Education in the First State
Secretary of Education Susan Bunting this month released the state's guidance for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 academic year. Districts and charter schools will use this guidance to formulate plans for the upcoming school year.
In August, Governor John Carney, in consultation with the Delaware Division of Public Health, will announce his decision on whether or not schools will start the year in person. Districts and charters will then implement their plans based on the scenario that aligns with current health conditions, understanding there may be some regional variability.
"Since the day we closed school buildings, our goal has been to return students and educators to their classrooms as soon as it is safe to do so," said Governor Carney. "When we do return to our school buildings, we know our daily routines will look different than they did in March. Important safety measures, such as wearing face coverings and socially distancing, will help protect our children and educators and help us reduce the spread of COVID-19 so we can stay in our classrooms, where our students learn best."
2021 District/Charter Teachers of the Year named
This summer the district/charter Teachers of the Year are participating in virtual professional development, along with some past State Teachers of the Year, as part of the Delaware Teacher of the Year program.
Twenty Delaware teachers have been nominated to be named Delaware's 2021 State 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 2020 Delaware Teacher of the Year Rebecca Vitelli, a special education preschool teacher in the Colonial School District.
The 2021 District/Charter Teachers of the Year are:
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)
Hebner awardee reflects on scholarship programs
Cape Henlopen High School graduate Travis Self recently graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in political science and a minor in history.
Editor's Note: This guest piece is from Travis Self, a
Charles Hebner Scholarship awardee. The Hebner Scholarship provides Delaware students with a full, four-year scholarship to the University of Delaware.
I've just received my diploma from the University of Delaware and, in light of this achievement, I'd like to credit the work of everyone at the Delaware Department of Education as well as the taxpayers of Delaware for investing in my future.
At a time when uneducated labor is slowly becoming obsolete in this country, and the costs of obtaining an education are skyrocketing, this scholarship has granted me a level of agency and self-determination that few people in our nation ever get to experience.
This scholarship has empowered me to enrich myself intellectually, enabling me to look for my next job with an attitude of hope, not fear. I no longer have to decide between pursuing my dreams or settling for whatever pays off my monthly student loan debt, which would no doubt syphon a crippling amount of my income as I attempt to obtain a footing in my career.
I now have the certification that opens the door to thousands of avenues for employment, and I'm not coerced by the spectre of debt to commit to a position that fails to fulfill my aspirations or potential.
I hope that my success and my story, whatever that may entail and whoever that may reach, will not only inspire other ambitious youth to apply themselves, but also other local governments to adopt or expand these kinds of programs.
I think it's an indispensable theme of our culture, that anyone from any background can make it if they apply themselves, and it would be a sore loss for all of us if we didn't take necessary steps to preserve that promise.
Finally, I'd like to give special recognition to my local AVID chapter at Cape Henlopen High School. Without their selfless devotion to the elevation of underprivileged youth, I likely would never have found, applied for, and earned the Charles L. Hebner Scholarship. I owe them more than I can ever repay.
I hope that my achievements in the future will accurately reflect the values and character of those that made this possible.
Teachers share in-person summer school experiences
Capital School District is one of two districts, along with
Milford, that offered an in-person summer program to some students. Three Capital teachers shared their experiences.
Megan Stoffa is a 5th and 6th grade Face-to-Face Summer Boost Teacher at
William Henry Middle School (WHMS).
"I've thoroughly enjoyed being back at WHMS surrounded by students and staff. I've had the pleasure of working with 8 students along with Mrs. Seeney and Ms. Davis. Together we have been brushing up on our ELA (English language arts) and math power standards. The students seem to enjoy Camp Adventure the most, specifically taking virtual field trips together to places including The White House, The Amazon Rainforest, Sea World, Tokyo Disneyland, and more!"
Ms. Elizabeth Long is the Summer Boost Visual Arts Teacher for the on-site and hybrid K-4 students.
"I am so excited to be able to provide art education to our Summer Boost students! We are figuring out this virtual education world together while students are experiencing the arts and creating amazing work."
She explained that kindergartners and first-graders used shapes and patterns to create beautiful drawings. Second- and fourth-grade students learned about using their eyes to observe and draw objects in the room through a drawing practice called Blind Contour.
"This week we are preparing sketches inspired by Wayne Thiebaud," she said.
"Next week we are turning our sketches into sculpture using Model Magic."
She wanted to give a shout-out to Capital's paraprofessionals who are assisting her in her art classes.
Meet Erica White! Ms. White is a Summer Boost In-School teacher at
East Dover Elementary.
"Summer Boost is going good so far!" she said. "We are focusing on reading/ELA and math the most. But we are also working on Camp Adventures, which is science this week, and we are creating Google slides/Adobe Spark videos based off of our PebbleGO Planet Research."
Delaware Teacher TV project seeks local educators
Delaware teachers: We need your help for Teacher TV! We are so excited to partner with Delaware State Education Association, WHYY Education and DeTv on this project.