Join Us in Developing a Plan for Delaware Public Schools
Since the beginning of the year, hundreds of Delawareans — led by the Vision Coalition of Delaware — have worked to create a draft plan, A Vision for Education in Delaware in 2025 (ED25). This summer, the Coalition has been sharing its vision and seeking Delawareans’ input through six community conversations across the state, targeted meetings, and online engagement.
The Vision Coalition (our President and CEO, Paul Herdman, serves on the Coalition’s the Leadership Team) is inviting Delawareans to visit http://ED25.MindMixer.com, a comprehensive community engagement website, developed by MindMixer, where Delawareans can engage, communicate, and collaborate with leaders, decision makers, and other residents on the future of public education in our state.
We know that time is valuable, and in order to hear from as many people as possible on the development of the ED25 plan, ED25.MindMixer.com is an easy-to-use online tool to generate new ideas and feedback from Delawareans, which will be used by the Vision Coalition in crafting the final ED25 plan.
ED25.MindMixer.com gives contributors a chance to share their opinions, expand upon existing ideas, and give feedback on initiatives, working with community leaders on a variety of topics online anytime, anywhere.
For those who participate on the site, there are “rewards” that have been donated from Delaware organizations and individuals including the Delaware Children’s Museum and U.S. Senator Tom Carper.
We hope you will take a few minutes to offer your thoughts as we prepare our students for a lifetime of success.
Turning the calendar to June signals that another school year is nearing an end. Having family members in the profession (including my wife), I’ve seen the pride and excitement that arrives this time of year as teachers reflect on the year that has passed and how their students have grown.
We know that great teachers and leaders are a key ingredient in creating the best schools for our children, and that the work of teachers extends beyond the classroom. For example, a 2012 report from Scholastic Inc. and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that on average, teachers were working 10 hours and 40 minutes per day, or 53 hours per week! Our educators are heavily invested in their work, and this is a great opportunity to say “thank you.”
I attended Dickinson High School, and one of my favorite teachers, Wayne Vassalotti, was always ready with a kind word of support and encouragement, and truly made an impact on me during my high school career. Years later, I was fortunate to run into him, and he was genuinely excited to see me and hear about my progress since high school. I thanked him and told him how grateful I was to have spent those years learning from him, and he responded, “We had a lot of fun didn’t we?” He truly enjoyed what he did, and though he passed away in 2012, I know myself and many others have fond memories of “Coach Vass.”
Many may assume that teachers have three months of freedom, but it is actually far from the truth. From professional days after students have finished, to working second jobs, and planning for the beginning of another school year, a teacher’s work is never truly done. On behalf of all of us at the Rodel Foundation, thank you to our state’s more than 12,000 dedicated educators!
DelExcels.org: A New Education Resource for Delawareans
Last week, a new website was launched through a public-private partnership of the Delaware Department of Education, Delaware State Education Association, Delaware Parent Teacher Association, and the Rodel Foundation of Delaware.
DelExcels.org was created with the simple goal of providing more information to all Delawareans about the new standards and assessments Delaware has adopted. Instead of needing to visit multiple websites to search for information, DelExcels.org will be “one-stop shopping” about this transition. The website was funded through a grant from the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network, a national nonpartisan network of education advocacy organizations working to improve K-12 education.
The site is currently focused on content regarding Common Core, Next Gen Science Standards, and the new Smarter assessments. In the weeks ahead we’ll be adding additional information resources on topics such as early learning, college and career readiness, and special education. Content comes from a variety a sources, including the National Education Association, National PTA, and Delaware Department of Education to name a few.
Transitions can be challenging, and improvements and modifications may certainly need to be made as Delaware navigates through implementing the new standards and assessments. With centralized information and answers to pressing questions, this resource can help provide clarity during this shift.
Rodel supports this effort as we believe that we are on the right track. By continuing to push forward and work through issues, we are moving closer to creating the best education system possible to support educators and provide a world-class education to every student.
Have a suggestion for resources or information that would be of added value to the site? Let us know!
The week before Christmas: the parking lots are packed, and students and teachers are eagerly looking forward to a much-deserved break to relax and recharge in preparation for the year ahead. This is also the time of year when we see many “year in review” features and “top ten lists” about the happenings over the course of the year.
There is a lot happening in education here, and a highlight worth mentioning again is the progress being made in schools with high percentages of low-income students that are “Beating the Odds” by demonstrating high levels of proficiency in math and English language arts (ELA).
This chart taken from our 2013-2014 Delaware Public Education at a Glance, shows the top three performers in both subject areas when looking at the percentage of low-income students attending the school and the percentage of students that are proficient.
These are just a few of the bright spots we are seeing around the state. For example, Stanton, a middle school in Red Clay, was named a Priority (formerly Partnership Zone) school last year, a designation meaning it was one of the lowest performing schools in the state. Serving a population that is 86% low income and 75% minority, it had one of the highest increases in student proficiency in ELA in the state, jumping almost 11 percentage points. While work remains to be done (overall ELA proficiency was 63%), such a significant increase deserves to be celebrated especially in a year when changes in student performance was largely flat across the state.
Looking ahead to 2014, we should continue to examine the work that is taking place in these schools that is helping students achieve these results.
We’re grateful for the work being done by the more than 10,000 teachers and leaders with the 130,000 public school students in our state as we continue to strive to provide the best education possible for our children. Wishing everyone happy holidays and a joyous and successful new year!