Archive for the ‘Rodel Teacher Council’ Category

Recapping RTC Legislative Day

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Earlier this month, members of the Rodel Teacher Council took a field trip to Legislative Hall in Dover, where they spoke to some of Delaware’s most prominent lawmakers—from Gov. John Carney, to Chief Information Officer Sec. James Collins, to a handful of state congressional leaders.

On the agenda were discussions around school broadband connectivity, personalized learning, and the state’s tight education budget.

We spoke to Luke Crossan, a teacher at Alfred G. Waters Middle School and a first-year member of the RTC, about his experience.

Q: What was the overall experience like?

Luke: I had never been to Legislative Hall, so I just loved walking around and talking to everybody. It was great to get in front of policymakers and hear their viewpoints, since teachers don’t always get that opportunity. We met as a big group with Gov. Carney, Sec. Susan Bunting, Sec. Collins, Sen. David Sokola, and Rep. Earl Jaques. In my smaller breakout group we chatted with Rep. Harvey Kenton, Rep. Charles Postles Jr., and Sen. Gary Simpson.


Q: What did you talk to legislators about?

Luke: One was emphasizing the importance of strong education policy and personalized learning. For the legislators who were less familiar with those topics, we gave them some of the basics of personalized learning. Some legislators knew more, so we could discuss more specifics like waivers or content mastery.

One big thing we talked about was increasing the broadband capacity for all schools. We did dive in deep with Sec. Collins on that, and we were able to share stories from our classrooms that underscore the need for better broadband connectivity. He was super receptive to our stories, and he told us that his job is to increase that connectivity and he shared with us some of his plan for making those improvements.


Q: What was your impression of Gov. Carney and the members of the Legislature?

Luke: Gov. Carney seems super supportive of education—but tempered that by talking about the tight budget situation. He really does seem to understand that education needs to grow and change if we want Delaware students to thrive and for our system to keep up with the rest of the country.

He also focused heavily on local decisions, the idea that need to shift more decision-making to local schools and districts instead of state mandates.

Sen. Simpson had great knowledge of education issues and was inquisitive. He kept asking us for our ideas, and even our thoughts on how to trim the budget, for example, since my school has 1-to-1 devices, do we really still need textbooks?


Q: What were some of your takeaways looking back on the experience?

Luke: My takeaway is that it needs to happen more—educators engaging with policymakers. Districts should try to get in front of these lawmakers more.

The whole day was unique to me. Being face-to-the face with the leader of the state is a huge moment for me. It’s great to have that accessibility in Delaware, but sitting down with the governor around the table was an awesome experience. I’m definitely sending him an email asking him to come stop by my classroom sometime for a visit.

How Dropping Out Leads to Lost Economic Potential

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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.


The lost economic potential of high school dropouts is no joke for Delaware’s economy.

Typically, high school dropouts earn $8,000 less annually, compared to high school graduates. In Delaware, high school dropouts are twice as likely as high school graduates and six times as likely as college graduates to live in poverty.

Why are students dropping out?

In a national study published by Clemson University’s National Dropout Prevention Center, students cite the following as some of the most common reasons why they drop out of high school:

  • Missed too many school days (43.5%)
  • Was getting poor grades/failing school (38%)
  • Did not like school (36.6%)
  • Could not keep up with schoolwork (32.1%)
  • Did not feel belonged there (19.9%)


How Personalized Learning Can Help


  • A personalized setting seeks to prevent these types of issues by addressing the underlying causes of student disengagement and preventing academic gaps from occurring in the first place. Students become the center of the learning environment, and students and teachers work together towards students’ learning goals.


  • Addressing students’ individual needs and building on students’ strengths and interests boosts student engagement. This helps prevent absenteeism and increases feelings of belonging and investment in school—ultimately putting students in the driver’s seat.


Resources to learn more:

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.

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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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