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Gaining approval to start a charter school in Delaware is a challenge.

Getting it open is an even bigger challenge.

Working behind the scenes is a nonprofit that helps smooth the way, the Innovative Schools Development Corporation.

Delaware Public Media

For five charter schools scheduled to open their doors in August, the day of reckoning is near. In fact, by the start of next month, all five will have a pretty good idea of where they stand.

On April 1, the new schools – three in Wilmington, one in suburban New Castle County and one in Kent County – must give preliminary enrollment projections to the Charter Schools Office in the state Department of Education. According to the department’s rules, they are supposed to have confirmed enrollments equal to at least 80 percent of their authorized enrollments.

State will ask for more time before using new test in teacher evaluation

Mar 18, 2015
Delaware Public Media

The state Department of Education is requesting an additional one-year delay on the national requirement to use state test scores when evaluating teacher performance.

Last year, DOE requested and received a similar delay for this year - the first that the Smarter Balance assessment is being used in Delaware public schools.

The move comes as some state lawmakers are set to introduce a bill in the General Assembly that would force the state DOE to request another waiver.

Wesley College names its new school president

Mar 17, 2015
Delaware Public Media

Dover’s Wesley College has named its new school president.  Robert E. Clark will begin work as the College’s 17th president in July.

Clark, a former Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S Naval Academy, retires this summer from the U.S. Navy. He also held several senior executive leadership positions, most recently Joint Service Coordinator for Penn State University.

Targett tapped as UD interim president

Mar 16, 2015
Delaware Public Media

University of Delaware officials have picked Nancy Targett to serve as interim president during a nationwide search for the school’s next top administrator.

Targett is currently the dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and has served in that position since 2005. The marine chemical ecologist has been part of the UD faculty for more than 30 years.

Delaware Public Media

Some might call it educational Darwinism. Others would say it’s simply the charter school bargain playing out as it was intended.

But this much is clear: new management in the state Department of Education’s Charter Schools Office and the introduction of a new application for proposed schools and a performance framework for reviewing expiring charters has forced charter operators to pay more attention to detail — in academics, in finances and in school management.

Delaware Public Media

The New Castle County Department of Elections says two individuals have been referred to the state Department of Justice on suspicion of fraud in the Red Clay School District referendum last month, but the results of the vote passing the tax increase have been certified.

Gov. Jack Markell (D-Delaware) announced a new initiative Thursday to reduce testing in Delaware schools.

Under the plan, the state Department of Education will provide financial and technical support to school districts to take an inventory of all assessments given at each school. The state will also provide assistance communicating new testing plans to parents and families.

Delaware Public Media

Christina School District’s budget issues were front and center at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Facing major budget cuts after its recent referendum was defeated, the board approved planning for a second referendum May 27th to pursue the tax increase needed to fill a $9 million budget deficit.

Governor mulling state student testing review

Mar 10, 2015
Delaware Public Media

Gov. Jack Markell (D-Delaware) is expected to take executive action to review all statewide testing required of Delaware schools.

Markell notes that the recent switch to the Smarter Balanced Assessment already reduces the amount of testing for Delaware students, but that more might need to be done.

“I think this issue of taking a look at the amount of testing across the state makes a lot of sense and you’ll be hearing more from us about that soon,” he said.

Markell didn’t elaborate on when any action might be taken or what form that might take.

Delaware Public Media

A new report on anti-bullying efforts at First State schools says there is room for improvement in a number of areas.

The second annual report released by Attorney General Matt Denn’s office says the state’s evidence-gathering practices regarding bullying are in need of reform; while schools reported an 11 percent decrease in bullying incidents last school year, the statistics showed suspicious fluctuations from year to year.

Attorney General Denn (D) says wild fluctuations in stats at some schools drew the attention of the AG’s office.

Delaware Public Media

University of Delaware President Patrick Harker says innovation and fostering entrepreneurship in the First State will be critical for the future as he prepares to step down.

Harker sat before the Joint Bond Bill Wednesday asking for $7 million to complete renovations of Cannon Laboratory at their Lewes campus.

State lawmakers asked him what Delaware needs to compete domestically and abroad. He says as a research university, innovation across all disciplines is key.

Nearly 80 Delaware schools will participate Wednesday in the nationwide awareness campaign to ask people to stop using the word retarded -or the “R-word.”

The motivation for “Spread the Word to End the Word” is driven by the belief that words influence attitudes.

As is often the situation, language evolves. And in this case, the “R- word” has morphed from a dated diagnostic term to a pejorative that reinforces stereotypes.

Delaware Public Media

State Senator Karen Peterson (D-Stanton) is asking Attorney General Matt Denn’s (D) office to look into possible voter fraud in the Red Clay School School District referendum passed by voters last week.

Peterson says her request follows multiple complaints from her constituents, who say voters may have taken advantage of loopholes in the system that technically allow them to vote more than once.

Karl Malgiero/Delaware Public Media

US Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald followed up his Monday Wilmington VA hospital visit at the University of Delaware - continuing a nationwide effort that began in August to entice medical students to seriously consider making a career with the VA.

Nursing students enrolled at UD gathered at the STAR Campus for the latest stop on Secretary McDonald’s nationwide push to recruit future health professionals employed at the VA.

UD President Harker to leave office

Mar 3, 2015

University of Delaware President Patrick Harker is stepping down to lead Philadelphia's branch of the Federal Reserve Bank later this summer.

He announced his move in an internal university letter Monday. Harker wrote that his experience with the university has been "inspiring, invigorating and unforgettable," adding that he will work closely with UD's Board of Trustees and administration to ensure a smooth transition to the institution's new leadership.

Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media

Southern Delaware has long been a popular destination for Guatemalan immigrants seeking a better life, often in the chicken industry. But last year, officials at Indian River School District saw the number of recently arrived immigrant teenagers enrolled in school swell because of the wave of unaccompanied kids who crossed the U.S. border in 2014. They soon discovered traditional ESL programs were not effectively serving that group of kids, most of whom had little to no schooling back in Central America.

Delaware Public Media

A state committee is on the verge of offering plans for a new teacher salary system.

The group has been working since July to boost starting salaries and establish “teacher leader” positions, which gives educators ways to make more money and have more responsibility without moving into management roles.


As a state committee begins trying to morph the pay structure for educators, the head of Delaware’s teachers’ union says there are issues that must be addressed to gain her support.

The Markell Administration has emphasized creation of optional teacher leadership positions. They would include a boost in pay to give educators a way to increase their salary without leaving the classroom to become an administrator.

Delaware Public Media

After sitting atop Gov. Jack Markell’s to-do list for the past two years, state lawmakers and officials are now looking at raising public teacher salaries.

Markell has mentioned the need to retain teachers who want to stay in the classroom in his past two State of the State Addresses.

A new task force created at the end of the General Assembly last month met for the first time Wednesday to address the issue.