Last year when the Delaware Department of Education seemed poised to close Reach Academy and Pencader. Many in the community came to the aid of these charter schools. Even a few school board members of traditional school districts who are open about not wanting to authorize charter school in their district came to the aid of Reach and Pencader. Did it turn into a game of trying to save these charter schools or to take-on the iron fist of DE DOE charter school leadership that runs its own agenda? Yes, I did enjoy the battle. However, I’ve made some friends and fans along the way. I review all the monthly DE DOE progress reports on these two schools and the seem well on they way of coming off DE DOE death watch. However, with Pencader comes a new twist.
The incident where Mr. Lewis told a female student to stop acting like a spoiled bitch set-off fireworks. This incident came on the heels of more serious incidents involving sexual misconduct at others public schools. What Mr. Lewis said was inappropriate and far from being criminal. If this incident with Mr. Lewis happen prior to all the other incidents involving others at other schools in Delaware there wouldn’t of been a heighten concern. Whatever happen to the teacher who “physically” interfered with the SRO officers at Moyer? Still on the job?
I originally comment that he be suspended for the remainder of the year and be required to take anger management classes. But retreated back and suggested 30 day suspension. However, I only have one view from the outside and the Pencader board had another from inside. If there wasn’t a video of this incident on the internet would we have heard about it?
The following is from the official Delaware Department of Education Pencader progress report March 2012 present to the state board of education at April 2012 meeting.
DOE staff met with representatives from Pencader on January 5, 2012. Bill Bentz provided an overview of the school’s budget and the presentation was thorough. There was conversation at the March 29 meeting with Pencader concerning their enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year. Early indications are that they will struggle with enrollment. We will know more after the April 1st count is available.
DOE asked questions concerning the negative publicity of Mr Lewis, the school leader’s husband around directing abusive language toward a student. This was before the teacher was dismissed and we are hopeful that will help with enrollment.
Its obvious DE DOE was concern with the impact of Mr. Lewis’s behavior drawing negative publicity that could impact enrollment which is already fragile. What message was DE DOE sending Pencader’s school board? To me it was a message to terminate Mr. Lewis’s services.
By now many of you know Mr. Lewis is the spouse of Pencader school leaders Mrs. Lewis. I can only imagine the stress the incident brought to that household. And despite all they “are” good people. Mrs. Lewis and the Pencader school board has been doing an amazing job turning Pencader around. Look at the progress report and see items noted “completed”. Pencader biggest problem is the financial debt the board and school leader inherited. School enrollment is the main source of revenue for all charter schools.
Its really sad to see Pencader imploded because of the Lewis incident.
If the reports by other blogger are true in regards to the Delaware Charter Schools Network involved where the director joined Mrs. Lewis in the call for all Pencader board of directors to step-down, I must say I am shock to hear such intrusion. To me it sounds like the seedbed for Innovative Schools involvement is being laid and down the road Mrs. Lewis services may be terminated.
Despite to obvious personal rifts going on Mrs. Lewis and the board have the right stuff to keep Pencader moving forward. I think each person should do some soul searching and ask if all of this fighting is in the best interest of Pencader students? Those students and parents took a chance on Pencader despite the DE DOE black cloud hanging over their heads re: probation. Those students and parents believe in the Pencader system yet, the adults within are acting like spoiled bitches. Adults stop and work together and save Pencader for the children. It should be about them and them only!