Archive for the ‘Awards and Recognition’ Category

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.

We communicate regularly about news and developments in Delaware public education with policymakers, community leaders, teachers, and the public at large.

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March 2017 Teacher Newsletter

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Teacher Voice & Opportunities to Support Students

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Teacher Voice & Opportunities to Support Students

The Rodel Teacher Council Wants To Hear From You

The Rodel Teacher Council is studying social and emotional learning (SEL) in Delaware and the nation and needs your input! Please take 15 minutes to share your knowledge of, attitudes, and beliefs toward SEL through this online survey. Individual responses will be kept confidential and will not be attributed to individuals.


Your responses will be compiled to create a clearer picture for educators and policymakers of what practices and programs are happening now and what else might be needed to make sure every child is supported socially, emotionally, and academically. The survey closes on March 17.

Complete The Survey Here

Conference Opportunities &
Requests for Input

Early Career Teacher Survey (Survey Closes Mar. 10)
Delaware’s Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow, Robyn Howton, is conducting a brief survey of second and third year teachers to better understand their experiences. The purpose of the survey is to better understand how teacher preparation programs can prepare teacher candidates for the realities of the classroom. After completing the six question survey, fill out the subsequent form for the opportunity to win one of three $50 Amazon gift cards.
Delaware’s 23rd Annual Inclusion Conference (Mar. 15, Dover)
The ​Inclusion ​Conference ​is ​designed ​to ​address ​the ​needs ​of ​educators, ​parents, ​policymakers, ​service ​providers, ​and ​child ​care ​providers ​involved ​with ​or ​interested ​in ​promoting ​inclusion ​for ​all ​from ​birth ​to ​21.

2017 LRNG Innovators Challenge (Applications due Mar. 16)
LRNG Innovators has a new grant challenge, inviting educators to imagine engaging ways to help young people explore their interests, igniting a passion that can lead to college, to a career, or having a positive impact on their community. Proposals may include programs, curricula, or projects that actively assist youth to discover interests connecting the spheres of their lives, both in and out of school, and provide potential future opportunities.

3rd Annual Delaware Pathways Conference (Mar. 29, Wilmington)
Partners throughout Delaware are collaborating to help students prepare for life after graduation. Join leaders from business, education, and state and community organizations at the Annual Delaware Pathways Conference, and explore how Delaware’s workforce system is to guiding young people toward meaningful career and postsecondary experiences. Attendees will hear from legislators on the future of Delaware Pathways; business leaders who offer work-based learning opportunities; community organizations who are focusing on programs for youth; and students who will share their Pathways stories.

Blended and Personalized Learning Conference (Mar. 31, Providence, RI)
This event is a chance for educators and leaders to discuss blended learning as it exists today on the ground – both in terms of the day-to-day implementation in blended classrooms, and the strategies and systems that have effectively supported replication and scale across schools and districts. Hosted by the Highlander Institute with program support from the Christensen Institute and the Learning Accelerator, the Blended and Personalized Learning Conference enjoys strong endorsements from the education community.

Making A Difference Conference (Mar. 31, Dover)
The Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children partners each spring with Delaware Head Start Association (DHSA), with support from Delaware Department of Education for the annual Making A Difference in Early Childhood: A Conference for Early Childhood Professionals.

ECET2 Delaware Recap
Educators from all across Delaware descended on the DelTech Terry Campus for a day of teacher-led training and celebration.

The first-ever ECET2 Delaware: Connecting Innovative Educators brought together teachers from across the state for an inspirational and empowering day of teacher-led and teacher-focused programming.

Over the course of six hours, attendees celebrated teacher leadership, learned about innovative classroom practices, explored technology in the classroom at the demo lab, and built connections with other educators. All sessions were led by teachers.

ECET2 stands for Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Teacher 2 Teacher, the national movement has spurred more than 111 regional convenings in 27 host states, and over 19,000 teachers have attended an ECET2 event.

10 Must Read Stories






Personalized Learning Tip of the Month

This playbook shares the findings of three researchers who set off to discover what K–12 schools can learn from the best-run organizations in America.

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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

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