iEducate Delaware: We all Have a Part to Play

May 1st, 2013

Category: News, Policy and Practice

Like many parents, my weekends are often filled with time on a field or a track.  Right now, all three of my kids run track.  The relays are the most hectic.  Not only does each runner need to do his or her part, but each handoff is critical.  A great run with a dropped baton means finishing without medals.  Those runners on the track wouldn’t have a chance without the people on the sidelines.  Coaches, usually selfless volunteers, dedicate hundreds of hours of their time.   Parents, who are often running along the fence with their child as they come down the home stretch, feeling every stride, have logged lots of driving miles and doled out lots of meals and sunblock to simply give their child a chance to compete.   All of these interconnected parts need to work together and if any part is missing the individuals and the team suffer.

Our education system functions in the same way.  From state leadership to local school boards, administrators, teachers, parents, and community leaders—all of us are part of our education team, playing key roles to ensure our students are prepared to take advantage of all of the opportunities of the 21st century. Plenty of attention is focused at the policy level, but we sometimes forget those working at the classroom and community levels:  the teachers, administrators, parents, and community members who are doing the difficult work – part art, part plain hard work –of ensuring our children are maximizing their talents.

Last year Rodel launched iEducate Delaware as our way of bringing some of these stories to light—not only to recognize the hard work and effort of these individuals but also to inspire others. We were blown away by the response. We learned about principals taking to the streets to find creative ways to connect with their neighborhoods and community members volunteering time and energy to provide leadership opportunities for students. In one school, specialists used technology to go on field trips without leaving the classroom, while in another school teachers used it to support English Learners.  In addition, a special education teacher found unique ways to communicate with preschoolers on the Autism spectrum.

Thousands of Delawareans poured onto our site to learn about these outstanding individuals and share their stories. We were pleased to be able to invest $2,000 towards five of these education champions, helping to deepen and broaden the impact their work is having.

Now we’re proud to announce the second year of what we hope will be a successful program for years to come. iEducate Delaware is officially accepting nominations for 2013, and will continue to do so until June 30th.

My team and I are excited to read more stories of amazing people doing this work in and outside the classroom. Delaware has come a long way in recent years, and if we are to sustain our success and continue to build towards a world class education system, we need everyone to be involved. Our hope is that iEducate Delaware will build upon our great state’s momentum and help inspire others to join this critical work.

I Educate Delaware.  I look forward to learning how you do, too.   

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Paul Herdman



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