April 17, 2013

April 17th, 2013

Category: News, Policy and Practice

Local News

Sussex County Post
East Millsboro Elementary offering spanish immersion for kindergarten in 2013-14
Indian River School District is offering a Spanish Immersion program at East Millsboro Elementary School in the 2013-2014 school year.  Only kindergarten students will be selected for this first year of the Spanish immersion program, which gives young learners the opportunity to acquire a second language in a developmentally-appropriate format.  Kindergarten students will spend half of each school day learning in English and the other half of the day learning in Spanish.  Students selected for the program will be eligible to continue in the immersion program through the fifth grade. They will then have the opportunity to continue Spanish instruction at the middle and high school levels.

New education foundation to provide scholarships, grants
A new foundation will help students and teachers in the Brandywine School District.  James Hanby is the founder of the Brandywine Education Foundation.  “The foundation will provide scholarships to graduating seniors from the Brandywine high schools, Brandywine, Concord and Mount Pleasant, and then also the second purpose of it will be to provide mini-grants to teachers in the Brandywine School District to fund innovative programs which might not otherwise be funded through the regular school budget,” he said.

The Dover Post
Allen Frear recognized by Denn for getting parents involved
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn (D-Del.) selected two schools to receive the excellence in parent involvement award.  “The one common denominator that I saw when I started visiting schools and asking teachers what’s important was parental involvement,” Denn said. “It’s the ingle issue I hear most about form teachers in terms of where we need to improve.” That’s why, in 2010, Denn approached the Chamber – which already sponsors the Superstars in Education Program – and proposed the creation of a new award which would focus on encouraging schools to get parents involved. Denn said he also hoped that the schools who won the award would become models for schools across the state.

Delaware school system under attack
An opinion by John Watson, a former Wilmington talk show host
You would think that by now, 59 years after the Supreme Court ruling officially desegregating public education, that our educational system would have solved, rather than created kinks in the process of educating our children. That they would make sure we have the best teachers of all races who are able to embrace and understand students from all cultures.  But it seems we have a lack of understanding of minority students by white teachers with little or no sensitivity training in how to deal with this entirely new unexpected situation.

National News

Education Week
School board transparency a challenge in digital age
School board members are struggling to interpret laws that govern where and how they do business now that as many conversations take place digitally as they do face to face. As online and digital interactions increase, so too does public concern that officials have more opportunities to violate state open-meetings and open-records laws meant to prevent them from communicating secretly.  At the same time, others argue that today’s capabilities for communicating and accessing information instantly are making government more transparent, and the public, in turn, more engaged.

High school redesign gets presidential lift
A flurry of good news appeared on the high school front this winter. Graduation rates were at their highest mark in nearly 40 years, record numbers of students were taking and passing Advanced Placement exams, and more high schools than ever were offering college credit through dual-enrollment programs. On top of all that, President Barack Obama applauded high school redesign efforts in his State of the Union address and encouraged districts to look to successful models for inspiration. Last week, he followed up with a request in his fiscal 2014 budget proposal for a new, $300 million competitive-grant program. Recognition is widespread that high schools need to change to engage students and prepare them for the workforce of the future. That push goes back decades, but now momentum is accelerating, and talk is not of reform, but redesign.

The New York Times
Florida: Teachers sue over evaluation system
Seven Florida teachers have brought a federal lawsuit to protest job evaluation policies that tether individual performance ratings to the test scores of students who are not even in their classes. The suit, which was filed Tuesday in conjunction with three local affiliates of the National Education Association in Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Gainesville, says Florida’s two-year-old evaluation system violates teachers’ rights of due process and equal protection. Under a 2011 law, schools and districts must evaluate teachers in part based on how much their students learn, as measured by standardized tests. But since Florida, like most states, administers only math and reading tests and only in selected grades, many teachers do not teach tested subjects.

The Denver Post
As STEM education programs take hold, Colorado seeks common vision
Colorado stakeholders from education and business are seeking to apply greater coordination to dozens of disparate STEM programs. At this point, the definition of a STEM program in K-12 education can mean almost anything, from programs that emphasize math and science, to schools that offer an engineering course, to districts that want to integrate STEM throughout the curriculum.

Associated Press
Some states dropping GED as test price spikes
Several dozen states are looking for an alternative to the GED high school equivalency test because of concerns that a new version coming out next year is more costly and will no longer be offered in a pencil and paper format. Developers say the new version is needed because nearly all states are adopting the tougher Common Core standards to ensure students are prepared for college and careers.

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Rodel Foundation of Delaware




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