Striving To Stay Connected To The Community

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5By MSD Superintendent Phyllis Kohel

It’s hard to believe that we are already into the month of October, but time does seem to go by fairly quickly when you stay busy, and we have certainly been busy throughout the district. As I have mentioned in a number of meetings, our elementary schools have all experienced an increase in their student populations, and the Board will be asked to approve a waiver to Title 14, Chapter 17, §1705A, Maximum student-instructor ratio requirements.

According to State code, it states, “The ratio of students to instructors in any class in kindergarten or grades 1-3 in a Delaware public school shall not exceed 22 students as of the last school day of October. In calculating such ratio, a classroom instructional aide shall count as equal to half a teacher. This subsection shall only apply to a class within which students are instructed in the core academic subjects of English/Language Arts, mathematics, science and social studies.” The code then states that a local school board has the right to waive §1705A at a public meeting. This will be officially done during our November Board meeting.

In addressing the overcrowding, we are continuing with the process of planning for a referendum, possibly in late January or early February. We have not heard back from the Department of Education regarding the first phase of approval on our Certificate of Necessity, and we cannot move forward until we receive that approval. In the meantime, we are working on ways to try to keep the information flowing to the community. We will have a number of public information sessions open to anyone who would like to attend, and we plan to try using a telephone survey to gather input on both the construction referendum as well as an operation’s referendum. This survey will not come out until after the General Elections on November 4th. For those families who are not within our school community and cannot receive the Alert Now survey, we will post a copy of the survey on our website. You will be able to cast your votes and leave comments if you wish.

Our Technology Department, led by Mr. Scott Whaley, has also come up with an additional way for the district to communicate with the community; it is called SchoolWay and it can be accessed through an app on your Apple or Android phone. Parents, teachers and community members can now keep up with Milford School District news anytime, anywhere with the School Way smartphone app. “School Way is a free, ad-supported mobile app that keeps people connected to their schools.” Grades, school sports scores, emergency notifications and classroom reminders from teachers can all be sent directly to a user’s phone using the app. Users can select to receive notifications from multiple schools, clubs and teachers. School Way is available free for iPhone and Android phones. It also includes a mobile web app for Blackberry and Windows based mobile devices.

You may have already signed up for the app at one of our Open Houses. If you have not done that yet, you can sign up by going to http://myschoolway.com/ and click on the black square “Web App” at the bottom right of the page; then just follow the directions. This will offer all of us another way to stay connected, and it will allow the district to easily keep you informed of what is going on by offering a push down messaging feature. If you have any issues downloading the app, please feel free email Scott Whaley at Swhaley@msd.k12.de.us or Sheri Firch at Sfirch@msd.k12.de.us