Delaware Educators Experience What’s Possible

February 22nd, 2011

Category: News

Approximately 70 educators throughout the state (including superintendents, principals, teachers, central office staff, DSEA, and Innovative Schools) visited Crossland High School and E.L. Haynes Charter School to see best practices in action as part of the Department of Education’s Race to the Top LEA Support Program.

Each campus was chosen because they successfully challenged the status quo by providing an excellent education to traditionally low-performing students.  They accomplished this feat by implementing many policies and practices currently being developed as part of the Race to the Top program, including ways to increase the quantity and quality of highly-effective teachers, utilizing data to drive instructional practices, and increasing access to rigorous coursework to ensure all students graduate prepared for college/career.  For their incredible work, each campus has been nationally recognized*.

Participants on the E.L. Haynes site visit:

  • Learned about the Capital Teaching Residency, a joint effort between E.L. Haynes and KIPP DC to recruit, select, train, and certify new teachers through a rigorous year-long residency program;
  • Listened to campus teachers and leaders describe how their professional learning communities, through common languages and protocols, build a constantly improving campus culture and drive instructional practices throughout their school;
  • Discussed how E.L. Haynes, in partnership with the Achievement Network, utilize diagnostic and formative assessment data to drive instructional planning & delivery;
  • Learned about the structure and content of E.L. Haynes year-long program; and
  • Saw firsthand how E.L. Haynes plans to develop and use technology to monitor student progress and increase parental involvement.

Participants on the Crossland High School site visit:

  • Learned about the College Summit program, which works with students, schools, and communities to increase college enrollment among traditionally underserved students;
  • Listened to campus teachers and leaders describe the importance of campus leadership and its role in driving campus culture and student achievement;
  • Learned about Crossland’s mission of providing rigorous coursework and corresponding supports to all students so that they are challenged academically; and
  • Learned about the incorporation of technical/skill academies into their school for increased student engagement and preparation.

Michael Boyd, an ELA teacher from Lake Forest High School who participated in the Crossland site visit, said, “To me, the key was the vision of what a school, especially a school that was in such horrible shape, could become.  It was clear they had a plan, and everyone bought into that plan.”

Based on survey results, we know participants saw the positive effects of innovation and boldness on student learning.  We are anxious to help educators take what they’ve learned and incorporate them into their plans for the benefit of all Delaware students. 

*Crossland’s work has been recognized by the United States Department of Education’s “What Works” website, the New York Times, Ed Week, and, more recently, First Lady Michelle Obama.  E.L. Haynes received the New Leaders for New Schools’ Effective Practice Incentive Community Grant, which recognizes charter schools that achieve outstanding student achievement gains.

Brett Turner



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