Education in the First State
March 29, 2017
ESSA final draft public feedback due Thursday

After months of stakeholder input, the Delaware Department of Education is preparing to submit its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan to the U.S. Department of Education. Public comment on the final draft is due Thursday.
Public comment on the state's final draft of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is due Thursday.

The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) today released updates to the final draft of its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan, reflecting changes to guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education, public feedback and feedback received from the Governor's Office.  The updates are color coded in the online documents so the public more easily can note the changes.
The Governor's ESSA Advisory Committee will discuss the updated draft at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Tatnall Building in Dover. Public comment will be taken at the meeting and also can be submitted via email through Thursday. 
DDOE has been soliciting public comment on the final draft of the plan since its release on Feb. 28. The final draft included feedback from two previous drafts during months of public input, including from two rounds of community conversations across the state, discuss groups, the Governor's ESSA Advisory Committee, stakeholder meetings and online surveys.
DDOE will submit Delaware's plan to the U.S. Department of Education on Monday.
Teachers of Year meet legislators, Governor Carney

2017 Teachers of the Year posed with House members after being honored at Legislative Hall earlier this month. State Teacher of the Year Wendy Turner addressed both chambers, and the teachers also met with Governor John Carney during their visit (more pictures).

Delaware 2017 Teacher of the Year Wendy Turner, joined by the state's 2017 District and Charter Teachers of the Year, addressed legislators in both chambers March 21 after lawmakers passed a concurrent resolution honoring the educators.  Governor John Carney also invited the teachers to his office for a meeting.
The resolution sponsors were Rep. Earl Jaques and Sen. David Sokola, who chair the House and Senate's respective education committees.
In her address, Turner, a second grade teacher at Brandywine School District's Mount Pleasant Elementary School, talked to lawmakers about the importance of educating the whole child.
"We do it by attending to students' emotional, physical and intellectual development," Turner said. "What good is mastery of academic content, skills and standards if students do not have the vehicle to take it forth out in the world to make a difference, using compassion and empathy to build relationships and succeed?"

Amazon Grant supports POLYTECH robotics

Amazon General Manager Rohan Mendonza presents students from POLYTECH High School's robotics program with a $15,000 donation. 
Amazon associates recently surprised POLYTECH High School students with $15,000 to support their robotics program.
"We truly thank Amazon for their generous donation," said Superintendent Deborah Zych. "With their support, we will be able to fund national competitions, numerous classroom items and field kits, and increase student participation in STEM-related programs."
Representative Lyndon Yearick was present at the event and recognized the importance of Amazon's support in the local community, saying, "This is how Delaware competes for the next generation of jobs. Delaware has a world-class education system, a world-class work force, and we're excited that Amazon recognizes that in our state."
The donation is a continuation of support for the robotics program. Last fall, Amazon donated an initial $7,500 to fulfill the school's robotics wish list.
"We are proud to continue our support of POLYTECH High School's robotics program to inspire imagination and ingenuity. We're so impressed by the level of education in this program, and we look forward to encouraging and driving innovation in the next generation," said Rohan Mendonza, general manager of Amazon's Middletown fulfillment center.
After Amazon presented the check to the school, robotics students led a demonstration of their accomplishments with the company's support. Mendonza, who is an engineer, asked students about their experience designing and building the robots.
"I can't wait to see what the future holds," said POLYTECH Principal Ryan Fuller. "To partner with a Fortune 500 company is an amazing opportunity for our school, and we're thankful for the support of our students from POLYTECH."
College Success Report: Too many still need remediation

Students in  Colonial School District's Advanced Placement U.S. history class see history's connection to modern day. Co lonial has focused heavily on identifying and supporting students to prepare them for college-bearing courses. 
Of Delaware public high school graduates entering an in-state college or university, 41 percent will begin their post-secondary education behind their peers, according to the state's  2017 College Success Report released today.  
The report shows that the remediation rate for Delaware's Class of 2015 remained flat from last year, despite more students attending college. College enrollment for the Class of 2015 increased three percentage points to 61 percent.
Students who do not score well on college placement tests may be forced to take and pass non-credit, remedial courses before entering the college-level courses required for their degrees. These courses often cost the same as credit-bearing classes but don't count toward a student's degree.  
In Delaware - as is the case across the country - many students are graduating high school unprepared for the level of rigor necessary in a college course. Acceptance to college does not guarantee readiness for college. The Delaware Department of Education report released today - which includes school- and district-level data - outlines recommendations for schools, districts, and the state to better prepare all students for college success.  

New videos highlight Delaware teacher passion

Passionate about teaching? So are we. Join Delaware Schools, a statewide educator recruitment web site, launched its first of several online video advertisements earlier this month.  Using a combination of real Delaware educators and students from Capital and Laurel school districts as well as professional actors, the videos aim to attract passionate educators to the site, and in turn, Delaware public schools.   The first video launched just in time for Pi Day! Check it out  here.
Other Good News in Delaware's Public Schools