Daily Archives: June 8, 2014

Part 12: A father’s cry for his son Re: failure of a Delaware charter school promise #netde #edude

The Game Of Puppets

Chapter 11: of many letters with self-serving interests, the transfer, and some apologies

A Game Of Puppets Fact #21: As per Delaware law, “Supportive (Homebound) instruction is an alternative educational program provided at home, in a hospital or at a related site for a student temporarily at home or hospitalized for a sudden illness, injury, episodic flare up of a chronic condition or accident considered to be of a temporary nature.”

A Game Of Puppets Fact #22: In the United States of America, as of 2011, 8.4% of students received special education due to an IEP.  In Delaware, 12.7% of students, K through 12, received special education from an IEP for the 2013-2014 school year.  It is estimated that up to 22% of kids in Delaware should have an IEP.

Jon’s mother called the great children’s hospital at the northern part of the Kingdom of Del.  The psychologist who had helped to write Jon’s initial report told Jon’s mother they weren’t going to reschedule.  She explained Miss Interpretation had called and told her it didn’t matter what they reccommended for Jon because his parents refused to have Jon take responsibility for his actions.  Jon’s mother explained what happened, and the meeting was rescheduled.  When Jon’s father found out about this, he called Dr. V and the children’s hospital and said no information was to be given to that charter school in the County of Kent. 

Jon’s father knew his Facebook account was filled with status updates about Jon’s problems.  He also knew his account was filled with teachers and administration from the school.  He deleted all those friendships he had made over the years, and anyone remotely associated with the school.  While it could have been a useful source of information, it could also prove to be worthwhile for the school as well.

Jon’s father went to the school to review all of Jon’s behavior records.  He knew about most of the events, but to see it in writing was something else.  In many situations it was where another child had instigated Jon and he reacted.  Not in the best way, but once again, supervision was scarce in the areas, and Jon was usually the one with punitive action.

A meeting was scheduled with REDACTED.  Jon’s father wanted to get as much information as he could, so he decided to go to the Board meeting for that charter school in the County of Kent.  The school welcomed new staff, including a new math teacher, a new nurse, and Miss Interpretation.  It was very hard for Jon’s father to see her, not even two weeks after everything had exploded at the school.  There was SO much he wanted to say to her, but he knew this was not the place or time.  She left, and the Board meeting continued.  A father who served on The Board asked Jon’s father what brought him there that evening, and Jon’s father just smiled and said “Just to see how the process works.”  Someone said they usually don’t get many visitors, but you are welcome. 

Sir Yosemite, Sir Lancelot and Lady Blue were going over the changes they made to the school in the past month.  Sir Lancelot explained how they had really focused on the “climate” of the school, and making sure kids buy into their procedures with discipline.  He explained how some kids had to be suspended.  He even said “we may have overdone it, but the point was made”.  Jon’s father was thinking, “Yeah, you made an example out of a disabled child.  You must be proud.”  But he didn’t say it.  He just sat there, writing notes down.  There was discussion about how many parents complimented them for their clampdown on behavior issues.  Sir Lancelot explained how this was tied into the school’s academic review, and if they could correct that issue, then he surmised the standardized test scores would increase.  Miss Cersi, as a member of the Board, looked nervous a couple times looking at Jon’s father.  He wasn’t sure what that was about, but he wasn’t there to worry about her.  More talk went on about the school’s charter, and how they gave the King of Charters a copy of their performance plan for the year.  Jon’s name was never mentioned during the entire meeting.  But Jon’s father did leave early as it was getting late. 

Jon’s homebound instructor emailed Jon’s parents, and she would only do the homebound instruction if Jon’s parents brought him to the public library.  Jon’s parents emailed back on how the public library wouldn’t work based on Jon’s new medicine, and furthermore, they weren’t sure how the library could fully work with Jon’s 504 accommodations.  Lady Blue emailed back indicating she didn’t see a need for the homebound instruction to actually be in the home but to work with the instructor to get it scheduled.  They never heard back from the instructor, and a new one was assigned who was able to come to Jon’s home.

Jon was being watched by his grandfather the day Jon’s parents went to REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED. 

For the next two and a half months, Jon was visited by Miss Veil.  Jon did much better with homebound instruction than he would have done in school.  He still had problems fully focusing, but he learned a lot.  There were some issues with the 504 plan and it’s accommodations being utilized in the home, but it all worked out in the end.

Jon’s Abilify worked very fast, but an instant side effect was a veracious appetite for him.  All day long, Jon would want to eat.  Jon had always been a thin child, but soon enough his parents were seeing him gain weight.  His parents joined the local YMCA and they would take Jon swimming and let him work out.  Dr. V had already extended Jon’s homebound instruction another six weeks, so Jon would not be returning to that charter school in the County of Kent until at least after the holiday break.

Jon’s father went to the local elementary school and met the principal there to start exploring the possibility of Jon leaving that charter school in the County of Kent.  But first, the old school graciously allowed Jon to have what is called a neuropsychological evaluation, also called an IEE, or an Independent Educational Evaluation.  It was time to get to the heart of Jon’s problems.  For two days in late November, Jon and his father travelled to the Kingdom of Pa to meet with the woman doing the test.  She did much more comprehensive testing than Miss Diagnosis.  Jon’s father waited in the lobby while Jon was tested.  He would get breaks, and he would come out and visit his dad.  Jon would take a walk around the quaint town while Jon was being tested.  He could feel Winter starting to make it’s presence known. 

A week later, Jon’s parents received the report.  It was over 20 pages long, and covered numerous tests and observations.  To go over it would take a year, and Jon’s father wouldn’t want to be “maudlin”.  But the results were much more than they had ever received on Jon previously.  They would use these recommendations and tools for whatever school Jon went to next.  Part of the text in the report went over some notes from Jon’s prior teachers.  Nothing was reported from Miss Summertop, but his 1st grade teachers, Miss Cersi and Miss Quarterloader had plenty to say.  What Miss Cersi wrote shocked Jon’s parents more than anything in the world.

She stated that she told Jon’s parents that not only did Jon have ADHD, but also oppositional defiance disorder and OCD.  She also said that she specifically reccomended Dr. V as a doctor for Jon to see.  None of this was true.  But the part that truly horrified Jon’s parents was this: “I’ve encountered many children with behavior problems in my teaching career, but Jon was the only student that I feared could hurt me or other students.  He was always mumbling things under his breath and what I perceived as a demented look in his eyes.  He scared me.  He still scares me.  I honestly fear that he’ll come back and hurt me someday.”  This upset Jon’s parents, for many reasons.  If she truly felt so strongly about Jon, why would she have done nothing about it?  If she was so afraid of Jon, why would he sometimes be sent to her classroom as punishment during the next couple years after 1st grade?  Even more ironic was the timing of her letter.  It was written two days after the big blow-up meeting on September 16th.  It was written in such a way that it looked like it was part of something bigger, and Jon’s parents could only guess what that might have been.  Perhaps an expulsion with The Board, or the school covering themselves knowing Jon’s parents were going to go beyond the school to get a resolution.  Jon’s parents clearly saw Jon’s actions in 1st grade as the beginning of his Tourette’s Syndrome.  All the things that “scared” Miss Cersi were in fact tics.  And based on numerous interactions Jon’s father had with Miss Cersi after 1st grade, this topic never came up.  In fact, Miss Cersi would always tell Jon’s father when a permanent paraprofessional position was coming up.  In the end, it helped to REDACTED.  REDACTED.  REDACTED.

There were other concerns for Jon’s parents in the evaluation, but they took the advice of the doctorin the coming months and found those concerns were unwarranted.  At this point in time, Jon’s parents made the decision to withdraw Jon from that charter school in the County of Kent because they didn’t believe the school would even be capable of implenting an IEP plan if Jon ever got one.  Jon’s father talked to Lady Blue about removing Jon from the school, and she even said they were going to suggest that so Jon could have a new start.  Jon’s father immediately thought in his head “Yeah, I’m sure you are suggesting this for Jon’s sake.  You want him out of here more than we do.”  Jon’s father filled out the withdrawal form and the principal signed off on it right away.  So after the holiday break, Jon’s future began again, with a fresh start.

For Jon’s parents, it seemed like they were able to put things behind them, but several months later the wound was bleeding again.  Jon’s parents wanted to review Jon’s records from his current school, and included in them were Jon’s records from that charter school in the County of Kent.  Jon’s father had already seen all of the behavior records.  There was nothing from 1st grade, as Miss Cersi indicated they were all in Jon’s planner, which Jon’s parents had.  But Miss Cersi’s letter from September 18th was in there, along with letters from Miss Quarterloader, and Miss Short.  All of them tried to make it seem like the school was doing everything they could for Jon and that his parents were the problem.  Miss Quarterloader even suggested that several parents had asked their child to be moved out of Jon’s class and that some had even moved their chiId out of the school because of Jon.  None of that information was ever conveyed to Jon’s parents.  It told Jon’s parents they were definitely trying to put up a united front at that time.  Against what they had no idea, as everything was still in planning stages at that time. 

There was also a printout from something called ESchool.  This is an online school system in the state of Delaware.  Included were some behavior incidents from Jon’s years there, but one of them from September 13th indicated terroristic threatening.  And the odd part was that this was added to that system at 9am, which was more than three hours before Jon said what he said to Sir Yosemite. 

Jon’s father did some research, and emailed the King of Discipline for the Kingdom of Del.  He advised him that he wanted the reporting from that day removed.  He emailed back and said he checked with a King of Justice in the state, and they both agreed what Jon said did not meet the legal term of terroristic threatening, but it was up to the school to remove it.  Jon didn’t hear anything back from the school for over three weeks, so Jon’s father went to that charter school in the County of Kent and spoke with Sir Lancelot.  Jon advised him he was sorry about some of the things he had done without specifying what.  Sir Lancelot asked him if he could share that with the staff, and Jon’s father laughed and said “If you want”.  He asked how Jon was doing, and he advised him he was doing great and he is really happy.  He’s getting really good grades.”  Jon’s father asked what the status was on the ESchool removal, and Sir Lancelot said he had to talk to the new head of school but she had been on vacation.  And still Jon’s father waits for an answer.  Jon’s father may have to go The Board for the Kingdom of Del to have a decision made if that charter school in the County of Kent doesn’t come up with a decision soon.

So what was Jon’s father sorry about?  Not a lot, that’s for certain.  Jon’s father knew writing this story would cause some to be upset, but he knew that it was a story that had to be told.  He would go through moments of doubt, and he would drive past that charter school in the County of Kent, and become instantly motivated to get the next chapter done.  Jon’s father was probably sorry about letting anger shine through at times with the school.  He was not sorry about pulling Jon out.  He was definitely sorry that the school didn’t feel they could come to him or his mother about how they really saw Jon.  But then again, had they done what they were supposed to do from the onset, some of those feelings may have never developed in the first place. 

Jon’s father definitely feels bad about any child that may have been displaced based on Jon’s behavior.  Jon’s father knows several of those parents, and aside from his “friend”s father, no parent ever came up to Jon or his mother about concerns.  If he were talking to any of them now, he would encourage any of them to read this entire story to understand the battles Jon was facing every day and he wishes he had come to him sooner.

“Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Semisonic

This is the end of Jon’s adventures at that charter school in the County of Kent, but look out for the epilogue to this coming very soon!

Jon’s loving father

To be continued 

CSW African-American graduates left in backdrop of NJ’s graduation photos

Charter School of Wilmington just celebrated another class graduation at the Hotel DuPont. Click the link above to see the photo sideshow evidently taken by the News Journal.

Out of 31 photos only one showed an African-American in the foreground. Wait my bad! There is one with an African-American girl’s back going up the stage steps. But one thing for sure is, all the other highlighted photos even ones with Governor Markell seem to be shot around African-Americans. I see no malice here on the photographer part. Charter School of Wilmington’s Class of 2014 had 230 seniors this year with only 7 African-Americans. 2013 graduating class had 243 with 16 African-Americans, 6.6%.

In class of 1997-1998 CSW had 29 seniors that included 10 African-American, 34.5%. During that year the African-American student population was 26.9% and this year 2014 it was 5.5%.

Now someone will come in here and say, Kilroy can’t you give it a rest with all the racial analogies? Hello world! This is the time to highlight the FACTS!

There is a wicket racial trend going on at CSW! For example this year’s freshman 2014 class had 4.4% African-American student population whereas the year prior 2013 had 10.7%.

For the last 5 years the trend of African-American student population stand below 7% with downward trends each year. CSW first 10 years goes like this, African-American student population, 26.9%,23.6%,17.6%,13.9% and 12.5%. The last five years like this, 6.9%,5.9%,4.8%,6.2% and 5.5%. The overall trend throughout CSW existence is downward. However, let’s remember Charter School of Wilmington is a “Red Clay” chartered school. Red Clay has been notorious in looking the other way when it comes to de facto segregation. Red Clay has a total district-wide African-American population of 39.2% and as far as their high schools it goes like this, Conrad 11.2%, McKean 26.5%, A.I. 31.4% Dickinson 39.2% and Cab (grades 9-12) 14%. Do note Conrad and Cab are magnet schools often mistaken for charter schools.

Charter School of Wilmington’s charter is up for renewal with Red Clay School Board being the authorizing agent and it would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black if Red Clay were to be critical of CSW’s imbalance in the African-American population. After all, look at Red Clay’s magnet schools Cab and Conrad. Though much higher % of African-American students than CSW the’re still of balanced with entire demographics. As far as CSW, this sleeping racial attitude is a discouragement for African-American students.

In my opinion, Red Clay’s school board really needs to do some soul searching! Throwing African-Americans students under the bus for these “selective” schools for the assurance these “selective” schools remain cream of the crop is social immoral. It degrades the African-American community suggesting African-Americans give public schools black-eyes! Then there is the charter school interment camps fueling de facto segregation.

The responsibility of “traditional” school board member’s who are publicly elected officials  goes deeper than being a representative of the school district. It actuality traditional school board members are not representative of the district but elected representative of the community at large. In come the charter school, choice school and traditional school debates. Some say board member have a responsibility to all three school options. I kind of agree! However, the fair and equitable factors are at play here! Fair and equitable must be broad across the choice options. The alternatives to traditional public schools shouldn’t be racially insensitive nor bias. After all improving public education was to include all students no just white ones!  

Back to CSW graduation photos, surely there was no malice on the photographer’s part but the lack of inclusion of CSW African-American does reinforces, out of sight out of mind mentality. Like it or not, the forefathers of CSW were many who oppose desegregation aka force busing of white students. The Delaware charter school law was crafted with the help of the devils hands!

As for CSW students, they receive an amazing education and should be thankful of the rare opportunity given. As for CSW parents bless you for wanting the best for your child and putting their needs first! Also, do make note, the success of CSW does rely on donations from the community and alumni. Many CSW will go onto rewarding $$$ careers and I hope they remember CSW.

The core issue here is fair and equitable distribution of public education services in Delaware as it relates to minorities! Delaware is failing to meet the promise and use advancements in civil rights as a doormat.