October State Board Update
Here is quick rundown of the happenings at the State Board of Education (SBE) meeting yesterday.
Innovative Schools updated the SBE on the work they are doing with schools, including the school models they are working to bring to Delaware (like New Tech in Seaford). The Delaware PTA and Parent Information Center also updated the board on the work they are doing, and their efforts to better coordinate parent involvement work across the state.
Race to the Top Update:
DOE updated the board on the support program they have created to help school districts complete their Race to the Top Scopes of Work plans for years two through four. This includes trips, planning meetings, and technical assistance to help LEAs create plans meeting RTTT commitments that can be quickly implemented, and remain sustainable after RTTT funds run out. The big message here is that while RTTT prompted this work, the current process and resulting plans will be the strategic direction off of which districts work for the foreseeable future. DOE also mentioned that they are reviewing proposals for the Development Coach and Leadership Training RFPs released last month; they anticipate finalizing decisions in the next few weeks. The Data Coach RFP is also closed and review of those proposals will start shortly.
We are two weeks into the first implementation of DCAS, and while there have been some minor glitches (mostly around student identifiers), DCAS is on track and running well. This first testing window will run through November 19th, and the SBE will get an update at their December meeting. DOE mentioned that parents will have access to their children’s scores through their home access systems, and districts will be communicating with them when it is available. DOE is also working to make sure that when teachers have this first round of data, they will be able to analyze and use it to inform their instruction.
The SBE received their final DSTP report EVER as the science and social studies scores were released from tests this spring. 8th grade science has been the big winner, with an 42 percent increase in the number of proficient students over the past decade, and an increase of 144 percent in the number of students receiving a four or five on the exam. This has been attributed to the strong science curriculum and professional development over that same time period. 11th grade science and 8th and 11th social studies have faltered a bit. There have been some gains in the long run, but scores have dipped over the past few years.
The Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security’s request for a charter modification was approved. Many new charters have run into issues finding suitable buildings to house their schools. DAPSS was originally slotted to be located in Wilmington, but the modification allows access to a building about two miles outside of the original location zone. With this modification, DAPSS should be able to get up and running for next fall.