10 Education Stories We Loved in 2016

December 19th, 2016

Category: Early Childhood Education, News, Student-Centered Learning

As 2016 winds to a close, the team at Rodel looked back and gathered some of our favorite and most momentous education stories of the year. What was your favorite? Comment below.


A Jolt of Blue-Collar Hopeblue collar hope

New York Times – November 22nd

In Delaware, where oil refineries and auto plants were once prevalent, Governor Jack Markell and a host of public- and private-sector partners worked to reinvigorate the so-called blue-collar workforce by focusing on K-12 education. Today, Delaware Pathways—which helps students develop skills and connections they can take with them as they move forward onto college or career—is growing leaps and bounds, with more than 5,000 students enrolled this year.


Gov. Markell seeks $11.3 million for early educationl_schoolgeneric16x9-5

DelawareOnline – February 2nd

At the annual Birth to 8 Summit in February, Gov. Markell proposed an $11.3 million budget ask to build on the strong momentum of Delaware’s early childhood education infrastructure. After Joint Finance Committee mark-up, the number landed at $9.4 million, which helps support tiered reimbursement and onsite support and assessment of providers in the Stars program, professional development activities for practitioners in early care and education, early childhood mental health consultation, developmental screenings and surveys, community readiness teams, and more. Readers of this blog know by now the importance of investing in early childhood education. In fact, economists suggest it’s a much more lucrative investment than the stock market.


Our 5 Favorite Moments with the Rodel Teacher Council

RTCRodel Foundation blog – May 2nd

In May, as the Rodel Teacher Council transitioned from its second cohort to its third, members Jermaine Williams and Melissa Grunewald listed their top five favorite moments of the year. The selections ranged from the personalized learning workshop that attracted more than 100 teachers from across the state, to a meeting with legislators. This fall, the RTC launched a series of policy briefs related to personalized learning; and six members published a set of guiding principles and recommendations for the Every Student Succeeds Act.


Delaware teachers get paid to take on more

schoolNewsWorks – August 11th

This spring, 19 Delaware educators kick-started a teacher-leader pilot program that allows them to take on larger roles in their schools without having to leave their classrooms. The concept behind the pilot: by supporting and uplifting some of the state’s most talented educators, we can see just how teacher leadership can benefit educators and students. Rodel Teacher Council member Michele Johnson was one of the 19 teachers selected for the pilot.


Design-Lab charter school earns $10 million grantimgres

Delaware Public Media – September 15th

Delaware Design-Lab High School earned a $10 million grant in September after only opening its doors in spring of 2015. The grant was awarded by the XQ Institute’s Super School Project, which sought proposals on how to re-imagine the American high school for the 21st century—which fit Design-Lab to a T. The charter school focuses on a design-thinking process to teach students how to tackle problems that don’t already have a solution.


One student’s quest to reshape schools

Education Week – June 2nd

Andrew Brennen, at Berkeley University with fellow Coca-Cola scholar Akbar Khan, left.Student voice can be a powerful thing. Enter Andrew Brennen, a 20-year old student activist who travels the country to meet with high school students and encourage them to stand up for what they feel is right. Brennen is the field director for activist group Student Voice, which urges students to think more critically about their schools. Brennen’s efforts to give students a voice took him to the White House, where he was given the opportunity to publicize the movement.


What’s next for Wilmington Education Improvement Commission

schoolDelaware Public Media – July 15th

For the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, 2016 marked a year of hard work and negotiations as it sought approval of its plan–which includes strategies for redistricting Wilmington schools providing additional funding to meet the needs of students from low-income families, English learners, and basic special education students. This article recaps WEIC’s efforts in the previous legislative session and looks forward to 2017.


Educators focus on trauma’s effect on learning

September “Take Note” Newsletter, Delaware Department of Education

14344737_1186567274733635_3636081575270091066_nTrauma is often one of the biggest hindrances in a student’s quest for success, and Delaware schools are taking charge. The third annual Western Sussex Summit held at Woodbridge High School in September highlighted the need for educators to focus on students’ social and emotional needs. Keynote speaker Frank Kros talked to an audience of more than 300 (which included representatives from several school districts and community organizations) about the complexities of trauma, and encouraged increased support and training for teachers of traumatized students. He explained that poverty is a chronic trauma and that one of the biggest obstacles in closing achievement gaps.


Selbyville Middle School teacher explains future of science education in Delaware

Coastal Point – May 5th

Giving students a more hands-on approach is what Selbyville Middle School science teacher Jennifer Hitchens is trying to do with her students by using the Next Generation Science Standards.                                                             teacher-of-the-year-hitchens-dsc_4449-lw_0-img_assist_custom-300x200The multi-state program is dedicated to creating new educational standards that are both engaging and content-heavy in science learning by utilizing methods of teaching that reach students on all levels. Hitchens, who was named Selbyville teacher of the year in 2015-16, is changing the standards of Delaware Education by piloting the program into her own classroom.


Anonymous Donor Pays off All Outstanding Meal Balances at Stubbs Elementary School

Christina School District – December 8

interior-002_thumbThe story that delivered all the warm and fuzzy feels at a time when we needed it most. An anonymous donor cut a $1,283.07 check to pay off the outstanding meal account balances for the students of Frederick Douglass Stubbs Elementary School in Wilmington. The mystery donor even prompted whispers of Santa Claus. But principal Jeffers Brown wisely remarked that it doesn’t take $1,283.07 to make a difference. Volunteering, even for an hour or two, can be a big help to staff and a bright spot for kids.

“Kids love that as much as anything, they love knowing that someone is paying attention to them,” he said. “And it’s one more person who is emphasizing to them how important an education is to their future.”


Rodel Foundation of Delaware




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