Message from Kendall
Happy Fall Y'all!
How can you not be happy with all the beauty that nature is providing these days? I love this time of year - leaves changing, pumpkins & hay, the crisp autumn air, and of course the calm after the storm of putting an event together! This year's IDEA Awards were once again a phenomenal success, thanks to the students that performed, the team that worked so hard to put it together, and of course our entire community that told the stories of the 'planes that landed' and came out to celebrate together!
For those of you that missed this incredible evening of celebration (including honoring our 20 Year Charter School Champion - Senator Tom Carper), we have an amazing recap of the winners in our feature story this month. Over the next few months, we hope to spotlight as many of these incredible members of the charter village as we can. Their stories need to be shared so that we can change the conversation. As I mentioned in my remarks on October 9, I had the incredible opportunity to hear Joel Klein speak at the beginning of the month. One of the stories that he told was about a conversation that he had during his tenure with a NY Times reporter. He asked why the paper was only telling the stories about 8 failed schools out of 100 and not the incredible stories of the 92 that didn’t fail. The reporter responded that they don't report about planes that land. We need to change the message - we need to talk about the 'planes that land'! The IDEA Awards is an amazing opportunity to do just that.
That cannot be the only time though! We are asking every day: "What planes landed today?" We want to share the stories of our successes, but cannot do so without those of you on the ground helping! Please tell your stories and let us help get the word out so that everyone knows about the Planes That Landed!
PS - check out this cool video - love this song, especially since I believe that all of our charter community are Renegades! click here For those that were at the IDEA Awards, you will recognize the song, as it was played a good number of times that night!
Feature Story: What's the big IDEA?
Innovation. Dedication. Education. Admiration. These are the qualities we celebrated a few weeks ago at the IDEA Awards. It was a festive evening devoted only to shining light on the goodness of charter schools. And it was a SUCCESS! Spirits were high, the mood was right, and for at least one night Delaware's charter schools were on top of the world. And I haven't even mentioned the outstanding performances given by our very own charter students. Ten schools represented by more than 200 students demonstrated such unbelievable talent, the audience was awestruck. And then, of course, there were the awards...There were 70 nominations for awards in 8 categories, with Providence Creek Academy garnering the most at 17. Way to go PCA! (Should your school have had more? Well, I have great news... YOU have the power to make that happen. We will start accepting nominations for the 2016 awards in late spring. Watch for the notice then and tell us who you think deserves recognition.) In the end there were 18 award recipients, who are listed in the right-side margin, among a room full of charter school supporters who just enjoyed an entertaining, inspiring, and pride-inducing evening. Can't wait 'til next year!
We are featuring a few of the winners in the Spotlights this month, and others in the months ahead so that you can meet these folks who are making a difference every day in our schools. This year the Cornerstone Award went to Henry Clampitt. Henry's children attended The Charter School of Wilmington where he served on the Parent Association for years, including two as Co-President. He then moved on to the Board, on which he has served for the past five years. He is an ardent supporter of school choice and charter schools and devotes so much of his own time and energy to advocating for students. He is undoubtedly deserving of this recognition. Please read on to learn more about him...
Henry Clampitt, The Charter School of Wilmington
Why did you choose your school?
My sons chose CSW based on its reputation among their peers and also to be with their middle-school friends who applied to CSW, to be challenged in high-school, and to be at a “big” school campus with many available activities. I supported their choice, wanting them to have a positive high school experience, a solid exposure to the college-preparatory sciences, and to develop their individual potential in an academically-challenging environment.
What is your favorite thing about your school?
There are so many good things about the CSW. There are also many opportunities for improvement. But if I have to pick a favorite aspect, it is CSW’s sense of community among the students and among the parents. That sense of community is built by the classroom culture among students and teachers, and by the many ways in which the families reach out to each other in ever-evolving peer groups through the Parent Association, athletic/academic teams, clubs and more.
Are you involved as a volunteer at your school? In what roles?
I served two years as a Co-President of the Parent Association along with Yvonne Johnson, it was a great partnership and a priceless experience. I then served five years on the school board with an emphasis on governance, training, and charter-renewal. Shortly after I joined the board, our leader (Walt Warner) gave us generous advance notice of his plans to leave and I headed the search process for his replacement. In that process we engaged a wide swatch of our community and I had the pleasure and privilege of serving with Walt and with teachers, students, parents, and board members in the process. My wife Jane and I both served as judges at the Science Fair and as active boosters for the CSW-Cab wrestling team. Overall, I have been very involved as a volunteer.
How do you involve yourself in your child’s education and why is that important?
I’ve always tried to set an example for them about volunteer service and about willingness to learn new things and meet new people. I’ve typically volunteered for supporting the back-office functions (e.g., board, PTO, booster) even when I had to learn a role from scratch, so that the front-line adults in their educational lives (teachers and coaches) could have more freedom to do their jobs well. This is only one way to be involved and it works for me -- it allows more time for our family to be together while also fostering our children’s personal independence.
Why is it important for parents to have school choice?
Choice is one of the most important factors in the public education system. Choice compels the education system to be responsive to its consumers, and consumers make uniquely different individual choices. “One size does not fit all”, and in this digital age we expect ever-increasing freedom of choice. The challenge in public-education choice is to enable everyone to take advantage of the choices, to empower students to be part of those choices as they mature, and to structure the system over time so that choices match demand.
Should parents be more involved in the political process where education is concerned? Why?
Education politics is a challenging topic. I would say that parents should only get involved in educational politics if they can keep focused on the issues rather than on the people behind them. The political process is not for the faint of heart. But one political thing which everyone should do on occasion is to write to their school leaders and boards, and their legislators and Governor, when an issue concerns them or if they simply want to express appreciation.
What do parents need that would enable them to become more involved in the political process?
Be informed. Attend board meetings, and speak during the public comment period. Read editorials, write Letters to the Editor. Attend legislators’ town hall coffees. Volunteer for a task force or committee. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but even a little bit can teach you a lot about the politics of education and will help you to find a niche where you can make a difference.
Parent Name: Henry Clampitt
Charter School Name: The Charter School of Wilmington (CSW)
Student(s): Jeffrey and Peter (both are Class of 2012)
I love my charter school because…
The school has a positive and compelling culture of high expectations and motivated achievement, a great community of families, an outstanding staff of teachers and administrators, and a large-campus relationship with The Cab Calloway School of the Arts which benefits both schools and the district.
If I had a million dollars I would…
Well, let’s be clear that this would be “the million dollar windfall” I have been waiting for. When it arrives, I would like to use it to help endow a fund for the expansion of CSW so that more students could be enrolled and enjoy this excellent high school experience.
In the Community:
First Saturdays at Johnson Victrola Museum
A premier collection of its kind, displaying sound recording industry items dating from the 1890's through 1929. The museum honors Eldridge Reeves Johnson of Dover who founded the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901.
Saturday November 7, 2015, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Johnson Victrola Museum, Dover
Click here for more information
RAL Annual Holiday Fair Fine Craft Show
The Rehoboth Art League is happy to bring back another year of Holiday fun with our 26th Annual Holiday Fair – Fine Craft Show. The 2015 Holiday Fair will feature over 30 artisans exhibiting and selling their work, including jewelry, glassworks, pottery, clay sculpture, painting, woodworking, mixed media, and decorative and wearable fiber creations.
Saturday, November 7, 2015, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Rehoboth Art League, Rehoboth Beach
Click here for more information
The family science career series where children (and grown-ups!) can "Try On" science! Each month we will conduct fun experiments, examine live organisms up close, and learn all about different science careers in an interactive laboratory designed to inspire children of all ages to become confident science learners.
Saturday, November 14, 2015, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Delaware Children's Museum, Wilmington
Click here for more information
Did you know?
The SAT is all new for 2016! To help students prepare, the College Board and Khan Academy have partnered to create an online tool. The Official SAT Practice through the Khan Academy will be available to all students FOR FREE. For further details visit:https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/