Archive for the ‘Delaware Schools’ Category

Legislative Hall Pass: Compulsory Education Bills Aim to Curb Dropouts

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Legislative Hall Pass
The Legislative Hall Pass is a new series at the Rodel blog. Our team of experts will examine the most pressing education bills and issues emerging from the 149th Delaware General Assembly, and weigh in with commentary, context, and data. Check out the Legislative Monitor for a full list of education-related legislation.

 

Discouraging drop-outs is a hot topic in Delaware this year, and one way that policymakers are seeking to accomplish this is by amending the state’s compulsory education lawthe law that defines the age range in which a student is required to attend school or some other equivalent education program.

Currently in Delaware, children are required to attend school from ages five to age 16, with exemptions available for medical reasons. In January, Governor Carney’s Transition Team Report recommended raising the required school attendance until age 18, and there are a number of bills introduced in the legislature with similar objectives.

 

Pending Legislation aimed at discouraging students from dropping out:

House Bill 17, introduced by Representative Dukes, would increase the compulsory school attendance age requirement from 16 to the age of 17.

House Bill 55, introduced by Representative Heffernan, would go a step further and increase the compulsory school attendance age requirement to 18 years old. This change would be phased-in over two years with a one-year interim period where the compulsory school attendance age would be 17 years old. The bill would also add the following exemptions: the child has received a high school diploma or a certificate of performance the child obtains permission to withdraw from school from their district superintendent or charter school board president

House Bill 23: Unlike the first two bills, this piece of legislation would not raise the compulsory education age requirement. Instead, it requires that any student over the age of 16 who wishes to leave school prior to graduation must obtain the written consent of the parent or guardian, and attend an exit interview where information is supplied regarding the likelihood of diminished earning potential and the increased likelihood of unemployment associated with dropping out. It would also direct the school to explore whether there are support services, interventions or programs that might assist the student in remaining enrolled.

Over the past decade, many states have considered increasing their compulsory education requirements as part of a comprehensive plan to boost graduation rates. About 25 other states have compulsory school attendance to 18.

Do compulsory education requirements work? Research, at best, shows insufficient evidence, yet recent studies conclude that raising the minimum dropout age as a standalone policy has insignificant effects on increasing graduation rates. Various interventions and retention policies, in combination with raising the minimum drop out age, are more effective in lowering dropout rates (See: U.S. Department of Education, Southern Regional Education Board, Brookings Institution).
 

What are other states doing to complement increasing the compulsory age requirement?

Limiting additional exemptions significantly from compulsory attendance, for example, only to students who demonstrate financial hardship and that a job is necessary to support their family.

Ensuring robust alternative options with sufficient quality and capacity to serve students. These could include alternative settings, intensive schools, dual credit, early college, technical, and online options.

Providing and requiring early intervention when students are off track, including mandatory credit recovery options and counseling for at-risk students.

Utilizing data systems to quickly identify when a student is at risk of dropping out, direct appropriate services (aka interventions), frequently monitor and adjust interventions.

We agree that increasing the percentage of kids completing high school and getting ready for careers should be a priority for the state. We believe the best way to address the root problem is not just to raise the compulsory age, but to create an educational experience that students find engaging and worth their time. At the same time, let’s arm our educators with the tools and data systems they need to intervene early when students are off track and provide at-risk students with tools to graduate such as counseling, credit recovery options, and robust alternative learning options.

Delaware’s high school graduation rate grew faster than any state in the nation in 2014, so we have some momentum. Some work underway to making school more engaging for students includes:

  • Personalized learning is growing in Delaware, utilizing technology and innovative teaching strategies to meet students where they are. From the BRINC districts to Design Lab to the Rodel Teacher Council, Delaware educators are pushing hard on student engagement and next-generation learning.
  • Career pathways connects students to potential careers in emerging fields like advanced manufacturing or IT—giving them a glimpse, as early as middle school—of life after graduation and real meaning to the lessons from class.
  • Social and emotional learning is also gaining traction in Delaware as schools focus more on creating compassionate cultures for students to feel safe, cared about, and engaged.

Legislative session resumes tomorrow. We will continue to blog about hot topics and monitor these bills and others. Check our Legislative Monitor for a list of all education bills.

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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The Dangers of Chronic Absenteeism

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If students are not in school, they are not learning. That is the main issue behind chronic absenteeism, which has serious implications for student success. Students that are chronically absent are at a higher risk of failing academically or dropping out.

 

What it is

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing at least 10 percent of instructional time within one academic year. Chronic absenteeism is not the same as truancy (three days of unexcused absence) or average daily attendance (ADA). ADA can actually mask chronic absence, since it only tells how many students show up to class every day.

  • Currently, Delaware does not measure chronic absenteeism. Delaware only measures ADA and truancy. Delaware code defines truancy as when a student has been absent without a valid excuse for more than three days. Schools are required to notify parents if a student has more than 10 unexcused absences.
  • According to this Everyone Graduates Report, the nation’s rate of chronic absence may range from 10 to 15 percent—numbers not being captured on the state level. By failing to measure and report chronic absence rates, we fail to truly understand the depth of the issue in Delaware.

 

Who it affects

Chronic absenteeism affects all students. However, it can have especially dire consequences at key times in student’s life, and tends to disproportionately affect disadvantaged students.

  • Kindergarten and first grade students often have absentee rates that rival those in high school. That matters because a child who can read on grade level by third grade is far more likely to graduate than one who does not.
  • Low-income students are four times more likely to be chronically absent, according to Attendance Works, a nationwide initiative promoting better policies around school attendance.
  • There are many reasons students are missing school, including health issues, work and financial responsibility, lack of transportation, unsafe school conditions, and homelessness.

 

What we can do

Take action by advocating for chronic absenteeism to be a metric in the Every Student Success Act. Measuring chronic absence is the first round of defense. As Delaware continues to form it state plan, make sure your voice is heard. Visit the Delaware Department of Education’s ESSA Stakeholder Engagement page to advocate.

Build a culture of school attendance. Communities, schools, and families need to work together to ensure that all students are getting to and staying in school by addressing the bigger social issues that hinder attendance.

  • Prioritize student health needs by providing comprehensive school health services. Check out this brief on the connection between health and chronic absence.
  • Ensure student safety and engagement through social and emotional learning. Check out this Digging Deeper blog for more on what Delaware students are saying about school safety and engagement.
  • Early childhood educators can help using parent engagement techniques and offering support for at-risk families. Check out this brief from Attendance Works to see how early childhood educators can act.

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