Tag Archives: DOE

Delaware Leadership Project all candidates to work in lower performing schools for 3 years what happened?

  • Delaware Leadership Project is an alternative route to principal certification for teachers who aspire to lead the state’s lowest performing schools. The Delaware Leadership Project is ran through Innovative Schools.
  • The School Improvement Grant describes the program in more detail.
  • The Leadership Project is operated by a nonprofit organization (Innovative Schools) that has experience working with the state’s low-performing public and charter schools (I was not aware that Innovative Schools has so much experience working in the state’s lowest performing schools). DDOE opted for an external provider for the program (rather than an established educational institution such as a university or school district) to secure independence in the recruitment, selection, evaluation, and dismissal of candidates. (Interesting that DOE would not actually want an educational institution providing these services. It is also interesting that DOE points out that they would want an independence in recruitment, selection, evaluation, and dismissal of candidates, not really sure I understand that statement.)
  • The Delaware Leadership Project is a 15-month fellowship program for aspiring principals that begins and ends with two full summers of training and includes a school-year residency during which candidates work under a mentor principal in a low-performing school. The program, which is free for participants, also leads to a principal certificate. Participants receive a stipend of up to $65,000 based on their present salaries. The Leadership Project is funded through the state’s Race to the Top grant as well as two private foundations.(Now that Race to the Top Funds are gone, who is actually paying for this program?) Program graduates must make a commitment to work in one of Delaware’s low-performing schools for at least three years after completion of the program; however, there is no guarantee of a principal’s position at the end of the 15 months. (On Innovative Schools website, they do not advertise that the candidate must work in a low performing school, 
  • Some of the folks who have graduated from the program have been place into some of our schools. Not all of the schools where these folks have been placed are low performing schools, so my question is how can this be? Two of the candidates were sent to Forest Oak Elementary School and Conrad Schools of Science neither one of these schools is a low performing school.)  Click here to see candidates.
  • To be eligible for this program you must have a valid teacher certification from any state or from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, (Interesting, Delaware does not have reciprocity with every state.) 
What are the selection criteria for Delaware Leadership Project aspiring principals?
 
Admission to the Delaware Leadership Project is highly selective. In order to be eligible for the program, candidates must have:


• A master’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university
• A minimum of three to five years of teaching experience

 Valid teacher certification from any state or from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 
• A graduate school GPA of 3.0 or higher

• A willingness to commit in writing to working in the Delaware public school system for 3 years upon graduation from the program

Series of Posts: How the State Bailed Out Sussex Tech High School – Part 1

Rumors were flying around Legislative Hall this January about Sussex Tech, they were supposedly strapped for cash. In April, House Bill 100 was filed, giving Sussex Tech High School a new tax rate ceiling for the next two years and then the tax rate is suppose to sunset to its original level in three years. House Bill 100 was amended, to view the bill click here. Here is the amendment that was added. I voted “NO” on this bill.

  • 23.50 original tax rate
  • 29.00 tax rate for 2016
  • 30.00 tax rate for 2017

School districts have to go to referendum in order to get approval for additional funding. School districts have to work for months to educate and convince their residents why the districts need a tax increase. The taxpayers then decide whether or not to support the tax increase, Votechs do not. Votechs, they just come to the General Assembly and ask for their increases.  They lobby the General Assembly members to get their increases. This bill was filed in April and was signed by the Governor on May 28, 2015, it was fast-tracked.

It is so interesting how we allow certain public schools to have selective admissions and allow schools to send students back (don’t necessarily fit-in as one Delaware Met charter board member stated recently) to their feeder schools. We fund all our schools in different ways. Yet, traditional public schools are always criticized for their state assessments and how they are failing our kids. You can’t compare a school that accepts a student based on grades or test schools to a school who accepts everyone, it is just not right!

It is interesting, when this bill came before the House Education Committee, I asked the bill sponsors, Rep. Schwartzkopf and D. Short, if Sussex Tech’s superintendent had a change in heart about Sussex Tech using grades as part of their admission process. In the bill it states that they can no longer use grades as part of denying a student entrance into Sussex Tech.  Dr. A.J. Lathbury was a member of the Enrollment Preferences Task Force, which I co-chaired. (We are currently working on the draft report.)  Lathbury voted “YES” during the task force meeting to keep grades as part of the admission process for votechs, magnets and charters. I asked Rep. Schwartzkopf and D. Short if they would support this as well for New Castle County Votech and PolyTech.  Below are their responses from the House Education Committee meeting on April 22, 2015.

Rep. D. Short said that this bill addresses the tax rate ceiling for Sussex Vocational-Technical School District (SVTSD) in Sussex County by increasing the ceiling for two years and then sun-setting the ceiling to its original level. He said that this bill also helps to address the enrollment increases in SVTSD by creating an enrollment cap, lowering the enrollment over a period of time. He said the funding dilemma in SVTSD was caused partly by the tax ceiling issue, but also due to the lull in the economy. He said the bill also addresses some admission restrictions, including sibling applicants and those with a GPA below the seventieth percentile to be eligible for the lottery.

Rep. Schwartzkopf said that all Sussex County legislators have worked on this bill and they are unified, mostly. He said that this bill is not a panacea, but it is a reasonable path forward and gives the superintendent and board of education time to bring expenses in line with revenues. He said there will be a forthcoming amendment to this bill to deal with expulsion policies and said the bill will not run without the amendment.

Rep. Williams asked if the sponsors of the bill supported the provision for GPAs below the seventieth percentile policy to be applicable to all vocational-technical schools in Delaware.

Rep. D. Short said he would defer to the representatives of those counties, but it is something to be considered. He said that consistency is a good thing, in his personal opinion. He also said that it is not an issue for this bill and the bill should remain as is for passage.

Rep. Williams questioned why Superintendent Lathbury voted against that provision previously in a task force meeting, but now supports the policy in HB 100.

Rep. D. Short said that Superintendent Lathbury is in full support of HB 100; the superintendent was present, but did not testify on behalf of the bill. Reps. D. Short and Schwartzkopf requested that the issue be debated on another day and requested that an amendment addressing that issue not be added to HB 100.

Rep. Kowalko echoed the concern of Rep. Williams and said the bill should be amended to include New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District.

Update DOE Charter School Accountability Committee Member is Not a New Member She has been Serving on this Committee for Years

I have to dig and dig in order to stay on top of things in Dover. This is one of the reasons why I started this blog, to inform community members but for community members to inform me as well; education is a third of Delaware’s budget.

I thought Kendall Massett was replacing Chuck Taylor but she had been a member all along. I had requested from the Department of Education to name Chuck Taylor’s replacement after writing to them back in July. I had read on a blog that Chuck Taylor was named Head of School for Providence Creek Academy and I thought it was a conflict of interest. Mr. Taylor serving as a member of the Charter School Accountability Committee would be a conflict especially when Providence Creek would come before the Charter School Accountability Committee. Mr. Taylor apparently stepped down but I never received a response from DOE on his replacement. I saw the updated committee 2015-2016 roster and Chuck Taylor’s name had been removed, I just assumed Ms. Massett was his replacement, DOE’s roster does not list how long a member has served on the committee. 8 members of the Charter School Accountability Committee 2 members are charter school representatives.

Deborah Wilson, President and CEO, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League is a new committee member, according to the News Journal article she is no longer serving as president on the Urban League.  I wonder if she will still be serving?

  • The Charter School Accountability Committee (“CSAC”) is a public committee convened by the Department of Education to review information and issue recommendations for all major accountability processes for the charters for which it is the approving authority. These processes include, but are not limited to, applications for new charter schools, major modifications, renewals, and formal review.

The News Journal posted an article titled: Special interests: Who lobbies most in Dover? The Delaware Charter School Network was named #5 in who lobbies the most in Dover. The primary group advocates on behalf of Delaware’s charter schools in Legislative Hall.

How can we have the Executive Director of Delaware Charter School Network sitting on a committee who views applications for new charter schools and charter schools major modifications, renewals, and formal review? Folks will say that she is not a voting member, I would say she has the power to influence and it is a conflict; her job is dependent on charter schools increasing and staying open. I would say that they probably even helped write the applications.

Delaware Charter School Network is a non-profit organization created in 2001 to support the charter school movement and charter schools in Delaware and they have a seat at the Charter School Accountability Committee.

I thought it was interesting that the Department of Education website has a link to Delaware Charter School Network.

Since 2013, we have had three charter schools close and DMA, Academy of Dover, and Family Foundations were/are investigated by the Auditor’s Office.

A total of 34 charters have opened, 7 have closed and 3 audit investigations have been reported/initiated showing the tax payers money being misused. 29.4% of Delaware charter schools have either closed or been under investigation. We cannot continue to use our children as experiments, they are the ones who suffer the most.

I will say that there are some good charter schools as well but some of those charter schools also have selective admissions process.