We are down to the final four! On one side is two ladies from the Delaware DOE: Penny Schwinn and Alison May. I have to honestly say I didn’t think May would make it this far. I predicted the other round before I even started this: Governor Jack Markell vs. Mark Murphy. Who will make it to the end? You decide! This will run for two days, and then the grand whodunnit will determine who ended me! As usual, this is completely fiction and is for amusement purposes only and none of the “suspects” involved have been accused of a violent crime.
This was sent to me anonymously via email just now. I have no doubt this is real as it matches exactly with information I was given a week ago from the Friends Of Christina group. Did Markell have a chat with Penny Schwinn to bump this up? Why would the DOE all of a sudden change everything? This is the evil tactics Schwinn and the DOE have been up to. They play games constantly. Don’t believe the spin the News Journal puts on this. They toyed with Christina and the only reason for this change is to put the screws to them.
From: WILLIAMS FREEMAN
Sent: Friday, December 26, 2014 2:20:46 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
To: CSD SchoolBoard; ZIMMERMAN FARA; RACCA KELLI; SILBER ROBERT; LEE JACQUELINE A
Subject: Fwd: Thank you for your submission
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone
——– Original message ——–
From: Schwinn Penny
Date:12/26/2014 1:44 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: WILLIAMS FREEMAN
Subject: Thank you for your submission
Thank you for your recent submission of Priority School draft plans, the proposed MOU between the Department and the District, as well as the MOU between Christina School District and its collective bargaining agreement.
Please expect feedback to be returned to you within five (5) business days. For clarity, you should expect to receive feedback in the early afternoon of January 5th. (As a reminder, the State of Delaware granted 12/24, 12/25, 12/26, 1/1, and 1/2 as holidays/vacation days. The review days will therefore occur beginning at 12:30pm on 12/22 through 12:30pm on 1/5).
We recognize that the turnaround time for the District between 12:30pm on 1/5 to COB on 1/7 is likely too tight to be able to review, discuss, and implement the feedback that may be provided. As a result, the Department offers to do the following:
• Further extend the initial plan deadline to 1/9/15 COB
• The Department would conduct a review over five business days and provide the District with the plans status levels at that time
• If the plans are “substantially approvable,” the Department would provide additional feedback to the schools
• The Department would provide for a community engagement window to run through 1/21/15. This window would allow for a second opportunity for the community to provide feedback on the full plans and any revisions required
• The final version of the plans would be due to the Department on 1/21/15 by COB (5:00pm)
• The Department would review the final versions of the plans and provide a final announcement on or around 1/20/15.
We had also discussed the publication of manuals regarding “next steps.” Given the potentially extended timeline as well as our focus on reviewing your plans comprehensively over this condensed holiday season, we will also plan to publish the manuals shortly into the new year. We sincerely hope that this additional time, should you opt into accepting it, will allow for more community feedback in the month of January on the actual plans, should they be substantially approvable on January 9, 2015.
Thank you again for submitting drafts of your plans. We hope that the being able to provide feedback in advance of the final review will give the District every opportunity to solicit the feedback and make the revisions needed. Although the offers to meet in December were declined, the Department continues to offer the opportunity to meet to discuss the feedback and a list of the days and times available can be sent if CSD changes its mind and would like to meet to discuss any content regarding the Priority Schools.
Have a wonderful holiday and we look forward to connecting in the near future.
Chief Accountability and Performance Officer
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901-3639
At the Christina School District Board of Education meeting this evening, the board announced the Delware Department of Education has set new strict guidelines regarding their memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the priority schools. The DOE gave Christina three options in regards to their very limited choices:
1) Approve their existing MOU which the DOE has already said is not approvable.
2) Develop a negotiating team made of 3 members of the board, the superintendent, and other members hand-picked by the superintendent. This team would have to meet with the DOE by 1/9 (Friday) and agree to a memorandum of understanding. The DOE would no longer give feedback on the plan. If the sides were not able to come to an agreement, the district would have the opportunity to choose one of the three turnaround models-turn the school into a charter, school closure, or turn it over to a management company. If the two sides were able to come to an agreement, the Christina Board would have to vote on it at their 1/13 meeting.
3) If no action is taken, and all items are tabled, the turnaround models would again be the only option.
The board voted unanimously for option #2 and to allow for three or more board members to attend the meeting. As board member John Young pointed out, this put the board in violation of open meeting law because they would not have one week to publish a notice of an open meeting in the event four members of the seven member board, as per Title 29 regulations for the state of Delaware. Another board member pointed out the DOE put them in this position.
The superintendent advised the board all of the options are horrible, but they are left with little choice. State Representative Paul Baumbach advised the board it is a gesture of good faith, and if the board doesn’t honor this last ditch effort, basically it wouldn’t look good.
The board voted not to bring legal counsel to the negation meeting which the DOE advised they should. They also voted not to invite any legislators to the meeting as well. None of the members of the board or the audience were happy with the decision. The DOE set a trap for the Christina School Board and they had little choice but to choose one of the three options and #1 and #3 were not even options. This does not mean the Christina can’t or won’t submit a “nuclear option” at some point.
The board discussed how the DOE and Christina could not come to agreement on two key issues, the firing of two Christina priority school principals and laying off the staff and only half of them would be able to be rehired.
In terms of where this negotiation meeting would be held, a twisted yet hysterical part of the meeting came when board member Harrie Ruth Minnehan read DOE Chief Proficiency Officer Penny Schwinn’s hours of availability during the next two days. The longest block of time she could provide was two hours, but only if they met in Wilmington, between 9-11am on Friday. Yes, I can see how bad the DOE wants to negotiate in good faith…
The Christina Educators Association had a press conference before hand where CEA President Mike Kempski wanted to give teachers an opportunity to speak about the priority schools. A few teachers spoke very heartfelt and candid speeches. After that, Nelia Dolan, one of the founders of Delaware Parents and Teachers for Public Education, announced the creation of the group and their support for the Priority Schools. The group plans to bring their iPetition to Governor Markell’s office in Dover on 1/12, but that plan may change given the change in the priority timetable.
This cunning and duplicitousness on the part of the DOE, who had changed the final date to January 16th and then did an about face on this 1/5 and changed the date to January 9th, has shown they do not care about collaboration or negotiation. Which just proves my theory all along, which I advised the board of during my public comment, these schools will become charter schools at the Community Education Building in Wilmington.
Even though Red Clay Consolidated School District signed their MOU, the Delaware DOE has not fully agreed to it. My prediction: six new charter schools will open in the next school year unless Christina chooses the nuclear option. Or some 3rd party comes in and does something!
“Christmas is a time for giving. Then why do I feel like I’m getting ripped off?” I said these words of wisdom to my parents in my misspent youth. I was mad about my brother getting a drum set for Christmas. I could have cared less about the drums, but he was getting a “big” present, while all I got was smaller things. The times, they are a changin’, and I am definitely in a giving mood this year!
She rode into town like a bat out of hell, and she has yet to prove us wrong of our initial impression. She has insulted and denigrated professionals throughout the six priority schools and the students of Wilmington. Ms. Penny Schwinn, these are our gifts for you this holiday season.
A new bike for you to ride out of town with, but please don’t wait until you are her age.
This is a good book, and it will help you to understand that some things are a necessary hurdle to overcome.
Next on our list is a gentleman who definitely raised some eyebrows this year. We weren’t sure what to get him. We changed our mind about it, and went back and forth, and flipped on our initial decision. Delaware Senator Greg Lavelle, you gave us a lot to think about it this year. Or did you? We can’t make up our mind.
This next one is a contest. This individual gets this very special gift, but my readers have to guess the following: 1) Who it is for, 2) Why they are receiving this very special gift, and 3) Who else was involved. The answers are out there, but you will need to read about things. I won’t say if it’s in the middle, the beginning, or the end. I need the real thing here folks. But for the sleuths in all of us, if you hunt, you will find. But I wouldn’t make you do all this work for nothing. The Grand Prize: the first to look at my FOIA from Governor Markell, which should be arriving very soon. That’s right, you will get to see this before anyone else does. But you have to win the contest first, so here’s the picture:
There will be more gifts for our enemies all of this week. So stay tuned!
Thanks to anonymous for getting this to me! Our schools and DOE in Delaware have been slowly invaded by pro education reform individuals. This is all backed by The Rodel Foundation of Delaware and The Vision Network. Last Spring, the Delaware DOE hired Mrs. Penny Schwinn, a charter school leader from Sacramento, as the Chief Accountability and Performance Officer. Months later, Mr. Paul Schwinn, her husband, has been hired as the Director of Leadership Development for the Delaware Leadership Project, which is funded by the Delaware DOE, Rodel and Vision. I know the Delaware DOE wants family involvement, but this is a clear conflict of interest. The wheels on the Schwinn go round and round…
Paul Schwinn joined the Delaware Leadership Project as the Director of Leadership Development in 2014. Mr. Schwinn began his teaching career in Baltimore City Public Schools in 2004 as a middle school social studies teacher. During his tenure, all of his classes made significant gains on standards based assessments in world cultures, reading and math. Paul also has experience in the charter school sector working with St. HOPE Public Schools in Sacramento, California. During his tenure with St. HOPE, he served as a Teacher and Advisory Lead at Sacramento Charter High School, as the Founder and Principle of Oak Park Prep middle School, a Title I school that became the highest performing middle school in California whose students were a majority African-American in its first year of operation, and as the Principal of Sacramento Charter High School, also a Title I school. As a result of his leadership at Sacramento Charter High School, the staff satisfaction rate nearly doubled from the previous year and the school set a record high of 92% of seniors accepted into a four-year university. In addition to serving as a classroom instructor and school leader, Paul has served as a Professional Learning Community Facilitator with Teach for America in Los Angeles, and as a Graduate Student Instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Penny Schwinn is the Chief Accountability and Performance Officer. She is responsible for the Assessment, Accountability, Turnaround, Performance Management, Data, and Research and Evaluation offices within the Department. Penny leads this work with the core belief that transparently measuring school progress using comprehensive performance metrics is critical to driving student achievement.
Prior to her role in Delaware, Penny served as the Assistant Superintendent of Performance Management for Sacramento City Unified School District and the Founder of Capitol Collegiate Academy. As assistant superintendent in Sacramento, Penny developed the region’s first multiple-measure accountability framework through an extensive community planning process in partnership with the Office of Family and Community Engagement. This belief in performance management and the need to communicate openly with families grew from her experiences as founder of Capitol Collegiate, which achieved 98% proficiency within three years, as well as her early experiences working in schools in Sacramento, Oakland, and Richmond. She began her career in education as a high school teacher in Baltimore City and has also worked to build operational systems in the private sector.
The document in the article below this one, about Penny Schwinn’s presentation to the Delaware Department of Education went over many topics, including a student growth model. It talked about an RFP, which is an overview of what prospective vendors can look at to determine if they want to bid on the project. I have located the RFP on the state contract page. It is interesting with the wording for teacher evaluations….
Part 1 of the Wilmington City Council meeting recording transcribed by me, from the October 9th council meeting discussing the priority school plan, with guests Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and Dr. Penny Schwinn, is found here: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/wilmington-city-council-vs-the-de-doe-murphy-schwinn-the-qa-part-1/
Gregory: Could you dispel the rumor, there’s a strong rumor there’s a federal list of school leaders that would be picked from and brought into Wilmington to head the schools.
Murphy: The school leaders are picked locally, the school communities choose the school leader. We will approve the school leader to ensure that that person meets the quality bar. But that person comes from the district.
Gregory: So you set the rubrics, and then you accept the school leader, and if the school doesn’t perform as you think they should, based on the standards, they will be closed, charterized, or given to a management company? Continue reading
I’ve watched the Wilmington City Council meeting from October 9th a couple of times. But I got that insane idea in my head (again) to transcribe the question and answer part of it. This was when the councilmen asked Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and Dr. Penny Schwinn questions about the Priority Schools designation for six “failing” schools in Wilmington. This q & a lasted about 45 minutes, so I’m breaking it up into two parts.
Doing this allowed me to see how many times Murphy or Schwinn never really answered certain questions or danced around them with their very wordy answers. If you are a stakeholder in the priority schools, I would highly recommend reading this. Watching Mark Murphy try to sell this insane idea is actually kind of fun. Even more fun is watching Murphy stumble through certain answers, or he would just start mumbling incoherent parts of sentences until he could collect his thoughts. Without further ado, here is the cast, followed by Part 1.
Wilmington City Council Members: Theopalis Gregory (President), Nnamdi Chukwuocha (1st District), Ernest Congo II (2nd District), Darius Brown (3rd District), Hanifa Shabazz (4th District), Samuel Prado (5th District), Sherry Dorsey Walker (6th District), Robert Williams (7th District), Charles Freel (8th District), Michael Brown Sr. (Council Member At-Large), Maria Cabrera (Council Member At-Large), Loretta Walsh (Council Member At-Large), Justen Wright (Council Member At-Large)
Questions Presented to Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and Proficiency Officer Dr. Penny Schwinn by the Wilmington City Council. Continue reading
The Delaware Board of Education meeting yesterday was full of controversy and shock.
I attended about an hour and a half of the Delaware Board of Education meeting yesterday. When I arrived, a gentleman from the American Heart Association was thanking the Board for their support. I sat next to a familiar face who was cutting out items for his classroom with a pair of scissors. I introduced myself to Mike Matthews who I had been in contact with on social media recently. I asked if he was giving public comment, and he said I just missed it but to definitely listen to the digital audio recording when it is available. Throughout the meeting, Matthews and I had continuous looks of shock and awe with the comments coming from not only the Board, but members of the Office of Accountability and Performance.
Secretary of Education Mark Murphy seemed very upset about the recent report on how 0% of teachers in Delaware were not ineffective. He didn’t seem to think this was the reality in Delaware. But we all know this will change in a year when the Smarter Balanced Scores come out, which the state has already said they are aware student scores will plummet, and teacher evaluations will be based on these scores.
The Board went through their motions, and we arrived at the Performance and Accountability Presentation. Penny Schwinn is the new Chief Officer of Accountability and Performance for the Delaware DOE. After Assessment Director Brian Touchette gave his reasons for why there are gaps in performance testing between different subgroups, and why charters weren’t included in the Performance and Accountability Presentation (because they have their own performance framework arrangement with the state of Delaware), Schwinn gave a rather enlightening and distorted presentation of African-American students and students with disabilities.
For children with disabilities, she claimed the reasons for the performance gaps in DCAS scores was attributable to the following factors: Litigation at a district level distracted teachers from being able to give adequate special education accommodations, high teacher turn-over and a limited hiring pool in Delaware for quality special education teachers compared to other states. She did say there is a new strategy of looking at IEPs in Delaware, and that is to target the performance of students with disabilities. Which is, as we all know, the coming standards-based IEPs in Delaware. She did recognize that dual credentials for special education teachers provide “expertise and knowledge” in the classroom. What she failed to mention, in Delaware and across America, many special education teachers are leaving the profession due to upcoming teacher evaluations which will be based on student test scores. Many special ed teachers fear losing their jobs, so they are leaving the profession. Who will replace all these teachers with this expertise and knowledge when they are driven out or quit?
Schwinn expressed her interest in Student-Based Plans, which are IEPs, but for regular students. This is one of the goals of Rodel’s Vision 2025, to do away with special education and all students get their own version of IEPs. This just supports my fear and theories of the future of special education. See https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/special-education-in-america-where-is-it-going-spread-this-link-all-over-reblog-netde-edude-delaware-usedgov/
Schwinn went on to talk about African-American student performance in Delaware. She said they expect high performance from all students, and this is driven through PLCs and site leadership. PLC is Professional Learning Community, which emphasizes shared leadership, community-based work groups, and learning over teaching. Schwinn wants to create strategies to prevent downward trends among African-American students in Delaware. She said there is a low expectation for African-American students from teachers “across the board”. At this point, Board of Ed Member Gregory Coverdale asked Schwinn if she felt the rising violence and murders in Wilmington was causing an impact in classroom environment in that area, to which she responded “That isn’t necessarily a hurdle to overcome”. For the three African-American members of the Board of Education, the looks on their faces said it all immediately after her response.
Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, the President of the Board of Education, said the following based on an article from WDDE today: “From those of us who are in under-represented groups, we deal with this often,” said Gray, who is African-American. “I’m not quite sure what to say about low expectations and cultural mindset,” she said. “How do you address that? A shift of culture takes 20 years, as they say, at least 10.” – See more at: http://www.wdde.org/66555-state-education-officials-seek-reasons-lack-progress-narrowing-achievement-gap#sthash.ii0NJYD3.dpuf
It is obvious Schwinn, who has been in her role for two months after leaving Sacramento, CA, needs to do a bit more research on Delaware. To think the issues of crime in Wilmington won’t have an impact on the classroom is foolish and naïve. To insult issues of poverty, crime and discrimination shows an apparent lack of the true reality in Wilmington. This is definitely a hurdle to overcome Penny Schwinn, and to continue to ignore this reality will only make the problem worse. As the Chief Of Accountability and Performance in Delaware, you need to look at ALL aspects of environment and how they impact the classroom.
For students with disabilities, Schwinn needs to recognize why special education teachers are leaving the profession, and that is mainly due to forced compliance with Common Core standards being shoved down their throats. Children are more than test scores, and the sooner the DOE realizes that, the better education and special education in Delaware will be. Litigation is rising in Delaware because of this education reform, not in spite of it.
The fact that charter schools in Delaware were not included in this presentation speaks volumes. To not include them ignores the impact charter schools have had on students with disabilities and minorities in Delaware, especially in the Wilmington area. Certain charter schools in our state have specific enrollment requirements that discriminates against low-income minorities and special needs children. The easy excuse for this by ignorant people is that children with disabilities are “low performers”. I think the Exceptional Children Group in the DOE is on the right track in correcting this position, but they need to realign their priorities in how to go about this.
But I can see how you would come to those conclusions based on your resume: http://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/meet-the-new-chief-accountability-and-performance-officer-for-the-delaware-doe-more-choice-accountability-and-tfa-straight-up-gap-closing-bullshit/
And yet, your one tweet twitter account from 2010 tells a completely different story: “@EnchantmentAZ As a teacher, role model and advocate for kids from low income communities, my mom inspired me to teach and be a foster mom.”
You are not currently advocating for these children. You may want to recheck your roots and be a part of the solution, not the problem.