The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 4: The Discipline Hearing- The Testimony Of Smyrna Middle School Administrators

In Part 3, we heard the testimony of the alleged victim, P, and the School Resource Officer.  Now let’s dive right into the testimony of the administrators.  First up, Smyrna Middle School Associate Principal John Camponelli: Continue reading “The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 4: The Discipline Hearing- The Testimony Of Smyrna Middle School Administrators”

The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 3: The Discipline Hearing- The Testimony of The Alleged Victim and the School Resource Officer

J was arrested for the 2nd incident in the hallway of Smyrna Middle School.  A discipline hearing was scheduled for September 7th, 2016.  J did not start school with his peers because he was still “suspended” and was awaiting potential expulsion pending the results of the discipline hearing.  After the meeting was rescheduled three times, the day of the discipline hearing came, almost four and half months after J was arrested for the 2nd incident with P.

Continue reading “The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 3: The Discipline Hearing- The Testimony of The Alleged Victim and the School Resource Officer”

The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 2: The Arrest

Five and a half months went by after the incident in the home economics room.  J took the Smarter Balanced Assessment along with the rest of his 7th grade peers at Smyrna Middle School.  On April 20th, J and his friends were walking down the hall on their way to the school bus.  Something happened that would alter the course of J’s future… Continue reading “The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 2: The Arrest”

The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 1: The First Incident

Student J in the Smyrna School District was a victim of a bizarre scenario where he wound up expelled from the school district and arrested. Continue reading “The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 1: The First Incident”

Prelude: Patrik Williams & Smyrna School District’s Egregious Zero Tolerance Railroading Of Middle School Student

Consider this a glimpse into the future.  This picture won’t make any sense now, but it will later.  This is an end result of a battle that has gone on for well over a year and a half between a student at Smyrna Middle School and the district, led by now Superintendent Patrik Williams, and their refusal to bow down from zero tolerance policies in the district.  This is ugly, but it doesn’t stop at the Smyrna School District.  It gets bigger from there and involves the Delaware Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Department of Justice, the police, and the Justice of the Peace in Delaware. Continue reading “Prelude: Patrik Williams & Smyrna School District’s Egregious Zero Tolerance Railroading Of Middle School Student”

Smyrna Middle School Education Diagnostician Arrested For Having Sex With A Student

On the website for Smyrna Middle School, they list their core values: compassion, integrity, perseverance, respect, and responsibility.  For Education Diagnostician Karen Brooks, those values didn’t seem to stop her from what led to her arrest Wednesday evening.  The charges: two counts of 4th degree rape.  In other words, sex with a minor.  The student attended Smyrna Middle School but now goes to Smyrna High School.  Brooks was suspended from the school recently.

I have to ask: What in God’s name possesses someone to do this?  I know, innocent before guilty.  But one thing I do want to say, while this is not the first time this happened, it should not put a spotlight on ALL teachers.  As in any profession, people do bad things.  In this case, a very bad thing.  But it doesn’t mean ALL teachers are bad.  This was a person in a position of trust for this student and she should not have abused that position.  She did, and she will pay a price for that.  But it should never shine a negative light on the entirety of the teaching profession.

This isn’t the first time this happened in Smyrna School District, but for every one teacher that does this, there are hundreds of awesome teachers out there.  I pray the student is able to get past this and move on with their life.

 

Christina Board Passes MOU With New Castle County School Districts With No Public Input

The Christina School District Board of Education passed a controversial motion to send the same funds going to charter schools (from the infamous settlement) to all traditional New Castle County School Districts (except for NCC Vo-Tech).  The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would bind Christina School District to sending the same funds they agreed upon in the charter school settlement to Red Clay Consolidated, Brandywine, Colonial, Appoquinimink, and Smyrna School Districts.  The price tag for this year will be $350,000 but this is a “forever” contract so those funds will go to those districts for students choicing out of Christina to those districts forever.  But another motion, that would have allowed for public comment on the issue, failed.  Board member John Young summed up the meeting in three paragraphs earlier this morning on Facebook.  Newly sworn-in board member Angela Mitchell abstained from both votes.

Last night, Christina School District BOE motioned to settle with Red Clay, Brandywine, Appoquinimink, Smryna and Colonial for $350K + this year and each year in the future forever pursuant to the charter school settlement. The meeting was at Sarah Pyle Academy at 7PM.

It was moved to approve the settlement MOU. Then it was moved to be voted on at the 6.13.17 meeting so the public could comment more fully. There was debate. Board members indicated that public opinion would have NO SWAY in their vote. The vote to vote on 6.13.17 was defeated 2 YES, 4 NO, 1 Abstention. Then the vote to approve handing over CSD monies without input from the public was approved 5 YES, 1 NO, 1 abstention. Of course all votes were public, but if you want details feel free to PM me. I am reeling from shock that board members and key employee(s) deliberately and intentionally told the taxpayers to go to hell with regards to their input. My disappointment extends beyond the board and includes CSD employees and the Supers of all NCC schools and Smyrna SD. An unreal night, I assure you.

I hope there is VOCIFEROUS public comment on 6.13.17 to protest the way the board operated tonight.

I always hated the settlement with the charters.  But, let us all hope this is the last song on this record…

Patrik Williams Promoted To Smyrna Superintendent To Replace Outgoing Deborah Wicks

Ian Gronau with the Delaware State News is reporting Assistant Superintendent Patrik Williams is the new Superintendent of the Smyrna School District as of June 1st.  Current Superintendent Dr. Deborah Wicks gave her resignation notice to the board last year.

I’ve only written about Patrik Williams one time, and it was a very funny post!  If there is one consistent thing in Delaware education, it is change.  Replacing Williams as Assistant Superintendent is Summerside Elementary School Principal Debbie Judy according to the article.

In regards to the Delaware Education Hunger Games issue (budget deficit) for Smyrna, Williams said the following in the article about that:

It’s going to be a challenge but I will say that we are one of the few districts that are preserving all of our permanent staff. We’re conservative financially and that has put us in a really good spot. We are well prepared to make adjustments.

Good news for Smyrna teachers!  Smyrna is a growing area in Delaware and Williams expressed excitement about that:

If you go down to Rabbit Chase and look at all those houses for instance — we have about 2,000 new housing permits in the district. It’s exciting to envision what that’ll mean for the district.

Congrats to Patrik Williams!  I’m sure his letters regarding Delaware regulations will be more tame with his new role, but I hope he keeps that same fighting spirit!

Proposed MOU Between Christina and Red Clay, Appo, Brandywine, Colonial, and Smyrna Over Referendum Funds From 2003

As I wrote the other night, Red Clay, Appoquinimink and Brandywine want their share of the local funds for choice students from Christina stemming from the charter school settlement with Christina last fall.  It looks like Colonial and Smyrna have now jumped in as well.  The Christina Board of Education will hold a special board meeting on May 24th to discuss this issue.  The below document shows how much it would cost Christina if approved.

Exceptional Delaware Endorsements For 2017 School Board Candidates

Now that all the surveys are up, it is time for endorsements!  I’ve known who I was going to endorse in a few elections for some time.  Some I changed my mind on.  Some I have always known who I would NOT endorse.  Some I wavered back and forth on.  Some races won’t get an endorsement from me at all.  I don’t always go with the “popular” candidate.  I look, as best I can, at the issues facing education and which candidate is willing to stick their neck out and do what is best for students.  The biggest thing is if the candidate knows what the issues are.  Without further ado, here come the endorsements: Continue reading “Exceptional Delaware Endorsements For 2017 School Board Candidates”

Delaware School Board Election 2017: Brandywine, Caesar Rodney, Capital, Smyrna, & Woodbridge School Districts

May 9th is in five days!  Big school board elections are taking place that day!

In the Brandywine School District, John Skrobot Jr. will face Alma Ginnis.  For Capital School District, Andy Ortiz and Joan Lowenstein-Engel are vying for the at-large seat.  Caesar Rodney has a three-way race with Alan Claycomb, Tawanna Prophet-Brinkley, and David Failing running against each other.  Smyrna will see Vetra Evans-Gunter facing Karin Sweeney.  Finally, Woodbridge will have a face-off between Paul Breeding and Darrynn Harris for their at-large seat.

I sent surveys to all the candidates who had viable contact information through either the Department of Elections contact information on their website or through Facebook.  Don’t forget to vote on May 9th!

These are the responses I received from the candidates in these five districts: Continue reading “Delaware School Board Election 2017: Brandywine, Caesar Rodney, Capital, Smyrna, & Woodbridge School Districts”

Smyrna Superintendent Deborah Wicks Retiring This Year

The Superintendent of the Smyrna School District, Deborah Wicks, is retiring at the end of June.  As one of Delaware’s largest growing school districts, Wicks has Smyrna through a very huge growth spurt.  Nineteen years is a long time as the leader of anything.  I want to wish Mrs. Wicks all the best in her life after Smyrna.  This district is one I really haven’t written much about over the past few years which is probably a good thing!  Now the hunt will be on for her replacement.

deborahwicksretiring

Smyrna School District Parents: How To Opt Out & Refuse The Test NOW!!!

This is an important message for ALL Smyrna School District parents: You need to opt your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  If they started already, do not let them take one more second of this test.  Refuse The Test!  The Network of Public Education is calling for a National Opt Out of these high-stakes tests.  They aren’t effective at all, and everyone knows it.  These tests are being used for nefarious purposes.  Do not believe the lies coming out of Governor Markell and the Delaware Department of Education.  They care more about corporate profit than your child.  It doesn’t matter if your kid is smart.  It doesn’t matter if you are Democrat or Republican.  What matters is your child, and their education.  This is not education.  It is a mockery of education.

Please give the principal of your child’s school a letter on Monday morning indicating you are opting your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Let the school know you want your child to receive academic instruction while the other kids are taking the test.  If they tell you that you can’t opt your child out, look them in the eye and say “Yes I can, and if you make my child take this test I will call the police.”  To get support from other parents, please join the Opt Out Smyrna Facebook page.

Appoquinimink School District Parents: How To Opt Out & Refuse The Test

This is an important message for ALL Appoquinimink School District parents: You need to opt your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  If they started already, do not let them take one more second of this test.  Refuse The Test!  The Network of Public Education is calling for a National Opt Out of these high-stakes tests.  They aren’t effective at all, and everyone knows it.  These tests are being used for nefarious purposes.  Do not believe the lies coming out of Governor Markell and the Delaware Department of Education.  They care more about corporate profit than your child.  It doesn’t matter if your kid is smart.  It doesn’t matter if you are Democrat or Republican.  What matters is your child, and their education.  This is not education.  It is a mockery of education.

Please give the principal of your child’s school a letter on Monday morning indicating you are opting your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Let the school know you want your child to receive academic instruction while the other kids are taking the test.  If they tell you that you can’t opt your child out, look them in the eye and say “Yes I can, and if you make my child take this test I will call the police.”  To get support from other parents, please join the Opt Out Appoquinimink Facebook page.

Smyrna Assistant Superintendent Patrik William’s Hysterical Letter To Delaware DOE

This regulation, in my view, is akin to a bunch of model rocket enthusiasts crafting a regulation for NASA astronauts governing their space missions.

I love this!  I have never met the Assistant Superintendent of the Smyrna School District, but when I do I am certainly going to shake his hand!  Thank you Patrik Williams!  The below letter is in regards to a pending regulation coming before the State Board of Education at their meeting next week.  It deals with “Uniform Due Process Procedures for Alternative Placement Meetings and Expulsion Hearings”.  Mr. Williams definitely didn’t like the way this regulation was worded, but some of his comments had me rolling on the floor!

And to see the full regulation, please read below:

Only in Delaware…