Unlike traditional school districts, charter schools lack consistency in providing the public meaningful school board agendas.
Information provided me indicates the Pencader school voted on the school budget based on oral presentation with no supporting documentation. Also, there was no documentation of the financial presentation supplied to the public. Can you believe the board voted and approved this budget without having hard copies and subjective board discussion? Same goes for school leader’s report in which school leader wasn’t even there to present it. They actually voted on it! The board voted yes and didn’t even have discussion on critical changes in policies such as Employee Handbook changes and get this, no discussion on contract bid procedures. The sad part of all of this is, a DE DOE official was in the room apparently with his thumb up his ass! Will he call for a charter school review meeting?
Governor Markell sold the state legislators on Mark Murphy’s outstanding organizational and leadership skills. Mr Murphy, please take an evening and browse each charter school’s webpage. You’ll see in many cases lack of reports required by law re: Citizen Budget Oversight Committees, poor vague school board meeting minutes where in most cases they are months behind and same goes for financial reports. I cannot see how you intent to raise the bar for all public schools with such inconsistency and blatant disregard transparency to the taxpayers of the community and parents of school children within. Many of these bad behaviors were in place prior to your arrival. However, you are here now and have been sold as the wonder boy that was going to reform Delaware public schools. You are being paid as a qualified leader and that would suggest you don’t need extensive training. I know Governor Markell has you on a short rope that limits your ability to think and act on your own. Just visit those webpages and pretend you are a parent of a student at those schools. We cannot expect to see positive changes in the classroom and teaching without the same expectations in the board room. Leadership starts at the top and so should organizational skills.
Words for the Pencader Board Meeting, Thurs. August 30, 2012. (Harrie Ellen Minnehan)
A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company or organization, its reason for existing. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path and guide decision making. It provides “the framework or context within which the company’s strategies are formulated.”
I would like to read aloud the Pencader Charter High School mission statement and ask that the Board take a moment to consider if their actions are being guided by this statement and are they doing all that they can to ensure that they and all school staff are following the path put forward by the statement. The mission statement is there to guide decision making and as a framework within which the board and the staff should follow. My question would be, “Is this happening?”
“Welcome to Pencader Charter High School where our traditions of excellence in the education of young men and women of conscience, competence, and compassion are stronger than ever. We continue to emphasize, in all of our endeavors, the themes of excellence, humility and integrity and our students are called to make them a part of their daily life at Pencader.”
As Board members are you doing as you are statutorily required to do, and that is, to manage the school to ensure that all school staff adhere to the school’s mission? That should not be a difficult question to answer, however, I believe it is difficult for some, if not for all of you right now.
Let’s take a quick look at the three themes found in the mission statement:
Excellence: the fact or state of being excellent which means worthy, first rate, very fine, remarkably good, in fact superior;
Humility: the sense of being humble, not proud, not arrogant, unpretentious, and having a modest, yet reasonable sense of one’s self worth;
Integrity: an adherence to moral principles and character; honesty.
Media coverage over the summer has brought these themes to the forefront. What does not think when they hear the name of Pencader Charter High School today? What visual comes to mind?
One year ago we were fighting for the very right for Pencader to remain open, not because of a lack of adherence to Pencader’s mission, but because of human errors and mismanagement of financial resources. I daresay that last summer and throughout most of this past academic year we on the Board worked hard, together with Bill Bentz from Innovative Schools, to right that financial ship and I believe we were successful.
At that time the DOE laid down seven conditions Pencader had to adhere to financially to remain open. We did that. Right now, DOE is measuring Pencader’s value as an institution only by those seven conditions.
However, I submit that the community at large has a far wider and perhaps wiser vision because they are measuring Pencader’s value as an institution by the themes set forth as the school’s mission. Does Pencader today demonstrate to the community excellence, humility and integrity? The answer to that question, sadly, has to be “no.”
A school, unlike a house, is built from the top down. A school is known by its leadership which is the “top” but also serves as its foundation. Think for a moment of the picture that the community now sees of the school and as no other has been shown to them. The community sees what you have shown to them, and that is:
–a leader who misrepresented herself as having a doctoral degree which she has never been able to authenticate
–a leader who concocted a scheme to allow her husband and two other teachers to work full time, collecting a state paycheck and simultaneously collecting a state pension which is illegal. That action has caused your school leader to be referred to the Department of Justice for further investigation of very possibly criminal action
–a leader who lied to the State Pension Board about the three teachers involved in the pension fraud
–a leader who shares with you, the board, only that which she wants you to know, not that which you need to know
And yes, there is more, but how much more is “enough?” How much will it take before you as the Board of Directors takes your school management responsibilities in hand and begins to rebuild this school?
The question is, what are you waiting for? There is always the option of another Formal Review by DOE’s Charter School Accountability Committee. If your inaction results in that I suspect you will not escape whole as we did in the formal review last summer.
Information I am receiving indicates Pencader charter school board of directors started their meeting without the required quorum and a quorum wasn’t established until an hour into the meeting.
Parents were addressing the board about how the school leader is making it difficult for them to withdraw their children. Parents were calling for the removal of the school leader.
John Carwell, Education Associate for the Charter School Office of the Delaware Department of Education and former Vice President of Community and District Partnership for the Rodel Foundation of Delaware was in attendance. Carwell nor any member of DE DOE have the authority to injection themselves into any school board meeting. Surely he was taking notes to report back the his superiors such as “outgoing” Dan Cruce Deputy Secretary, Chief of Staff. Many are concern Carewell isn’t up to task as being a objective voice for Delaware’s public school and rights of parents. Many in the community sit back and think government is going to step-up and advocate for their rights and concerns. Folks, this is not the case with the Delaware Department of Education. Delaware Governor Markell micromanages everything and everybody! I wouldn’t be surprised if DE DOE employees has to go to the bathroom in alphabetical order.
Sadly in Delaware, parent faced with crisis such as with Pencader charter school they complain “why ins’t anyone doing anything”. There a few parents stepping up but they can’t do it alone.
Power in Delaware doesn’t cost on single dime! Its there for the taking! Bitching at a school board that are nothing more than handpicked puppets (Pencader) is like talking to a brink wall! It’s time for Pencader parents to step-up and save their children’s school that perhaps is past the point of no return. If there is not leadership changes soon, Pencader is doomed! It appears the Delaware Department of Education is keeping back until after the election to protect Jack Markell. Once elected to his second and final term as Governor he might step-in. Believe it or not, their will be more parents bitching to save Pencader if there is talk of it staying open. I just can’t understand why all Pencader parents can’t see a concern with leadership in the sense of being ineffective in managing school affairs.
Folks, its time to move the issues directly to the Delaware Department of Education, the state board of education and to the media.
I am seeing tweets from Pencader achool board meeting indicating some parents are raising hell that Pencader is not releasing their children in order to attend other schools.
Hey coach, ask DOE Dan about the commercial checkbook! Hey coach where can you buy a charter school CEO for a dollar? Ask DOE Dan.
Hey Waterboy!! OMG !!!!!!! I shit you not, the cluster-fucks are going to end up in checkerboard palace!
Billy Boy! Code Red!!!! You are about to be rolled under the $$$ bus! Save yourself or buy some soap on the rope!
Meanwhile back on the ranch the GOP is sitting with heads up their asses!
Hey Jack, Confucius say, man who go to bed with itchy butt wakes up with stinky finger ! Something real stinks in the DE DOE charter school office.
Hey Popeye, someone at DE DOE needs big chicken dinner!