New charter school framework released in Delaware

In an effort to help state officials keep better watch of charter schools in Delaware, there’s a new performance blueprint in order to gauge how those schools are doing.

For nearly two years the Delaware State of Board of Education along with the Delaware Department of Education have worked on the new guidelines, which sets a new performance framework for charter schools.

According to Mark Murphy, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, it will provide clarity around the expectations for charters schools in addition to a better platform to constantly monitor them. 

“What we achieve with this, is an ability to measure the performance of our charters each year and we have not had a good structure to do that work in the past,” said Murphy.

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And many charter school officials welcome the plan that focuses on three areas: the academic ability that focuses on student proficiency, accountability and whether the school prepares students for college. Then there is the organizational performance which looks at how schools are running, and if the school is meeting the needs of students. The last part, and perhaps the most critical, is financial health that includes, debt service and cash flow.

This is all too familiar to one principal who took of Academy of Dover after many challenges threatened the institution. 

“For me it’s critical because our charter was renewed this previous year and the only condition we had to ensure that this framework was going to be apart of our performance agreement,” said Noel Rodriguez who is the principal of Academy of Dover Charter School.

“I think this is a forever kind of process in terms of we have to keep getting better and better,” said Gov. Jack Markell, (D-Del.), who showed his support at Thursday’s press conference on the Charter Performance Framework.

The first meeting to discuss charter school evaluations took place in March 2011.  According to Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, President of the Delaware State Board of Education, stakeholders spent roughly six to eight months on each framework. 

In the meantime, officials will meet with charter school leaders to discuss the performance framework as well as implement a series of trainings and workshops.


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