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Gordon/Williams letter to school supers

Gordon/Williams letter to school supers

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Published by Kilroy's_Delaware
Gordon/Williams letter to school supers
Gordon/Williams letter to school supers

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Published by: Kilroy's_Delaware on Apr 03, 2013
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04/03/2013

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,
March20,2013WewritetoexpressourconcernsaboutseveralNewCastleCountypublicschoolproblems;toseekfromyouandotherdistrictschoolofficialsupdatedfactsanddataabouttheseproblems,andtoaskforyoursupportinhavingthetwoofus,asCityandCountye.lectedofficials,tobecomeinvolvedinresolvingtheseproblems.Theproblems,aspresentedtousbyagrowingnumberofcomplaintsfromconstituents,arethoseof
(I)
thealarmingandincreasingnumberofWilmingtonpublicschoolstudentswhoarebecoming"Drop-Outs",and(2)theperceivedinequitiesanddisproportionatenatureoftheNewCastleCountypublicschoolstudentbusingsystems(causingmassivelossofproductivityduetotransportationtime).Inwhatfollows,webrieflyhighlighttheessenceofthesetwopublicschoolproblems,andourneed,asthetopelectedofficialsinthetwopoliticalsub-divisionswhichprovidemulti-millionsoftaxsupportdollarstoourschooldistricts,formoreinformation.Attheoutset,wewishtostressthepointthatwebelievethedropoutproblemisonewhichwillrequirenewinitiativesandinvolvementfromthecommunityatlarge.Wearepreparedtouseourleadershiptodramatizethisproblem,andtoworkcooperativelywithschoolofficialsandthecommunitytofindsolutions.Relativetothisfirstproblemofschooldropouts,weareaskingthatyourInformationTechnologystaffworkwithourconsultants(PritchettAssociates)infurtherrefiningthedropoutdatanumberswehavereceivedfromtheStateDept.ofEducation.(DOE)-asummaryofdatasubmittedbytheindividualschooldistricts.Unfortunatelyforus,theDOEstudentdropoutdataarebrokendownonlybycounty,schooldistricts,and·individualschools.Wilmingtonanditsstudents,ourprimaryfocus,arenotsingledout.Forexample,we.havebeenabletoverifyfromDOEdatathatduringthe
2010-2011
 
schoolyear]thestudentdropoutrateinNewCastleCountywas61%,(ofthe
statewide
total)andthatfromthisratio,31.1%wereBlack;8.8%wereHispanic,and21.1%wereWhiteorother.Thisinformationishelpful.However]sinceweareprincipallyconcernedatthispointaboutourWilmingtonconstituents]weareaskingyourITstaff,workingwithourconsultants,toextractfromyourdistrictdatabasethosestatisticswhichpertainonlytoWilmingtonstudentdropouts---andtolookatthesedatainrelationtovariablessuchasspecialeducation,censustracts,suspension/expulsions,race/genderandothercontributingfactorstobelaterdetermined.Also,pleaseprovideinformationrelevanttothegraduationrateofthosestudentswhoresideintheCityofWilmington.Inconnectionwiththisstudentdropoutproblem,wethinkitessentialthatwebuttressourassessmentoftheDOEdatabyinterviewingaselectedsampleofstudentswhohaveinfactdroppedoutofschool,andwhocouldofferpersonalinsightsandexperienceswhichcontributedtotheirdecisionstodropout.Onthisparticularpoint]itistobenotedthatintheDOEreport,officialsofonly15%oftheindividualschoolssoughttoinquirethroughexitinterviewswhyastudentwasdroppingout.Thismeansthatofficialsat85%oftheschoolsmadenoattempttodeterminewhyastudentwasdroppingout.Wewouldneedtheassistanceoflocalschooldistrictsinidentifyingthosestudentdropoutsand/ortheirfamilieswhocouldbesoughtoutforapprovaloftheseinterviews.Asecondandfinalpublicschoolproblemwehaveaskedourconsultantstoaddress,withthecooperationofschoolofficials]isthatofpublicschoolbusingwithinthefourNewCastleCountySchoolDistricts.ThroughouttheWilmingtoncommunity,thereisaperceptionthatstudentbusingisa"onewaystreet"-namelythatbusingisviewedastheoutflowofurbanbased(Wilmington)studentstosuburbanbasedschoolsversesthesupposedlyexchangeofsuburbanpublicschoolstudentsbeingbusedintourbanbased,innercityschools.TheconcernisthatthereareveryfewwhitestudentsbeingbusedintoWilmington.Inthemixofthisdebate,thereisthequestionofwhetherfederalcourtguidelines(onbusing)arebeingfollowed,andwhethertheDelawareenactedNeighborhoodSchoolsAct(offeringstudentstheopportunitytoattendschoolsincloseproximitytotheirneighborhood)isbeingsatisfied.ComplicatingthesequestionsisthebeliefofmanythatthereareWilmingtonbasedmiddleandhighschoolbuildingfacilitiesandsomestudentslivingneartheseWilmingtonmiddleandhighschoolfacilities,whichsomeWilmingtonstudents(thosenowbeingbused)couldattend,exceptthattheseschools,althoughlocatedinWilmington,existoutsideoftheschooldistrictsfromwhichthoseWilmingtonstudentsarebeingbused.
 
Asapartialresponsetothesequestions,wehaveaskedourconsultantstoseekanswerstothefollowingquestions;HowmanystudentsfromyourschooldistrictarecurrentlybeingbusedtoandfromWilmington?Whatistheracialbreakdownofthestudentsbeingbused?Whatistheestimatedstudenttimebeingspentperdayonpublicschoolbuses?ArethereWilmingtonstudentsnowbeingbusedtosuburbanschools,whoconceivablycouldattendamiddleorhighschoolbuildingfacilityinWilmingtonifschooldistrictboundarieswereadjustedtomakethishappen?Whatistheestimatednumberofstudentswhowouldbeaffectedbysuchdistrictboundaryadjustments?Inconclusion,thereisthequestionofwhatmightbetheendresultofthisdatagatheringprocess.Itisourintenttorequirefromourconsultantsacomprehensivefinalprojectreportwhichwouldbepresentedtoasoontobeappointednew,projectCitizenCoalitionwhichwillhavemonitoredtheprojectdatagatheringphases;whichwillparticipateintheformulationofrecommendationsforthefinalreport,andwhichwillbetheprimaryadvocategroupforadoptionofprojectrecommendations.Thefinalprojectreportwillembody(A)analysisandinterpretationoftheaforementioneddatasourcesonstudentdropoutsandstudentbusing;(B)reviewandanalysisofpreviouslypreparedstudy/researchreports(aboutschoolsinNewCastleCounty)whicharerelatedtoanyofthequestionsand/issuesnotedinthislettertoNewCastleCountyschoolofficials;(C)presentationandassessmentofdatagatheredfrompersonalinterviewswithselectedstudentdropouts;(D)studyandreviewofselectedresearchreports/journalsaboutstudentdropoutandstudentbusingissuesinotherplaceswhicharesimilartothoseinNewCastleCountypublicschools.Theconsultantswiltbeespeciallymindfulof"BESTPRACTICES"notherplaceswhichhaveproventobeeffectiveinaddressingtheproblemsofpublicschoolstudentdropoutsandpublicschoolbusingprograms(involvingurbanandsuburbanschooldistricts).And(E)mostimportantly,wewillexpectourconsultants,takingintoconsiderationalloftheabovenotedfactors,toprepareasetofreportrecommendationsforactionbyourlocalschooldistricts,byourappointedCitizenCoalitionandbytheWilmingtonCommunity.HighprioritywillbegiventothoserecommendationshavingtodowithactionstobetakenbytheWilmingtoncommunitytohelpresolvetheWilmingtonstudentdropoutproblem.Ourinterestismultifaceted;webelievethatthedrop-outratespeCificallyofAfricanAmericanmalesisbothcontributory,aswellasrudimentarytoamajorityofthesociologicalchallengesofbothourCityandCounty.Theseincludeunemployment,teenpregnancy,crimeandincarceration,homelessnessandothers,toogreattomentionhere.Webelievethatanimprovementinreducingthehighdrop-outrateandincreasingthegraduationratewillhavepositivelastingaffectsonallofthe

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