Education in the First State
September 30, 2020

Secretary, DDOE staff visit schools throughout month
Chief Equity Officer Jim Simmons, Deputy Secretary Christine Alois and Secretary of EducationSusan Bunting greeted students arriving at Seaford Senior High School in Seaford School District earlier this month for the first day of school (more pics). 

Secretary Bunting also visited Kent County Community School's site at Booker T. Washington Elementary School (BTW) in Capital School District to see the related services clinics that started last week. These clinics give students an opportunity for in-person speech, occupational and physical therapy while the district is under a remote learning model. Secretary Bunting had the chance to visit the room of Julie Eaby, Capital School District Teacher of the Year, to learn more about how BTW teachers are supporting students' remote learning (more pics).

For all of the Delaware schools starting the 20-21 school year this month, welcome back!

2021 State Teacher of the Year to be named in October

Twenty of the state's top teachers will be honored at a celebration next month, when one of them will be named Delaware's 2021 Teacher of the Year.

The winner will be announced virtually on Tuesday, Oct. 13. Watch on Comcast Channel 28 or online via DETV and Delaware Department of Education's social media channels. Funding for the award ceremony is provided by a grant from Voya Financial. The program begins at 6 p.m.  with the announcement coming at the end of the night.

The candidates were nominated by their districts or the Delaware Charter Network during the 2020 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 application exemplifying his or her teaching philosophy. Five Delaware Department of Education staff members independently evaluate each application. Because COVID-19 prevented the typical classroom observations that are part of the process, the teachers instead were interviewed by a panel of former State Teachers of the Year and department staff members. Taking into consideration the ratings from the application review and interviews 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 2021 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.

Appoquinimink: Karen Speciale of Brick Mill Elementary (Spanish)

Brandywine: Judson Wagner of Brandywine High (physics and engineering)

Caesar Rodney: Beth Schmidt of Stokes Elementary (1st grade)

Cape Henlopen: Jorge Moreno Jaen of Milton Elementary (1st grade Spanish immersion)

Capital: Julie Eaby of Booker T. Washington Elementary (4th grade)

Charter Network: Melissa Tracy of Odyssey Charter (high school social studies)

Christina: Jeffrey Dombchik of Christiana High and MSHA (instrumental music/8-12)

Colonial: Khayree Bey of McCullough Middle (health/ physical education)

Delmar: Kate Hakeem of Delmar Middle (English learner)

Indian River: Brandon McCabe of Sussex Central High (agriculture structures and engineering)

Lake Forest: Amber Hobbs of North Elementary (kindergarten)

Laurel: Lindsay Parsons of North Laurel Early Learning Academy (prekindergarten)

Milford: Kimberly Webb of Lulu Ross Elementary (4th grade)

New Castle County Vo-Tech: Anthony Reid of Howard High School of Technology (mathematics)

POLYTECH: Cameron Sweeney of POLYTECH High (social studies)

Red Clay Consolidated: Kimberly Stock of McKean High (English/English learner)

Seaford: Kathi Adams of Blades Elementary (kindergarten immersion)

Smyrna: Holly Hufford of Smyrna Middle (agricultural science)

Sussex Tech: Kelli Gehrke of Sussex Tech High (digital publishing/design)

Woodbridge: Jessica Leone of Woodbridge Middle (agriculture)
Supporting students from prison to the workforce
Editor's Note: This guest piece is written by Darrell Miller in DDOE's Adult and Prison Education workgroup.  

As I stood on an ice cream line with my daughter in the mall in June 2019, I heard a startling "Ay-yo, Miller!" Distracted by my daughter's thoughts on chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, I saw a former student smiling, wide-eyed and sharply dressed. At no more than 27, he told me where he was working and how good life was going for him. In turn, I expressed how proud I was of him, of the exchange we were having in the mall and that I was hopeful for more.

It had been more than one year since our last exchange, where "Ay-yo Miller!" participated in a flagger course offered to men in an all-male, adult correctional facility in Delaware. At the time, as a Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) staff supervisor working in this setting, the certified education team and I delivered a range of instructional offerings from low literacy and numeracy refresher skills to secondary credential and high school diploma instruction. We also offered several vocational trainings as well as evidenced-based practices on evaluating one's thoughts to bring about change in decisions and behaviors (MRT®).

My first year of teaching was in 2004 in Brooklyn, NY. I taught 6th to 8th grade students who had been diagnosed with emotional disabilities.  Identifying their strengths and developing positive relationships with my students, while also providing academic instruction, was a balance requiring routine, patience and persistence.  These qualities were required for facilitating and promoting learning in a middle school environment, and my colleagues in the correctional setting will agree that these qualities are essential there as well.  It was here that I found my calling to support students impacted by what is acknowledged as traumatic experiences today. As a black male having Latin and Caribbean decent, I consider my role in education a privilege, providing essential instructional resources to all students who may need a second chance, particularly those from black and Latin communities.

Delaware science teachers facilitate national training

How to Become a NextGen Science Teacher (BNGST) is a virtual professional learning pathway designed and developed by the Next Generation Science Exemplar (NGSX) project. Facilitated by Delaware educators alongside a team from Rhode Island, the pathway helps science teachers from 19 different states learn more about engaging in discourse with students, modeling, working with phenomenon, doing gallery walks, and collaborating as learners. This year's training marks the first time NGSX has provided the BNGST pathway in an entirely virtual platform.
"Having a group of dedicated facilitators and supporters is vital to the success of doing this training justice and allows new teachers to have science learning redefined for them," said facilitator Carrie Evick from Cape Henlopen School District. "I honestly have benefited from being able to continue facilitating in the virtual model - all the tech skills, practice with Zoom, use of platforms like Jamboard and GoogleDraw. All of this will be so impactful to take back to my classroom, just like when I participated in the BNGST face-to-face pathway last summer."
NGSX is designed as a professional learning system with the vision and capacity to support the multiple roles involved in changing science-education teachers as well as principals, curriculum supervisors, instructional coaches and English learner (EL) specialists who support science learning. NGSX is also geared to pre-service faculty and state science supervisors. Each role is critical to supporting teachers and students to make the shifts in teaching and learning advanced in Next General Science Standards (NGSS) and the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

First Lady announces "First Chance" Award Recipients
First Chance Award Recipeints
First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney and members of the End Childhood Hunger Task Force (ECHO) on Friday announced recipients of "First Chance" awards. The award recipients consist of leaders and teams that stepped up to keep feeding Delaware children when school buildings had to close from mid-March through June due to COVID-19.

"School-based food services represent our front line of defense against childhood hunger and in support of the nutrition essential to healthy development and learning," said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. "When school buildings had to close, it took a wide range of teams - comprised of dedicated, creative, determined individuals - to devise and implement plans to continue to feed our kids. We are so very grateful for their extraordinary work, which they are still doing, on behalf of the children of Delaware. We are proud to recognize these leaders and teams with First Chance awards for extraordinary service to Delaware's children during the pandemic."

First Chance Award Recipients:

  • Appoquinimink School District - Janice Vander Decker

  • Boys & Girls Club of Delaware - Tony Windsor

  • Brandywine School District, School Nutrition - Colleen Carter

  • Caesar Rodney School District - Paul Rodgers

  • Cape Henlopen School District - Cheryle Lord-Gordon

  • Capital School District - James Trower

  • Christina School District Andrea Solge

  • City of Wilmington, Department of Youth and Families, Food Service Program - Victoria Fuentes-Cox

  • Colonial School District - A. Paula Angelucci

  • Community Education Building PS #5 LLC - Havena Hollins

  • Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Delaware Division of Social Services - Mondel Powell

  • Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Delaware Division of Social Services (Pandemic-EBT Customer Service Team) - Maggie Smith, Carolyn Kincaid, and Marcella Spady

  • Delaware Department of Transportation - Mike Rivera, Dan Sturgeon, Warren Ziegler, Butch Kelley, and Laura Brown 

  • Delaware National Guard - Captain Kevin Caneco, Army 1st Lt. James Willey, and Sgt. 1st Class Brian Turner

  • Ezion Fair Community Academy - Reverend Dr. Christopher Curry

  • Family Outreach Multipurpose Community Center Inc. - Stephanie Dukes

  • Food Bank of Delaware - Sanjay Malik

  • Harry K Foundation - Harry Keswani

  • Indian River School District - Clifton Toomey

  • Lake Forest School District - Jennifer Montano

  • Laurel School District - Julie Gibbons

  • Milford School District Sharon Forrest

  • Polytech School District - Carol Arrington

  • Red Clay Consolidated School District - Jessica Terranova RD, LDN

  • Seaford School District - William Mengel

  • Smyrna School District - Roger Holt

  • Tarbiyah School - Dr. Amna Latif

  • The Little People Child Development Center - Janice Palmer

  • Woodbridge School District - Joann Joseph

  • YMCA of Delaware - Courtney Hoy

The award recipients, many of whom are Delaware's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors, were able to coordinate sites early this spring so that families could pick up meals for children to eat at home. Additional organizations and community partners worked with the SFSP sponsors to ensure students had nutritious meals outside of school. 

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