Education in the First State
January 25, 2017
Susan Bunting nominated as Secretary of Education


Governor John Carney nominated longtime Indian River Superintendent Susan Bunting to lead the Delaware Department of Education. Her confirmation hearing is today.
Today the Delaware Senate will consider the confirmation of Susan Bunting, a long-time Delaware educator and superintendent of the Indian River School District, as Delaware's Secretary of Education.

Bunting has led Indian River, one of the state's largest school districts serving more than 10,000 students, for more than a decade. After teaching in Maryland for several years, she joined Indian River in 1977 as a middle school language arts teacher, later teaching gifted education. She was named Indian River's Teacher of the Year in 1985. She served as Supervisor of Elementary Instruction then Director of Instruction before being named superintendent in 2006. Delaware's 2012 Superintendent of the Year, she also was one of four finalists for the American Association of School Administrators' National Superintendent of the Year award.
She has served on and led numerous state committees, including the DPAS II Advisory Committee, Vision 2015 Implementation Committee, Governor's ESSA Advisory Committee and Delaware STEM Advisory Council, among many others. She also served as president of the Delaware Chief School Officer Association.
Bunting, a former adjunct faculty member at University of Delaware and Wilmington University, earned her Bachelor of Arts in K-8 education and psychology from the American University in Washington, D.C. followed by a master's degree in education from Salisbury State University and her educational doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Delaware.

Academy provides support to assistant principals


Middletown High's new assistant principal, Dominic Banks, offers encouragement to students Christian Britton, Jordan Vaughan, Dianna Sartin and Spencer Scott on exam day.

Dominic Banks joined Appoquinimink School District's Middletown High School as assistant principal this school year, his sixth as an administrator but his first in Delaware. He knew the Delaware Department of Education's new Assistant Principal Academy would help his transition.

"This was an opportunity to learn what happens around the state and collaborate with other administrators," Banks said, adding often the only other assistant principals one has a chance to interact with are from one's own building or district. "I'm interested in seeing what others are doing from district to district."

Creating a professional learning community for assistant principals and providing stronger induction supports is exactly what state leaders had in mind when they launched the program this fall. Inspired by the Maryland Department of Education's AP Academy, the program fills a void in professional learning in the state, said Kelley Brake, the DDOE education associate who leads the program.

"Best practice research reveals that the second most influential factor (after teacher effectiveness) on student academic, social and emotional success is the principal of a school," Brake said. "This year's AP Academy is targeted to provide the kind of supports needed by new and novice assistant principals, new principals to the state, and any new principal who may have been a teacher or teacher-leader and may have jumped into the role of a first-year administrator without the benefit of an assistant principal experience."

$2 million grant will support career pathways

The grant money will support students in state-model pathway programs aligned to areas of high demand in Delaware's economy, such as the manufacturing pathway.
Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced Delaware as one of 10 states to receive a $2 million grant to strengthen and expand career pathways for the state's youth and adults.
These state grants, which will be distributed over the next three years, are part of  the $75 million, five-year New Skills for Youth initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase, in collaboration with CCSSO and Advance CTE. This initiative is aimed at strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees and credentials aligned with high-skill jobs.
"In Delaware this year, nearly 6,000 students in 38 of 44 public high schools are enrolled in state-model pathway programs aligned to areas of high demand in Delaware's economy," former Governor Jack Markell said. "This grant will support initiatives like this that are critical to preparing all students for success after high school. In the process, we will come closer to achieving our Delaware Promise, which is that by 2025 the percentage of Delawareans with a college degree or professional certificate will match the percentage of our jobs that will require one - 65 percent."

14 schools honored for their students' achievement


The third- and fourth-grade chorus at Capital School District's Booker T. Washington Elementary School opened the Reward and Recognition School Award Ceremony earlier this month (more photos).
Fourteen schools have won honors for their students' academic achievements. 

For 2016, the state is recognizing two National Title I Distinguished School awardees, two Reward Schools and nine Recognition Schools. Each school will receive an $8,000 award. Funding for the awards comes from the state's School Improvement funds. Additionally, there is one School of Continued Excellence that was honored as a Recognition School last year and had outstanding performance again this year but is not eligible for a financial award again until 2017. 
"These schools are being honored because of their students' exceptional performance and/or the significant growth they have made, particularly in closing achievement gaps. Congratulations to the students, teachers and administrators whose dedicated work led to these achievements," Secretary of Education Steve Godowsky said.

Submit feedback on ESSA plan through Feb. 10


Educators, parents and other stakeholders joined two rounds of community conversations across the state this fall to provide feedback used to develop the state's ESSA draft plan.

The Delaware Department of Education shared the  next draft of the state's Every Student Succeeds Act plan for public feedback earlier this month. The updated document reflects the input the department received from community members and other education stakeholders at a series of community conversations and through discussion groups, the Governor's ESSA Advisory Committee, online surveys and submitted written comments.
"Educators, parents, and other community members across the state devoted significant time and thought over the past few months to help us shape our plan. We appreciate their time and efforts and look forward to continued collaboration in the coming months as we finalize our plan," Secretary of Education Steve Godowsky said.
The department also has created a  framework document that provides context around the department's related work.  Narrated slides also provide an overview of the changes between this draft and the Oct. 31 version.
The final plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in April.
An  electronic feedback form to collect public feedback on this version of the draft is available through Feb. 10. Feedback and questions also can be sent to

Other Good News in Delaware's Public Schools