Vision 2015 Conference: New Approaches to Schools on the Horizon in Delaware
This morning’s second panel discussion at the Racing to Deliver conference was all about what’s possible, both in creating new schools, and making the schools we have more aligned with the needs of students and teachers. We heard from Chad Wick at the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, who has invested in a number of new school models over the years. He reflected on some of the lessons he has learned creating new school models like New Tech, Big Picture, Early College and School of One, and talked about the challenges any state will face in trying to tackle creating new schools. Chad also talked about the work that EdWorks has been engaged in, helping other states and districts address the needs of their struggling schools and aligning high school expectations with those of college and the workplace (Innovative Schools in Delaware is working with EdWorks to bring one of their schools to our state). Finally, Chad highlighted the amazing opportunity that Race to the Top is going to bring to Delaware schools and districts to be leaders on creating new and innovative schools.
Chad was followed by three Delaware educators that are working on changing the face of their schools. Shelley Holt from the Seaford School district is leading Seaford High as it becomes two smaller schools, one a New Tech high school and the other is still being determined. These small 400 student schools will be more focused on the skills these students need to be successful once they graduate, whether they are headed to college or headed to work. Cristy Greaves from North Laurel Elementary focused on how her school is better aligning the work they are doing and taking it to the next level to support their students, and how RTTT is helping them focus on areas that are directly tied to closing achievement gaps. Finally Sally Maldonado from Kuumba Academy talked about the work her school has done to get buy-in from teachers and parents through the Vision Network, and how that buy-in has helped them make and sustain a number of changes to how their school operates.
The big take away here is that it can be done, and is being done. Delaware is starting to reach out to new models and new ideas and there is a lot of potential in our school system. What these schools are doing today will lay the groundwork for more and better things in the next few years. Seaford, Laurel, and Kuumba are leading the way right now, and we hope to see many more schools joining them on this journey.
These live updates are being shared throughout the day at the Vision 2015 Annual Leadership Forum, “Delaware’s Race to Deliver” on Tuesday, September 28, 2010. You can also follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about Vision 2015, and check back on our blog for post-conference coverage.