Next Tuesday, January 15th, Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting will hold a press conference at Legislative Hall to announce a weighted funding system for Delaware students. Luckily, this blogger got the details of it this evening. The devil, as they say, is in the details. Continue reading
I sent an email to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn and Governor Carney a few seconds ago alleging the legal opinion in regards to my FOIA complaint about the Family Services Cabinet Council was false in nature. Since the Council disburses funds, they fit the category of a public body.
§ 1605A Prevention component.
The Family Services Cabinet Council (Council), with the Department of Education and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families acting as lead agencies, shall administer a program to offer prevention-related student support services (prevention services) to students to prevent them from becoming discipline problems and from failing academically in our schools. Within the limits of appropriations made for this purpose, the Council shall provide rules and regulations for the award of prevention grants and the conduct of prevention programs authorized under this section, subject to the following limitations:
(1) The Council shall issue prevention funding to local school districts proposing to establish an integrated plan to deliver prevention services including, but not limited to, academic tutoring and student mentoring programs to provide at-risk students with the extra help they may need to succeed academically and with positive adult role models; outreach programs to promote parental, family and community involvement in students’ academic studies and in reducing and resolving school discipline problems; school-linked support services to help students with family or health problems that may be adversely affecting their academic performance and their conduct at school; training to help students and school personnel resolve conflicts peacefully and non-disruptively; and assistance to help teachers better manage the behavior of students in their classrooms.
(2) Applications for funding pursuant to this section shall be made by school districts in accordance with procedures and standards established by the Council. Each applicant shall set forth an integrated plan to provide prevention services consistent with paragraph (1) of this section. To avoid duplication of effort, maximize the impact of limited resources, and increase the effect of efforts by state, local, community and private, nonprofit agencies through increased coordination and cooperation, the Council shall give preference to applications which:
a. Are submitted by 2 or more school districts working in concert, where appropriate;
b. Include private, nonprofit agencies and community organizations as partners in the application, and identify the roles those agencies and organizations are to play in delivering prevention services in the community;
c. Indicate how grants from the federal government and foundations will be used or sought to help deliver prevention services in the community; and
d. Identify the roles state and local agencies are to play in delivering prevention services in the community.
(3) The Council shall provide technical assistance to districts preparing applications and ongoing assistance to districts awarded funding pursuant to this section.
(4) The Council shall establish a timetable for the award of grants pursuant to this section which shall provide, at minimum, for a period of 1 month for joint planning between the Council and the applicants that the Counsel selects as finalists eligible for a funding award. During such joint planning, the Council and the applicant shall refine the applicant’s prevention plan, ensure that the plan makes cost-effective use of the resources and services of state, local, community and private, nonprofit agencies, and consider the incorporation of successful elements of other districts’ prevention programs into the applicant’s plans. Final awards shall be made by the Council on or before January 15 of each year for the subsequent school year, contingent upon the appropriation of funds for such purpose in the annual appropriations act.
70 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, § 92.;
any regulatory, administrative, advisory, executive, appointive or legislative body of the State, or of any political subdivision of the State, including, but not limited to, any board, bureau, commission, department, agency, committee, ad hoc committee, special committee, temporary committee, advisory board and committee, subcommittee, legislative committee, association, group, panel, council or any other entity or body established by an act of the General Assembly of the State, or established by any body established by the General Assembly of the State, or appointed by any body or public official of the State or otherwise empowered by any state governmental entity, which:(1) Is supported in whole or in part by any public funds; or
(2) Expends or disburses any public funds, including grants, gifts or other similar disbursals and distributions; or
(3) Is impliedly or specifically charged by any other public official, body, or agency to advise or to make reports, investigations or recommendations.
The Delaware World Language Immersion program is in many of our school districts. Students in Kindergarten start learning Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin) and continue through school learning one of the languages. Spanish I can understand. Chinese? I know China is a major world power, but come on! Okay, this is old news. But what happened when Delaware Governor Markell sold the idea to Delaware Superintendents? Mike Matthews has the scoop!
Gov. Markell (speaking to a roomful of superintendents): “OK folks, we’ve had so many education successes in my eight years. Race to the Top. Priority Schools. Educator Compensation. Lots of brand new successful charter schools. Smarter Balanced. Time for something new. I want you all to put language-immersion programs in your schools.”
Superintendent: “That’s a good idea, Governor, but how are we gonna do that?”
Gov. Markell: “Well I’ll leave all of that up to you, but I want Spanish and Chinese in our elementary, middle, and high schools, and I want them now.”
Superintendent: “Well, we don’t have enough Spanish- and Chinese-speaking educators in this state. Our Districts will have to bear great costs of not just the salaries of these folks, but the fees associated with getting them into the country and getting them work visas as well as the fees of the programs sponsoring them.”
Gov. Markell: “So…?
Superintendent: “And this will be very disruptive to our schools. At elementary levels, we will need to get rid of two teachers per grade level so we can bring in the Spanish- and Chinese-speaking teachers. And not to mention all the content-area teachers at the middle and high schools who will be impacted.”
Gov. Markell: “And the problem is…?”
Superintendent: “Well, Governor, have you actually thought any of this through? Are you going to be funding these positions above and beyond the unit count so the teachers with whom our students have built relationships won’t be impacted by this huge change?”
Gov. Markell: “Funding additional positions? No. But we do have a few thousand dollars in grant money your districts can fight over to get the ball rolling.”
Gov. Markell: “So who’s gonna go first?!?!?”
And fight they did for the paltry sums to get this program going. This was actually a lampoon written by Mike Matthews on Facebook. I have to imagine there have been many similar conversations with all of Governor Markell’s education programs. This is Delaware. If it sounds to good to be true, we throw caution to the wind and do it anyway! I’m sure half of Delaware has seen this already since Mike seems to be friends with about half of the state. But for the other half…
As Delaware Governor Markell went on his “common core” tour today at W. Reilly Brown Elementary School in the Caesar Rodney School District, he announced $400,000 in competitive grants going to 21 Delaware schools. The goal of these grants are professional development for teachers to further implement Common Core to increase student outcomes. And God wept…
Why is Jack Markell, with nine months left in his reign as Governor, doing this Common Core tour? Which company is paying him for this? What disgusts me is the way the Governor and the DOE lure teachers in by making it look like it is for them. How much professional development do teachers need? Let’s not forget the two purposes of this tour: to thank teachers for implementing Common Core and to “debunk” the myths surrounding it. You may fool some of our teachers and administrators Jack, but this is corporate tomfoolerty at its best. Far too many Delaware parents know better and you may have fooled us once, but not twice. As the state looks for funding, our districts will take any money they can get regardless of the cost to students. I will ask again Governor Markell: where are the funds for basic special education for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade? Answer the question Jack!
This is, in my opinion, a strong push towards the blended/personalized learning the Rodel Foundation has pushed on Delaware the past couple years. The press release doesn’t even mention this, but events from last night suggest otherwise. Last night at the Capital Board meeting, their board unanimously voted to apply to BRINC, the blended learning consortium that already includes the Brandywine, Indian River, New Castle County Vo-Tech, Colonial, Red Clay, Appoquinimink and Caesar Rodney School Districts. Despite my public comment about the very obvious data privacy loopholes in existing law.
While student identifiable information doesn’t go out, it all filters through the Delaware DOE who simply gives education “research” companies the student’s identification number. When that information comes back, the DOE has all that data attached to a student’s identification number. As well, Schoology uses a cloud system called IMS that would allow any aggregate information through the Schoology application to be shared with their members. The Capital board seemed a little too eager to get this passed. At one point, Superintendent Dr. Dan Shelton didn’t know how much it would cost the district and it took him over fifteen minutes to find the information. The board discussed how it would be good professional development for teachers without talking about what it means for students or their personal data. Their CFO, Sean Sokolowski, said it would be paid for through Federal Consolidated Grants. Are these the same grants Markell announced today or are they separate? I would assume they are separate, but I’ve found many grants tend to have strings attached to them, just like the federal waiver scheme the US DOE abused under Race To The Top. As we rush headfirst into this personalized learning/competency-based education/career pathway future for our students, those in the power to question things are going along to get along. I can’t understand, for the life of me, why teachers are jumping on this bandwagon. This will eventually cause their job functions, as instructors, to diminish in the future. To the point where they will become “facilitators” instead of “instructors”. Does anyone think it is a coincidence paraprofessional salaries will eventually start at the same point as a first-year teacher in Delaware? Don’t believe me? Check out Governor Markell’s proposed FY2017 budget. Go to page 202 on the pdf, section 286. While many feel, and rightfully so, that paras in our schools are underpaid, should they be paid the same as a first-year teacher? If they performed the same job function…
I have not been too impressed with Caesar Rodney Superintendent Kevin Fitzgerald in the past year. He seems to have been sucked into the DOE/Markell/Rodel whirlpool of corporate education reform. You can read more on his role in today’s announcement below.
Just today, the National Education Policy Center issued a damning report on the success of blended and personalized learning schools and pointed out they are less successful than schools who don’t use these services. So if it is all about proficiency and increasing standardized test scores and growth, why are we pushing, as a state, a system that just isn’t working? Could it have anything to do with the billions of dollars companies are making off this smoke and mirrors? And how many of these companies are incorporated out of Wilmington, DE? As per the IMS article I linked to above, they are incorporated out of Delaware.
It is my opinion the Governor’s time could have been better spent heading to Wilmington to do more than issue a statement on the tragic and pointless death of a student at Howard High School today. His visit to W. Reilly Brown was at 11am, well after this hit the media today. As a state tries to understand the absolute horror that went on in that school today, our Governor is off playing corporate lap-dog for his education buddies. I will never understand that man.
Here is the DOE press release on these “grants”:
21 schools win professional learning grants
Delaware awarded 21 schools in seven school districts nearly $400,000 in competitive professional learning grants Thursday as the state moves toward professional learning tailored to individual school needs.
Governor Jack Markell announced the awards today during a visit with Secretary of Education Steve Godowsky to Caesar Rodney School District’s W. Reily Brown Elementary School in Dover. Five schools in the district won a combined $50,000.
“All educators deserve the opportunity to continuously improve their practice through their own initiative and through investments made in them by their schools, districts, and the state,” Markell said. “We must improve the quality and efficacy of professional learning for all educators in Delaware. To do this, we as a state need to support districts and schools in their promise to provide Delaware educators with ongoing, job-embedded professional learning that leads to real improvement for students.”
For the past three years, the Delaware Department of Education has provided state-led professional learning for school-based teams through the Common Ground for the Common Core program. Common Ground identified principals and teacher leaders, engaged them in deep practices around the standards and concepts and analyzed student work to determine how to target instruction in the classroom.
In year one, the focus of Common Ground was on the shifts under the then-new standards. In year two, the focus was on ensuring a balanced assessment system, and in year three, the initiative focused on targeted approaches to closing achievement gaps and deepening literacy in other content areas. Next year, the Reimagining Professional Learning grants will provide professional learning that continues to target the school level.
“A stable foundation has been built, and after three years of Common Ground, we now are incentivizing schools that are committed to continuing this important work while also strengthening the professional learning for their educators,” Godowsky said. “The grant applications of these 21 schools is a clear indication that they are ready to embrace this challenge.”
Godowsky said he is continuously impressed by the commitment of Delaware’s teachers and administrators and what they do every day and by what they plan to do with the Reimagining Professional Learning Grant: “Educators at all of these schools are looking at their data, lesson plans and structures so that they can reimagine the positive impact of professional learning for the benefits of their students.”
Each school designed professional learning to meet its staff’s needs. For example, at Brown, the grant will allow teachers to gather each month to plan and research a lesson. They will agree which team member will teach the lesson, and the lesson study team members will observe the lesson, collect data on teacher actions and student responses. Through using lesson studies, educators will collaborate and focus on the impact of this training on teacher practice and student learning.
The funding will make a difference in other ways across the state from Bunker Hill Elementary’ s focus on inquiry learning in the Appoquinimink School District to Milford School District’s emphasis on teacher leadership through cross-district work with all elementary schools and the early childhood center. In New Castle County Vo-Tech’s St. Georges High School, there will be a school-wide focus on speaking and listening with strong professional learning communities to sustain a cycle of improvement for both teachers and students. In Colonial, school and district leaders evaluated curriculum, structures and teacher and student needs to develop a comprehensive plan with regular coaching and feedback from administrators, teachers and students.
“Educators at these schools not only looked at their data but studied their structures and developed plans to reimagine professional learning that they will tie to student outcomes,” said Michael Watson, the department’s chief academic officer.
Kevin Fitzgerald, superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District, said he appreciates the state’s commitment to support school-led professional learning.
“This is a perfect partnership between the state, the district and the teachers and school leaders who work closest with our children and know best how to deliver these college- and career-ready standards.”
The winners are:
· Appoquinimink School District (Bunker Hill Elementary): $30,000
· Capital School District (Central Middle, Henry Middle, Dover High): $90,000
· Caesar Rodney School District (Brown Elementary, Frear Elementary, McIllvaine Early Childhood, Simpson Elementary, Stokes Elementary): $50,000
· Colonial School District (Eisenberg Elementary, Gunning Bedford Middle, George Read Middle, McClullough Middle, William Penn High, Wilmington Manor Elementary): $90,000
· Milford School District (Banneker Elementary, Mispillion Elementary, Morris Early Childhood, Ross Elementary): $90,000
· New Castle County Vo-Tech School District (St. Georges High): $30,000
· Smyrna School District (Smyrna High): $20,000
Alison May at the DOE has been busy with all the press releases coming out of their lately. Today’s press release “celebrates” 197 educators in Delaware who have helped students increase their standardized test scores and decreased the proficiency gap. Two public school district high schools and three charter schools each received a $10,000 grant as a thank you from the state. Didn’t one of these charters just get a huge amount from their “performance fund”? Read on to see the extra incentive these teachers will get if they go to a “high needs” school, aka, priority school, aka future charter school.
Almost 200 top educators invited to join third cohort of Delaware Talent Co-Op
For immediate release
Contact Alison May (302) 735-4000
ALMOST 200 TOP EDUCATORS INVITED TO JOIN COHORT THREE OF THE DELAWARE TALENT COOPERATIVE
Nearly 200 educators from across the state have been recognized as part of the the third cohort of the state’s Delaware Talent Cooperative, with each being recognized with up to $20,000 in financial incentives to continue working in some of the state’s highest-need schools. The third cohort also includes nine educators who took positions in one of the 18 Delaware Talent Cooperative schools after demonstrating success in their previous schools and classrooms.
“Students in many of our educators’ classrooms and buildings are making significant academic gains, often overcoming difficult challenges in and out of school,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. “It is vitally important that we recognize our outstanding teachers, specialists and school leaders who have committed to work toward college and career readiness with our students who need their talents the most.”
All participating educators have the opportunity to participate in cross-state, collaborative professional learning sessions, and select participating schools have the opportunity to secure school-based grants. The department announced last week that five Delaware Talent Cooperative schools were awarded $10,000 each for various projects developed at the school level. School-based grants, professional learning communities, and cross-principal collaboration on recruitment and retention practices are just a few of the features of the community-of-practice that the initiative has become.
Each educator has the opportunity to earn a “retention incentive” between $2,500 and $10,000 over the next 18 months as they continue working in their high-needs schools, or up to $20,000 in “attraction incentives” to accept a position in one of the state’s highest need schools. There are 18 participating schools statewide in the initiative, with five Delaware school districts represented. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited EastSide Charter School in April to hear from educators about the positive impact of the Delaware Talent Cooperative in supporting educators and recognizing schools like ECS as outstanding places for educators to start or grow their careers and practice.
In addition to the financial incentives and becoming a part of the schools’ community, selected educators take on various teacher-leadership roles including mentoring colleagues, serving on program evaluation focus groups and having their exemplary classroom instruction videotaped and cataloged for sharing with colleagues. The department plans to visits dozens of participating educators’ classrooms in 2015 to capture the great work they are doing.
The Delaware Talent Cooperative (www.detalentcoop.org) recognizes some of Delaware’s highest-performing educators in its highest-need schools. The effort focuses on ensuring educators will continue serving or move to work in some of the state’s highest-need schools for at least two years. It addresses some of the state’s — and country’s — long-standing challenges in public education around educator equity, resources for the highest-need schools, and meaningful educator retention.
Some early data suggests that the Co-Op is on-track to achieving part of its mission. The retention rate of “highly-effective” English Language Arts and math teachers in the initiative is 93 percent over the past two years, exceeding state averages for all other schools, including non-high-need schools. This promising data point illustrates how important it is to have the three ingredients that drive retention of educators who are irreplaceable: powerful school leadership, inspiring school culture, and meaningful compensation opportunities, said Angeline Rivello, who oversees the initiative for the Delaware Department of Education.
The 197 teachers and specialists qualified for the third cohort in part because they earned an “exceeds” rating on the student improvement component of the state’s educator evaluation system (DPAS-II). They also demonstrated consistent practice via their classrooms observations. Thus, their strength in planning and preparation, building a positive classroom environment, cohesive and rigorous instruction and overall professionalism (Components I-IV) combined with their students’ results made them eligible for the program. The nine school leaders were selected based upon building-wide student achievement results and, in some cases, other measures of student success and performance. These are the baseline criteria for acceptance into the Delaware Talent Cooperative, which also includes an intensive vetting process for educators seeking to transfer into participating schools.
The 15 schools represented among the 197 educators recognized this round are: Howard High School of Technology, Dover High School, Positive Outcomes Charter School, Prestige Academy, Laurel Middle School, Edison Charter School, Reach Academy, EastSide Charter School, Kuumba Academy, West Seaford Elementary, Blades Elementary, Towne Point Elementary, South Dover Elementary, East Dover Elementary and Harlan Elementary.
The Delaware Department of Education also has awarded five school-based grants of $10,000 each to Howard High School of Technology, Dover High School, Prestige Academy, EastSide Charter School and Kuumba Academy. Each school has developed a plan for how to utilize the funding to drive improved educator pre-service partnerships, recruitment, professional learning communities, and differentiated retention. For high schools such as Howard and Dover, this represents more catalytic funding to augment the resources each has received as a result of being a participant in the state’s Partnership Zone in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Several Delaware educators now have been part of multiple cohorts. For the handful that participated in all three cohorts, each was eligible for up to $30,000.