Archive for the ‘Rodel Teacher Council’ Category

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.

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 Case for Personalized Intervention Programs

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by Lyndsey Cook, Rodel Teacher Council


From as early as daycare and pre-k, we mold our children for success. We monitor their abilities and use data to make sure they are on track. As teachers, when we notice that a student is not on track, we often refer them to intervention programs and pull-out sessions with teachers who specialize in their craft. For those who don’t spend their days inside a classroom, an intervention program is a resource used to close the gap between where a student is performing and the expectation. Currently, many curricula include additional materials to help struggling students which benefit many but do have some limitations.

Interventions need to be personalized for the students’ needs, but at the same time need to be respectful to the student’s age.

As an educator who  works with exceptional students—including those with autism and other disabilities—I see evidence that intervention programs aren’t always as effective as we hope for our lower-achieving students. Often it seems we are lacking appropriate tools to follow the process of response to intervention (RTI) for students who are struggling cognitively and are therefore below grade level. A perfect example: A 16-year old that is reading at a 1st grade level. There are scarcely any programs that truly respect the teen’s age while also teaching the student on the appropriate instructional level.


We have really great programs that fit a specific level or score, but in turn, that tends to filter out those students who are multiple grade levels behind. Additionally, students who are struggling significantly often get passed through the system without actually reaching their appropriate grade level. Interventions need to be personalized for the students’ needs, but at the same time need to be age-respectful (looks like it fits the student’s chronological age), which can be a daunting task due to the amount of resources that would need to be available (staffing, technology, and a curriculum that adjusts to the student’s personal learning level).


Education is getting better all the time and newer technologies are giving students more opportunities to respond. Technology gives us many opportunities to differentiate and individualize. Education has also been focusing on student engagement and how to motivate students and get them to be more active participants in this process. This helps us to address the needs of the majority, but what about those children whose learning gap gets bigger each year that they get older? We have great ideas in the works for these students like teaching S.T.E.M. and Next Generation Science Standards which are hands-on and can often let the student learn at their instructional level. The Common Core Standards let students explore and learn through doing and trying, where they get to learn from a standard, not a specific skill which helps teachers with differentiation. We are on the right track, and we need to keep going—keep working on personalizing the student’s learning and educational outcomes based on their abilities, strengths, and their own personal goals. What can help us bridge this achievement gap? What strategies should we use?


To help answer this question, The National Center for Learning Disabilities released some great resources last year for educators, parents, and school administrators highlighting the opportunities and challenges of personalized learning for students with disabilities. In particular, they recommend that teachers:

  • Spend time planning and sharing expertise with colleagues and experts to determine the strategies and resources specific to each student’s needs.
  • Engage and connect with parents to receive feedback and explain how students’ needs will be met.
  • Create opportunities for students to exercise self-advocacy and decision-making skills
  • Ensure technology is accessible and equitable for all students, with adaptations to meet their needs.
  • Use a framework like Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to give every student the opportunity to learn.
  • Monitor progress to help students meet their goals.
  • Be sure learner profiles (if used) inform students’ IEPs (Individualized Education Program).


These are not just important for educators seeking to build more personalized settings for students with disabilities, but are clearly practices that work in the best interest of all students.


Lyndsey Cook is a secondary instructional coach at Kent County Community School, part of the Capital School District. She has been working in the field of autism and severe disabilities since 2007, and aims to provide her exceptional students with more inclusive opportunities.

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