Education in the First State
February 28, 2018

Trauma-informed practices support Delaware schools
Staff from Red Clay Consolidated School District's Warner , Shortlidge and Highlands elementary schools and Christina School District's Bancroft Elementary School and Bayard Middle School attend a Saturday professional learning session on creating trauma-sensitive learning environments (more pictures ). 

The use of trauma-informed practices in Delaware classrooms is an idea repeatedly promoted by the state's Compassionate Connections Partnership (CCP). CCP is a multi-year project focused on addressing childhood trauma in five Wilmington city schools. The partnership -- formed in Spring 2017 by Delaware organizations, state agencies and educators -- provides these elementary and middle schools in Wilmington with support and professional development specially geared to families living in the city. 
"The overarching goal of CCP is to address childhood trauma as a way to i mprove student achievement and resilience," said Dorrell Green, director of Delaware's Office of Innovation and Improvement. The Department of Education is a partner in the CCP initiative. 
"All behavior is a form of communication. By arming educators with a better understanding of how to support students as they exhibit negative behaviors, students have more opportunities to focus on succeeding in the classroom," Green said.
Trauma-informed practices provide educators a set of strategies that help trauma survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. 
Video: Trauma-informed strategies in practice
Want to know more about how trauma-informed practices can be used to support students? Check out this quick video on Sam the student and his trauma-sensitive assistant principle, Mr. Lawful.

Sam and the trauma-sensitive assistant principal
Sam and the trauma-sensitive assistant principal

New ELA course aims to reduce college remediation
Students at Milford High School talk to Secretary of Education Susan Bunting about their experiences in the state's new English language arts course to help students enter credit-bearing college classes.
Students who fare well in a new high school English course are guaranteed to enter credit-bearing English classes at Delaware colleges and universities.
The Foundations of College English course was developed through funding from Strada Education Network in partnership with the Delaware Department of Education and Delaware institutions of higher education (see below) to reduce college remediation rates. This course was designed to complement the Foundations of College Math course which was developed and launched in 2014.
Of all Delaware public high school graduates who enter an in-state college or university, 41 percent require remedial education courses in mathematics or English, according to the state's 2017 College Success Report. About 24 percent require remedial coursework in English. Students who do not score well on college placement tests may be forced to take remedial English courses prior to enrolling in credit bearing coursework. These non-credit, remedial courses often cost the same as credit-bearing classes but don't count toward a student's degree.
The Foundations of College English was piloted in fall 2016 across six high schools as part of the state-model Allied Health career & technical education program of study. Schools identify students for the foundations course based on their PSAT and SAT scores. And the Foundations of College English course was then offered to students as an elective course to ensure all students are able to pursue continuing education without the need for remediation. 
CR hosts Teachers Teaching Teachers (T3) Expo

Caesar Rodney staff presented to more than 800 colleagues at their most-recent T3 Expo in January. 

For the past three years, Caesar Rodney School District teachers, specialists and paraprofessionals from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 have come together to provide each other with a unique professional development opportunity called the Teachers Teaching Teachers (T3) Expo.
This annual event, coordinated entirely in-house, asks staff to share with one another their areas of expertise by presenting on topics that can help elevate the work of their colleagues. In late January, the T3 Expo hosted more than 135 presenters in 103 different sessions. 
"The district's T3 initiative is part of an effort to utilize the expertise of our amazing teaching staff while offering differentiated professional development to all members of the Caesar Rodney teaching community," Caesar Rodney Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Christine Alois said. "By providing a forum to learn from one another, educators are able to share real-world experiences, make learning more relevant, and do so in a way where they are able to apply what they have learned the very next day."

Delaware school counselors celebrated during NSCW

Kelly Westcott, school counselor at Red Clay Consolidated School District's North Star Elementary School, enjoys a selfie with her students during National School Counseling Week (NSCW).
Delaware celebrated National School Counseling Week (NSCW) earlier this month, joining the country in highlighting the impact school counselors can have on students as they aim to achieve school success and plan their careers. Using the hashtags #nscw18 and #mydsca, counselors throughout the state were recognized by students, colleagues, communities and the department for their accomplishments and contributions to Delaware schools.

Delaware's 2018 School Counselor of the Year, Erin Crooks from Indian River School District's Georgetown Middle School, spent part of the week in Washington, D.C., attending a special ceremony with former First Lady Michelle Obama as well as a black-tie celebration gala. Crooks was one of six national finalists for this year's American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year award. She is Delaware's first-ever national ASCA finalist.

NSCW in Delaware culminated with the announcement of this year's elementary, middle and high school counselor of the year semifinalists. These candidates will now compete for the title of 2019 Delaware School Counselor of the Year. Congratulations to Kelly Westcott from Red Clay Consolidated School District's North Star Elementary, Andrea Woodard from Capital School District's Kent County Secondary ILC, and Laura Malmstrom from Christina School District's Sarah Pyle Academy. These finalists were named at the annual counselor appreciation dinners hosted by the Delaware School Counselor Association (DSCA) and Wilmington University. 

Check out all the student, school and social media posts celebrating Delaware's counselors during NSCW.
Other Good News in Delaware's Public Schools