Author Archive

Delaware Sustains Investments in State Model Pathways

Posted by

 

On the heels of a national case study that positions Delaware as a national leader in preparing young people for life after high school—the Delaware Pathways continues to expand to provide opportunities for students.

Earlier this week, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting announced $400,000 in grant funding to support new high school pathway programs. The new programs will provide high schoolers with opportunities to gain employment skills that give them early college credits and work-based learning experiences.

The 40 competitive grants were awarded to 16 districts or charter schools for the 2018-19 school year. This year’s awards expand on a strong history of financial support for career and technical education in Delaware, totaling $2 million in investments since 2015.

Expanding what works

School districts will use the funds to implement these career and technical education programs that allow students to explore career options and follow their passions. Currently, nearly 9,000 students take advantage of the program across 41 high schools—a 4,000 student increase since last school year.

Pathways are developed in lockstep with industry and economic trends, ensuring students are progressing toward in-demand careers. This year, students can choose between 14 career pathways, including new options such as Teacher Academy and Academy of Finance. By 2018-19, even more will be added to the fold, including Agricultural Power and Engineering, and Agricultural Structures and Engineering programs. More information about pathways, including certification and college credit opportunities, can be found here.

 

An ongoing, collaborative effort that benefits everyone

With imminent shifts in Delaware’s workforce, a strong focus on career preparation for high schoolers is necessary to ensure that students are graduating prepared for both college and career.

But students aren’t the only beneficiaries. Employers, by building and supporting pathways, are supporting the development of their future workforce, and will be able to recruit qualified job seekers from local communities. And since students can often earn early college credits by participating in Pathways, local colleges are receiving freshmen who are more prepared for college-level coursework.

Learn more and get involved

To see which districts received awards and descriptions of new and expanded Pathways, check out this list below, or click here. For more information on Delaware Pathways, and what it means for students, parents, and employers, check out Delawarepathways.org.

 

New Pathway Grant Awards Beginning in School Year 2018-19

 

Appoquinimink

Appoquinimink High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($10,000)

Appoquinimink High School: Public and Community Health ($6,000)

Middletown High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($10,000)

Middletown High School: Public and Community Health ($6,000)

 

Brandywine

Brandywine High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($13,000)

Concord High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($13,000)

Mt. Pleasant High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($13,000)

           

Caesar Rodney      

Caesar Rodney High School: Academy of Business Information Management ($12,000)

Caesar Rodney High School: Architecture Engineering Technology ($10,000)

Caesar Rodney High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Education ($11,000)

 

Capital          

Dover High School: Architecture Engineering Technology ($12,000)

Dover High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($6,000)

 

Colonial       

Penn High School: Environmental and Natural Resource Science ($12,000)

 

Delaware Military Academy        

Delaware Military Academy: Academy of Business Information Management ($12,000)

 

Delmar                      

Delmar High School: K-12 Teacher Academy ($10,000)

 

Indian River

Indian River High School: Computer Science ($5,000)

Indian River High School: Nurse Assisting ($11,000)

Sussex Central High School: Agriculture Power and Engineering ($14,937)

Sussex Central High School: Agriculture Structures and Engineering ($14,763)

 

Lake Forest 

Lake Forest High School: Agriculture Power and Engineering ($15,000)

 

Milford          

Milford High School: Agriculture Structures and Engineering ($15,000)

Milford High School: Public and Community Health ($15,000)

 

New Castle County Vocational Technology 

Hodgson Technical High School: Cisco Networking Academy ($7,500)

Howard Technical High School: Cisco Networking Academy ($7,500)

 

Polytech      

Polytech High School: Cisco Networking Academy ($7,500)

Polytech High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($7,000)

 

Red Clay      

AI Dupont High School: Academy of Business Information Management ($12,000)

AI Dupont High School: K-12 Teacher Academy ($5,000)

Conrad School of Science: Computer Science ($5,000)

Thomas McKean High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($11,000)

Thomas McKean High School: Environmental and Natural Resource Science ($12,000)

 

 

Smyrna        

Smyrna High School: Academy of Business Information Mgmt. ($12,000)

Smyrna High School: Agriculture Structures and Engineering ($15,000)

Smyrna High School: Computer Science ($5,000)

Smyrna High School: Early Childhood Education Teacher Academy ($8,000)

Smyrna High School: Agriculture Power and Engineering ($15,000)

 

Sussex Tech          

Sussex Technical High School: Cisco Networking Academy ($7,500)

 

Woodbridge

Woodbridge High School: Agriculture Structures and Engineering ($12,821)

Woodbridge High School: Computer Science ($5,000)

Woodbridge High School: K-12 Teacher Academy ($5,000)

 

New and Expanded Pathways

Academy of Business Information Management

The NAF Academy of Business Information Management introduces students to the skills needed to plan, organize, direct, and evaluate business functions essential to business operations through courses focusing on entrepreneurship, global and domestic economics, information technology, customer service, and ethics. Students gain critical career knowledge through a series of work-based learning activities that are conducted in school as well as outside the classroom. These activities may include, but are not limited to, job shadowing, mock interviews, and resume writing workshops. In addition, a paid 120-hour summer internship is designed to be included as part of the program.

 

Agricultural Power and Engineering

The Agricultural Power and Engineering program of study provides students with the mathematical, scientific, and engineering principles and methods required to understand dynamic power systems and metal fabrication. Students practice real world applications, communication skills, and problem solving skills associated with dynamic power systems and metal fabrication. Students are prepared for a variety of careers including engineering, welding technicians, mechanical and industrial technicians, maintenance technicians, mechanical engineering, metal fabrication, CNC operators, power technology repair and troubleshooting, and green energy technologies.

 

Agricultural Structures and Engineering

The Agricultural Structures and Engineering program of study provides students with the scientific principles and methods required to understand the interrelationships of construction.  Students practice real world applications and problem solving skills associated with agricultural designs and engineering principles. Students utilize problem solving, as well as communication skills to develop engineering concepts and building practices that are sound and reliable. The program prepares students for a variety of careers including carpentry, engineering, architectural design, electrical, plumbing, masonry, construction framing, business management, sales, building maintenance, home improvement, and green energy technologies.

 

Architectural Engineering Technology

The Architectural Engineering Technology program of study engages students in the world of construction and architecture through coursework focusing on site selection, drafting, architecture, and engineering planning, budgeting, cost estimating, and project management.  Students utilize strategies to solve open-ended problems while they learn how to apply technical skills, knowledge, documentation techniques, and processes using modern, industry-leading technology and software. Work-based learning experiences and industry-mentored projects will introduce students to a wide array of careers such as architects, civil engineers, construction management, cost estimators, and drafters.

 

Computer Science

The Computer Science program of study helps students to develop analytical thinking and problem solving skills as well as algebraic reasoning and quantitate analysis necessary for careers in computer science, programming, and IT.

 

Early Childhood Teacher Academy

The Early Childhood Teacher Academy program of study prepares students for careers in an early childhood setting.  The program engages students in developing a realistic understanding of early childhood education while exploring the importance and impact of teachers as well as the uniqueness of early childhood development.  Observation opportunities including special needs and non-classroom settings, provide practical experiences to enrich the learning.

 

Environmental Science and Natural Resources

The Environmental and Natural Resources Science (ENRS) program of study provides students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. The program prepares students for a variety of careers including environmental engineer, environmental science and protection technician, geological and petroleum technician, natural sciences manager, wildlife biologist, and zoologist.

 

K-12 Teacher Academy

The K-12 Teacher Academy program of study prepares students for careers in elementary and secondary education. Observation opportunities in a variety of age and discipline settings, as well as special needs and non-classroom settings, provide practical experiences while enriching the learning. Students participate in a long-term placement during their senior year which allows for in-depth experiences in a classroom setting.

 

Nursing Assisting

The Nurse Assisting program of study engages students in open-ended problem solving where they study topics such as medical terminology and human anatomy and physiology. Students will acquire important skills necessary for healthcare professionals such as medical mathematics, communication, safety practices, legal responsibilities, and teamwork. In addition, students will develop technical skills such as providing personal care of the resident while taking care of their environmental needs and psycho-social needs. Students will identify signs and symptoms that require alerting other members of the healthcare teams such as choking or a significant change in vital signs. The program prepares students for a career as a certified nurse assistant (CNA), patient care technician, home health aide, licensed practical nurse (LPN), or registered nurse (RN) in acute or long term care settings.

 

Public & Community Health

The Public & Community Health program of study engages students in a comprehensive approach to health. Students learn the history of public and community health as well as examine complex public health problems, major theories of disease etiology and intervention. Students explore public health issues related to epidemiology, mental health, disabilities, and substance abuse.

Treating the Cause, Not the Symptoms: What Education Can Learn from the Social Determinants of Health

Posted by

Individual behaviors play a role in educational outcomes, but inequitable social and economic factors loom even larger.

 

We know that children of all backgrounds—including those from adverse environments—can find success in school and in life. But the stark, empirical reality tells us public education still mostly favors the haves over the have-nots. Research shows (see also here and here) that access to three main levers of money, resources, and power still by and large determines whether a child will get a good education.

There is little doubt among education reformers that this needs to change. But after decades of efforts and initiatives aimed at closing achievement and opportunity gaps, the scales remain mostly unbalanced.

As we in the education world chip away on important issues like career preparation, 3rd grade literacy, or social and emotional learning, one can argue that the bigger, more important battles are the ones that influence broader federal, state, and local government policies that direct the all-important flow and distribution of money, power, and resources.

From finance to justice to social policies—there are many examples of indirect levers that can have strong impacts on students and their families, including property tax distribution and payday loan laws. Data shows persistent academic disparities related to income: Impoverished students are not inherently less smart, they are just less likely to have access to high-quality early childhood programs, adequate health care, and reliable transportation—things we know sets kids up for success in school.

Like the fabled Butterfly Effect, there are many seemingly unrelated forces, factors, and decisions that impact equity and our public education system.

Often, those of us working in education policy direct our focus at the individual-, school- or program-level, without addressing the role inequitable policy plays in education outcomes. While effective programs can provide students, parents, and teachers with supports they need in the here and now, they often don’t address the root of educations problems.

For example, parent engagement programs are well-intentioned attempts at getting parents more involved with their child’s academics. Research on parent involvement found that many programs start with the assumption that some parents do not care about their child’s education. However, these programs don’t always address the barriers to involvement that parents face, including long work hours, lack of childcare, lack of transportation, language and cultural barriers, and exclusive school policies.

Noble as they are, such programs often face an uphill battle when they try to change individual behaviors rather than advocating for transformative policies.

But what if we borrowed a page from the health reform playbook?

The social determinants of health is an approach that shifts the framing of health reform debate from the individual to the system. This approach takes a holistic view by examining the interconnectedness of education, health, and social factors such as policymaking. And it does represent an innovative approach to dealing with our public health woes—and poses a ripe opportunity for education reform.

The Social Determinants of Health

Next month at the 10th Annual Vision Coalition Conference on Education, leaders from Delaware’s health, education, public policy, and social services worlds will collide on stage for a panel discussion on the social determinants of health and education.

So what exactly are the determinants of health? Public policies, income, individual behaviors, social power, public safety, and discrimination to name a few. Social and economic factors, at around 40 percent, are the largest contributors to a person’s health, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers—compared to health behaviors (30 percent), physical environment (10 percent) and clinical care (20 percent).

Health care reformers use this idea to illuminate the role that money, power, and resources play in health access and outcomes. And, education and health are certainly interdependent (here and here). Typically, Americans with more education live longer, healthier lives—while poor health can compromise good education if a student cannot focus, is missing school, or has a learning disability.

Education reform could do well to learn from this example and begin to focus less on changing individuals and more on creating and implementing transformative, equitable policies.

Data tell us vast gaps exist between students of color and those from low-income backgrounds when compared to their white, more affluent peers. While we cannot discount the role individual behavior plays in educational outcomes, we must pay explicit attention to how policies and practices influence behaviors and outcomes.

Changing the narrative shifts the approach

By examining the problem from the lens of policy and practice, reformers can begin to ask hard questions about their efforts: Does our work target rules, practices, and norms that create, maintain, and exacerbate inequitable education disparities and outcomes?

Economic and social policy greatly influence how students perform, the efficacy of teaching practices, and the role of parents in education. As education reformers recognize this, they will begin to scrutinize the distribution of money, power, and resources and form solutions that create a fairer balance of these factors.

The social determinants of health offers an innovative approach to education reform that requires us all to ask hard questions about how we select the point of change, what (or who) we see as needing to be changed, and how we intend to change it. As we continue to search for solutions, we have an opportunity to use this approach to holistically address the root source of inequitable educational outcomes, and hopefully, to create a sustainable education system that equitably serves all students, teachers, and parents.

NPR on Social and Emotional Skills: Everybody Loves them, But We Still Can’t Define Them

Posted by

 

The language around building non-cognitive, non-academic skills in students—what we at Rodel call social and emotional learning—continues to be under debate, according to NPR columnist Anya Kamenetz in her recent article,  “Social and Emotional Skills: Everybody Loves them, But Still Can’t Define Them.”

Kamenetz lists almost 10 synonyms of social and emotional learning and offers insight into why researchers and educators prefer one definition to the other. The article notes the preferences go beyond semantics as each term offers a different understanding of what students need.

What’s in a name?

It is all about the approach. While there are some approaches that prioritize a student’s ability to be persistent (i.e. having grit, or growth mindset), there are concerns that these don’t take into account a child’s environment and other social factors. Others believe that terms such as social and emotional learning leave out variables like changing attitudes.

The debate on how to approach building student’s non-academic social skills is deep. Educators, nonprofits, and researchers are constantly considering how to be inclusive of students’ needs and social context, while also ensuring that the approach is not missing key elements such as teaching empathy, or addressing cultural differences.

We highly recommend checking out the article to see how the term determines the approach, and what it could mean for students.

Follow Us

We're social

Contact Us

For further info

CONTACT US