Archive for the ‘Awards and Recognition’ Category

Looking Back at Major Education Milestones

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The only constant in the world of public education policy is change. Since 1990, Delaware has undergone a raft of efforts aimed at improving our schools. From programs to coalitions to reports to assessments, we look back at some of the major educational milestones from the past 20 years.

  • 1990: Business leaders issue the Delaware Gap Analysis, which includes recommendations for education reform
  • 1991: The state’s 10th grade writing assessment is developed and administrated for the first time
  • 1993: The first interim assessment is given to students in grades three, five, eight, and 10 to transition to performance-based assessments
  • 1994: The Early Childhood Assistance Program approved by the legislature provides Head Start-like services for four-year-olds in poverty
  • 1995: The State Board of Education approves content standards in math, social studies, science, and English language arts
  • 1995: $30 million is set aside to wire classrooms and the creation of the Delaware Center for Education Technology
  • 1995: Delaware’s Education Improvement Commission issues recommendations in the “Empowering Schools for Excellence” report
  • 1996-97: The School Choice Program begins and Delaware’s first public charter schools open their doorsauqwuvfegpfonem-1600x900-nopad
  • 1997: Legislation is passed mandating a state testing program, and the State Board approves the design of the Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP)
  • 1997: Legislation creates the position of Secretary of Education, shifting authority from a state board to the governor
  • 1998: The Education Accountability Act is passed, establishing the parameters for student, school, district, DDOE, and parent accountability
  • 1998: The DSTP is administered to all students in grades three, five, eight, and 10 in reading, writing and math
  • Spring 2000: DTSP for science and social studies is administered in grades four and six
  • School Year 2000-01: Delaware begins holding schools accountable based on student performance
  • April 2001: The Legislature passed the Neighborhood Schools Act, which requires districts to assign students to schools closest to their homes
  • Spring 2002: State testing (DSTP-2) is expanded to “off grades” two, four, six, seven, and nineeric_ed465822
  • 2004: The state legislature apportions $1 million for 10 pilot programs of full-day kindergarten
  • October 2006: Vision 2015 plan is released
  • January 2007: Stars for Early Success is implemented to evaluate quaility of early care and education settings
  • December 2008: The Leadership for Education Achievement in Delaware (LEAD) Committee identifies $158 million in school inefficiencies
  • April 2009: Legislation is signed to allow high-quality alternative route teacher programs
  • June 2009: Delaware joins the Common Core State Standards Initiative, an effort of 48 states to create academic standards in math and ELA
  • June 2009: Delaware passes legislation to implement new assessment system: the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS)
  • March 2010: U.S. Department of Education announces Delaware as first-place finisher in Race to the Top and awards $119 million
  • August 2010: State Board of Education adopts Common Core State Standards imgres
  • June 2011: Delaware invests $22 million in early learning
  • December 2012: Delaware receives $49 million as part of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge
  • February 2013: The Data Quality Campaign awards Delaware for building one of the most robust student data systems in the country
  • June 2013: The Education Commission of the States honors Delaware with an award for innovative education policy
  • September 2013: State Board of Education adopts Next Generation Science Standards
  • July 2014: Legislation is passed to transition to a new assessment system that is aligned to the Common Core–the Smarter Balanced Assessment System
  • November 2014: College Application Month, now in its third year, expands the program to all Delaware district and public charter high school
  • February 2015: Governor Jack Markell announces Pathways to Prosperity initiative and dedications $1 million to support schools offering intensive training and credentials in key industrieslogo

15 Facts about Dr. Susan Bunting

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Last week, Governor-elect John Carney tabbed Indian River School District superintendent Susan Bunting as the new secretary of Education. Bunting was born and raised in Selbyville, Delaware where she attended Selbyville High School. She received a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Delaware and became superintendent of Indian River School District–one of the state’s largest school districts serving more than 10,000 students–in July 2006.


Here are some more facts to get you more acquainted with Dr. Bunting.

  • Attended Salem United Methodist Church for pre-kindergarten
  • Attended Selbyville High School
  • Earned a bachelor’s degree at American University in Washington, D.C.
  • Taught third grade in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1971
  • Began teaching at Indian River Middle School in 1977
  • Was Supervisor of elementary education for Indian River School District for five years, then became Director of K12 education for ten.
  • Elected as superintendent of Indian River School District in July 2006
  • In 2012, Bunting became a top four finalist in race for National Superintendent of the Year (the first Delaware superintendent to do so)
  • Is an avid reader (especially mysteries)
  • Enjoys spending time with grandchildren, the outdoors and traveling to Pennsylvania and Arizona to visit family
  • Co-created Indian River’s Leadership Institute, which has been recognized as a Superstar in Education by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
  • Created Indian River’s Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E., the district’s program for economically challenged four-year-olds (which also won a Superstars in Education award)
  • Is also a University of Delaware adjunct faculty member, and was honored as the recipient of UD’s College of Education & Human Development Outstanding Alumni Award
  • Is a member of the Vision Coalition of Delaware’s Leadership Team, and one of the architects of Student Success 2025
  • Has a philosophy of no exceptions nor excuses. She told the Sussex County Post: “I will not take an excuse of ‘those children’ or ‘kids can’t do it.’ It is our opportunity to find how to make every student successful. That is our job. Every child can maximize his or her potential if we facilitate that success. There are no exceptions; not for gender, not for race, not for ethnicity, not for any of the things on the list. We have a job. We have an opportunity to make every child be the best they can be.”


10 Education Stories We Loved in 2016

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As 2016 winds to a close, the team at Rodel looked back and gathered some of our favorite and most momentous education stories of the year. What was your favorite? Comment below.


A Jolt of Blue-Collar Hopeblue collar hope

New York Times – November 22nd

In Delaware, where oil refineries and auto plants were once prevalent, Governor Jack Markell and a host of public- and private-sector partners worked to reinvigorate the so-called blue-collar workforce by focusing on K-12 education. Today, Delaware Pathways—which helps students develop skills and connections they can take with them as they move forward onto college or career—is growing leaps and bounds, with more than 5,000 students enrolled this year.


Gov. Markell seeks $11.3 million for early educationl_schoolgeneric16x9-5

DelawareOnline – February 2nd

At the annual Birth to 8 Summit in February, Gov. Markell proposed an $11.3 million budget ask to build on the strong momentum of Delaware’s early childhood education infrastructure. After Joint Finance Committee mark-up, the number landed at $9.4 million, which helps support tiered reimbursement and onsite support and assessment of providers in the Stars program, professional development activities for practitioners in early care and education, early childhood mental health consultation, developmental screenings and surveys, community readiness teams, and more. Readers of this blog know by now the importance of investing in early childhood education. In fact, economists suggest it’s a much more lucrative investment than the stock market.


Our 5 Favorite Moments with the Rodel Teacher Council

RTCRodel Foundation blog – May 2nd

In May, as the Rodel Teacher Council transitioned from its second cohort to its third, members Jermaine Williams and Melissa Grunewald listed their top five favorite moments of the year. The selections ranged from the personalized learning workshop that attracted more than 100 teachers from across the state, to a meeting with legislators. This fall, the RTC launched a series of policy briefs related to personalized learning; and six members published a set of guiding principles and recommendations for the Every Student Succeeds Act.


Delaware teachers get paid to take on more

schoolNewsWorks – August 11th

This spring, 19 Delaware educators kick-started a teacher-leader pilot program that allows them to take on larger roles in their schools without having to leave their classrooms. The concept behind the pilot: by supporting and uplifting some of the state’s most talented educators, we can see just how teacher leadership can benefit educators and students. Rodel Teacher Council member Michele Johnson was one of the 19 teachers selected for the pilot.


Design-Lab charter school earns $10 million grantimgres

Delaware Public Media – September 15th

Delaware Design-Lab High School earned a $10 million grant in September after only opening its doors in spring of 2015. The grant was awarded by the XQ Institute’s Super School Project, which sought proposals on how to re-imagine the American high school for the 21st century—which fit Design-Lab to a T. The charter school focuses on a design-thinking process to teach students how to tackle problems that don’t already have a solution.


One student’s quest to reshape schools

Education Week – June 2nd

Andrew Brennen, at Berkeley University with fellow Coca-Cola scholar Akbar Khan, left.Student voice can be a powerful thing. Enter Andrew Brennen, a 20-year old student activist who travels the country to meet with high school students and encourage them to stand up for what they feel is right. Brennen is the field director for activist group Student Voice, which urges students to think more critically about their schools. Brennen’s efforts to give students a voice took him to the White House, where he was given the opportunity to publicize the movement.


What’s next for Wilmington Education Improvement Commission

schoolDelaware Public Media – July 15th

For the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, 2016 marked a year of hard work and negotiations as it sought approval of its plan–which includes strategies for redistricting Wilmington schools providing additional funding to meet the needs of students from low-income families, English learners, and basic special education students. This article recaps WEIC’s efforts in the previous legislative session and looks forward to 2017.


Educators focus on trauma’s effect on learning

September “Take Note” Newsletter, Delaware Department of Education

14344737_1186567274733635_3636081575270091066_nTrauma is often one of the biggest hindrances in a student’s quest for success, and Delaware schools are taking charge. The third annual Western Sussex Summit held at Woodbridge High School in September highlighted the need for educators to focus on students’ social and emotional needs. Keynote speaker Frank Kros talked to an audience of more than 300 (which included representatives from several school districts and community organizations) about the complexities of trauma, and encouraged increased support and training for teachers of traumatized students. He explained that poverty is a chronic trauma and that one of the biggest obstacles in closing achievement gaps.


Selbyville Middle School teacher explains future of science education in Delaware

Coastal Point – May 5th

Giving students a more hands-on approach is what Selbyville Middle School science teacher Jennifer Hitchens is trying to do with her students by using the Next Generation Science Standards.                                                             teacher-of-the-year-hitchens-dsc_4449-lw_0-img_assist_custom-300x200The multi-state program is dedicated to creating new educational standards that are both engaging and content-heavy in science learning by utilizing methods of teaching that reach students on all levels. Hitchens, who was named Selbyville teacher of the year in 2015-16, is changing the standards of Delaware Education by piloting the program into her own classroom.


Anonymous Donor Pays off All Outstanding Meal Balances at Stubbs Elementary School

Christina School District – December 8

interior-002_thumbThe story that delivered all the warm and fuzzy feels at a time when we needed it most. An anonymous donor cut a $1,283.07 check to pay off the outstanding meal account balances for the students of Frederick Douglass Stubbs Elementary School in Wilmington. The mystery donor even prompted whispers of Santa Claus. But principal Jeffers Brown wisely remarked that it doesn’t take $1,283.07 to make a difference. Volunteering, even for an hour or two, can be a big help to staff and a bright spot for kids.

“Kids love that as much as anything, they love knowing that someone is paying attention to them,” he said. “And it’s one more person who is emphasizing to them how important an education is to their future.”


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