November 22, 2013
Delaware Department of Education
Delaware seeking nominees for federal Green Ribbon award
The federal Green Ribbon Schools recognition award, now in its third year, honors schools and districts that are exemplary in: reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), civic skills and green career pathways.
Accelerated Academic Grants awarded
The Delaware Department of Education is pleased to announce the award recipients of its Accelerated Academic Grants, the new state program that made funds available for programs targeted at academically advanced students. The program — created through legislation proposed last year by Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn and the chairs of the General Assembly’s education committees, Sen. Dave Sokola and Rep. Darryl Scott — allows school districts to design programs targeted at students who are ahead of grade level in reading, writing, math or science.
State announces college access grants
The Delaware Department of Education is awarding two sets of sub-grants to support increasing access to higher education. The first targets college readiness with six awards totaling $191,117 and funds partnerships between schools and supporting nonprofit organizations.
Cape Henlopen principal earns national award
Jennifer Nauman, principal of Cape Henlopen’s Shields Elementary in Lewes, was one of seven principals in the nation presented this week with the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership this year at the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. She is the first Delaware principal to receive this award.
The News Journal
Parents not giving up fight to keep Reach Academy open
Reach Academy, the state’s only all-girls public school, is scheduled to close in June after state officials decided not to renew the school’s charter last week, citing test scores that showed the lowest academic performance in the state. “The process is complete. The focus now is on helping those families transition to new schools,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Alison May. But some Reach parents still hope to change state leaders’ minds.
Delaware helping Reach parents find new schools
State officials are announcing ways to help parents at the Reach Academy for Girls transition to other schools, even as supporters begin a campaign to reverse the decision closing the charter school. The Department of Education is hosting an informational session at 6 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the school, at 170 Lukens Drive in New Castle.
Parents: Know what to ask before school closes
Kudos to the state Department of Education for its ability to quickly pull together an informational session to aid Reach Academy for Girls students, who face closure of their school come June. The Dec. 11 event will symbolize for the second time the unfortunate failure of the state’s first charter school devoted to the academic achievement of girls. Fortunately it is being held early enough for the parents and their daughters to apply to attend other charter schools or Delaware’s traditional mixed-gender public schools through the School Choice program.
Capital School Board denies request for class-size waiver
The Capital School Board voted Wednesday night not to accept a waiver allowing class sizes to grow larger than 22 students. The tally was 3-0 with one member abstaining and another absent. State law requires districts to have no more than 22 students in grades K-3, but districts can ask their school board’s permission to grow some classes larger than that.
Anti-Common Core fight is too costly
A letter to the editor
We should appreciate Gov. Jack Markell’s leadership and commitment to the Common Core Standards. Despite some ill-informed opposition, all the standards do is make sure students are actually ready for the world into which they will graduate, which should be the fundamental goal of education. For the same reason we should support the governor’s early childhood education plan when so many studies show the early years are vital to a child’s success in life. We need to keep prioritizing funding for early education programs, as well as family and community partnerships and encouraging early childhood centers to promote healthful eating and physical activity.
Graduation rate about flat, new figures show
Four and a half years after producing more degree-holders became a national priority, graduation rates remain stubbornly flat, according to a new analysis by the National Student Clearinghouse. The study found that the percentage of students who graduated within six years after starting toward either a four-year or a two-year degree is 54.1%, up only one-tenth of 1% from last year.
New Jersey Spotlight
Major changes on way for New Jersey’s high school tests
New Jersey next year will suspend its requirement that high school graduates pass a state test in language arts and math to receive their diplomas. The state is starting to plan for the new era of testing that will begin in 2014-15 as part of the Common Core standards. Also in the works, the rollout of the elementary and middle-school tests that are part of the Common Core assessments.
Which states are most vulnerable to K-12 sequester cuts?
Sequestration—the 5% across-the-board cuts—has affected some districts and states harder than others because of their dependency on federal funding, according to a new report. More than half the districts in these 14 states rely on the federal government for 15% or more of their revenue. And more than half of the districts in 21 states had budgets that relied on federal funding above the national average of 11.8% in 2011-12.
Teacher prep. evaluation depends on better longitudinal data, studies find
As teacher preparation programs come under increasing pressure to track the effectiveness of their graduates, a Data Quality Campaign report finds that fewer than half of states provide annual data on teacher performance to colleges of education. And a new policymakers’ guide maintains that most teacher evaluation systems do not measure many aspects that would be useful to improve teacher training programs.
New York Times
Campaign seeks to recruit top students to become teachers
The Department of Education—in partnership with the Advertising Council, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance, Teach for America, the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions, and other educational groups—unveiled a campaign aimed at recruiting a new generation of classroom educators. The Teach campaign uses video spots and radio announcements that portray teaching as creative, invigorating, and meaningful.