The Delaware Department of Education and Governor Markell are finding the very traps they set to stop the opt-out movement are coming back to bite them in the ass. Irony is an awesome thing sometimes. At the beginning of 2015, the DOE was riding high. They thought they had Christina and Red Clay in their crosshairs, the Smarter Balanced Assessment was coming out, and they were winning. A funny thing happened on the way to their victory lap. Parents. They said no to the almighty DOE and Markell. This set off a litany of announcements from the DOE and Markell.
The Governor announced the Assessment Inventory as opt-out was gaining a lot of traction. He foolishly believed that parents wouldn’t opt-out if they just reduced the amount of tests students take. In April, the DOE and Markell announced University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and Wilmington University were going to accept Smarter Balanced scores in lieu of students taking remedial classes. Meanwhile, the SAT was retooled to align with Common Core. In December, the Governor and Secretary Godowsky announced the SAT would replace Smarter Balanced for high school juniors, which killed the press announcement in April about Smarter Balanced. Yesterday, https://delawarefirststate.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/university-of-de-faculty-senate-will-vote-on-an-admission-requirement-making-sat-scores-optional/ revealed the University of Delaware will be voting on whether or not to make SAT scores a factor in their admission process. Several universities around the USA have already cut the SAT out entirely.
This whole experiment of Governor Markell’s to try to squelch the opt-out movement has been a miserable failure. It was so obvious to myself and others that each move he was making was from a clumsy and defensive posture against parents. In a way, his whole assessment inventory plan helped to set up a national argument against too much testing. As a result of that, Delaware is now postponing their new science and social studies assessments because of the whole assessment inventory. Another example of “be careful what you wish for”. These were the unintended consequences of opt-out. The DOE and Markell looking like fools on the Delaware stage. By switching from the Smarter Balanced to SAT, the “best test Delaware ever made” has now become much less than what Markell professed it to be. And now the SAT, with all the insanity the College Board has gone through switching the test to Smarter Balanced Junior, is redundant as well.
In education tradition, the term “Standards-Based IEPs” meant something very different from the current bastardization of the words. Nowadays, it means Common Core. As in aligning a student with disabilities IEP to the Common Core State Standards. I challenged the DOE on this a year and a half ago. Their response: that it was a myth. That this had more to do with the IEP than Common Core. They lied. They lied to me, and they lied to the IEP Task Force. It is all about the Common Core. This isn’t my first rodeo in writing about standards based IEPs. Cause I was really ticked off here, even more than when I first figured out what they were. I know this because the DOE put it on their own website, as seen on the last paragraph of this picture:
So what is this WRITES initiative the DOE speaks of? It is the “ACCESS Project”, and it comes from the University of Delaware’s Center for Disability Studies. Yet another program where the DOE is spending tons of money to “fix” our education with their top vendor: University of Delaware. The University explains what this project is here. The key words from the DOE website are “aligning student IEP goals and assessments to the Common Core State Standards.” When did special education ever become about the curriculum and standards and not the individual student? They will try to make parents of these children think it is all about the individual, but this is the biggest lie. Because Markell and the DOE want these students to fail…
What really ticks me off with special education in Delaware is the fact that students with disabilities in Kindergarten to 3rd grad who qualify for basic special education services based on their IEP receive no extra funding. Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams took aim at this inequity last winter with House Bill 30, and has now been tied in with the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission. I think it was one of the most important education bills in Delaware right now. But why did we even get to this place to begin with?
To find the answer to this, we have to go back almost five years ago to January 6th, 2011. This is the day House Bill #1 was introduced to the Delaware General Assembly. The bill made into law the needs-based funding formula that is our current method of funding schools based on units and special education. This legislation was rushed through the House and Senate in 20 days and passed both by 1/26/11. Governor Markell signed the legislation on 2/17/11. The bill was more a technicality than actual groundbreaking legislation. The needs-based funding formula pilot actually started out in Brandywine and Seaford back in 2003. 12 more districts were added in 2004, and then all districts and charters were included in 2009. This was accomplished by use of epilogue language in the budget bill. House Bill #1 solidified this by making it part of Title 14, the section that covers education in Delaware code.
Since 2009, all public school students in Delaware have been a part of the needs-based funding formula, but basic special education students in K-3 received no extra funding. I have to wonder why. Look at these students now. Children who were in Kindergarten when Governor Markell signed this bill in February 2011 would now be in 5th grade. If they were in 3rd grade then, they would now be in 8th. What assessment do students take from 3rd to 8th grade? The Smarter Balanced Assessment. While this bill was rushed through the General Assembly, no one could have predicted the monstrosity that is the Smarter Balanced Assessment four years later. But Governor Markell was well aware of this.
Almost a year before this, Delaware was one of two states to win the first round of Race To The Top. As part of the funding received from RTTT, states were required to create state assessments aligned with Common Core. Markell knew this, the DOE knew this, and the General Assembly knew this. The students who were denied special education funding through House Bill #1 eventually became the students with disabilities guinea pigs on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. We all know how they did on this test statewide. 19% proficiency. They were destined to fail. I believe Markell wanted this. After all, to justify more contracts and companies coming into Delaware to fix our education, doesn’t there have to be a problem?
We are now seeing this with the contract the DOE is currently picking a vendor for. According to the DOE and Markell, we have a literacy problem that needs to be fixed, but there is so much more wrapped into that contract proposal. It is all tied into US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his bon voyage gift as he leaves his position. Which brings us back to standards-based IEPs. How many contracts and vendors will it take to get Delaware students with disabilities from 19% to 59% proficiency in six years? Quite a few I imagine! It is and always has been about the money. But as always, it is the students who pay the price. As well, I have no doubt House Bill 30 will become law, whether WEIC passes or not. Because the extra money and funding that these students should have never been denied, will help to get that proficiency rate up! But for the students with disabilities from 2009-2016 who went through Kindergarten to 3rd grade in Delaware without this essential funding, what happens with them? Their very foundation in education stolen from them because of a jacked up funding formula designed to make them look bad.
This issue is at the heart of this blog. Because my son was one of those students. Because the funding isn’t there for those students, getting an IEP for them can be very difficult at some schools. Why would a school implement an IEP and provide services for these students if they aren’t getting any extra funding for them? And these children have suffered immensely for Jack Markell’s hubris.
Last week, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Every Student Succeeds Act. The US Senate will most likely vote on the bill this week and it is expected President Obama will sign the bill. This will get rid of the No Child Left Behind mandates imposed on all the states. It gives states more control. It explicitly says states can come up with own state standards and they do not have to be tied to Common Core. In Delaware, I see absolutely no indication of Governor Markell or the Delaware Department of Education dumping Common Core or it’s bastard offspring, the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
On October 27th, the DOE submitted a proposal for contract bids on an Early Literacy Initiative. The bidding on this closed last Friday, 12/4. The contract calls for a vendor to go into four Delaware schools, three traditional district schools and one charter school. From the Request for Proposal:
Delaware and literacy rates for the most at-risk students have never been something to brag about. I fully support all children learning to read, but if the motivation is so they do better on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, I have serious issues with that. I don’t think increased “rigor” is going to help the students whose needs are not being met. For those who want to bash me for this, it is all designed for increased proficiency on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Why? Good question. Governor Markell was the one who wants students with disabilities to go from 19% proficiency on SBAC to 59% in six years. Like that rigor rubber band isn’t going to snap! This is what standards-based IEPs are all about, and anyone saying they aren’t is either lying or is unaware of the true motivation.
Which schools will be a part of this experiment? Are these current priority or focus schools? The DOE should really give more information on these schools so the vendor can know exactly what they are getting into. There is a huge difference between MOT Charter School and East Side, or Warner Elementary and Hartly Elementary. Are these schools the DOE is going to pick for this even aware of what is coming with this contract? And who were the bidders?
I am very familiar with four of these bidders: American Institutes for Research (AIR), Public Consulting Group (PCG), Amplify, and University of Delaware. But 95 Percent Group and Institute on Community Integration (ICI)? Never heard of them. I checked out 95 Percent Group’s website and I always get nervous when I see only three people listed as employees for a company like this. I’m sure they have more, or maybe they don’t. The Institute on Community Integration is through the University of Minnesota. Whereas 95 Percent Group has a small staff listed, ICI has tons of staff listed on their website! This happens with university programs like this. I hate to see AIR and PCG get even more involved in any aspect of Delaware education. It is very sad that the DOE has more faith in these companies than they do in our own schools and teachers. But since someone has to be the mediator between these companies and all our schools, it helps to make their existence even more important than it really is.
I have to ask though, what the hell are we even doing anymore? All of these companies have one goal when they take on these state vendor roles: increasing the scores on the state assessments. Whether they reach their goal or not, it is a faulty measure of success because state assessments do not provide an accurate assumption of student success. By driving students to do well on these tests, all they are getting paid for is essentially helping teachers teach to the test. That isn’t education. It is a false narrative written by folks like Governor Jack Markell. We need to stop reading this story. We need to demand our legislators strip the DOE of spending our taxpayers funds for “cash in the trash” programs like this. Every time the DOE signs a contract like this, with some contracts never seeing the light of day, we allow the DOE to continue this practice. Most of us aren’t even aware of this. Enough is enough…
A Freedom of Information Act denial by the University of Delaware could actually change the way they are exempt from FOIA requests. Stemming from a case with a San Diego State professor named Vincent Martin, NBC San Diego sought information from University of Delaware, where Martin taught when he left in 2011. He went to San Diego State where the professor was accused of sexual harassment by several students. He was immediately suspended, and Martin tried to fight it. Meanwhile, NBC’s FOIA request from University of Delaware failed to give the information that eventually came out during Martin’s arbitration last week. Martin was terminated from University of Delaware over sexual harassment issues back in 2011…
I first heard about this story on the Rick Jensen show this afternoon on WDEL. When I arrived home, the below email chain was sent to me by State Rep. John Kowalko. No college or university should be exempt from FOIA if they receive that much funding from state taxpayers. Please, General Assembly, pass House Bill 42. The below story is exactly why these special “exemptions” can be abused by those in power.
From: Lori Hill [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 10:27 AM To: Krueger, Paul (NBCUniversal, KNSD) Cc: Andrea Boyle; Lawrence White Subject: Delaware FOIA re: former UD professor Vincent Martin
Dear Mr. Krueger:
Thank you for your email dated May 20, 2015. Your request under Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act has been referred to me, and it is my privilege to respond on behalf of the University of Delaware. Your request relates to documents and information relating to Professor Vincent Martin and his departure from the University of Delaware.
Our State’s Freedom of Information Act exempts the University of Delaware from statutory coverage except in certain limited respects. The University is covered by the Freedom of Information Act only to the extent that requests relate to “the expenditure of public funds . . . .” §10002(i). Public funds are “those funds derived from the State or any political subdivision of the State.” §10002(k). Because the information you seek does not relate to the expenditure of public funds, the University respectfully declines your records request.
Can you please help me with these follow-up questions:
Again citing the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting information about the annual salary and cost of benefits and any other payments and/or compensation paid to Vincent Martin during his tenure at the University of Delaware. Please provide me with a yearly break-down of those payments for the years in which Professor Martin was associated with and/or employed by, the University of Delaware. I am also requesting information about any payments made on his, and/or the University’s behalf to any third parties (including, but not limited to, students, faculty and staff and campus visitors) who complained about and/or filed any claims and/or lawsuits or legal action of any kind against Professor Martin and/or the University, for alleged acts committed by Martin.
As Ms. Hill noted, Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act requires disclosure of information related to the expenditure of public funds. The information you seek does not relate to the expenditure of public funds; thus, the University respectfully declines your records request.
For the following requested information, I am not citing the Delaware FOIA, but am instead making a general media inquiry to your institution:
The University can verify employment for former employees, but does not disclose personnel data beyond verification. Vincent Martin worked here from 2000-2011.
When did Vincent Martin work at the University Of Delaware?
What year did he start his employment, and what month and year did he leave the University?
What titles and/or positions did he have, while employed by the University. Why did Martin leave the University?
Other than teaching, was Martin paid for his participation in any other on- or off-campus programs, including any summer educational programs, specifically any program in Spain?
During his tenure at the University of Delaware, did the university administration receive any complaints about Martin’s behavior, investigate any of those complaints, and issue any findings and/or discipline in response to those complaints?
Did the University of Delaware Police Department investigate any complaints against Vincent Martin made to the University and or the University Police Department? If so, please provide me with details about those complaints and subsequent investigations.
The University of Delaware Police Department’s records indicate no complaints were made against Vincent Martin.
Subject: NBC San Diego, Help with University of Delaware request
Good Afternoon Rep. Kowalko,
My name is Lynn Walsh and I am an Investigative Journalists at the NBC station in San Diego.
I am working on a story involving a professor who used to teach at University of Delaware. I submitted a request for some information (more details and the University’s response are below) about his time at the University but it was denied by the school. I received your name from a fellow journalist and friend Chris Carl.
I was reaching out to you to see if you have any other ideas on how I might be able to obtain this information or would be willing to talk to me about my request and the denial?
I feel that this information is VERY basic public information and am honestly, very surprised that a PUBLIC University would deny a request like this from any member of the public.
Thanks for your time and feel free to call me at either number below. I will also be following up with a phone call. Thank you!
I am working on drafting the request and will send that shortly.
In the meantime, the other question I had was this:
If this professor did OR was accused of sexual harassment or any misconduct while teaching for ten years at UD, would the University have been required to report this to the state or elsewhere? If so, to who?
Thank you – trying to see if I can get the information from another source possibly. Also, here are links to the stories we have done here:
From: Kowalko, John (LegHall) [mailto:John.Kowalko@state.de.us] Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 6:04 PM To: Walsh, Lynn (NBCUniversal) Subject: Fw: Fw: NBC San Diego, Help with University of Delaware request
initial response from my son. He just received the situation info.
From: John Kowalko III <email@example.com> Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 8:40 PM To: Kowalko, John (LegHall) Subject: Re: Fw: NBC San Diego, Help with University of Delaware request
I have two initial thoughts.
(1) UD needs to be challenged on this “does not relate to the expenditures of public funds.” What does that even mean? What documents are they even using to support this? A FOIA request for all specific line-item expenditures involving public funds might work, but I could see UD trying to abuse the FOIA fees for a request like that.
(2) I don’t believe Delaware has any laws requiring reporting of these types of allegations, at least outside of official police reports. I think getting this data over UD’s objections could be difficult given the current state of Delaware law, but I also have not researched the issue to see if I am missing anything.
From: Walsh, Lynn (NBCUniversal) <Lynn.firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 9:15 PM To: Kowalko, John (LegHall) Subject: RE: Fw: NBC San Diego, Help with University of Delaware request
Thank you so much!
I am going to follow-up with the request to ask about expenditure of public funds.
In the meantime here is a draft of the information we are looking for – let me know what I need to add to it, etc. If it is completely wrong format let me know – first time doing this:
[City, ST ZIP Code]
University of Delaware
General Counsel, Public Information Officer
112 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE 19716
Dear University of Delaware:
Under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act § 100001 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records:
Detail the employment history of former University of Delaware Professor Vincent Martin. This includes information detailing his salary, position and classes taught while he was an employee from 2000-2011.
Any complaints received about the former professors from students, faculty or parents during his time with the University.
Any investigation documents associated with the former professor or documents detailing any warnings or appeals made by the former professor.
The annual salary and cost of benefits and any other payments and/or compensation paid to Vincent Martin during his tenure at the University of Delaware. Please provide me with a yearly break-down of those payments for the years in which Professor Martin was associated with and/or employed by, the University of Delaware. I am also requesting information about any payments made on his, and/or the University’s behalf to any third parties (including, but not limited to, students, faculty and staff and campus visitors) who complained about and/or filed any claims and/or lawsuits or legal action of any kind against Professor Martin and/or the University, for alleged acts committed by Martin.
We believe the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding.
Thank you for considering my request.
[Your Phone number]
From: Walsh, Lynn (NBCUniversal) <Lynn.email@example.com> Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 12:56 PM To: Kowalko, John (LegHall) Subject: RE: Fw: NBC San Diego, Help with University of Delaware request
From: Kowalko, John (LegHall) Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 1:53 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Osienski, Edward (LegHall); Dwyer, Sean (LegHall) Subject: Fw: Fw: NBC San Diego, Help with University of Delaware request
Here’s what a closed, non-transparent environment in a taxpayer funded entity allows to happen. UofD refused to release or acknowledge this professors record while he served here when NBC ( made inquiries. The University general counsel claimed privilege under the FOIA exemption given to the UofD. It’s very alarming to allow questionable/immoral/illegal behavior to be hidden and tacitly condoned by a secretive policy that eventually permits a continuation of bad and harmful behavior to be transferred elsewhere. I hope you all will be inspired to demand release of HB 42 from committee for a floor vote. HB 42 would repeal the exemption to FOIA that the University of Delaware enjoys and restore its status as a “public” institution since it receives over $110 million in taxpayer funds. I’ve also pasted below the entire email dialogue I’ve had with the NBC reporter (Lynn Walsh) including the response she received from UofD to her queries.
Representative John Kowalko
And there we have it. Delaware’s biggest university refusing to give information on an ex-employee being held accountable out in Southern California.
Holy smokes! Not sure which one I was more surprised to see, the one about Valerie Longhurst or the one about the General Fund Race To The Top 8!
Starting with Longhurst, The News Journal covered a “scathing email” situation Longhurst sent out to a University of Delaware Professor when the U of D employee questioned the General Assembly about raises given to certain employees at Legislative Hall. The employee, Ms. Fran Fletcher, is well-known in Delaware as a mediator. I have seen her at the HB90 Enrollment Preference Task Force and found her to be a very reasonable woman. She is frequently called on by the Delaware Department of Education to mediate IEP meetings when parents and schools cannot agree on IEP issues. If the allegations surrounding Longhurst’s response to Ms. Fletcher are true, that goes way beyond a constructive response to a constituent. I would say it was filled with veiled threats to someone who dared question a legislator over a controversial issue.
“While it does not have the authority to create new positions, the Department of Education, like all state agencies, has the authority to reclassify vacant positions,” Ms. Young said. “So, in the case of these eight positions, they were reclassified into existing vacancies in the department.”
It seems members of the Delaware Joint Finance Committee were not too happy about this news either based on the article. I really thought the DOE would be raked over the coals by the General Assembly during their last legislative session. Perhaps we should gear up for an even bigger fight this year! But the bigger fight may go down with the House Dems!
Today, the Delaware Department of Education issued a press release about the upcoming school report card launch. Apparently they want help in getting the “right” design picked, out of two whole possible choices. Of course they don’t want actual feedback of the content of the report card, just how it looks…
For immediate release
Contact Alison May (302) 735-4000
PUBLIC INVITED TO VOTE ON SCHOOL REPORT DESIGN
Parents, students, educators and other community members are invited to help choose the look of the soon-to-be-launched Delaware School Success Reports.
The Delaware School Success Reports will improve the presentation of information on the state’s schools, making it easier for families and other members of the public to find the information they need about schools across the First State. Launching in October 2015, they eventually will replace the school profiles on the state’s web site. In addition to the online accessibility of all reports, families will receive a snapshot report on their children’s school mailed to their home beginning in 2016.
Development of the reports comes after months of community engagement and feedback. In partnership with the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration and the Delaware Academy of School Leadership, the Delaware Department of Education hosted nine focus groups across all three counties to solicit feedback on the online and paper School Success Reports currently under construction. A hundred parents, teachers and community members participated in these facilitated, in-depth conversations about school performance. Demographics of the participants closely mirrored Delaware’s diverse communities, and most focus group members had students enrolled in the state’s public schools. Of the 100 participants, more than 70 percent were parents, 30 percent were educators and the remainder identified themselves as community members.
Beginning today, the public will be able to vote to choose their favorite School Success report design.
“While the focus groups informed what parents and the community want to know about their schools, this additional feedback is important to ensuring that Delaware’s School Success Reports significantly improve the presentation of the information on our schools so families have intuitive access to the information they need,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said.
Voting is open through 11 p.m. on Sunday, September 13.
Email questions and other feedback to email@example.com.
Okay, I’ll bite. When were these nine focus groups? I know they had the four town halls groups last fall. They had their Survey Monkey crap as well. But now we find out there were 9 meetings nobody knew anything about? Who were the attendees? Where are the minutes? The agendas? What came out of these meetings? They are such filthy liars.
And why are they only giving this until 9/13? Are they planning to have the State Board approve this monstrosity at their 9/17 meeting? With the participation rate factored into the roficiency portion of the report card? You know, punishing schools for opt-out rates, that whole thing. Meanwhile, absolutely NOBODY from our General Assembly has done a thing about contacting Pete Schwartzkopf or Patti Blevins about calling for a special session to override Governor Markell’s veto of House Bill 50. Even the sponsors!!!! All I hear is, “They will never do it.” Did anybody ASK them? I’m just getting tired of excuses. That’s how the DOE gets away with everything, because the General Assembly LETS them. They sit back and expect someone else to do it. No more. They voted Smarter Balanced into law, so this is all on them! I’ll bet Governor Markell just sits back and laughs at the puppets he controls.
I just came across this document. This is a Delaware Department of Education presentation to the University of Delaware’s Delaware Academy for School Leadership (DASL). Ryan Reyna with the DOE, along with Gerri Marshall from Red Clay and Jeff Klein with Appoquinimink presented the below to DASL on June 24th, 2015 with some very definitive statements about this participation rate…
We see the DOE telling DASL, Part A metrics are those that were submitted to USDOE as part of our ESEA submission. This is very important because this is where they openly admit they submitted this to the US DOE like this. But keep in mind, this is NOWHERE in the public draft for ESEA authorization that the State Board of Education approved for submission on 3/19/15. It did not show up in the draft until their “redlined” edition on 3/31/15.
The Delaware Department of Education is a cash-cow bonanza for education reform companies! Delaware Online Checkbook came out with the July 2015 numbers on the 15th, and the Delaware Department of Education looks like they don’t have any controls on their spending. All told, they spent $13,103,296.36 for the month of July. This is not unusual, but it’s WHAT they are spending the money on. A lot of these are standard services, food for schools, salaries, operational costs and so on. But the amounts they are spending on outside consultants and vendors is very high. I went through, one by one, and looked into each company. Some of them I was unable to figure out what kind of service they could be providing for the DOE. The first figure is the amount DOE sent payment to in July 2015. Then I went through and figured out how much the DOE spent with these companies and consultants over the past five fiscal years, from 2011-2015. Delaware Online Checkbook only goes back to 2011, so the amounts could be higher in some cases…
Achievement Network Ltd. (helps schools “boost” student learning): $17,500, previous five fiscal years (hard to tell, many companies with words “achieve” in them, mostly providing “material” to school districts): $0.00
American Institutes for Research (assessment vendor for Smarter Balanced Assessment, was also vendor for DCAS): $1,933,989, previous five years: $36,652,681.87, it is hard to say what the budgeted amount is for the contracts with this “non-profit” because the DOE doesn’t list the awarded contracts anywhere!
Amplify Education Inc. (previously Wireless Generation Inc., built data longitudinal system for DOE, provides “education material” aka Common Core for DE schools): $60,115.00, previous five fiscal years (including Wireless Generation): $10,461,101.00, as contracted vendor w/DOE under Amplify from 9/25/14-6/30/15: $725,980.00, actual money spent: $1,947,733.00, money spent over agreed-upon contract amount: $1,221,753.00
Department of Education (Indirect Cost, DOE claimed to the Joint Finance Committee and the General Assembly these are salary costs stemming from Race To The Top): $55,322.41, previous five fiscal years: $1,069,287.66
Derek J. Nino (Consultant w/Relay Graduate School): $9,940.00, previous five fiscal years: $0.00
Double Line Inc. (education data management): $30,126.75, previous five fiscal years: $88.042.25
Education First Consulting (just another corporate education reform company to help “fix” education): $12,000, previous five fiscal years: $349,423.45
ESP Solutions Group (another education data company): $15,830, previous five fiscal years: $2,395,932.50
iAssessment (help clients develop iPad programs for students): $49,999.00, previous five fiscal years: $229,771.30
KSA Plus Communications Inc. (an “improving schools” communication company): $16,105.00, previous five fiscal years: $52,261.00
Marshall Consulting Company (not sure, many companies w/same name): $8,000.00, previous five fiscal years: $0.00
MBO Partners (a consultant “head-hunter” company): $7,500.00, previous five fiscal years: $0.00
MH Miles Company CPA PC (do accounting and consulting services): $16,700.00, previous five fiscal years: $229,150.00
Middlebury Interactive Languages (digital language learning company): $26,146.00, previous five fiscal years: $646,406.50
Myriam Met (consultant for foreign languages): $14,000.00, previous five fiscal years: $51,900.00
National Louis University (offers services for “reaching students” and “strengthening teachers”, contract w/DOE for “early learning” online professional development for educators): $7,700.08, previous five fiscal years: $656,630.59, contracted amount through 12/15: $714,978.10
NCS Pearson Inc. (yes, it is THAT Pearson): $19,000.00, previous five fiscal years for DOE: $3,648,335.65, for all of Delaware: $8,057,105.63
New Teacher Center (another making great students by “accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and leaders” company): $29,962.00, previous five fiscal years: $158,425.00
Nicole Klues (a “blended learning” or “personalized learning” consultant): $9,000.00, previous five fiscal years: $34,500.00
Partnership To Advance Learning (a Microsoft “partnership” w/Lamar University, more digital language stuff): $26,000.00, previous five fiscal years: $48,000.00
Piper Riddle (independent consultant to help teachers with Common Core): $4,080.00, previous five fiscal years: $0.00
Rand Corporation (contractor for Delaware STARS program): $52,000.00, previous five fiscal years: $1,535,681.58, contracted amount until 12/15: $1,900,000.00
Research In Action Inc. (contractor for DPAS-II evaluation): $6,402.45, previous five fiscal years: $1,712,902.44
Richard Colvin (contractor for Delaware DOE communications strategies): $18,240.00, previous five fiscal years (2015 only): $136,880.00
Rodel Charitable Foundation-DE (no contract w/them right now): $133,000.00, previous five fiscal years: $387,454.60
Ronald Berry (recruitment manager for DE Talent Cooperative): $14,000.00, previous five fiscal years: $57,540.00
Schoology Inc. (“learning management” system, currently in many DE schools): $264,588.48, previous five fiscal years: $0.00 (many school districts use them)
Teach For America (fast-track teacher prep program): $3,634.92, previous five fiscal years: $799,389.85
Teaching Strategies LLC (early childhood “support for active learning”): $112,508.00, previous five fiscal years: $677,662.29
The Hanover Research Council LLC (does consultancy work regarding grants): $33,000.00, previous five fiscal years: $30,000.00
The New Teacher Project Inc. (another “great” teacher training company): $20,000.00, past five fiscal years: $465,646.65
Thomas Sauer (consultant on World Language Immersion for DOE): $6,000.00, past five fiscal years: $16,000.00
U.S. Education Delivery Institute (Dr. Gray on DE State Board of Education sits on the board of this company that helps education leaders work “smarter”): $30,293.25, past five fiscal years: $290,342.00
University of Delaware (not sure what the exact nature of work is, DOE has numerous projects going on with them): $545,081.01, not doing previous years because it is next to impossible to get this one right.
University of Wisconsin-Madison (this one was a bit tricky, but the consultant is actually a company called Education Analytics, usual education reform company who will “help”): $110,492.00, past five fiscal years including Education Analytics: $1,004,462.00
If you add up all the funds spent for these companies, consultants, and “non-profits”, the grand total just for July 2015 is $3,195,999.34. What I find very interesting is the amounts going to iAssessment. The DOE has no contract with this company, but the threshold for contract requirements is $50,000 in a fiscal year. For the past two years, the DOE has spent exactly $49,999.00 in each year to avoid having to sign a contract. And what has Rodel been doing for the DOE that would warrant a $133,000.00 check going out to them? I haven’t seen ANY contract with them. As money pours out of the DOE like a leaking pipe, with NO accountability or controls in place, how can the DOE judge school districts and charters on their own spending when they can’t even control themselves?
One thing is for sure, the DOE will certainly be focusing on the “World Immersion” program and personalized learning in the future. They are spending a large portion of funds on consultants to get more information on this. Why don’t they just use Google like I do to get information? It’s free and it’s probably more reliable!
Even more curious is the fact that NO funds have gone out to Data Recognition Corporation, ever! This is the scoring vendor for the Smarter Balanced Assessment. At the Delaware PTA Kent County Parent Town Hall on opt-out, a representative from the Delaware State Board of Education specifically said this was the vendor for scoring the Smarter Balanced Assessment. We know the DOE has the results, and testing ended for some schools in March/early April, so why aren’t we paying this company? Or is it rolled into the contract with American Institutes for Research? The DOE actually confirmed this company is the hand scorer in this link:
There are many other companies and consultants the DOE works with. This is just a snapshot of one month’s spending by the runaway train called DOE money. Will the legislators start to reign them in? They need to because when school districts such as Christina are literally starving for funds and the DOE drops $3 million in one month for a lot of unnecessary spending, we have to wonder what this is all for.
It was announced today in every single Delaware media outlet that Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy is “stepping down” and Dr. Steven Godowsky, the former Superintendent of the New Castle County V0cational Technical School District, will fill the role on an interim basis pending a special hearing with the Delaware Senate to accept Governor Markell’s nomination on October 20th. Who is he?
According to his LinkedIn account and his biography with the University of Delaware, this would not be his first rodeo with the Department of Education. He served as a Supervisor there from 1977-1982 after serving a short stint in the former Alfred I. DuPont school district as a special education teacher. He ran the Exceptional Children/Special Education division before becoming returning to teaching at New Castle County Vo-Tech. In 2000, he was appointed Assistant Superintendent and three years later he became the Superintendent, a role he served faithfully for the next eight years. Upon retiring in 2011, Dr. Godowsky served as a Supervisor the University of Delaware’s Delaware Academy for School Leadership (DASL).
I ran across him for the first time from the DOE’s Charter School Accountability Committee final report for Gateway Lab School’s charter renewal last fall. He helped the school to overcome the odds when their charter was renewed last December after the CSAC recommended their charter not be renewed. He also assisted the Pencader Business School Board of Directors in board governance training at the former charter school in 2012.
As a former Superintendent of the Year in Delaware, Godowsky also served as President of the Delaware Chief School Officers Administration (now called DASA) in 2008.
It sounds like Godowsky has decades of experience with Delaware education, and I am particularly impressed he has a very rich background in special education and is willing to fight for students with disabilities, as evidenced by his work with Gateway.
New Castle County Vo-Tech Education Associate Danny Rufo tweeted the following statement earlier today:
While some may lament his time with the Vision 2015 workshop, and their ties to Rodel, let’s be honest and face facts. Most of the higher-ups in Delaware school districts and charters have spent some sort of time on one of these committees. It does not mean they are “bought and paid for” by Rodel, especially in the pre-Race To The Top years.
I definitely think he is much higher up the education ladder in experience compared to Mark Murphy. It has become more than obvious what we don’t need in a Secretary of Education, so this is a step in the right direction. Nothing against Dr. Godowsky, but I really hope the Delaware Senate asks him many questions in regards to the future of Delaware education. When Mark Murphy passed the nomination, the questions from the Senate were very limited in scope. We must not make the same mistake again. I feel confident, based on his vast experience as well as ringing endorsements from several Delaware legislators, he could be the right man for the job!
Because charter schools are corporations, and Delaware state code states all corporations get a 3/4 majority vote for any budget funding, Senator Colin Bonini introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution #39, which would create a working group to look at this issue.
This is actually a very smart move. The budget bill requires a simple majority vote, but since this bill funds the above-mentioned corporations, the entire budget bill is being looked at. The resolution passed with a unanimous vote in the Delaware Senate.
The group would begin on August 1st, 2015, and the report would be due to Governor Markell by 12/31/15. I’m not exactly sure what this would do for charter schools in particular, as well as Del. State and Univ. of Delaware. Could this group change the way charters are funded? This could be very interesting and one to watch!
Another DOE Trojan Horse. Smarter Balanced is not going anywhere. I’ve received lots of feedback the past couple hours in regards to my public lashing of DSEA and the events from yesterday’s Senate Education Committee meeting. But were you aware that behind the scenes, the Delaware Department of Education and the University of Delaware are in the process of forming groups to “study the impact” of Smarter Balanced on what types of high school courses students take, college decisions and the overall success of higher education?
This is happening with no one the wiser. From what I understand, University of Delaware will conduct the research, the DOE will be in charge of most of the “policy-making”, and an advisory board will be constructed with relevant “stakeholders”. And we all know how that usually tends to go with these types of things. So before anyone makes assumptions on what is going on with the games being played, take a look at the Trojan horse the DOE and Governor Markell are about to launch on us again.
The below are the minutes from the 4/22/15 meeting of the Delaware House Education Committee. The bulk of the meeting was in regards to House Bill 50, the parent opt-out legislation. Also included are public letters of comment, remarks from DSEA, Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, and University of Delaware Professor Farley-Ripple.
I am loving the Delaware PTA this year! After Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE announced their little “we’re scared of opt-out so why not brainwash more parents into thinking their kids won’t have to take remedial classes in college” scheme, many stakeholders were not happy. Including the Delaware PTA who has been very vocal in support of parent opt-out. They are fast-learning that there is no collaboration in Markell’s nation!
Delaware PTA’s Response to Press Release on SBAC and DE Higher Ed Institutions
In a statement made today by Governor Markell, Delaware PTA learned that the four colleges; Wilmington University, University of Delaware, Delaware Technical and Community College and Delaware State University have all agreed that the outcomes of the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessments is a good indicator of college readiness. In addition, these institutions have all agreed to accept the assessment in lieu of other placement exams.
At a time when there is so much turbulence in our public education system, we are disheartened to learn that the conversations that proceeded this major conclusion did not include input from any of our major stakeholders. The Delaware Department of Education and the Governor’s office have publicly committed to greater transparency and collaboration with the broader community, yet Delaware PTA, the Delaware State Education Association, state legislators and other community stakeholders were not only excluded from these conversations, but we only learned of this decision a few hours prior to the public announcement.
We believe the lack of a collaborative process has resulted in misguided decisions regarding the efficacy of the Smarter Balanced Assessments, further misleading parents and students.
While Delaware PTA supports the use of assessments with a growth model that will effectively and adequately measure student growth and college and career readiness, we stand by our previous statements, citing the following concerns with the Smarter Balanced Assessments:
1. In its current form, the SBAC does not provide a true growth model;
2. In its current form, the SBAC is overly subjective and not an accurate assessment of student knowledge, skills and abilities;
3. Our educators have not had sufficient time to teach and our students have not had sufficient time to learn;
4. In its current form, the SBAC does not provide parents or teachers with the individual diagnostic data necessary to work together to support student success.
Although we believe that this most recent development is a knee jerk reaction to HB 50 on the Parent Opt Out, Delaware PTA remains fully committed to engaging in collaborative and transparent discussions on developing a state assessment that provides meaningful data for parents, students and teachers.
Decisions made in a vacuum often lead to outcomes that are misaligned and unsuccessful. Delaware parents, students and teachers deserve better.
This was just released by the Delaware Department of Education:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Susan Haberstroh
April 14, 2015
DELAWARE COLLEGES SAY SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENTS ARE GOOD MEASURE OF COLLEGE READINESS
Students who do well will not have to pass placement tests and can take credit-bearing courses
Dover– Four institutions of higher education in Delaware—the University of Delaware, Delaware Technical Community College, Delaware State University and Wilmington University—all have said students’ scores on the state’s new 11th grade Smarter Assessments are a good measure of college readiness and will be accepted in lieu of a separate placement test, Gov. Jack Markell announced today.
High school juniors started taking the Smarter English language arts (ELA) and Smarter Mathematics assessments Monday and all students will complete them before June 4. The colleges’ decisions mean that students who score 3 or better on the tests’ 4-point scale now will be able to enroll in credit-bearing English and mathematics classes, as long as they meet certain other conditions, and can avoid taking costly remedial classes that not count toward graduations. They also will not need to pass a separate placement exam.
Those placement exams are offered during thesummerbefore students’ first year in college, at a time when they have not been engaged in studying the subjects, meaning they may be more likely to be placed in remedial courses that they do not need.
The criteria colleges used for accepting students are not changing. Admitted students will still have the option to choose to take placement tests to qualify for credit bearing courses.
In 2012, more than half the Delaware public school graduates who enrolled in in-state colleges had to take remedial classes because they were determined to be not ready for college-level work, according to Delaware’s State Report: College Enrollment, Remediation, and Performance (https://www.delawaregoestocollege.org). National data shows that less than 50 percent of students who take remedial classes will complete the class hindering their ability to receive a college degree.
“Today’s announcement marks another important step toward giving Delaware students the best chance to succeed in continuing their education beyond high school,” Governor Markell said. “Delaware’s colleges and universities are not only sending our high school juniors a clear signal that the Smarter Assessments are a valuable tool. They are also showing a commitment to preventing students from taking unnecessary remedial courses, which too often put students off track before they even start their college education.
Smarter Assessments emphasize the importance of a deep understanding of subject matter, critical-thinking, problem-solving, writing and reading more complex materials—all skills necessary for success in college. Those skills are stressed in the Common Core State Standards that Delaware teachers have used in their classrooms in recent years. The standards are not a curriculum but are a set of clear, consistent guidelines for what students should be able to do at each grade level in math and ELA.
Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said the colleges’ decisions “show that they believe the Common Core standards are rigorous and that the Smarter Assessments provide a good measure of college readiness.”
Delaware State University Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Alton Thompson agreed. “Delaware State University supports the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessments for placement because we think it’s a great idea to give students incentives to master the Common Core State Standards,” he said. “If they master those standards, as measured by the assessments, we feel confident that they’ll be able to handle college-level work. We have to demonstrate that our students are learning in order to be considered an effective institution and this will help us do that.”
Dr. Mark Brainard, the president of Delaware Technical Community College, said, “Our focus at Delaware Tech has always been to provide access tohigher education and we view the Smarter Balanced assessment as anadditional means to demonstrate college readiness and facilitatestudents’ transition to college. We will continue to collaborate with theDepartment of Education and the school districts on this and otherinitiatives to prepare students to be successful.”
The Governor announced the agreements with the colleges at the University of Delaware.
“The K-12 school system is working hard to prepare students to enter college and the workforce and the Common Core State Standards help chart a path that students can follow to reach those goals,” University of Delaware President Patrick T. Harker said. “By setting policies around the Smarter Balanced Assessments, we can be sure that students are ready for our entry-level courses. That’s good for the school system. It’s good for institutions like UD. And most of all, it’s good for students and their families, who will know—early and often—where they stand on the path toward college or work.”
Wilmington University also will use Smarter Balanced assessment scores in making placement decisions but is working out details of the new policy. Jim Wilson, Wilmington University’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, said accepting the scores “is in line with our mission of providing opportunities for higher education to students of varying ages.”
In addition, Wesley College is considering how it will treat students’ Smarter Balanced assessment scores. “Wesley College is enthusiastic about exploring options to help our Delaware students transition successfully to college,” Dr. Patricia M. Dwyer, Wesley’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, said.
Delaware is one of 19 states and territories that are members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which created the assessments. “This is a game changer,” said Tony Alpert, Smarter Balanced Executive Director. “In the past, most state tests had no linkage to higher ed. Smarter Balanced has worked with states and higher education to give meaning to high school exams.”
Alpert noted, “Reducing students’ need for remediation can go a long way toward meeting state and national goals for increased degree attainment, as research has consistently shown that students who enter college without need for remediation are far more likely to complete a degree.”
University of Delaware
Score of 3
· Eligible for credit-level coursework.
Score of 4
· Eligible for credit-level coursework.
· Recommend that students consider dual enrollment in English 110 in their senior year of high school.
Score of 3
· Students who take Algebra II or a higher level mathematics course in their senior year and earn at least a B, may enroll directly in Math 113 (Contemporary Mathematics) or Math 114 (College Mathematics and Statistics).
· Students who take Algebra II or a higher level mathematics course in their senior year and who earn at least a B, may take the University of Delaware’s Placement Examination (ALEKS) to be placed in Math 115 (Precalculus), Math 117 (Precalculus for Scientists and Engineers), or higher.
Score of 4
· No developmental courses are necessary.
· Students place directly into any Math course whose prerequisite is Math 010. That is, entry into Math 113, 114, 115, or 117 is guaranteed.
· Students who take Precalculus or a higher level mathematics course in their senior year, and score a 75% or above on their University of Delaware Placement Examination (ALEKS) may enroll directly in Math 221 (Calculus I) or Math 241 (Analytic Geometry and Calculus A).
· Recommend that students consider dual enrollment in a mathematics course in their senior year.
Delaware State University
Score of 3
· Eligible for credit-level coursework.
Score of 4
· Eligible for credit-level coursework.
· Recommend that students consider dual enrollment in English 101 in their senior year.
Score of 3
· Students who take Algebra II or a higher level mathematics course in their senior year and earn at least a B, may enroll directly in MTSC 101 (Survey of Mathematics I) or MTSC 102 (Survey of Mathematics II).
· Students who take Algebra II or a higher level mathematics course in their senior year and who earn at least a B, may take the Delaware State University’s Placement Examination (ACCUPLACER) to be placed in MTSC 121 (College Algebra and Trigonometry), MTSC 131 (Precalculus), or higher.
Score of 4
· No developmental courses are necessary.
· Students who take Precalculus or a higher level mathematics course in their senior year, and who earn at least a B, may take the Delaware State University Placement Examination (ACCUPLACER) to be placed in MTSC 251 (Calculus I) or MTSC 225 (Calculus for Business and Social Sciences).
· Recommend that students consider dual enrollment in a mathematics course in their senior year.
Delaware Technical Community College
Score of 3
In conjunction with a “B” or higher in senior English, student would be eligible for credit-level coursework
Score of 4
Eligible for credit-level coursework
Recommended that student consider dual enrollment English in senior year
Score of 3
· No developmental or remedial courses necessary
· Students place into any college level math course with a pre-requisite of Review of Math Fundamentals (MAT012) or Elementary Algebra (MAT015)
· Students who take Algebra II or a higher level math course in their senior year, and earn at least a B, can take DTCC’s Precalculus (MAT185)
· Students can also retake the Smarter Balanced assessment or take DTCC’s Accuplacer to be placed in Precalculus (MAT185) or higher
Score of 4
· No developmental or remedial courses are necessary
· Students place directly into DTCC’s Precalculus (MAT185)
· Students who take Precalculus or a higher level math course in their senior year, and earn at least a B, can take DTCC’s Business Calculus (MAT261) or Calculus I (MAT281)
In about 15 minutes, Governor Markell will be giving a speech indicating Smarter Balanced scores will be used for acceptance credentials at the four major Delaware colleges and universities: University of Delaware, Delaware Technical College, Delaware State University and Wilmington University.
This decision was made without any input from members of the 148th General Assembly. Once again Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE are operating without any stakeholder input whatsoever. The test hasn’t even completed and the scores won’t be out until the summer, so how can this be used as a measuring indicator for students when we don’t even know how effective the test is?
The email regarding this was sent out earlier today:
From: Haberstroh Susan Keene <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 11:57 AM To: Haberstroh, Susan (K12) Subject: Smarter Balance Assessment and Delaware Higher Education Institutions Announcement
Dear Legislator, We wanted to provide you with a heads up of an announcement being made today regarding the Smarter Assessments and how four of our institutions of higher education have agreed to use these assessments. A press event is happening at 1:00 today where the Governor will announce that the University of Delaware, Delaware Technical Community College, Delaware State University and Wilmington University all have said students’ scores on the state’s new 11th grade Smarter Assessments are a good measure of college readiness and will be accepted in lieu of a separate placement test.
A press release with the full details will be sent to you later today.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
“This launch will mark the first significant pressure point since the passage of SB51, and will raise the ire of every Delaware higher-education institution.”
These words were said in an email memo at the Delaware DOE about Relay Graduate School of Education’s introduction to Delaware. Read the below, and go to the part about Relay. And by all means, read the other stuff as well. More intriguing stuff in there as well! You know an email is going to reveal something when it starts off with “not to be shared”…
This video needs to be watched by every parent in Delaware. If you think you know what is really going on with Common Core, you have no idea. We all have busy lives, but this is well worth 2 1/2 hours out of your life. This is the debate from January 24th that the Delaware Department of Education was supposed to be a part of but canceled at the last minute. I can see why they wouldn’t be able to after watching this video. They would have been slaughtered!
Delaware State Representative Kim Williams continues to astound me during the 148th General Assembly, and we aren’t even two months into it! She has introduced several education bills, is the Vice Chair of the House Education Committee, and she is very active in education. This is just another reason why Kim is awesome! This was taken from the Delaware House Democrats email called Legislative Insider:
Rep. Williams to serve on disabilities panel
Rep. Kim Williams has been appointed to the Community Advisory Council of the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies. The CAC is composed of individuals with developmental disabilities and related disabilities; family members of individuals with developmental disabilities; representatives from disability-related training, service, and advocacy organizations; representatives from state agencies; and other disabilities advocates.
Rep. Williams has been active in education for 25 years as a parent, local PTA leader, Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education vice president and currently vice-chair of the House Education Committee. She also serves on the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium, and is a member of legislative Kids Caucus.
“I’m truly honored and excited to be part of the Community Advisory Council,” Rep. Williams said. “Disabilities studies is something I am passionate about, and I look forward to working as part of the council to improve the lives of Delawareans with disabilities.”
There is absolutely no reason for Governor Markell to take over these schools. It would be a rather foolish move on his part based on this study!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2014
Wendy Lapham, Public Information Officer, Christina School District, 302-552-2610
Two “Priority” Schools Receive High Scores on Comprehensive Reviews Conducted by Delaware Department of Education and University of Delaware
Wilmington, DE –Two Comprehensive Success Reviews conducted in November by the Delaware Department of Education, the University of Delaware, and the Delaware Academy of School Leadership gave an overall high rating to two “Priority’ Schools in Christina: Bancroft Elementary School and Stubbs Elementary School. The reports highlight the many areas of strength being demonstrated at both schools.
The evaluations were conducted using a rubric score on a scale of 1-4, with 1 being the lowest rating and 4 being the highest rating.
Out of a total of 37 categories, Bancroft scored the highest score of “4” in 15 categories, and earned a score of “3” in 17 categories. The school received a rating of “2” in only 4 categories, and received only one rating of “1,” in the area of parent and community involvement in the review of the School Success Plan and parent awareness of the School Success Plan. In the two other areas of parent communication and involvement measured, Bancroft scored a “3” in both categories.
Out of a total of 37 categories, Stubbs scored the highest rating of “4” in 16 categories, and earned a score of “3” in 14 categories. Stubbs received a rating of “2” in only five categories, and received no scores of“1.” Two categories were not applicable.
Both schools received the highest rating of “4” in the categories of Policies, Procedures, and Structures, School Leadership Decisions, Time Management, Curriculum and Instruction, Strategies for Students Who Are at Risk or Do Not Master Standards, Access to Instructional Materials, and Scientifically Researched-Based Instructional Strategies.
Christina’s third “Priority” school, Bayard Middle School, underwent a Comprehensive Success Review (CSR) in April, 2014. That review indicated some of the areas that needed improvement, but since the time of the review, a new school leader was named and the school has undergone other changes based in part on the results of the report.
The results of the CSRs for Bancroft and Stubbs are significant because they suggest that the two schools are achieving in multiple areas, and that they have demonstrated significant progress since the last reviews were conducted in 2012. This is in direct contrast to the state’s announcement on September 4 that the schools are among the lowest-performing in the state. Bancroft, Stubbs, and Bayard Middle School must develop comprehensive plans to be approved by the Delaware Department of Education by January 7, or the District could face possible closure of the three “Priority” schools, and/or takeover by outside operators.
“We are excited about the very positive results of the Comprehensive Success Reviews, but not necessarily surprised by them,” said Christina Superintendent Dr. Freeman Williams. “For the past two years, we have been working towards the exact results that are now evident in the reviews. We will continue to focus on those areas that need improvement, while maintaining our effort in the overwhelming number of areas where those results show we are already demonstrating success.”
# # #
Manager of Communications/Public Information Officer
As students with disabilities become adults with disabilities, this transition can be a difficult process. To help ease these issues, the Delaware Department of Education and the University of Delaware, partnered with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Division of Visual Impairments, help to make these individuals well-informed about the things they can do to be more successful during this time. Each year, they hold an annual Community of Practice Delaware Transition Conference. The theme for this year’s event is “Shared Work, Shared Vision.” The event will be held at the Dover Downs Hotel & Conference Center on October 31st from 8:00am to 3:15pm.
This years keynote speakers are Chris Mielo and Chaz Kellem. Mielo has been paralyzed since he was a toddler due to a car accident from a drunk driver. He serves on the Governing Board of the Pennsylvania Youth Network and is an active participant in working with the HOPE Network to encourage kids to take part in adaptive athletics. Kellem is the Manager of Diversity Initiatives for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare disorder which causes bones to break easily. Although Kellem has gone through numerous operations, he is a shining example of overcoming hardship and excelling, having graduated with honors from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
This year’s conference will have a wide array of topics including Social Security Benefits, Student-Led Individualized Education Plans, Social Media, the new DelAWARE DisABILITY Hub transition website, transitioning to a college environment and more.
All parents of special needs students should try to attend this event, no matter what age they are. It’s better to start preparing for your child’s future now. Far too many people don’t seem to think a disabled child can be successful as an adult, but this is far from the case. Many individuals have the ability to overcome adversity and set an example for all of us and go on to do great things.