A farewell letter from Milford’s outgoing superintendent

Superintendents final letter

Last night Ms Kanter and I said our final farewells as we attended our last school board meeting together and she presented a very nice letter to the board and audience that I thought should be shared with the whole Milford community as it shows those that don’t know just how much this lady has done in the three short years she’s been with us.

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Taking Steps in a New Direction

I mentioned in an earlier post that as my term with the Milford Board of Education is ending I am looking to move in another direction with my public service time take a look at that direction below, and I am taking donations to the campaign:

Friends for Gary Wolfe

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New Proposed Start times for Milford School District to be discussed on June 25th

Here are the proposed times for discussion on June 25th.

Morris and Middle School remain as originally proposed

Banneker, Ross and Mispillion

Drop off   7:35 a.m.
School day  7:45 – 2:15

Teachers   7:30 – 3:00

PLC Wed  2:30 – 4:00

 

MCA/HS

Drop off   8:15 a.m.

School Day  8:25 – 3:05

Teachers  8:00 – 3:30

PLC Wed  8 – 9:30

Students 9:30 – 3:05

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Cape Board approves double bus runs

Board approves double bus runs. “It’s imperative to use double bus runs because the Department of Education requires districts use double bus runs before agreeing to give a district a new bus route, Bassett said.”

Third Paragraph for those who have asked about why Milford is looking at the changing start times. This is what happens when the state cuts transportation dollars to districts by 10%, and local dollars have to cover the difference. The heck with the data showing performance directly linked to start times for secondary students……

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Proposes start times for Milford School district 2012-2013

Attached is the draft of a proposed new start time plan for Milford School district next year, and already its stirring quite a lot of comments. I would like to put it out there for comments from the parents who this will affect as much as the staff. Please only leave constructive comments that I can pass along to the administration. PROPOSED START AND END TIMES 2012-13 – May 23 2012 WORKING DRAFT HAR

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ACLU questions Capital cyberbullying policy

ACLU questions Capital cyberbullying policy. After you read about the ACLU issues venture to the bottom half of the article as someone has opened Pandora’s box about what it means to be on a school board and free-speech. As a blogger, and board member I have walked a tight line trying to let the public know whats going on while still having to abide by these same governance rules.

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Didn’t take long!

I have a question for those who have lost a contest, and particularly those who have been involved with Delaware school boards. How am I suppose to react and feel when I go to an executive board workshop, and the two newest elected have been asked to sit in by the president? Now neither has been officially recognized by the state with a certificate, and neither has been sworn it to their position. Yet the president called the district’s lawyer who said they were OK to be in this meeting where we were discussing personnel issues.

  When I joined the board 10 years ago I was not aloud to attend these executives until after the July 9th swearing in and re-organization meeting. I guess it all depends on the importance of the discussions to certain groups as to whether we push the envelope and rules. In the end the two left less then happy, with the president berating some of us for questioning the decision, and the feelings I left with that evening were that the time had truly come for me to move on to other challenges. I gave a heads up to those friends I still have on the board that I will be watching and challenging the new leadership, and too not take it personally!    

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Words of Wisdom from Mr Holland

As I was watching one of my favorite movies tonight some words of wisdom came to mind that as I prepare to leave the school board I wanted to share. The movie was Mr. Holland’s Opus and I hope the quotes I share will remind those I leave behind why we do what we do in Education. Read on below:

“A teacher has two jobs; fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more important, give those minds a compass so that that knowledge doesn’t go to waste. ” (This may be hard to follow as the system teaches to a test)

Vice Principal Wolters: I care about these kids just as much as you do. And if I’m forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division, I choose long division.
Glenn Holland: Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren’t going to have anything to read or write about. ” (As budgets get tight lets not forget what a well round education means)

Finally, for those good educators I leave to carry on the good work they do please don’t think like Mr. Holland did before the closing, ” You work for 30 years because you think that what you do makes a difference, you think it matters to people, but then you wake up one morning and find out, well no, you’ve made a little error there, you’re expendable. I should be laughing. ”

Because, ” it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. But he would be wrong, because I think that he’s achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you.”

Again I may be outside the mainstream but I will continue to be an Advocate for children and Education.

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Bad Day all around

Well its been a bad day all around as not only did we have to put to sleep our dog of 11 years who was a part of our family, but now I find that I have only 47 friends in Milford who supported my 10 years on the school board. I thank all 47 of those folks and all those who helped me during my tenure. I will finish out my term by handing my youngest his diploma on May 24th then I will step aside and wish the Milford District well in these trying times. I may be off the board but will continue to monitor education and other issues around the district and state. For those who may be asking will this silence my blogging don’t worry I will be paying real close attention to what goes on in the Milford School District as I still have family in the schools! Thanks Again.

Posted in Delaware Politics, Education | 3 Comments

WGMD radio grading per Delaware Family Policy Council Interesting

Seems this morning the radio station WGMD announced the grading that the conservative group, Delaware Family Policy Council gave to several school board members who answered their survey. Its interesting if you go to :http://www.delawarefamilies.org/pdfs/School_Board_Report_Card_(Final)2.pdf

and look at the results since it appears that if you supported their views on all the questions you got an Apple or A. Well I had previously posted my answers which according to the survey only got me a B, but I will share them again here so you can grade them yourself as you go out to vote in Milford today.   

Bullying Policy

 With the growing epidemic of teen suicide, it is becoming increasingly important to have a

strong bullying policy. For several years,Delawarehas benefited from a strong bullying law

that requires each school district to have bullying policy.Delaware’s law defines bullying

based on actual bullying behavior rather than any protected class status (such as race, gender,

and sexual orientation).

 1.Delaware’s bullying law has comprehensive requirements for school districts. Some

school bullying policies, however, are not effectively implemented or do not meet the

requirements ofDelawarelaw. Do you support or oppose an annual school board

review to ensure that your bullying policy is implemented legally and effectively? Support,Milfordpolicy 5412 allows for an annual review in Aug/Sep time frame of all data pertaining to discipline and bullying would fall in that category.

 2. Same sex marriage activists across the country have been championing policies that

define bullying based on protected class status rather than behavior. DFPC supports

policy that elevates protection from bullying for every student, and opposes elevating

protection based on protected class status or groups. Do you support or oppose the

current definition of bullying that protects all students equally? Support, a Bullying policy that is equal to all students.Milfordpolicy 5404 states “District prohibits the bullying of any person”.

 3. DFPC supports adding an explicit free speech clause to protect the free speech rights

of students and staff including the right to political, philosophical, and religious

speech. Do you support or oppose adding an explicit free speech clause to bullying

policies? Oppose adding language as it currently is included inMilfordpolicy # 5311, and should be its own policy not limited to Bullying.

 Contraceptives and Sex Education

 The Delaware Division of Public Health has implemented a-three pronged approach for distributing contraceptives in public schools. The three prongs are Planned Parenthood, the Adolescent Resource Center (ARC), andWellnessCenters. All three are funded and promoted by the state. All three go into public schools and give contraceptives to students both inside and outside of schools & often offer abortion referrals as well. Tax payer funded contraceptives for ages 12 to 18 years are considered “confidential services” and therefore keep parents in the dark regarding the wellbeing of their children.

 1. Planned Parenthood and ARC are invited into manyDelawarepublic schools as guest instructors. As guests, they are often able to avoid policies requiring parental notification. DFPC supports policies that notify parents of all the services provided by Planned Parenthood and ARC (especially abortion services, referrals, abortion causing drugs), and parents given the opportunity to “opt their children out” from the instruction. Do you support or oppose a policy that requires parents to be notified and given an “opt out” of controversial instruction, outside guest instructors, or materials related to reproductive health? Support and current board policy 1002 allows for parental involvement in decisions related to their children’s education.

 2. Planned Parenthood and ARC promote their clinics outside of the classroom that offer abortions and abortion causing drugs. Parental notification of these contraceptive services and their use are not required. Do you Support or Oppose organizations that promote or offer Abortion services having access to children of any age in public schools? Oppose any group other then those approved by board, and currently the Wellness center operated by Bay Health will not offer services without consent of Parent,NO services will be offered without parental consent”.

  3. The traditional health-services offered in a-school based-wellness center do not include reproductive health services. Therefore, parents have knowledge of every service offered and used by their children. The Division of Public Health gives school boards the authority to offer confidential reproductive health services to children ages 12 to 18 in school based wellness centers. This includes all reproductive services such as condoms and birth control pill,SIDtesting, pregnancy testing’ and screening, and referrals based on test results. This option keeps parents in the dark if their children receive those contraceptive services. Currently, this option forces parents to choose between giving their children access to contraceptives and losing access to the wellness center entirely. DFPC supports the traditional option of services which does not violate parental rights. Would you support or oppose full reproductive health services being offered in the school based wellness centers in your school district? Support services that are only approved yearly by a parent or Guardian, and theMilfordpolicy allows parents to choose only those services they will permit!

 4. School Boards have the authority to decide what type of sex education will be taught.

DFPC supports proven abstinence based education as the safest and healthiest choice for children, as well as strategies that support and equip parents as the primary educator about such important issues. DFPC opposes contraceptive based programs that promote contraceptive use as an acceptable form of behavior and undermine abstinence as the expected standard for all students. Do you support or oppose abstinence based sex education? Support any program that teaches a healthy and safe lifestyle to include smoking prevention/cessation, individual and group health education, HIV and AIDS education, responsible decision making, health lifestyle habits, and health promotion.

 Social Media Policies

 School boards and government bodies across the country are reeling from the implications of social media for good and for bad. Many school boards are considering social media policies to promote and require responsible use of social media. DFPC supports and offers policy recommendations that protect teachers and students First Amendment rights to express their opinions about religion, sexuality, and marriage.

 1. For example, one proposed policy would have allowed school employees to be fired for stating a position of disagreement about same sex marriage, deeming it as “negative comments” about groups of people based on “sexual orientation.” Such vague prohibitions ban constitutionally protected free speech and result in costly lawsuits. Do you support or oppose a social media policy that preserves religious liberty as well as allows free speech expression of opinions about religion, sexuality and marriage? Support a social media policy that protects 1st Amendment rights while protecting the students and teachers.  

 2. DFPC supports adding an explicit free speech clause to protect the free speech rights of students and staff including the right to political, philosophical, and religious speech. Do you support or oppose adding an explicit free speech clause to social media policies? Support policy that does recognize free speech protection.

 Religious Liberty

 DFPC supports the religious liberties of school board members, staff, and students. Unfortunately, first amendment rights in public schools are widely misunderstood. Fear of lawsuits can even cause administrators to make decisions that violate constitutional rights.

It’s important that administrators and teachers understand our first amendment rights.

DFPC works to increase understanding in this area as well as offer legal guidance, and referrals for free legal representation when necessary.

 1. DFPC learned that teachers at aDelawareschool currently have a Bible study before school starts, and were asked to leave the school property for Bible study. DFPC supports the right of teachers to engage in Bible study and prayer outside of their teaching responsibilities, including on public school property. Do you support or oppose teachers’ rights to engage in religious activities on public school property? Support any group’s right to meet as long as they follow the guidelines for separation of church and state.Milfordhas as student lead Bible group who meets before school starts, and it is a volunteer group.

 2. Private Citizens inIndian RiverSchool Districtuse the public comment section of school board meetings to have an invocation. Do you support or oppose prayers by private citizens during the general public comment section of school board meetings? The public is free to use their public time as they see fit and within the time limit set by board. Students also can speak at graduations if they so desire.

 3. DFPC represents many teachers inDelawarewho are religious objectors to the

National Education Association (refer to 2011 NEA Resolutions). The NEA has taken positions on a wide range of issues unrelated to education, and many teachers oppose NEA positions on religious grounds. School Boards often determine whether or not to require something known as “fair share” which forces non-union religious objectors to pay a majority of NEA/DSEA union dues. Teachers should and do have the choice to participate in unions other than the NEA. When a teacher does not participate in the NEA due to religious objections, it is not fair to take a teacher’s pay and force their support of an organization that violates their religious beliefs. Do you support or oppose giving religious objectors the right to be free from funding the NEA teachers’ union? I support any individuals right to not have to support any organization they do not feel represents them equally, that’s Democracy!

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