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Delaware school district on path to creating inclusive schools while excluding some services for English-learners

Delaware school district on path to creating inclusive schools while excluding some services for English-learners

By Gabriel Pilonieta-Blanco
El Tiempo Hispano

El Tiempo Hispano

The Red Clay School District, in Wilmington, Delaware wants to create more inclusive schools. However, the Board of Education meeting that took place on Wednesday January 15th saw opinion clashes, making it evident that, within the administrative plans, families have been pushed aside.

According to the District web page, at the request of the Red Clay Board of Education, the district has scheduled a public information session at every Red Clay school to further explain a proposal to transition Special Programs and Special Schools to home schools.

Yet, until now, that proposal has not been made available to the public. In summary, the idea is that every student would be relocated to a school in their neighborhood. This would mean that schools, such as Mote Elementary whose curriculum includes English teaching as a second language, would be less diverse (Mote counts with an 85% of Hispanic students) and that these programs, for students with language-needs, would be terminated.

Many teachers from Mote Elementary gave their testimony. Teary-eyed and emotional, they shared their feelings during the School Board meeting.

“The feeling of family is one that any teacher, support staff, parent and student will express to you. It is easy to develop such feelings at this school because of the successful programs that Mote has in place”, said teacher Kristi Chase, “their grades and our test scores are the best they have ever been. Our students want to come to school. Do not take this away from our students. This is what education is all about: challenging students, building confidence and allowing them to succeed. Leave our students at Mote.”

The presentation will include information included in a previously released report, called ”Academic Success for All: Red Clay's Plan for Inclusive Instruction--Moving More Inclusively" and additional information, including specific numbers on how many Special Education students would be assigned to each school, staffing ratios to students, and an overview of the planning process, which began in July 2012.

The overall feeling is that an unexpected change, for which schools are not prepared, is coming. Everyone…

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