Including the very disturbing fact that the student actually pulled out the handgun and pointed it at another student.  The primary charge in the arrest was for brandishing a handgun.  Which was not mentioned in Burrows’ parent letter at all. Continue reading

Gun Found In Student’s Bag At Middletown High School In Appoquinimink Today

Following a break-up of a potential fight, a handgun was found in a student’s bag at Middletown High School in the Appoquinimink School District earlier today.  Sadly, this came shortly after news broke out of another school shooting.  The shooting in Santa Fe, Texas killed nine students and a teacher.  While I salute the staff at Middletown High for defusing this situation very fast, it is indicative of potential threats in our schools.  I’ve been told by other educators that weapons are brought into schools constantly but they are rarely found.  I fully support metal detectors in ALL of our schools.  Is it a burden?  Yes.  But Delaware does not want to be on the news for innocent students being gunned down.  Hats off to Superintendent Matt Burrows for letting parents know this went down as well!  Earlier reports in the day addressed a situation but it wasn’t until Burrows released the letter about the gun being found that I felt it was appropriate to post this.

 

Red Clay Letter To Parents Has Many Gasping About Education Cuts

Yesterday, Red Clay Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty sent a letter to parents advising them of all the education cuts since 2008.  He also urged them to attend the Delaware PTA rally outside Legislative Hall next week to support basic special education funding for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade.

I agree with a lot of what Merv said but then again I have to wonder about some of his logic.  After all, Red Clay did purchase one-to-one devices for all their students which costs a pretty penny.  As well, they are one of the few districts that still has Race To The Top administrators even though the funding for that horrible federal initiative ended years ago.

His language in the letter confused me a bit though because he asks parents to vote with public education funding in mind.  Yes, the General Assembly decides the budget.  But who is Merv asking these parents to vote for?  State legislators?  School board candidates?  Should a school Superintendent be pushing parents toward certain votes? And that’s what happens when I don’t have my morning coffee before I write!

In terms of special education, I have supported any bill that gives that funding.  This is the foundation of special education for these kids.  It baffles me that our legislators will fund pre-school as much as they do but not provide this necessary and vital funding.  They really don’t have any more excuses to justify their cowardice with special education funding.  I highly salute the legislators who consistently support State Rep. Kim William’s bills to get this going.  If you have the means, come down to Legislative Hall next Wednesday, May 9th, at 1:30pm, on the East steps.

I fully support public education funding but I also support the ability to properly audit those funds if need be.  Last year, the State Auditor’s office released a report on education funds but since so many school districts code expenditures different the auditor couldn’t make heads or tails of the funding.  So perhaps we should be making sure our vote for State Auditor is a sound one and not based on a popularity contest among certain legislators.  If you are going to vote for a Kathy in September, make sure it is for Davies!

Things I like that are going on?  Senator Dave Sokola’s bill for education funding transparency which could go a bit further than what it has in it now.  I love the fact that people are waking up to education issues and speaking out.  We may not always agree, but the discussion is healthy.

To read Merv’s letter to parents, please see below:

Christina School District Letter To Parents About Charter Funding Issues

The Christina School District just issued a letter to parents and citizens in the district to address the recent funding issues surrounding charter school payments and exclusions in their budget:

A Letter to Christina School District Parents and Residents
about Charter School Funding:

There have been recent reports in local media and on social media about possible changes to the funding formula used to determine the Local Cost per Student that determines payments to charter and choice students who attend schools other than traditional Christina public schools.

At a meeting on September 1 with the Superintendents of public school districts throughout the state, Delaware Secretary of Education Steven Godowsky stated that there would be no changes to the Local Cost per Student formula for the 2016-2017 school year. The district has not yet received a formal statement in writing from the Department of Education to this effect.

Unfortunately, statements have been made by a number of individuals that the Christina School District is excluding funds that should be included in the calculations of the Local Cost per Student.

We feel these are very serious statements that need to be addressed. We also feel that the Christina community deserves to know what these restricted funds are and how they support families who choose to send their children to traditional public schools in Christina.

FACT:
The Christina School District does not decide what appropriations are included or excluded from the Local Cost of Funds. That determination rests with the Secretary of Education, as stated by Delaware Code.

FACT:
The Department of Education informed District Business Managers, in August, that certain expenditures which have historically been deemed by the Secretary of Education to be inappropriate for inclusion in the Local Cost per Student Calculation may now be included. No explanations or justifications were provided other than citing that the decision is at the discretion of the Secretary of Education. This decision is contrary to the decisions made by previous Secretaries ranging as recently as last year and as far back as 17 years.

FACT:
In 2003, Christina voters approved a referendum by a vote of 5,334 to 2,431 to restrict 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value to support four specific programs for Christina School District students. These programs were 1) phase-in of Full-Day Kindergarten, 2) expansion of services for Gifted and Talented program, 3) expansion of services for Alternative Programs, and 4) technology replacement schedule. These funds, authorized by taxpayers, are restricted, and are considered District Specific Exclusions.

FACT:
Beginning in 2014, the Department of Education agreed that these funds were restricted and approved their exclusion from the calculation of Local Cost per Student.

FACT:
Another example of funds considered a District Specific Exclusion are those funds generated through the Match Tax. State Legislators often create unique programs designed to help students, such as Reading Resource Teachers, Math Resource Teachers, Extra Time Funding, and Education Technology. These are taxes that impact all traditional school districts. For example, the State recognized the need to assist elementary students in reading. The State provided funding for Reading Resource Teacher positions in Traditional Public Schools and in Charter Schools. State legislation empowered the School Boards of the Traditional Public School Districts to raise taxes to “Match” state funds on a 70/30 state/local basis. School Boards were authorized to match the amount provided to the District only. These Match programs have been excluded from the Local Cost per Student calculation for the past 14-17 years.

The Christina School district welcomes open and public conversation around appropriate public funding for all public school students. As a district that serves a high proportion of low-income, English Language Learners, and special needs students, the Christina School District is invested in ensuring equity, and meeting the educational needs of our diverse population.

The District will hold a Legislative Briefing on Wednesday, September 7 at 7:30 a.m. at the Eden Support Services Center.

Sincerely,
Robert Andrzejewski, Ed.D., Acting Superintendent
Christina School District

Robert Silber, Chief Financial Officer
Christina School District

 

Doc Holodick’s Letter About Smarter Balanced Sent To Parents

Brandywine Superintendent Mark Holodick sent a letter to parents dated February 10th.  Some parents just got the letter this week with a Texas postmark.  Way to educate parents about a huge test over two months later Dr. Holodick!

LetterP1Holodick

Hey, I want to know which Delaware educators helped create this train wreck!  Can we get a list of names?

FlyerP1

How many will reach the bar?  Not many.  Only 30% from what the DOE says.

FlyerP2

This ELA sample could be very subjective, but the human grader may not be objective.  This is a disaster waiting to happen!  Wait, it already is happening…  Delaware Parents: Please support House Bill 50 and opt your child out if you feel this is not the test for your child.

Both Moore & Brewington Out At Family Foundations Academy, Looking For New Board Members….Should I?

According to an email sent to all Family Foundations parents the other day, both Sean Moore and Tennell Brewington are out as the heads of school at Family Foundations Academy.

January 2, 2015

Parents and Families of  Family Foundations Academy students:

The Board of Directors and leadership team of  Family Foundations Academy have been working over the Holiday break to assure a smooth return to classes on Monday, January 5 and wanted to update you on events of the past month.

Staffing  Changes.  As was done with Dr. Brewington, Mr. Moore was placed on a 90-day personal leave of absence.  As a result of the Board meeting and work session on New Year’s Eve, the Board determined that Ms. Kathleen Connor, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the Middle School, will assume the role of interim Chief Administrative Officer.  Ms. Connor has been in education for 22 years, and served as Principal of schools in Wilmington for a decade.  Amy Novosel will serve as interim Chief Academic Officer – a role she had unofficially assumed over the past two months.  Ms. Monique Dolcy will continue as School Climate Director, a role she assumed this fall.   Ms. Ismay Da Costa will continue as Finance Manager, a role she assumed a month ago.  No other staffing changes were made.
 
A School United. The Board and the leadership team participated in a Saturday training on December 13 to ensure a renewed spirit of communication  and collaboration around FFA’s mission and values.  Among the topics were the governance function of the Board, where the duties of Board and the staff intersect, and how to appropriately raise concerns to the Board.  The leadership team then considered the length of the school day, demonstrating communication skills which helped bring all participants together as “A School United”.

Board Changes.  At the January 20 Board meeting, the Board will be considering additions to the Board of Directors.  At the December 22 Board meeting, teacher David Alston stepped down from the Board.   Jason Casper, a 4th and 5th grade teacher in his third year at FFA with extensive business experience, will be considered to replace him. If you are interested in being considered for a Board position, please contact Board Governance Committee Chair Monnica May at (302) 887-0346 (monnica.may@state.de.us).

Charter Renewal Update.  The final decision on FFA’s charter renewal has been postponed until January 15. The public comment period has been extended to January 12.  If you would like to submit a letter or e-mail in support of FFA and its charter renewal, please feel free to contact Mrs. Pat Brooks, FFA’s Satisfaction Officer at (302) 324-8901, ext. 281 or e-mailto: patricia.brooks@ffa.k12.pa.us

“Support FFA” Rally on Thursday.  A “Support FFA” rally will be held on Thursday, January 8 at 2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at the Elementary School.  Please contact Ms. Dolcy, School Climate Director, at (302)324-8901, ext. 306 ( HYPERLINK “mailto:mdolcy@ffa.k12.de.us” mdolcy@ffa.k12.de.us ) if you can attend.

 We are looking forward to moving FFA forward together.

Ms Kathleen Connor, Interim Chief Administrative Officer
Ms. Amy Novosel, Interim Chief Academic Officer 

cc: Board of Directors of  FFA

You know what, you only live once!  What the hell, I have just as much chance as anyone else not in Kappa Alpha Psi!

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