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Delaware MET charter school faces closure

Delaware Public Media

A newly opened First State charter school faces closure in January.

The state Department of Education's Charter School Accountability Committee recommended Tuesday that Wilmington’s Delaware MET have its charter revoked, citing academic, operational, governance and financial problems. 

Education Secretary Steven Godowsky and State Board of Education will decide if they agree at the board’s December 17 meeting.

If they do, the school would close January 22, and its 210 students would be forced to move to other schools for the rest of the year.

Delaware MET was one of five new charters to open this school year, but immediately faced a series of problems.  Teachers and students struggled with use of its “Big Picture” instructional model and there were variety of discipline issues.  At the same time, the school’s board chairman, Nash Childs, went on leave for medical reasons, and its school leader, Tricia Hunter Crafton, went on maternity leave.

Classes were canceled for three days in September in an effort to regroup, but that led to the parents of nearly 40 students take them out of the school over concerns it would close.

Delaware MET's board voted against closing in late September, but the Department of Education placed the school on formal review in October – just six weeks after opening.

The Charter School Accountability Committee cited issues with the school’s curriculum, discipline and leadership in its recommendation – as well as failure to offer proper special education services for 59 students, non-compliance with open meeting laws and concerns over financial viability.

A public hearing on Delaware MET’s status is set for 5 pm December 7 at the Carvel State Office Building and the state will take public comment through December 11.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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