March 15, 2013
“This business”, says John Demby, the principal (headmaster) of Sussex Tech, a high school in Delaware, “has changed dramatically in a very short period.” This year, like all principals in the state, he is evaluating teachers under a new system for the first time. The state is also adopting a new curriculum for English and maths, the “common core”. That will require changes to the state’s regular computerized tests for students, themselves only three years old. On top of all that, Sussex Tech is launching a scheme to allow students to start accumulating college credits while still in high school. And it is overhauling the vocational training it offers in order to serve local businesses better and to provide students with more useful qualifications. It is not just Sussex Tech; all Delaware’s schools are undergoing a similar upheaval, thanks to a series of reforms championed by Jack Markell, Delaware’s governor.
General Assembly honors Teachers of the Year
Delaware’s 2013 State Teacher of the Year John Sell, joined by Delaware’s 2013 District Teachers of the Year, addressed legislators in both chambers today on education issues in Delaware after lawmakers passed a concurrent resolution honoring the educators. Sell thanked legislators for their leadership in making Delaware a global leader in education reform and urged them to continue to investigate innovative ways to improve Delaware’s schools, particularly as related to improving teacher preparation programs, mentoring and teacher leadership opportunities. Governor Markell also outlined this as a priority for his second term in his State of the State address in January.
Metro West Daily News
State education boards develop new post-high school readiness definition
Massachusetts’ board of higher education voted to accept a new definition of college readiness, which already was adopted by the K-12 board of education. Some of the required abilities include: reading and comprehending “sufficiently complex tests”; effective writing and researching skills; and workplace skills, like working under the direction of others.
Maine leading initiative for multistate tech buys
A group of states has joined forces to arrange the purchase of a comprehensive set of educational-technology devices and services. The initial partners in the multistate venture are Maine, Hawaii, and Vermont, but other states are interested in coming on board. Leaders of the undertaking say that a major factor driving the collaboration is the development of the Common Core State Standards.
Fragmented data systems a barrier to better schools, experts say
The fragmented nature of data systems in school districts, a lack of common data standards across states, and the financial challenges of providing professional development to data users in schools combine to leave many districts and states struggling to provide meaningful, real-time data about student performance to educators. And that reality, experts say, is a major barrier for districts working to transform themselves into organizations that maximize the effectiveness of new technologies.
Louisville Courier Journal
Fewer than a third of new kindergarteners statewide are prepared
Just 28% of Kentucky’s incoming kindergartners are prepared with skills such as knowing shapes, letters, numbers, and telling right from left, according to new pilot data released by the education department. Next year, all districts will have to take part, for the first time giving officials comparable data showing how ready the state’s 50,000 children are when they start kindergarten.