The Wilmington Learning Collaborative will hold its first public meeting Friday, and the board is expected to be filled with its final three positions – all student representatives – by February.
The final parent representative to the collab’s governing council was named Tuesday night by the Christina School District.
Shanette Graham, a parent of a student at Stubbs Early Education Center, will join Brandywine’s Starr Wilson and Red Clay’s Jennie Yeow as parent representatives on the 12-person board.
Created in Nov. 2022, the Wilmington Learning Collaborative is designed to help raise the achievement levels of Wilmington elementary schools, which are now split among several school districts, including Christina, Red Clay and Brandywine.
The ultimate goal of the collab is to empower educators by giving them a voice in policy-making to improve student achievement, helping students have consistent curricula across the city, and helping families deal with social and other issues that affect getting kids to school and helping them learn.
RELATED STORY: Red Clay picks parent rep for Learning Collab
In December 2022, Education Secretary Mark Holodick appointed retired Christina teacher Janis McElrath to fill the board’s former educator seat, and Wilmington City Council recently named Don Patton, a Christina school board member, as Mayor Mike Purzycki’s representative.
That leaves only high-school student representatives from each of the districts to be named. Council members have said they expect those to be chosen by the end of January.
Here’s the current makeup of the Learning Collab’s board so far:
- Christina superintendent: Dan Shelton
- Brandywine superintendent: Lincoln Hohler
- Red Clay superintendent: Dorrell Green
- Christina board member Alethea Smith-Tucker, whose district includes the city
- Brandywine school board member: Shanika Perry, whose district includes the city
- Red Clay school board member: Adriana Bohm, whose district includes the city
- Brandywine parent representative: Starr Wilson
- Red Clay parent representative: Jennie Yeow
- Christina parent representative: Shanette Graham
- Former city educator: Janis McElrath
- City of Wilmington representative: Don Patton
The Learning Collab will have its first public meeting at the Brandywine School District office at noon Friday (the 13th). Board members will dial into a livestream, but the public can go to the building or livestream the meeting themselves here.
One of the board’s roles is to hire an executive director. Brandywine’s Perry said during that school district’s meeting Monday that the board may hire a temporary project manager while looking for a permanent director.
The temporary job is not included in the signed memorandum of understanding that created the collaborative.
“Because of the scope of the work in such a short amount of time, until the executive director is brought on and is hired, we need someone to actually guide the meetings,” Perry said. “We were having difficulty figuring out who would be responsible for particular duties and responsibilities, and right now we have a group of individuals with no chief.”
More information about the project manager will be discussed at Friday’s meeting.
The collaborative’s immediate priorities are finalizing the governing council by the end of the month, establishing bylaws, identifying a project manager, finalizing the executive director job description and establishing meeting dates, structures and policies, Perry said.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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