Tag Archives: Red Clay School District

Special Education Ratings for DE School Districts and Charter Schools an Unfair Rating System

I just wanted to state how much I hate school ratings and how these ratings are always used to label our schools.

DE DOE recently released Special Education Ratings for all of our school districts and charters, Exceptional Delaware posted about this. Exceptional Delaware listed which school districts and charter schools met the requirements, which ones needed assistance and which ones needed intervention. I am told this is a federal regulation but I do not care if it is a local, state or federal regulation or law – they are just useless.

As everyone knows, many of our schools have enrollment preferences and these enrollment preferences have a tendency to exclude special education students. We are holding all of our schools to the same accountability system but many of our schools admit students differently. Our traditional school district doors are always open – welcoming everyone! Other schools or districts open their doors on a crack and only some are welcomed in.

Charter School of Wilmington received 100%, they scored 6 out of a possible 6 points. The Red Clay School District received 46.51%  –  scored 20 out of 43 points – tell me how this is fair? CSW needed 6 points to score a perfect score and Red Clay needed 43 points to get a perfect score. Charter School of Wilmington has the ability to select their students and has a total enrollment of 971 students compared to the Red Clay School District which has over 17,000 students. How about the feds or state give some type of rating to Charter School of Wilmington on the lack of special education students enrolled in the school since the state’s overall percentage of special education students is 14.9%? If a school does not come close to the state’s overall special education percentages than their overall score is lowered.

The DE Department of Education letter which accompanied the ratings to each school district and charter school starts out by thanking the Charter School of Wilmington for their ongoing dedication and commitment to educating students with disabilities – there are SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS in Charter School of Wilmington compared to the Red Clay School District which has over 2,000 special education students how is that a commitment? Please do not take this as an attack on Charter School of Wilmington, I am just so tired of these unrealistic labels and comparisons that are meaningless that are placed on our school districts and schools.

I was looking through the various letters and I noticed Delaware Military Academy received a 60% scored 6 out of a possible 10 points. DMA has 584 students and 20 special education students and only scored 13.49 percent higher than Red Clay School District who serves over 17,000 students and over 2,000 special education students, I would think the state would be really concerned about that. DMA only needed to score 10 points compared to Red Clay needing 43 points.

First, we need to fund basic special education for kindergarten through 3rd grades, we all know the schools could use the resources. Secondly, we need to get out of the business of labeling and rating our schools – we keep testing and assessing and we always come up with the same results, we know what needs to be done.

Let’s get back to educating our students and move away from testing, evaluating and labeling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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School Board Bill Reducing Terms from 5 Years to 3 Years

Below is a copy of the bill which would reduce the number of years someone can serve on a school board from five to three years. Every three years a school board member would have to run for office. I am not sure how I feel about this bill. I served on the Red Clay School Board and it really takes a full year or more to really understand what is going on in a district, especially a larger district. Five years is really a long time for someone to commit to serving on a school board.

House Bill 61 (Recording of School Board Meetings) Will Be Heard in the House Today!

A few folks will be happy to find out that House Bill 61 is on the agenda today. Here is a link to House Bill 61. House Bill 61

This bill requires that all public meetings of the boards of education of public school districts, vo-tech school districts, and public meetings of charter schools’ boards of directors be digitally recorded and made available to the public on the districts’ and charter schools’ websites within seven business days. The recordings will not be considered the official board minutes.

Currently the Red Clay Consolidated School District, Christina School District, and the Capital School District on a voluntary basis approved by their boards of education have been providing the public digital recordings of their board public session meetings via the district’s websites.The Delaware State Board of Education is required by the State Board of Education to make available within one business day digital recordings of its board meetings on the Delaware Department of Education’s website.

 

In the House Education Committee, House Bill 234 Will Be Heard

House Bill 234 (wellness center bill) will be heard in the House Education Committee today–I am the prime sponsor of this bill. Below is a letter that I submitted to JFC members with respect to the missing wellness centers at our three public high schools. I have been advocating for  wellness centers since I was first elected. There were four high schools in the state that did not have wellness centers when I was first elected–those schools were AI High School, Conrad Schools of Science, St. Georges Votech, and Appo High School–AI High School received their wellness center in 2014.

This is Exactly What is Going On Here In Delaware, Kindergarten as the New First Grade 

As I visit schools in Red Clay, I noticed that the play stations in the kindergarten classrooms are gone. When I talk with teachers, they have shared that kindergarten is no longer a place where five year olds can explore, pretend, or play. It is about worksheets, learning their A,B,C’s at record speeds, and no down time with students only having one recess.

A five year old in kindergarten puts in a 10 hour day, if you include their nightly work; thinking about it makes me sad for these kids. When my kids entered kindergarten, it was a half day. It was a wonderful experience; it was a place for them to learn and to grow; it was just enough. Starting 1st grade was a little overwhelming at first, getting use to being at school all day and the additional homework.

Here is a link to a CDC milestone page showing what children should know at certain ages. You can see where a five year old child should be.

  • Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
  • Counts 10 or more things
  • Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
  • Can print some letters or numbers
  • Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
  • Knows about things used every day, like money and food

Below is a link to a story that Diane Ravitch posted. It is about kindergarten and how it has changed. Read it and see if you agree.

Due to the Common Core and testing pressures, children in kindergarten are now expected to learn to read. Kindergarten, writes Erika Christakis in The Atlantic, has changed, and not for the better.

“One study, titled “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?,” compared kindergarten teachers’ attitudes nationwide in 1998 and 2010 and found that the percentage of teachers expecting children to know how to read by the end of the year had risen from 30 to 80 percent. The researchers also reported more time spent with workbooks and worksheets, and less time devoted to music and art.

Source: Kindergarten as the New First Grade

WEIC Public Hearing

A second public hearing will be held in the Red Clay School District on Tuesday, December 8th 6:30 pm at Warner Elementary School, 801 West 18th Street. If you cannot make the meeting, you can submit a public comment here or email to solutionsfordelawareschools@gmail.com.

Below is the Executive Summary of the report. Click here to read the entire report.

WEIC Public Hearing

A public hearing will be held in the Red Clay School District on Monday, December 7th 6:30 pm at Brandywine Springs, Duncan Road. If you cannot make the meeting, you can submit a public comment here or email to solutionsfordelawareschools@gmail.com.

Below is the Executive Summary of the report. Click here to read the entire report.

Redistricting Town Hall Meeting November 16

You are invited to learn about the proposed redistricting plan in New Castle County, that would include the Christina and Colonial School Districts and the Red Clay District.

 THE SCHOOL REDISTRICTING PLAN

Speaker:  Dan Rich, Policy Director, Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, and Professor of Public Policy, University of Delaware

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2015, 6:30 P.M

PRESENTATION FOLLOWED BY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Kirkwood Library, 6000 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE 19808

SPONSORS:   American Association of University Women, Newark and League of Women Voters of New Castle County

THIS FORUM IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission is responsible for implementing recommendations to strengthen Wilmington public education and to provide greater support for all Delaware schools with high concentrations of low-income students and English language learners.

The work of the Commission includes the development of a plan for redistricting in New Castle County, with the Christina and Colonial School Districts no longer serving Wilmington students  and the Red Clay District taking on these students.  The redistricting plan also will address the resources needed for redistricting  to be successful in better  supporting student learning. 

The forum will, provide an understanding of issues being addressed by the Wilmington  Education Improvement Commission.