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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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Ten Ways Coaching Helps in the Classroom

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Rodel Teacher Council member Jared Lelito teaches math in an inclusion classroom at Fred Fifer III Middle School in the Caesar Rodney School District. In addition to teaching, Jared coaches football, basketball, and baseball for the Caesar Rodney High School Riders.

During his time in the Caesar Rodney School District, Lelito discovered a few ways coaching has helped improve his teaching in the classroom. Here are just a few.

  1. Builds Rapport
    Some teachers spend roughly an hour with their students five times a week. Coaches, on the other hand, may spend upward of 15 to 20 hours a week with their student-athletes. The sheer amount of time spent together builds a rapport and fosters comradery. I find that players who are willing to give 100 percent on the field will also give their coaches 100 percent in the classroom.
  1. Improves Communication
    All coaches give a multitude of verbal and nonverbal commands. Baseball coaches give signals, football coaches speak jargon, and basketball coaches use dry-erase boards. Variance in communication is the key for coaches, and helps educators diversify their own classroom communication skills.
  2. Helps Determine Style of Learning
    Students don’t all learn the same way and neither do athletes. For instance, Phil can’t understand the play until he sees it taking place on the field, while Jack needs the play diagrammed on paper. Coaches develop a mixed bag a teaching styles for the field and can also use the same strategy in their classrooms. Students benefit from an educator who employs a variety of teaching methods.


  1. Reveals Responses to Discipline
    It is no secret that coaches often “talk loudly” during practices and games. While some athletes do respond to verbal aggression, others aren’t motivated by yelling, screaming, and shouting irrationally. Coaches can quickly decipher how their players and their students will react to different styles of motivators.
  1. Focuses on a Common Goal
    Anyone involved in sports knows that a long season requires a ton of focus. As a coach, you may lose a game to a rival school but still make the playoffs. Similar situations occur in the classroom. Teachers have to not only focus on the unit being taught but the course as a whole. Even if a lesson goes awry, good teachers and coaches keep their eyes on the big-picture goals.
  1. Drives Competitiveness
    Athletics drives competition. Competitive students on the field often become competitive in the classroom, and healthy competition can motivate students to push each other to succeed. “How many points did you score in the game last night?” can turn into questions like, “I got a B+ on the science exam, how’d you do?” The drive that a student-athlete needs to be the best on the playing field often translates into the classroom.


  1. Creates a Sense of Community
    Coaches stress being active community members. Whether the student-athletes know it or not, they are role models in their community, especially to younger classmates. Community involvement can instill a sense of commitment that allows the players to feel like a larger part of their school, their school district, and their neighborhoods.
  1. Begins a Life Long Bond
    Any athlete will remember the game when the coach put him in the right position to score the game-winning bucket. He could be 70 years old and still remember it like it was yesterday. Coaches and athletes create a bond that that can continue even after the season ends and the class is dismissed.
  1. Prepares Students for their Future
    A coach can be one of the greatest advocates for student-athletes pursuing a sport at the collegiate level and achieving success after high school. Coaches monitor grades, run study halls, and coordinate with other teachers to ensure their athletes are working hard in the classroom. The carrot of an athletic scholarship can motivate athletes to succeed on the field and in the classroom.
  1. Shows a Fun and Genuine Side
    Coaches are different people on the field. When the competitive juices start flowing, coaches, like athletes, often take on alter egos. Athletes see their coach in a different light and may start to see him as a little more “human.” And humanizing on the sideline often leads to respect in the classroom.


Teacher Newsletter – November 2016

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Rodel Teacher Newsletter is a resource for Delaware’s teachers to learn about teacher leadership opportunities across the state, nation, and world.

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Rodel Teacher Council Policy Briefs Released


With the 2016 election season officially over, members of the Rodel Teacher Council this week released a series of education policy briefs and recommendations they hope will inform our state’s new and returning elected officials in 2017 and beyond.

The four policy briefs were researched and written by RTC members. They delve into a variety of topics relating to personalized learning—an approach that utilizes technology and other strategies to address students’ individual needs and maximize their strengths. The briefs identify current challenges and barriers in place, and offer recommendations to shift policies and scale personalized learning stateside.

They include:

During the 2016-2017 term, the council will continue its work of scaling personalized learning statewide while removing barriers to personalized learning currently in place. As with previous years, council members will meet with and hear from key education leaders and policymakers, and in the winter, they will host a personalize learning workshop for fellow educators.


2017 Making A Difference Conference (Presentation proposals due: Nov. 15)
The Delaware Head Start Association and the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children will hold the Sixth Annual Making A Difference Conference on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1. They are seeking qualified presenters to share their knowledge, and proposals for an engaging workshop at the 2017 conference. For more information, please contact conference coordinator, Diane Frentzel.

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Fellowship (Applications due: Nov. 27)
If you are a high school math or science teacher who is new to the profession, a KSTF Teaching Fellowship is an opportunity unlike any other. This fellowship provides the financial and professional resources you need to establish the foundation for a successful STEM teaching career.

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program (Applications due: Dec. 1)
The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program provides funding for highly accomplished U.S. primary and secondary level educators to take part in an intensive professional development program for three to six months abroad.

EIEIO Childcare Nomination Information (Nominations due: Dec.15)
The Expanding Inclusive Early Intervention Opportunities (EIEIO) committee would like to recognize high quality early childhood educators who represent the components of inclusion: access, participation, and supports. Please send completed nominations to

UD Education Technology Conference (Presentation proposals being accepted)
The University of Delaware Educational Technology Conference will be held Saturday, March 4. The conference is a joint effort by the College School, the Education Resource Center, the Office of Educational Technology, and the Education Graduate Association in the College of Education and Human Development. All educators are invited to participate, and proposals for conference topics are currently being accepted.

Must Read Stories





Save The Date

EdTech Happy Hour Hosted by the Rodel Teacher Council (Nov. 14, Newark)
Join the Rodel Teacher Council for a happy hour at Stone Balloon Ale House. Come to network, engage, and share your favorite ed tech tools with other Delaware educators. This event takes place in conjunction with Delaware Innovation Week, an annual celebration of technology and innovation. Admission is free. The Rodel Teacher Council will provide appetizers and one drink ticket for all attendees.

A day of networking, learning, and catalyzing STEM in the state and celebrating accomplishments of the 2016 STEM Award applicants.The Delaware STEM Educator Award recognizes a teacher or team of teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels that demonstrate STEM innovation and excellence through teaching, academic collaboration, and student engagement.
ESSA Community Conversations (Nov. 16, Nov. 21, Nov. 29, Dec.1, Dec. 8, various locations)
The Delaware Department of Education will host a second round of community conversations to collect public input on the first draft of the state’s plan under the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The first round of community conversations and online surveys in September provided public input that is informing the first draft of the state’s plan, which was released on Oct. 31. The second round of community conversations will allow department leaders to receive feedback on the draft.
Learning Forward 2016 Annual Conference (Dec. 3 – 7, Vancouver)
Learning Forward’s 2016 Annual Conference will provide educators with outstanding content and valuable tools to bring the most powerful forms of professional learning back home to the educators with whom they work. Gain practical solutions to the challenges you face in your classroom, school, or district every day. This conference offers powerful strategies to build school leader capacity.
The Summit on Professional Learning Communities at Work (Feb. 22 – 24, Phoenix)
Build and sustain a strong, collaborative professional learning community. This unique event brings the PLC at Work champions—Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker, Rebecca DuFour, Mike Mattos, Anthony Muhammad, and Tim Brown—together with some of the brightest, most respected minds in education. You’ll hear dynamic keynotes and attend powerful breakouts designed to help infuse the PLC at Work process into every aspect of your school or district.

University of Delaware SOE Colloquium series (Ongoing)
The 2016-17 colloquium series will foster an extended conversation about topics related to education across disciplines and grade levels, especially diversity and inclusion. Invited speakers Ed Brockenbrough, Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Robert Lee, Janine De Novais, and Jessica Shiller will participate in a special theme titled “Framing the Conversation Towards Engagement and Transformation: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Education and Human Development.”

Personalized Learning Tip Of The Month


Personalized Learning SD

Rodel Teacher Council member Mary Grace Flowers takes us on a tour of her library media center, complete with green screen and flexible learning spaces for students. For more ideas on how to create flexible learning spaces for your students, check out these resources on EdSurge and Edutopia!

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