Education in the First State
June 28, 2017
2018 District/Charter Teachers of the Year named

One of the 2018 District/Charter Teachers of the Year will be named Delaware Teacher of the Year in October (more photos).
Twenty Delaware teachers are finalists to be named Delaware's 2018 Teacher of the Year.

Selected from among the 9,000 public school teachers in the state, the candidates were nominated by their districts or the Delaware Charter School Network because of their ability to inspire students with a love of learning, demonstration of professional traits and devotion to teaching. 

Already leaders among the colleagues in their buildings, each now has assumed a role representing educators in their districts or the charter network. In October, one will take over the state title from 2017 Delaware Teacher of the Year Wendy Turner, a Mount Pleasant Elementary School teacher in the Brandywine School District.

Meet the 2018 District/Charter Teachers of the Year at the link below.

Middletown program gives students college experience

Middletown High counselor aQuena Williams, center, helped create a program for her students to take dual enrollment courses at Delaware State University. The DSU Early Bird program for male students of color aims to give the students both the chance to earn college credits in high school and a taste of what college will be like.

When aQuena Williams, career counselor for Middletown High School in the Appoquinimink School District, helped to create the school's Delaware State University Early Bird program to increase early college access for male students of color, she did so with the understanding that the work would have to center on more than just the importance of academic achievement.
"The program was purposely designed to go beyond reading, writing and arithmetic," Williams said. "We needed to focus on transformative skills as well. These are the tools that, more than anything else in my opinion, help to ensure our students successfully transition from adolescence to adulthood and are on a path of continued success."
This past year, Williams guided 14 students as they participated in DSU Early Bird, a year-long, dual enrollment experience for minority male students. During their junior year of high school, participants attend two college-level courses (with at least one in math) on the campus of the Dover university. Upon successful completion of the courses, the students receive both high school and college credits.

Garden promotes real-world science instruction

A student plants in Brandywine School District's first sensory garden at Forwood Elementary.

On a Saturday morning in late April, Forwood Elementary School staff, students and their families gathered to plant Brandywine School District's first sensory garden. 
The garden, part of Forwood's Green Ribbon Schools project, was designed to stimulate its visitors' senses and includes flowering plants with smells and colors to attract bees, beetles and other pollinators. Singing birds have a new solar bath and nesting boxes now line the back field. Soon, a wind sculpture will allow guests to feel and also see the breeze.
"Schoolyard habitat programs like our sensory garden are part of our school's efforts to go green," said fourth grade teacher Leona Williams, who worked with Delaware Nature Society (DNS) naturalists to help design the garden."The sensory garden will also serve as an outdoor classroom for science, mathematics, writing, and drawing classes."

Free meals available for children during summer break

Children line up for lunch at the Loockerman Way Farmers Market in Dover, one of the truck stops for the Capital School District's Summer Food Service Program (more photos).
The Summer Food Service Program  targets children in low-income areas to ensure they have nutritious meals during the summer. Any child 18 years of age or younger is eligible to receive a meal at the open sites. It is a federally funded program operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and managed locally by the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE).

Meal site sponsors, including school districts, are using creative ways to reach children in their communities, including trucks that bring meals to neighborhoods, partnerships with libraries and bookmobiles and and meal sites at community functions such as the Dover farmer's market and the Delaware State Fair.

Call "211" or text "food" or "comida" to 877-877 to find meal sites in Delaware.
Media literacy, technology engaging for students

School libraries across the state increasingly are becoming home to makerspaces and 3D printing opportunities as elementary  school  teachers use innovative  learning experiences to equip  students with  the skills  they  need to  succeed in college, career and life.

Editor's Note: This guest piece is by Karen Ammann, digital learning instructor for Red Clay Consolidated School District
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programming emphasizes applying knowledge to solve problems, and educators are finding new ways to provide engaging learning that requires critical thinking and is problem-based.
Stella Evans, librarian and technology teacher at Mote Elementary School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, organizes a variety of opportunities for her students to build, create,and solve problems in the library's makerspace centers.There, children can be found using Lego blocks to build roadways and infrastructure to connect two buildings strategically placed on a wall. Students may need to consider scale, distance,land forms, and other variables that may impact their building choices and decisions.
Others maybe seen using the open-source electronics platform  Arduino to program a computer to perform tasks such as turning on a fan and creating patterns on a light board. Others maybe diagnosing an electrical problem in a circuit that is preventing a light bulb from lighting. Regardless of the modality, Evans' students apply their knowledge in all content areas to solve authentic,engaging real-world problems.

Other Good News in Delaware's Public Schools