Daily Archives: September 14, 2015

Wilmington Education Improvement Commission – Redistricting Committee – 1st Meeting


Wilmington Education Improvement Commission Website

I attended the WEIC – 1st Redistricting Committee meeting on September 10th at Baltz Elementary School. There were about 13 people sitting in the audience and about half were University of DE or Red Clay staff the other people were members of the public. Dr. Rich spoke mostly about the history of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee.

One question that was asked by a member of the Redistricting Committee, “Why are the State Board of Education members not present at these meetings?”

I was wondering the same thing. The State Board will be voting on the plan, would it not make sense for them to attend the meetings so they can be well-informed when voting on the Commission’s plan.

  • Christina School District – 1 of 4 discontinuous school districts in the country. If the plan is approved, Christina will no longer serve students who live in the city unless those students choice into Christina.
  • Colonial School District – no schools in the City of Wilmington. About 300 Colonial students live in the city and about 150 of the students are choice students.
  • Red Clay School District will serve the city along with the Brandywine School District.

Below is WEIC’s tentative timeline. This document was handed out at the meeting and is labeled DRAFT, so dates could change.

  • November 30th thru December 4th  – tentative period for four public hearings.
  • December 8th – Commission meets to review possible revisions to draft plan.
  • December 15th – Commission approves the Final Plan for submission to the State Board of Education.
  • December 17th – Commission presents and submits Final Plan to State Board. This will be a discussion item on the State Board agenda, including public comment.
  • January 21st – State Board acts on Commission Redistricting Plan as a complete package.
  • February 11th – If the State Board of Education does not approve, Commission may revise and resubmit as a complete package by February 11th.
  • March 10th – If the State Board of Education does not approve, Commission may revise and resubmit as a complete package by March 10th.
  • March 31st – State Board of Education authority ends.

Tomorrow is the first Funding Student Success Committee meeting- 2:00 to 4:00 at William Penn High School.

After the Funding Student Success Committee meets the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission meets from 4:00 to 6:00 at William Penn High School.

Then, the  Parent, Educator & Community Engagement Committee meets from 6:15 to 8:00 at William Penn High School.

The next Redistricting Meeting is September 24th – 4:00 at Graham Hall Room 185, 111 Academy Street, Newark, DE.

To view all future meetings, click here.

Frustration among our Delaware teachers, read what one Delaware teacher has to say

A  Delaware teacher wrote to me. I asked for permission to share the email and the teacher agreed to me posting the email.
I write to you today because I am seeking your support for the students of xxxxx School District.  I am a teacher at xxxxx.  I have dedicated the last 18 years of my life to the students who go to xxxxx. I have relationships with generations of families, love teaching those “tough” kids and have great successes everyday in my classroom.
The testing cycles in xxxxx have begun and I feel that the administration has again let us down. There is so much testing on my calendar it will be extremely difficult to teach all the standards I am required to teach, let alone get kids who are behind, caught up.  Something MUST be done to stop all of this insane testing!
Let me assure you that I am not a person who ducks assessment.  I believe in knowing where students are so that I can design lessons and work with them in small groups to fill in gaps and push students to their greatest potential.  This is about too many district or state mandated assessments that give me no information.  They seem to serve the purpose of proving that xxxxx students will fail no matter what we do.  Let me explain…
I have already given an oral reading assessment individually – Dibels Next (8-10 minutes per 30 kids = nearly 300 minutes of class time).  I’ve given a “cold read”  – a reading comprehension test and a math diagnostic and placement test.  This week I will be finishing my first unit in math and giving the unit test.  I’ve also done a spelling inventory to check for phonics skills and other informal writing samples.  Week 2 is over and I know my students pretty well.  I’m ready to teach and get kids where they need to go!
I am now told that I must give the Amplify reading and math pre and post test.  I am supposed to schedule 2 days in the computer lab for each subject.  I am also told that I must use this test as a measure for my component 5 rating. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Amplify.  Its the same company that produces Smarter Balanced.  Same kinds of questions, same ridiculous length, and complexity of directions.  I am also told that they will be taking THREE interim assessments, for a total of FIVE times they will take this test, plus Smarter, plus all the other tests that actually help me guide instruction.
There are many layers to why this is wrong for students.
  • One, I need to be teaching for 4 days in September, not having students staring at a computer screen to take a test I know that they’ll bomb!
  • Two, giving this assessment FIVE times a year eats away at my precious teaching and learning time.  Testing is not teaching!
  • Third, after 18 years I can look into the crystal ball and tell you how May is going to go.  After students have taken 5-6 days of Smarter Balance testing, we will again set them in front of a computer screen and ask them to show us that they can take another hours long assessment of what they’ve learned this year.  How do you think that will go?  I KNOW how 8,9 and 10 year old people will react. They will not show what they know because they will be burned out and exhausted, leading to most xxxxx teachers not making their component 5 goals.  More “unsatisfactory” teachers in xxxxx.  That will hit the News Journal, and more students bleed out from our district.

I don’t want to walk down that path again and again. xxxxx kids and teachers work very hard and deserve better!   I am embarrassed at the administration’s decisions for our students. Who else can and will speak out for children in xxxxx?