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Rodel’s Latest Data Guide and Our Priorities for the Year

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Welcome to the 2018 edition of Delaware Public Education At A Glance, Rodel’s annual snapshot of data and trends from our public schools. In the spirit of unveiling, there’s no better time than now to share our priorities for the coming year—the areas where the Rodel team will spend our time and energy with our partners in the community.

Our three big priorities for the year:

  • Keep the Student Success 2025 plan moving
  • Double down on college and career success
  • Deepen social and emotional learning in Delaware

So, what does this mean?

  1. Keep the Plan Moving. We help support the Vision Coalition move Student Success 2025 This plan provides the state with well-informed guideposts for uplifting public education to new heights between now and 2025. The 47 policy recommendations spread across six core areas (below) serve as our roadmap. When it comes to implementing those recommendations, we see our role as a partner with policymakers, educators, and community members to bring ideas into action.

 

More specifically, we will advocate for several targeted budget or policy issues over the next several months:

  • On early learning, we support the administration’s budgetary ask of $3.8 million to support quality early learning.
  • On funding, we have argued for more than a decade that our current funding system is unfair, inflexible, and opaque. So, we, in concert with the Education Equity Delaware coalition, will support efforts to modernize the system so that it works for our kids now and into the future.
  • On system governance, we will speak up to make sure that the state’s federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan is implemented with fidelity. In particular, we want to see clear graphics that are accessible to parents and the public in the state’s soon-to-be-released school report cards—including school-level financial reporting and a great deal more student information. Just like everyone else, we want to see positive change for the students in our Wilmington schools. We support the recent MOU that was recently signed by the Christina School District and the Carney Administration, and we realize that this is just the beginning.  We will do our part to help move this work forward and we believe the progress we collectively make here could have major implications for not only the thousands of children in the five schools being discussed, but for our highest need children throughout this state.

 

  1. Double Down on College and Career Success. Another big goal is to help even more young people prepare for life after high school. We think we can chip in by identifying and shepherding even more local and national resources to postsecondary programming.
  • We recently worked with a range of public and private sector leaders to produce Supporting Postsecondary Success in Delaware: A Landscape Analysis of Student Opportunities. While we uncovered some great assets, we also found that there’s a lot of work to do to help our young people make smart decisions post high school. This year, we’ll discern where (and with whom) we can partner to get some concrete work done to move this analysis to action.
  • We’re proud of the state’s collective work to date on career pathways—expanding from 27 participants in 2014 to over 9,000 in 2018—but we have a lot more on our minds, particularly in helping students connect to meaningful work-based experiences. At Rodel, we collaborate with local businesses to help facilitate growth, educate the public about why this is important, and bring the needed resources to accelerate the work on the ground.

 

  1. Deepen Social and Emotional Learning in Delaware. The world is changing fast, and if we want our young people to thrive in it, we need to rethink how we equip them. The North Star at the center of Student Success 2025 is all about the nonacademic skills—like creativity, communication, empathy—that will be vital for young people entering the real world. While the Rodel Teacher Council and the district members of the BRINC Consortium have dedicated time and energy on personalized or blended learning, there is a groundswell of interest in the social and emotional factors that affect how kids learn, particularly those in our most challenged neighborhoods.
  • A study is underway—in partnership with Nemours, Christiana Care, Arsht-Cannon Fund and others—to assess what’s underway in social and emotional learning, what’s working, and where there are gaps and alignment opportunities. In our view, SEL is not an add-on, it’s foundational to, and should be embedded in, academic learning.
  • The Rodel Teacher Council is working to redefine what the next generation of learning will look like. Groups of teachers are exploring how our local colleges and universities can accept “competency-based” transcripts from students, allowing students to showcase their subject mastery, rather than a letter grade or test score. They are advocating for an annual review of broadband connectivity in schools, making the case for innovative professional development for teachers based on competency versus credit hours, and connecting districts and charters interested in collaborating to develop social and emotional competencies.

I’m inspired by the passion I see in our teachers and the commitment I see our public and private sector leaders dedicated to doing whatever it takes to improving the lives of our young people.

If you are interested in learning more about these issues, email us at info@rodelfoundationde.org. Change is hard, but when we work together, we can make big things happen. Our children deserve nothing less.

April 2018 Teacher Newsletter

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April 2018

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TEDxWilmingtonED: Education Possible
Event Recap

 

Finding ways to improve Delaware’s educational system and expanding opportunities for every child was the focus of a TEDx event in February.

More than 300 teachers, school officials, and child advocates packed the glittering Gold Ballroom at the Hotel du Pont. The topic: “Education Possible.”

Local, regional and national authorities challenged attendees to find ways to improve school facilities, devise programs for the poor and disabled, and dare to be innovative. Finding those solutions could go a long way toward closing the state’s achievement gap between low-income students and those of means. Read more.

Three Rodel Teacher Council members spoke at the TedxWilmington: Education Possible Conference. Learn more about their talks below.

 

At times, an educator may be the only good thing that happens in a student’s day.

With that in mind, Lisa Mims, fourth grade teacher at Pleasantville Elementary, shares what could happen in classrooms where students know their teacher cares. The benefits could change your classroom!

 

The U.S. is facing a teacher shortage. One of the many factors is that not as many college students are choosing to major in education.

Stephanie Diggins, Teacher Academy/theatre teacher at William Penn High School, asks what if students were able to experience the profession from a teacher’s perspective before they graduate high school?

 

Robyn Howton, National Board Certified Teacher and ELA Chairperson/AVID Coordinator at Mount Pleasant High School, argues that the key to improving our schools is already in our classrooms and is not being fully utilized.

She gives real-world examples of teachers who are leading the charge while staying in their classroom.

Save The Date:
Local and National Conferences

Youth Entrepreneurship Summit 2018: A World Made by You (April 11-13, Newark)
The youth entrepreneurship summit is a unique three-day conference providing students, educators, and supporters from around the world the opportunity to develop new skills while energizing their entrepreneurial spirit. Learn from world-class speakers, entrepreneurs, and mentors. Join a community of like-minded peers and forge lifelong connections.

7th Annual Making A Difference Conference (April 13-14, Dover)
The Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children partners each spring with Delaware Head Start Association, with support from Delaware Department of Education for the annual Making A Difference in Early Childhood: A Conference for Early Childhood Professionals. Registration for the 2018 conference is now open.

Delaware Readiness Teams Parent Conference (April 14, Dover)
Join the Delaware Readiness Teams as they explore new strategies to aide your child’s developmental progress. The keynote speaker is Brandon Gogue who will help you guide your child’s unique gifts and talents to achieve success and happiness. This event is free and open to the public. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

Delaware Education Funding Summit (April 19, Newark)
Join the Education Equity Delaware coalition for a half-day summit on the state’s education funding system. Attendees will hear from national and local experts about opportunities to better serve our students by providing equitable and adequate resources according to their need and join an advocacy movement and a coordinated coalition of organizations committed to excellent and equitable education opportunities for all Delaware students.

2018 Delaware STEM Symposium & Educator Awards (May 2, Dover)
Join the celebration at the 2018 Delaware STEM Symposium & Educator Awards Gala. The day will consist of three panels: the role of STEM in food and agricultural production, the future of STEM in health care, and the key role of IT across STEM industries in Delaware. The group will then all meet together to hear remarks from prominent elected officials and the announcement of the winners of the 2018 Educator Awards and a networking reception.

2018 Summer Program for Innovative Educators (June 19-20, Newark)
Learn how to integrate concepts of entrepreneurship into your classroom and programs. Educators will gain an understanding of the evidence-based entrepreneurial process
from design thinking and ideation, to the business model canvas and practice methods to apply these ideas in the classroom. This program will focus on experiential learning and is relevant for all pathways.

2018 Summer Certificate Program for Teaching Entrepreneurship (June 24-28, Newark)
The summer certification Program for Teaching Entrepreneurship (PTE) is a program for high school teachers who are interested in utilizing Horn Entrepreneurship’s state-of-the-art, evidence-based curriculum with their students. Participation in PTE also provides educators with a discounted license of the Horn Entrepreneurship semester-based high school evidence-based entrepreneurship curriculum.

Award and Professional
Development Opportunities

Examining the Relationship between Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, and Educators’ Self-Efficacy in Delivering Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices (Deadline: April 6)
Dr. Tia Barnes, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware, is seeking current Preschool – 12th grade teachers in Delaware to complete two surveys regarding their experiences with culture, emotional well-being, and teaching styles. Both surveys will take between an hour and fifteen minutes to complete. As a thank you for participating, Dr. Barnes will provide each participant with a $30 Amazon gift card. Please contact tnbarnes@udel.edu for more information.

NCSS Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year (Deadline: April 30)
The annual NCSS Outstanding Teacher of the Year Awards recognize exceptional classroom social studies teachers for grades K-6, 5-8, and 7-12 who teach social studies regularly and systematically in elementary school settings, and at least half-time in middle or junior high and high school settings. Award winners receive $2,500, complimentary one-year membership in NCSS, and present a session on their work at the NCSS Annual Conference.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (Deadline: May 1)
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of STEM education.

NEA Learning & Leadership Grant (Deadline: June 1)
NEA Learning & Leadership grants support the professional development of NEA members by providing grants to: individuals to participate in high-quality professional development like summer institutes, conferences, seminars, travel abroad programs, or action research groups to fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson plan development, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff. Preference is given to proposals that incorporate STEM and/or global competence.

Teacher Awards for Literacy (Deadline: June 1)
Do you know a great teacher? Teachers can apply or be nominated to the Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 grant awards are available including $2,500 in Penguin Random House titles. Transportation, lodging, and conference registration is also provided for the $10,000 grant recipient to attend the Penguin Random House Awards event at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in Houston from November 15-18, 2018.

The Friday Institute – Massive Open Online Courses for Educators (Various Dates)
The Friday Institute is deeply involved in bringing competency-based approaches into educator preparation, credentialing and professional development. The Friday group has developed a series of micro-credentials for teachers, coaches, and administrators. These self-directed, job-embedded, competency and research-based demonstrations of understanding or skills often support and extend the learning opportunities offered in the MOOC-Eds but can also be earned outside of the context of our courses.

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.

Must Read Stories

 

Resilience Film Screening: Recap

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Last week, about 100 people gathered in Theatre N for a screening of the film “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope” and panel discussion among local experts. If you weren’t one of the lucky 100, here’s a summary of the event, themes from the conversation, and ways to get involved.

Why Resilience?
“Resilience” is a documentary by KPJR (the makers of “Paper Tigers”) that chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, educators, and communities, to delve into the science behind Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction, and disease that cause toxic stress.

As we described in a previous blog post, Adverse Childhood Experiences are not an “over there” problem—ACEs are shockingly prevalent, in Delaware and around the country, and with children of all backgrounds. Attendees at the screening voluntarily and confidentially submitted their ACEs score. The tallied results affirmed this. 53% of attendees reported an ACE score of two or more.

A major theme of “Resilience” is just how prevalent trauma is—and that greater public awareness of these issues could lead to a shift in how we address them. If a young person experiencing trauma knew that other classmates experienced something similar—would that make it less scary? Would he feel more empowered to seek help? As better trauma-informed community members, might we start asking the question “what happened to you?” instead of “what’s wrong with you?” when dealing with at-risk youth?

How do you build resilience?
The film identified that healthy, positive relationships are the number one source of resilience. A report by Casey Family Programs, Balancing Adverse Child Experiences (ACEs) With HOPE: New Insights into the Role of Positive Experience on Child and Family Development elaborates on this point and urges a balance of trauma-informed policies and HOPE-informed measures.

The report summarizes research studies showing that the negative impact of adversity on childhood development can be remedied through:

  • Nurturing and supportive relationships
  • Safe, stable, protective, and equitable environments to develop, play, and learn
  • Constructive social engagement and connectedness
  • Social and emotional competencies

The HOPE model (The Health Outcomes of Positive Experiences), pictured below, takes an asset-based approach.

Additionally, attendees were given the Resilience screener which helps identify protective factors and positive experiences that can increase one’s ability to handle adversity.

How can we make this happen in Delaware?
Following the film, three panelists fielded questions and comments from the audience:

  • Aileen Fink, PhD | Director of Trauma-Informed Care, Delaware Children’s Department
  • Meghan M. Lines, PhD | Clinical Director, Nemours A.I. duPont Hospital for Children
  • Teri Lawler | School Psychologist, Stanton Middle School, Red Clay School District

And a few themes emerged from the conversation:

  • Resilience is learned: We are not born with the ability to overcome stress. It must be intentionally modeled and developed. In schools, there needs to be a common language for integrating social and emotional learning alongside academic learning.
  • Positive relationships are key. This includes a primary care doctor, educators, parents, grandparents, and others.
  • Parental involvement is essential: Support positive parenting practices with multi-generational, evidence-based approaches (such as home visiting) to build social, emotional, and executive functioning skills.
  • Meet students (and families) where they are: Listening is a crucial first step, rather than assuming. Children and families need to be engaged in their own social and emotional development, and interventions or services need to be tailored to their unique needs.
  • Recognize where data-driven decision-making is needed: Enable innovative interventions, keep track of what’s working for kids, and adjust or abandon strategies accordingly.
  • Coordinate services: Schools can be a hub for services, but educators can’t be expected to do it alone.
  • Siloes exists: One of the challenges will be coordinating and communicating across health, education, government, community, etc. Additionally, political will and availability of funding are challenges but not excuses.
  • ACES are a public health concern, and awareness building is needed. For instance, ongoing professional development for educators starting in pre-service is needed to first build awareness, and then build skills.

What’s next?

  • Encourage your colleagues to learn their ACEs or Resilience
  • Read more about Adverse Childhood Experiences Among Wilmington City & Delaware’s Children.
  • Share your thoughts! Tweet your responses to the following questions using #SELinDE.
    • What are you doing to build resilience?
    • What resilience initiatives are already underway in Delaware?
    • What else is needed to help overcome the effects of adverse childhood experiences?
    • How can we do to build on what’s working?
  • Visit http://bit.ly/RodelSEL to find additional information on national and state level data and initiatives related to Social and Emotional Learning.
  • Be on the lookout for the Vision Coalition of Delaware’s 10th Annual Conference on October 30th where community members will converge in Newark to explore the intersection of education and healthy communities.

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