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Reflections from “Principal for a Day 2017″

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Madeleine Bayard, Vice President of Policy and Practice
Principal: Hekima Wicker
Harlan Elementary School
Brandywine School District

My day at Harlan Elementary School reminded me of the many hats principals wear. One minute Principal Wicker was speaking with students about their needs—ranging from behavioral challenges to the need for an umbrella— and the next he was navigating through operational challenges such as not having enough substitutes, mitigating discipline issues, and more. And through it all, he stayed calm and positive!

Throughout the day, I learned that more than 40 percent of the school’s incoming kindergartners have no early learning experience in a care/educational setting before they get to Harlan. The fifth grade teachers I spoke with agree that we need to do more, earlier, for these students.

I found this particularly noteworthy because the state Early Learner Survey results revealed that, depending on the location, about 30 to 50 percent of entering kindergarteners are not prepared. This reinforces the need to educate families about how they can support their young children and the quality early learning options available to them.

Principal For A Day is always inspiring—seeing the potential and energy of kids and the hard work of educators—and an important reality check for those of us who are not in the classroom every day. Hats off to Principal Wicker and the team for all they are doing.

Paul Herdman, President and CEO
Principal: Julie Giangiulio
East Dover Elementary
Capital School District

My day began with welcoming students during bus drop-off. Principal Giangiulio then took me on a tour of the school and the day ended with a Leader in Me training with other principals.

The Leader in Me program is a strategy tied to the school’s positive behavior support program. I was impressed with how the entire faculty and student body embodied the core ideas embedded in The Leader in Me program. As we walked through the hallways and classrooms, I noticed signage and other visual cues linked to the strategy, such as the Seven Habits of Happy Kids and Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). From the school nurse who posted a WIG about reducing health issues to a student who focused on becoming a soccer star and completing 980 pushups, the Leader In Me program was a through line. The presence of the Leader in Me program and affirmations linked to the strategy truly represents Principal Giangiulio and the schools’ focus on social emotional learning and the whole child.

As parents, Principal Giangiulio and I had a good discussion on the social and emotional challenges that arise everyday in our own homes and at East Dover Elementary. The school has a high percentage of students that need intensive care and they deal with a range of issues (mental health, family challenges, etc.) among the student population. These factors also influence the staff. This day reminded me that we should provide support for educators and school leaders, like Principal Giangiulio, to solve these challenge.

My Principal For A Day experience was also a reminder of the complexity and importance of a principal and their team. I send out a heartfelt thank you to Principal Julie Giangiulio and East Dover Elementary for their collective commitment to our children.

Laurie Jacobs, Communications Associate
Principal: Clifton Hayes
Delcastle Technical High School
New Castle County Vocational Technical School District

My experience at Delcastle was one for the books. Principal Hayes took me on a tour of the career classrooms (carpentry, dental, etc.) in the morning, then we traveled to Barclays Bank to witness students learn from Barclay employees the importance of financial planning. The day ended with a tour of the academic classrooms. As I reflected on my experience at Delcastle, two things came to mind.

1) Environment and Culture. Everyone at Delcastle—from the students to the staff—was extremely welcoming and eager to share. It was obvious to see of effects of their culture and environment by the number of alumni that I was able to meet. I met an alum who returned to talk about their experience joining the military after graduation, an alum who returned to check in on their former teachers, and an alum who returned to seek help with their college curriculum. Delcastle is certainly a place you want to return to. I was there for a day and am already ready to go back.

2) Careful Consideration. I appreciated the staff’s careful consideration when it came to ensuring every student is prepared and has opportunities after graduation—whether it is college, career, or both. While I toured the classrooms, I frequently heard the phrase “these are the tools or skills that are being used in the field.” I was able to confirm this while visiting the digital communications classrooms where I noticed tools that I use on a daily basis. On the other hand, I also witnessed the school’s leadership wrestle with the right balance of college and career representation for the upcoming college and career week celebration.

As a graduate of a “traditional” high school, I looked forward to visiting a vo-tech high school and was not disappointed.

Rodel Teacher Newsletter – October 2017

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October 2017

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Introducing the 2017-18 Rodel Teacher Council

The Rodel Foundation of Delaware officially kicked off the 2017-18 class of the Rodel Teacher Council and introduced the 22 exemplary teachers who will serve as its members.

Members represent all three counties, a variety of grade levels and subject areas, and bring a broad cross-section of leadership perspectives. In all, the council members boast over 369 years of combined teaching experience.

During the 2017-2018 term, the council will continue its work of scaling personalized learning statewide while removing barriers currently in place. For the past three years, the Rodel Teacher Council has contributed to the education conversation in Delaware in many ways. The group has met with local and national education experts and policymakers, including legislators, the State Board of Education, the governor, DSEA leadership, PTA leadership, and others.

Learn More About The Rodel Teacher Council Here

Save The Date


iNACOL Symposium (October 23 – 25, Orlando)
iNACOL’s annual conference is the industry’s leading event for K-12 competency-based, blended, and online learning. Experts, practitioners, educators, policymakers, and researchers gather and work to transform education. This year’s theme is “Personalizing Learning: Equity, Access, Quality.”


LearningSCAPES 2017 (October 26 -29, Atlanta)
The Association for Learning Environments is hosting the event of the year for those who plan, design, equip, furnish, and maintain places where students learn. LearningSCAPES offers it all
groundbreaking educational sessions, inspiring keynotes and a showcase of state-of-the-art tools that move learning into the future.


DelawareCAN Educators of Color Monthly Meetup (Multiple Dates, Wilmington)
Come connect with other educators of color across the state and learn about opportunities to make your voice heard about Delaware’s education system.


NEA Learning & Leadership Grants (Deadline: Oct.15)
These grants support National Education Association members who are public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences and grants to groups fund collegial study.

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Teaching Fellowship (Deadline: Nov. 26)
The KSTF Teaching Fellowship helps new math and science teachers explore, test, and refine new ways to connect with students and make an impact in their classrooms and schools. During the program, fellows will receive professional development from experienced educators and financial support for professional development, classroom materials, and more.

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program (Deadline: Dec. 1)
The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Institute of International Education. It seeks to promote mutual understanding among teachers, their schools and communities in the U.S. and abroad by building teachers’ and students’ global competence as well as sharing of best educational practices internationally.

Technology Teacher Grant (Deadline: Dec. 9)
Technology is all around us. From smartphones to voice assistants and self-driving cars, our world is becoming increasingly high-tech. We believe technology has a place in every discipline—and studying its role in our lives is critical for students of all ages. Share your tech-focused lesson plan and you could win up to $1,000 for classroom supplies, educational subscriptions and apps for your students, and more.

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

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Delaware Educators Speak Up

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June 2017 Teacher Newsletter

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Delaware Teachers Stress the Importance of Social and Emotional Learning

Continuing in its tradition of impacting local and national education conversations, the Rodel Teacher Council released Educators Speak Up: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Delaware, a brief that reveals findings from a survey of more than 200 educators, representing pre-k through 12th grade, novice and veteran educators, from every school district in Delaware, including vo-tech and charter schools. The survey results include:

  • Educators believe SEL improves students’ academic success, engagement, and behavior
  • 97 percent of educators want more training on best practices in SEL, with 51 percent indicating they were “very interested”
  • More than 40 SEL initiatives are happening in Delaware schools, without strong coordination or an understanding of what’s working

Read The Full Brief Here

Read The Full Brief Here

Thank you to those who participated in the survey at the beginning of the year. Click here to dive into more SEL resources or share your experiences on social media using the hashtag #SELinDE.

Save the Date


15th Annual Policy and Practice Institute: Delaware’s Conference on Public Education (Dover, June 21)
Presented by the Delaware Academy for School Leadership and the Delaware Association of School Administrators, this conference brings together educators throughout the state for a day of dynamic keynote speakers and engaging breakout sessions.


EdcampldrDE (New Castle, June 30)
Participate in the largest single day of free learning across the country. Each of the 50 states and over 11 countries will be represented on this day of learning. The focus is on leadership from the individual, classroom, school, or district level.


2017 Delaware Estuary Watershed Teacher Workshop (Various locations, July 17-20)
Join Partnership for the Delaware Estuary for four days of exciting workshops. Come and learn interdisciplinary ways to translate the environmental experience to your classroom.


Fundamental not Ornamental 3 (Various locations, multiple dates)
These workshops will allow educators to learn about the Delaware standards for performing and visual arts as well as learn how to incorporate “I Can” statements. To register, please log on to PDMS and select course #25725.

Must Read Stories

Award Opportunities

Butler-Cooley Excellence in Teaching Award (Deadline: June 12)
Established in 2004 with a grant from the John Wm. Butler Foundation, Inc., the Butler-Cooley Excellence in Teaching Awards Program honors teachers who have demonstrated their capacity to change the outcome of students’ lives and communities where they teach. Two teachers each receive a $5,000 cash prize.
Teacher Awards for Literacy (Deadline: September 15)
The Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy program recognizes the nation’s most dynamic and resourceful teachers who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in students. Winners are awarded cash grants and book donations to help further their innovative reading programs and to disseminate them to other teachers around the country.NEA Learning & Leadership Grants (Deadline: October 15)

These grants support National Education Association members who are public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences and grants to groups fund collegial study.

Personalized Learning Tip of the Month

Six Ways to Avoid Those Social Media Landmines

By Gwyneth Jones


Sharing on social media, be it professionally or personally, can be tricky. There is a goldmine of information out there for teachers, but also landmines that can be quite treacherous if not deftly avoided.

Educators can use social media to push the positive, celebrate student successes, share resources with colleagues, and connect with parents and the community.

But how can we professionally use these tools without torturing ourselves over every Tweet, update, or Instagram pic? Easy! Try these six tips to share sensibly online.

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