Education in the First State
September 26, 2018
Public to give input on school-level financial reporting

The Delaware Department of Education is soliciting public input on the development of standardized school-level financial reporting.

Both the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Senate Bill 172, passed by the 149th General Assembly earlier this year, require the development of a statewide approach to define and report school-level expenditures so school leaders and the public can better compare per-pupil spending across Delaware. The Department of Education (DOE) will begin reporting school-level per-pupil expenditures in December 2019.

The Department of Education will develop a standardized approach with input from district/charter leaders and other community members. To that end, three public meetings are scheduled for this fall so DOE can share its vision and hear from members of the public:

Kent County
5 to 7 p.m., Monday, October 1
2nd floor Cabinet Room, Townsend Building
401 Federal Street, Dover

New Castle County
6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, October 3
Route 9 Library & Innovation Center
3022 New Castle Avenue, New Castle

Sussex County
5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, October 11
Lewes Public Library
111 Adams Avenue, Lewes 

Public comment will be limited to five minutes per person; DOE will accept written comments at any of the meetings or via email by Friday, Oct. 12 to Jennifer Roussell with SB 172 Public Comment in the subject line.

Once developed, DOE also will host annual optional training sessions for school boards/citizen budget oversight committees, district/charter leaders and the general public on how to understand and use the data to make decisions in the best interest of our students. 
$9M grant to expand mental health supports in schools

The grant funds Project DelAWARE, a new partnership between the State of Delaware and three school districts. (Flikr photo courtesy of Isle of Man Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.)
Delaware has won a $9 million federal grant to expand school mental health supports. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant will fund Project DelAWARE, a new partnership between the Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, and three school districts. The grant will fund $1.8 million per year for five years.
"The trauma that children experience in their lives affects their health, learning and overall well-being. Too often those children also face barriers to accessing the supports they need," said Governor John Carney. "This grant will be used to overcome some of those barriers by training treatment providers to deliver identified culturally-competent and evidence-based practices in children's schools and homes."
One school district in each county - Colonial School District in New Castle County, Capital School District in Kent County and Indian River School District in Sussex County - will participate. The districts' enrollment totaled almost 27,000 in 2017-18, about a fifth of the state's overall public school enrollment.
"Our children are confronted with new and unique challenges every day. It is critical that we provide them with the best mental and behavioral health services available," said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Chair of Delaware's Behavioral Health Consortium. "This grant will give our educators the tools they need to help students become stronger and healthier both in and out of the classroom."

Grant provides students enrichment, new experiences

Students at Freire Charter School participate in yoga in a 21st Century Community Learning program. 
For several years Capital School District has actively engaged with community partners across Dover and beyond. So when the district wanted to provide a comprehensive, seamless system of wraparound services for students in middle school - one of the most-critical times for many students - they already knew they wanted to involve some of their partner organizations.
Capital S.D. Supervisor of Instruction Gene Montano and Central Middle School (CMS) Principal Shan Green reached out to non-profits with whom the district has had previous relationships. After discussing potential opportunities, they then applied as a group for a 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grant, which provides funding to low-income schools and their partner organizations to develop before-school, after-school and summer care programs for students.
Working with Junior Achievement of Delaware, the Dover YMCA, the Dover Police Athletic League, Wesley College and more, Capital created the CMS 21st Century Students with Amazing Goals (SWAG) program.
SWAG is held after school every Monday through Thursday with one Friday a month open to support field trips and other enrichment activities. Through SWAG, Students receive homework assistance and access to real-world learning experiences. SWAG families are provided workshops and other support.

Read more about these 21st CCLC programs and October's required meetings for this year's round of 21st CCLC grants. 

Del. Teacher of the Year: Visiting Cooper's horizon

Delaware teacher Jinni Forcucci prepares for her Delaware Teacher of the Year status to come to an end. (Photo credit: Shannon Marvel McNaught/Gatehouse Delaware.)  

Editor's note: This guest post is written by Jinni Forcucci, a Sussex Technical High School English language arts teacher and the 2018 Delaware Teacher of the Year.

My family and I live in Rehoboth Beach, DE, and spend each summer visiting our favorite spots along the Atlantic Ocean in Sussex County. Attracted to the tides, the waves, the calm and the consistency of the water's presence, my sons, my husband and I use these spaces to laugh, to exercise, to commune and to reflect.   
One of my most treasured memories of our time on the beach, however, occurred when my youngest son was about five or six. After spending almost an hour sitting on the jetty rocks, looking out over the horizon, Cooper made his way back to where my husband and I sat. My husband, always the consummate observer, could tell that Cooper had something on his mind, so he asked him what he'd been thinking about as he sat on those rocks overlooking the seascape. Through his bleached blond eyelashes, my kiddo looked at us and said, "You know that line where the sea meets the sky? I thought about what I'd find if I went there."  
This past year, as Delaware's 2018 Teacher of the Year, I feel like I had the chance to visit the space my son imagined on that summer day: the space where inspiration and curiosity abound, where challenges and experiences prompt self-discovery and untapped strength, where sunrises offers a new opportunity to make a difference, and sunsets prompt the rest and reflection necessary to keep doing the important work that benefits the children in our schools and in our communities.  

2019 Delaware Teacher of the Year to be named

One of 20 outstanding public school teachers from across the state will be named Delaware's 2019 Teacher of the Year next month.

The winner will be announced at the annual awards banquet on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover. Funding for the award ceremony is made in part by a grant from Voya Financial.

The candidates were nominated by their districts or the charter network during the 2018 calendar year because of their superior ability to inspire students with a love of learning, exemplary demonstration of professional traits and strong sense of dedication and devotion to teaching.

Each nominee submitted a detailed online portfolio exemplifying his or her teaching philosophy. Five Delaware Department of Education staff members independently evaluate each portfolio. A former state Teacher of the Year and a member of the department staff also visit each candidate's classroom to observe his or her teaching. Taking into consideration the ratings from the portfolio review and classroom observation as well as a recorded presentation by the nominees, another independent panel of non-department judges then selects the one teacher who will serve as the 2019 Delaware Teacher of the Year.
The teacher chosen to become the State Teacher of the Year will become Delaware's nominee in the national program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation.
By action of the General Assembly, the Delaware Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of his or her students, as well as a personal grant of $3,000.  Additionally, all nominees will receive a $2,000 grant from the state.

The 2019 District/Charter Teachers of the Year are:

Appoquinimink: Sara Anderson, Cedar Lane Elementary, grade 5 inclusion
Brandywine: Bonnie Yurkanin, Claymont Elementary, library media
Caesar Rodney: Ashlee Upp, Allen Frear Elementary, grade 3
Cape Henlopen: Robert Harrod, Cape Henlopen High, grade 9 biology
Capital: Joseph Fuller, Dover High, Intensive Learning Center math/science
Christina: Jennifer Montanez, Etta J. Wilson Elementary, grade 5
Colonial: Mark McKenzie, William Penn High, Grades 11-12 chemistry
Delmar: Michelle Howard, Delmar High, Grades 9-12 physical science/chemistry
Indian River: Courtney White, North Georgetown Elementary, grade 5
Lake Forest: Sara Bushey, Lake Forest North Elementary, grade 3
Laurel: Carly Carrier, Laurel Middle, grade 6 science
Milford: Veronica Evans, Milford Senior High, grades 10-12 U.S. government and politics/social studies
New Castle County Vo-Tech: Lindsay Hoeschel, Howard High School of Technology, grade 11 English language arts
POLYTECH: David Watson, POLYTECH High, engineering/calculus/physics
Red Clay Consolidated: Lia Zucchino, Evan G. Shortlidge Academy, grade 2
Seaford: Dana Bowe, West Seaford Elementary, K-2 special education
Smyrna: Virginia Hoye, Clayton Intermediate, grade 5 English language arts/social studies
Sussex Tech: Anthony Natoli, Sussex Technical High, grades 9 and 11 English language arts
Woodbridge:  Heather Kerrick, Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center, grade 1 reading/social studies
Charter Network: Thomas Becker, MOT Charter High, grades 9-12 math

Other Good News in Delaware's Public Schools