Archive for the ‘Early Learning’ Category

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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Close the Word Gap and Build Stronger Brains with Language Nutrition

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Investing in Education
It’s not just kids, parents, and teachers who feel the impact of our public schools. If you’re a citizen of Delaware, then you are—in one way or another—affected by our state’s education system. Check back regularly as we take a closer look at how When Students Succeed, We All Win.


Differences in the size of a child’s vocabulary first appear at 18 months—and are correlated with education and income. Dana Suskind, author of the book “Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain,” offers a more comprehensive look at the word gap and what it means for student success.


Words and interactions are incredibly valuable to the rapidly developing brain of an infant. They’re so valuable that some early literacy initiatives have begun calling it “language nutrition.”

3 Implications for Our Kids and Community


  1. Interactions are key in the first few years of a child’s life. According to Harvard University’s Center of the Developing Child, parents can positively influence their children’s brain development through “serve and return interactions.” This means that when an infant or child cries, babbles, or gestures, the adult responds with eye contact, words, and touching. These interactions help build neural connections that support the child’s communication and social skills. Check out this video to see more on serve and return.
  1. Frequent, positive interactions and words matter. Higher income parents spend almost a half-hour more daily talking, interacting, or reading with their children than low-income parents. It’s not just the amount of words, it’s the type too. Positive, affirmative phrases (“please walk” versus prohibitive phrases such as “don’t run”) also have an impact on the child’s language development and a child’s stress level.


  1. The word gap matters for student academic and lifetime success. For many low-income early learners who get less face-to-face interaction (reading and speaking together), that means a higher probability of being less successful in grade school, dropping out of high school, and earning less income. To combat this, researchers are calling for programs that start earlier and that equip parents with what they need to bridge the word gap. One program called Starling is trying to do just that by partnering with nonprofits, government, daycares, schools, and other community organization to promote a device that counts words so parents and caregivers can track how much they are talking to their child. And home visiting programs, such as Nurse Family Partnership and Parents as Teachers, help families learn and practice skills to build their children’s brains.


Take Action


  • Share QT30 (Quality Time 30 Minutes) with families with young children. Delaware Thrives promotes “serve and return” among parents through age appropriate activities that encourage early childhood development.



  • Check out Parents as Teachers. Parents as Teachers programs happen across the state. The Christina Early Education Center is one example of this free early learning resource that provides parents with information on child development and activities that help build your child’s cognitive and motor skills.


Check-out the Rodel website to learn more about Delaware education policy issues from Early Learning to college and career readiness.

Third-grade Literacy’s Enormous Impact on Life

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Investing in Education
It’s not just kids, parents, and teachers who feel the impact of our public schools. If you’re a citizen of Delaware, then you are—in one way or another—affected by our state’s education system. Check back regularly as we take a closer look at how When Students Succeed, We All Win.

Third-grade literacy has an enormous impact on a child’s life. Research indicates that third grade is a critical turning point for students. A child who can read on grade level by third grade is four times more likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does not read proficiently by that time.

In Delaware, as many as 46 percent of third graders are not proficient in reading and a deeper look at the data reveals low-income, English learner, and special education populations are even more likely to miss this critical milestone.


There is work underway to improve student outcomes in early literacy. The Delaware State Board of Education is engaged in a Literacy Campaign and the state, with leadership from United Way and the State Board, has joined the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Literacy Campaign. Further, the Student Success 2025 Progress Report identifies early learning as a short-term priority and recommends adopting policies to increase reading by the third grade such as strengthening teacher training and preparation, literacy screenings and interventions.


This month, you can take action to shape Delaware’s state plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has developed a State ESSA Implementation Planning Grade-Level Reading Policy Priority Check-list that highlights specific policy recommendations that early learning advocates can prioritize in state ESSA Plans. The Delaware Department of Education will present the draft plan to the State Board on March 16 and is planning to submit it to U.S. Department of Education on April 3.


And if you’re interested in learning more about early literacy, here’s a short list of resources on policies and programs to increase the number of kids who reach the critical third grade literacy milestone, such as:

  1. High-quality early learning and expanded Pre-K. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), the state of Delaware ranks 33rd on access to state-funded pre-k.
  2. Family outreach and health supports that decrease chronic absenteeism
  3. High quality summer programs (like the Summer Collaborative) that decrease summer learning loss

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