My moles across the state are telling me about emails going out to teachers and staff that schools will be physically closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This unprecedented and historic move is based on the remaining threat of Covid-19 in Delaware. At a press briefing today Delaware Governor John Carney, when specifically asked, had not determined the fate of the school year. But just as that was going on, an email was sent out to Red Clay Consolidated School District teachers and staff about the future: Continue reading
After the beat down and humiliation they received from the Red Clay Board of Education last night, the Charter School of Wilmington is very angry. They were called out as a racist school while their charter was renewed for 5 years instead of 10. Are they going to do something about it? Continue reading
On Wednesday evening, the Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education will decide on Wilmington Charter School’s charter renewal. While it is a certainty their charter will be renewed, an even bigger question is on the table. Continue reading
On December 20th, the State Board of Education will decide on seven charter school renewals at their monthly meeting after hearing the decision by Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting. Meanwhile, the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education will decide on Charter School of Wilmington’s charter renewal. Two charters want a ten-year renewal. Two have submitted minor modification requests to decrease enrollment. Yesterday, the Delaware DOE’s Charter School Office released the final reports for all seven charters up for renewal through their office. Continue reading
The Red Clay Board of Education meeting the other night was one for the record books! The highlight of the meeting was the Charter School of Wilmington renewal discussion. Dr. Sam Paoli, the President of CSW, got drilled and grilled with a ton of questions about CSW’s demographics and recruitment efforts.
The absolute best part of the conversation was when Jose Matthews, the husband of Mike Matthews, the former President of the Delaware State Education Association, told Paoli the following: Continue reading
Charter School of Wilmington is up for their charter school renewal with Red Clay Consolidated School District. The Red Clay board discussed this charter renewal with Dr. Sam Paoli, the President of CSW, at their meeting tonight. It came out that CSW is breaking state law in a very major way. Continue reading
There are always gems to be found when you comb through district and charter board minutes, agendas, and websites. I did that last night and found a ton of stuff! Instead of coming out with a dozen or more articles about it, I thought I would just combine all of it one fell swoop! There is A LOT of material in here so dig in! Continue reading
I didn’t see this one coming! The Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education just unanimously approved an Interim Superintendent effective November 1st. Jill Floore, the district’s chief financial officer, will fill the Superintendent shoes after current Superintendent Merv Daugherty leaves the district the same day.
The motion, put forth by board member Jason Casper, was quickly voted on with a unanimous vote by the entire board. More details to come!
The Red Clay Consolidated School District community will be in shock over this. Superintendent Merv Daugherty will be resigning as of November 1st. A tweet sent out this morning indicated he will be accepting a position out of stated.
Daugherty has been with Red Clay a long time, from July, 2009 to the present. He saw the district through the dreaded Race To The Top years, priority schools, the rise of educational technology, and the strange new era of competency-based education and personalized learning.
Daugherty was the Delaware Superintendent of the Year for the 2015-2016 school year.
The Red Clay board will have to get moving now if they want to find a new Superintendent by the time Merv retires. Most Superintendent searches can take a good 5-6 months. This gives them less than 3 months.
I wish Merv all the best in his retirement. I’ve dealt with him many times and he would respond to me in a timely fashion. Good luck Merv!
Updated, 9:43am: Red Clay just announced the following on their Facebook account-
The Red Clay Board of Education will meet in executive session on Aug. 28, 2018 to discuss naming an interim superintendent, engaging a search firm to assist and guide the board in moving forward and the process the district will use in its search for Dr. Daugherty’s replacement. Details will be released shortly thereafter.
Updated, 9:48am: Red Clay sent out the following press release about Daugherty’s resignation-
The four Wilmington, Delaware traditional school districts are in the middle of a long lawsuit filed against them by the Charter Schools Development Corporation last January. But the lawsuit itself is absurd! Continue reading
If a certain bill goes through, look for future referenda in several school districts! Continue reading
Last week, at the Red Clay Board of Education meeting, a huge and heated conversation took place about the lack of diversity at Cab Calloway School of the Arts. It turned into something ugly and what I would not expect from a sitting board member. Continue reading
With next to no input from parents, Red Clay Consolidated School District released information about bus schedules for elementary, middle school, and high school students earlier this week. Parents are NOT happy. The district says they are doing this to improve their bus issues. Which I get, but you don’t blindside parents with drastic changes. The next Red Clay board meeting should be VERY interesting!
2018-2019 Three-Tier School Schedule Information
In an effort to improve bus transportation service throughout Red Clay, the district will reorganize its bus routes and move to a three-tier school schedule in the fall of 2018.
Because high school and middle school students will no longer be picked up at the same time, a three-tier system reduces by more than 50 the number of drivers needed to cover all routes.
This will address a critical, nationwide bus driver shortage, reduce the amount of time many students spend on the bus (see charts below with sample times), and free up personnel to provide additional bus aides on routes.
In order to implement these service improvements, school start times will need to be shifted. Changes include:
- The high school instructional day will start approximately 5‐10 minutes earlier, at 7:25 a.m.
- The middle school instructional day will start approximately 30 minutes later, at 8:05 a.m.
- The elementary school instructional day will start approximately 10 minutes later, at 9 a.m.
Schools will make every effort to keep drop off and car rider lines times the same. The district will share additional details over the summer.
“Our transportation department worked very hard this past year to try and provide reliable bus service while facing the worst driver shortage in history,” said Superintendent Merv Daugherty. “Unfortunately, we don’t believe those efforts solved the problem. We are not happy with the status quo, so we are making some needed adjustments in school start times. The center of this plan will be the outstanding men and women driving our buses every day.”
Below are charts showing how the new system may impact the typical Red Clay student. Please look for the summer transportation letter for your child’s bus stop and time.
If you have any questions or concerns, you may call the Office of Communications at 302-552-3716.
|SAMPLE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT|
|School Year||Bus Stop Time||Bus Ride Length||School Arrival Time|
|2017-2018||6:30 a.m.||60 minutes||7:30 a.m.|
|2018-2019||6:30 a.m.||45 minutes||7:15 a.m.|
|SAMPLE MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT|
|School Year||Bus Stop Time||Bus Ride Length||School Arrival Time|
|2017-2018||6:30 a.m.||60 minutes||7:30 a.m.|
|2018-2019||7:05 a.m.||45 minutes||7:50 a.m.|
|SAMPLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENT|
|School Year||Bus Stop Time||Bus Ride Length||School Arrival Time|
|2017-2018||7:45 a.m.||60 minutes||8:45 a.m.|
|2018-2019||8:05 a.m.||45 minutes||8:50 a.m.|
If you read the News Journal article on the Charter School of Wilmington teachers voting to unionize, it was filled with reasons why President Sam Paoli did not want the teachers to unionize. The article failed to capitalize on why the vote happened in the first place- CSW President Sam Paoli.
At this point it is unclear why the educators wanted to unionize or by how large a margin the vote was successful.
I have those answers. Continue reading
The Department of Elections for each county are still counting a lot of the votes, but some unofficial results are in which are usually a good indicator for where things are going. Congrats to the victors and to those who didn’t make it, do not give up! If you can’t run again based on being in a district, either continue lending your voice or begin to if you haven’t already. Voter turnout for school board elections is abysmal in Delaware. For those who don’t know, this election is held EVERY SINGLE YEAR on the 2nd Tuesday in May.
Brandywine, District A: Shanika Perry 684, Reynaldo Epps 164
Caesar Rodney: P. Scott Wilson 403, William Victory 387, John Moore 318, and Tracey Miller 207
Christina, District C: Fred Polaski 411, Richard Jester 358 and VJ Leonard 357
Christina, District E: Keeley Powell 618, Christy Mannering 502
Colonial, District C: Ronnie Williams 237, Richard Schiller 141
Colonial, District G: Robin Crossan 221, Tanya Kerns 98, Ana Viscarra-Gikas 94
Indian River, District 3: Leolga Wright 349, Dana Probert 92
Indian River, District 5: Derek Cathell 95, Carla Ziegler 27
Lake Forest: John Moyer III 158, James Parsons 78
Red Clay District A: Jose Matthews 1,009, Joseph DiMichele 715
Smyrna: Kristi Lloyd 479, Gary Dodge 251
Woodbridge: Jeffrey Allen 167, Darrynn Harris 24
Red Clay Consolidated School District has become a cash cow.
I thought I had a general idea of my overall theory of school administrators in Delaware. Red Clay was the last to respond to my FOIA request with their numbers. I sat for a good ten minutes just staring at what they sent me. While Christina and Red Clay have the exact same amount of administrators, Christina has more schools AND holds statewide programs like the Delaware Autism Program. Both have 93 administrators. But in reviewing Red Clay’s, along with some of the titles, I was utterly shocked. They have individual supervisors for each core subject, personnel specialists, and program coordinators. Continue reading
If you thought the arrow Delaware Governor John Carney shot through Christina School District’s heart was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet! Plans are afoot. And what will be left standing after Carney does his coup d’état will shock everyone! Continue reading
By Delaware state code, we should be seeing this report every single year. In any event, Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner released the Fiscal Year 2016 report today. Yes, a year and a half after that fiscal year ended. And guess what the overall finding was? We don’t know what districts are spending cause everyone codes their expenses differently in the state financial system. And this report states the state ALLOWS the districts to do this. They have discretion. What a crock of…
In an attempt to categorize spending items as instructional or non-instructional for further analysis, the Office of Auditor of Accounts (AOA) extracted all voucher and PCard expenditures made from State and local funds by each of the 19 school districts. However, the State’s financial system has over 11,000 active appropriations and over 1,500 active account codes available for use. As a result, we found inconsistencies in expenditure coding across the 19 school districts that prevented us from performing an in-depth analysis of expenditures.
They named nine areas that are either prohibited by accounting rules or were not used for a functional educational purpose. Some of these are sports lottery, florists, online games, and table games. Are you kidding me? And the report found over $98,000 was used for in-state meals. I can picture it now, Joe Superintendent says to himself “I feel like going to Friendly’s for lunch today”. This is absolutely ridiculous. The inspection found that many of these “inconsistencies” were due to human error. Uh-huh. Yes, I get that humans make errors. But how do you miscode sticky buns?
When it comes to food, it looks like Cape Henlopen and Lake Forest looooove to eat out! The report talks about WaWa purchases. I’m sorry, but since when is fast food or deli considered an in-state food purchase? Do what the rest of us do and pay from your own damn wallet. I don’t pay taxes so you can celebrate Hoagiefest all year long!
But this little bit about Lake Forest…wow!
In December 2015, the Lake Forest School District held a holiday dinner for board members, administrators, and their spouses at The Rookery Golf Club in Milford, Delaware, totaling $1,899.30. (This amount is included in the in-State meal transactions described above in the “Employee Recognition purposes” category since administrators were recognized.) A handwritten note on the invoice stated it was approved at a special board meeting in executive session on October 14, 2015.
Are you friggin’ kidding me? Sounds like higher-ups are feasting on the fatted calf called the Delaware accounting system. And with no oversight whatsoever, this is only scratching the iceberg.
And how in the name of God can you have in-state lodging for any school district in this state? You can drive up and down the state in less than two hours. And it looks like Red Clay was the biggest offender.
Not one look into all the vendors school districts use. Not one peak into the millions of dollars going to vendors who write reports and supply schools with cash-in-the-trash ideas. Not one bit. Disgusting. It’s no wonder none of the school districts want to consolidate. God forbid someone actually get a good hard look into how they spend money!
The best part about all this? They could have read my blog posts in July and August of 2016 to do this report. What the hell took them a year and a half to do a report that anyone with an excel file could figure out in three days? It is time for our elected legislators to get the hell off their collective asses and pass some laws indicating school districts and charter schools can NO LONGER use discretion when submitting their expenditures to the state. This is a third of their budget and they are given carte blanche to do pretty much whatever the hell they want. Sure, most of it is most likely legit but when your own state auditor can’t make heads or tails of where well over $1 billion dollars is going, I have some major issues with that. This is unacceptable and it will no longer be tolerated. I don’t care how much time I have to spend at Legislative Hall in 2018 to drum this into their heads. When education loses tons of money each year but we have wine and dine events at the local country club, that is absurd. This is EXACTLY what I wanted to talk to John Carney about after he was elected. But he had to go and blow me off. Big mistake. It’s not like I didn’t warn people this was going on. They just didn’t want to hear it. Carney just wanted to set up his self-destruct mechanisms for Delaware education, just like his predecessor. And as he sets off on his warped plan to charterize Wilmington schools, he could care less about where the money is going.
Delaware legislators: Cut the crap. I don’t want to hear your whining and complaining come next June about the budget and how you are doing everything you can. Change some laws. Make crap accountable and stop kissing asses all over the state. Do your job! The jig is up. I don’t necessarily blame the auditor’s office for all this. They inspect what they are able to. It is our General Assembly that needs to wake the hell up. You have allowed this scenario to happen. You have allowed this “discretion” that makes a Rubik’s Cube in a three-year-old’s hands look easy compared to the hot mess called First State Financials. No more excuses. Pass legislation demanding that every single expenditure be coded in a uniform way among ALL school districts and charter schools. And yes, charter schools should have been included in this report as well. But no way in hell would that happen because this report would have found a lot more “inconsistencies” and we all know it. But the General Assembly as a whole likes to protect and coddle them. Exactly what is wrong with Delaware education. If I sound pissed off, it’s cause I am. And every single taxpayer in this state should be ticked off as well.
To read this obscenity where money is unaccountable and untrackable and uncrackable and takes money away from where it is truly needed, please read below.
There is so much going on tonight. First up is the first Town Hall meeting (which I filed a FOIA complaint against the Governor’s Office and Christina School District for a violation of the seven day notice) for the Governor Carney let’s screw with Christina School District one more time. Second is the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education meeting in which they pick up a new board member and tackle the resolution similar to the Christina resolution on sanctuary schools and all that. Finally, it is the Capital School District Board of Education meeting. My son goes to school there again so I have a vested interest in what goes on in their district. I can’t possibly attend all of them. So which one am I going to? Who gets the honor? Continue reading
Today, Governor Carney’s Office announced the recipients of the $1 million in opportunity grants that are part of the FY2018 Delaware budget. Colonial was by far the biggest winner receiving $200,000 for several schools.
Governor Carney Announces Recipients of $1 Million in Education Opportunity Grants
Funding will help districts and charter schools support disadvantaged students and English language learners
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday announced that nine Delaware school districts and charter schools will receive a combined $1 million in Opportunity Grant funding to support programs that help disadvantaged students and English language learners succeed in classrooms across the state.
Delaware’s Opportunity Grant program – created and funded by Governor Carney and members of the General Assembly in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget – will help districts and charter schools improve supports for low-income students, students chronically exposed to stress and trauma, and English language learners. District and charter awardees will use the grant to fund programs in the 2017-18 school year.
“All Delaware students deserve a quality education and an equal chance to succeed. We’re working hard to provide schools and educators with the tools they need to more effectively serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and close the achievement gap,” said Governor Carney. “I look forward to seeing the progress that these schools and districts make, and will urge them to share their successes with their fellow educators across the state. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for their leadership in helping fund this program.”
Governor Carney has pledged to take decisive action to address Delaware’s achievement gap, and he has made it a priority to support disadvantaged students in Wilmington and across the state. In July, the Governor established the Wilmington-based Office of Innovation and Improvement, led by longtime Wilmington educator Dorrell Green, to support students and educators in high-needs schools.
For Christina School District, Opportunity Grant funding will help increase resources at Elbert-Palmer Elementary School for students and families dealing with complex trauma. Christina is focused on treating trauma as part of a larger effort to reduce student suspensions, increase student attendance, elevate student achievement, and more.
“The Christina School District is excited to receive an Opportunity Grant for Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, which will allow us to implement strategies like compassionate schools training for teachers and related resources that are critical to student success,” said Richard Gregg, Superintendent of Christina School District. “With this funding, students at Elbert-Palmer will truly have increased opportunities–just as the name of the grant suggests. We are thankful to the Department of Education for recognizing how much our students deserve to have access to high-quality programs.”
“We are very excited about this opportunity to make Elbert-Palmer a Comprehensive Compassionate School,” said Dr. Gina Moody, principal at Elbert-Palmer Elementary School. “Staff will be given resources to become more informed practitioners who engage with students with various social and emotional needs. Our plan will focus on providing stronger positive behavior supports for Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions, such as counseling services, and universal Tier 1 supports such as preferred activities and tangible incentives. Additionally, we will focus on engaging families in the educational process through community and school events.”
Woodbridge School District plans to use its Opportunity Grant funding to contract with a behavioral health provider who will provide counseling services at Woodbridge Early Childhood Center and Phillis Wheatley Elementary School.
“The awarding of the Opportunity Grant to Woodbridge will give our staff and students new and innovative approaches to meeting the social and emotional needs of our students,” said Heath Chasanov, Superintendent of Woodbridge School District and the 2017-18 President of the Chief School Officers Association. “We are extremely appreciative of this funding source being provided by the Governor’s Office and the Department of Education to provide additional programs for our students to be successful.”
“The Woodbridge School District is very grateful for the opportunities this grant provides,” said Michele Marinucci, Woodbridge School District’s Director of Student Services. “We will be implementing additional innovative programs in music, mindfulness, health, wellness, and emotional stability as we continue our journey of meeting the social emotional needs of all of our students.”
Red Clay Consolidated School District plans to use the Opportunity Grant to enhance their trauma informed care so they can provide students who have greater needs with higher levels of care.
“We are extremely excited to receive this grant to work with students, families and staff members to provide trauma informed support and professional development,” said Dr. Mervin Daugherty, Superintendent of the Red Clay Consolidated School District. “The opportunity to partner with the University of Delaware will also allow us to provide trauma screening and implement group/individual interventions for students impacted by trauma. We are hopeful this path forward will become a model for other schools throughout the district and the state.”
In considering applications for funding, the Department of Education gave preference to school-level initiatives, rather than broader district or organizational programs. Grant applicants outlined a detailed plan for how funds would be used – and grant recipients are required to provide information on the outcome of the support, in an effort to showcase what is working.
District and charter school awardees specifically focused on integrating student services and trauma-informed supports to low-income students, as well as on additional supports to low-income students and English language learners.
“We are thrilled to be able to facilitate educators’ efforts to better meet the diverse needs of students throughout the state, especially those students who need the most support,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “This opportunity also gives Delaware another way to identify what works in schools and to share successes with educators servicing similar populations.”
2017 Opportunity Grant awardees:
Colonial School District – $200,000 – Castle Hills Elementary, Harry O. Eisenberg Elementary, Pleaseantville Elementary, Wilmington Manor Elementary
This grant will support 1,970 students across four schools. The plan is for Colonial to implement trauma-informed supports and deepen the Responsive Classrooms approach through embedded training, coaching and other supports. A group of teacher-leaders will be developed. The plan is designed for this core group of teachers to turn the training around to the rest of the staff.
Christina School District – $106,832 – Elbert Palmer Elementary (EPE)
EPE will support 250 students and their families through a comprehensive, Compassionate Care model. EPE intends to reduce student suspensions, increase student attendance, increase family involvement, increase student achievement, and provide more resources for families dealing with complex trauma.
Red Clay School District – $106,832 – Richardson Park Elementary
Richardson Park will provide trauma informed care to all students by changing the school level climate. They will support staff in re-conceptualizing disruptive behavior to a trauma informed lens and provide access to higher level of trauma care for students in need. The project will: 1. Produce school staff who can identify, support, and refer all students exposed to trauma and who can integrate trauma informed care with existing programming. 2. Increase access to more intensive care of students of need and their families. 3. Strengthen Richardson Park’s network of trauma referrals.
Brandywine School District – Mt. Pleasant – $100,000 – Mount Pleasant Elementary (MPE)
The intended impact of this project will be to serve: 30-40 high need students and their families with ongoing, targeted supports; 200 families with services to meet their needs throughout the school year; and the entire adult and student population. They expect to see improvements in chronic absenteeism, family engagement, climate and student achievement. MPE seeks to become a comprehensive services center, as well as implement mindfulness initiatives throughout the school.
Great Oaks Charter School – $100,000
Great Oaks will support implementation of broad trauma based and social emotional programming to support 120 students with weekly individual and/or group counseling. All 446 students of the school’s students will benefit from the implementation of a restorative discipline system designed to drive self-agency and positive decision making. Great Oaks serves grades 6-8.
Kuumba Academy Charter School – $100,000
Kuumba will use the grant to fund a portion of its comprehensive trauma-informed practices and supports package. The package addresses school culture, academic needs, family engagement and service provision through a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive lens. Kuumba is committed to providing integrated student services and trauma-informed supports to low income students. The package will serve all of the school’s 750 students in grades K-8.
Las Americas Aspira Charter School – $100,000
LAAA will implement a reading framework supporting the needs of EL students, including embedded teacher supports. This reading framework will enhance the balanced literacy framework by embedding language acquisition scaffolds so that all students, English Learners included, improve their literacy achievement and ultimately close the reading achievement gap.
Woodbridge School District – $97,678 –Woodbridge Early Childhood Center, Phillis Wheatley Elementary School
Woodbridge will provide parents with the necessary knowledge to make informed nutritional choices for their families, and further develop staff members on trauma informed practices in order to support student’s academic and behavioral needs. One of the primary focus areas of the grant is to contract with a behavioral health provider to provide counseling services in both schools.
Caesar Rodney School District – $88,656 –Caesar Rodney High School
Caesar Rodney will provide trauma informed supports and integrated services for all 750 English learner (EL) students. The plan is designed to train non-ESL certified teachers using a train-the-trainer model to better meet the academic and language needs of the ELs. CRHS will utilize the expertise of the University of Delaware and WIDA resources (resources to assist in language acquisition for English learner students) to target planning, instruction and assessment.
Some very interesting choices here. These schools are definitely ones that have some high populations of high-needs students. Two of the three charters are located in the Community Education Building in downtown Wilmington. I have to wonder how many actually applied for these funds. With all the cuts to the education budget, this doesn’t even begin to make a dent to restore those funds. Many of the areas these funds will help students the most were widely discussed during the Every Student Succeeds Act discussion groups a year ago.