Archive for the ‘Awards and Recognition’ Category

Delaware: The Next Switzerland?

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Every state in the country—Delaware included—is hard at work trying to reinvent their economy. Automation and globalization have flipped the labor market upside down. The added challenge is that just about every living-wage job is going to need some training beyond high school.

 

For the last several years, the Rodel team and many, many partners have poured a lot of effort into Delaware Pathways. We’re beyond proud of the program’s growth and its yet-untapped potential: In just a few years, the number of high school kids receiving real-world career prep and training has grown from 27 to over 9,000.

 

Again, we’re proud of our progress. But a little outside validation is always nice. Last week, a national group called Jobs for the Future (JFF) released a case study at their national Pathways to Prosperity institute called “Propelling College and Career Success: The Role of Strategic Partnerships in Scaling Delaware Pathways.

 

The major takeaway? When it comes to career and technical education and preparing young people for life after high school, Delaware is emerging as a national leader. The report lauds Delaware for our cross-sector collaboration, including leaders from higher education, the private sector, the United Way, and the Departments of Labor and Education–all working together on a long-term strategy. Frankly, it’s this type of collaboration driving our work.

 

We have a chance to do something special.  Four years ago, Bob Schwartz, a co-founder of the Pathways Network and a Harvard professor, invited me and some colleagues from Delaware and around the U.S. to visit Switzerland to see their pathways. They have been at it for hundreds of years and are considered the best in the world. We were so impressed, Rodel added one of the architects of the Swiss model, Ursula Renold, to our international advisory board. As is laid out in the case, fast forward to Delaware’s Pathways Conference in the spring of 2017, and Dr. Schwartz said to Governor Carney and the rest of the crowd assembled, “if Delaware continues on its current trajectory, I may not need to ask my American colleagues to hop on a plane to see Switzerland; I might be able to just take them to Delaware.”

 

We’re excited that this work is gaining steam locally and nationally. Check out this column from EdWeek: In Delaware, Creating Career Pathways for Youths.

 

We have a long way to go, but the public and private leaders committed to this work should celebrate the foundation that has been laid and the lives that have been changed.

Delaware’s Public High Schools Ranked Among Top Ten Nationally

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Over the weekend I read that U.S. News released its annual collection of high school rankings—and, lo and behold—Delaware’s public high schools landed as eighth-best in the country.

 

Before we pop the champagne, we should note that the website’s methodology examines the highest performing high schools in each state. We realize that some of Delaware’s highest performers select their students, at least in part, on some entrance criteria, and do not always reflect the full diversity of the state’s overall student body.

 

But this is still cause for celebration. Delaware ranked eighth because six of its schools (or roughly 17.6 percent) earned “gold or silver medals” from the publication.

 

  • Gold: Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Charter School of Wilmington
  • Silver: Middletown High School, Caesar Rodney High School, Mount Pleasant High School, Sussex Technical High School

 

The lofty ranking is one more positive sign of momentum for Delaware’s schools—and seemingly a shifting tide in the perception and reputation of our public school system. In the past few years we’ve seen:

 

  • Delaware high school graduations rates spike from 80 percent to 85 percent (see Rodel’s “At A Glance” page on graduation rate trends). Delaware was the No. 1 state in terms of increased high school graduation rate in 2014 as recognized by The U.S. Department of Education.
  • More students enrolling in AP and dual enrollment courses than ever before. In fact, the number of student taking dual enrollment college courses tripled from 800 in 2014 to 2,700 in 2015-16.

 

As encouraging as all this is, we can’t rest on our laurels. We have lots more work to do in preparing our high school grads for college and/or careers.

 

For example, we know that just 49 percent of Delaware’s young adult population (ages 18-24) has attained some postsecondary education and that by 2025, 65 percent of jobs in our economy will require some level of education beyond high school. Closing that gap will be tough, particularly for our highest need students.

 

But with the forward movement in our high schools, the growing partnerships with our higher ed partners to increase dual enrollment and college persistence, and our deepening commitments from business and education to build meaningful career pathways for students, I’m excited about where we are and where we’re going.

Teaching in a Competency-Based Education Environment

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July 2017

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Teaching in a Competency-Based Education Environment

When I describe competency-based education to friends and family—students moving through education based on mastery of skill rather than seat time, lessons personalized to the individual, and students taking ownership of their learning — the reaction is generally “that sounds better.” Unless that friend or family member is a teacher, in which case a host of very good questions arise about the practicalities of teaching in a competency-based environment.

 

“I have 30 kids? Do I have to plan a different lesson plan for each of them?”

The answer to this is no. A learner-centered classroom doesn’t mean the teacher plans lessons for each student. Robin Kanaan, KnowledgeWorks Director of Teaching and Learning, explained that you don’t have individual lesson plans for every student: “Students co-determine with the teacher what learning targets they need to accomplish and how they could show evidence of their learning. This is possible through agency and equipping students to understand themselves as learners.”

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Award Opportunities

Teacher Awards for Literacy (Deadline: September 15)
The Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy program recognizes the nation’s most dynamic and resourceful teachers who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in students. Winners are awarded cash grants and book donations to help further their innovative reading programs and to disseminate them to other teachers around the country.
NEA Learning & Leadership Grants (Deadline: October 15)
These grants support National Education Association members who are public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences and grants to groups fund collegial study.TranspARTation Grants (Ongoing)
The TranspARTation Grant supports travel costs to Delaware arts and cultural institutions and venues so that students may attend events, performances, and exhibits that have high-quality arts components. TranspARTation applications are accepted on an ongoing basis but must be received at least six weeks prior to the field trip date.

Save the Date

 

2017 Delaware Estuary Watershed Teacher Workshop (Various locations, July 17-20)
Join Partnership for the Delaware Estuary for four days of exciting workshops. Come and learn interdisciplinary ways to translate the environmental experience to your classroom.

 

Reading Summit: Decoding Strategies for Literacy Development (Newark, August 16 – 17)
Participants will learn powerful strategies to teach essential skills necessary for strong fluency and comprehension. These strategies, when applied using an explicit, systematic and age-sensitive approach, rapidly improve grapheme-phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, and spelling.

 

iNACOL Symposium (Orlando, October 23 – 25)
iNACOL’s annual conference is the industry’s leading event for K-12 competency-based, blended, and online learning. Experts, practitioners, educators, policymakers, and researchers gather and work to transform education. This year’s theme is “Personalizing Learning: Equity, Access, Quality.”

 

DelawareCAN Educators of Color Monthly Meetup (Wilmington, Multiple Dates)
DelawareCAN: The Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now is hosting its monthly educators of color council meetup. Come connect with other educators of color across the state and learn about opportunities to make your voice heard about Delaware’s education system.

Must Read Stories

Did You Know?

Academics are critical, but so is a child’s social and emotional development. Strong academics will always be central in Delaware schools but in a rapidly changing world, it’s becoming increasingly important that young people receive a holistic educational experience that maximizes who they are as individuals—one that instills skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, empathy, and creativity.

 

This concept of developing “social and emotional learning” (SEL)—a phrase that’s often cross-referenced with “whole child”—is not a new one. Generations of educators have said that the so-called soft skills mentioned above are all important ingredients in child development.

In Delaware, it’s exciting to see a renewed focus and collaboration on social-emotional learning. We have created a webpage that combines national and state data and initiatives underway in order to inform ongoing conversations about SEL in Delaware. This list is not comprehensive, and we encourage you to share additional resources with us on Twitter by using the hashtag #SELinDE.

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