Education in the First State
July 25, 2018
State assessment results to be released August 1

2018 state, district and school level assessment results will be released to the public next Wednesday.

Delaware's 2018 state, district and school level assessment results will be publicly released on the department's  website on  Wednesday, Aug. 1

The release will include English language arts and mathematics results from the Smarter assessment administered statewide in grades 3 to 8 as well as high school SAT results. The Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA) alternate assessment administered to students with significant cognitive disabilities also will be released. Delaware will not release scores for the social studies and science tests this year because it administered field tests in these subjects in the 2017-18 academic year. Enhanced social studies and science assessments will debut in 2018.

While educators already have received their students' scores -- Smarter results, for example, are available to teachers three weeks after their students take the test -- and were able to use them to plan instruction for the remainder of the school year, the statewide release provides the public with data about how schools are performing as a whole and informs state, district and school policy decisions.

Families will receive score reports with their children's results via U.S. mail beginning next week.  Find family guides and other resources on the DelExcels site .

North Laurel Elementary inspires student success

Video:  Educators in the Laurel School District are thrilled to see big gains in their students' learning over the last couple years.

Students in Laurel School District have experienced significant gains in learning over the last few years. Using the statewide Smarter test in grades 3 through 8, educators measured a 17 percentage point gain in student math proficiency from 2015 to 2017. For the same period, Smarter measured a 10 percentage point gain in students' English language arts proficiency. 

"Our kids have done awesome," said Gina Voges, a grade 4 teacher at North Laurel Elementary. 

Laurel is excited to see student data from the 2018 school year, which will be released August 1. Check out this video highlighting Laurel and the more than 3,000 Smarter Digital Library resources that educators throughout Delaware regularly access to support student growth.

Red Clay creates new position to promote equity

Tawanda Bond begins her new job as Red Clay Consolidated School District's first equity officer.  
Red Clay Consolidated School District leaders put their commitment into action this summer, creating a new position to focus on equity.

As Red Clay's first district equity officer, Tawanda Bond, Ed.D., is guiding efforts to conceptualize, define, assess, foster and cultivate diversity institutionally and educationally. She reports directly to Superintendent Merv Daugherty.

"My goal is to provide a resource in supporting governance as it relates to district- and school-based decisions that affect our students, employees and community," she said.

"In our global society it is imperative that we promote a culture of diversity and inclusion across all spectrums of the educational landscape," Bond said. "An inclusive community that embraces differences and promotes a culture of diversity gives students and families the opportunities to grow with the individualized tools needed."

The district's Diversity Committee, which studied national best practices, suggested creation of the position among other efforts to improve Red Clay's practices and culture.

Her tasks will range from improving district hiring practices and instructional strategies to creating cultural awareness and analyzing discipline data.

"This is not a drive-by position. Red Clay is committed for the long haul. We have an outstanding school district and we want to make it better for students and staff members." Daugherty said.

Bond, who has worked in Delaware public schools since 2006 and the Red Clay district for the past seven years, began the new job on July 2.

"As a public school educator and school administrator I have participated on and lead teams that successfully facilitated equitable practices that addressed children, families, staff and community," she said. "The impact that these embedded practices have on students, families and the community is tangible, measurable and astounding."

Brandywine Springs joins Green School program 

Editor's Note: The following piece was written by Sonia Saunders, a grade 5 teacher at Brandywine Springs School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District and a Delaware Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) teacher leader. Applications for the Delaware Pathways to Green Schools program are currently open through Friday, Sept. 14 or until filled. Visit Green Building United to apply. 

Brandywine Springs School joined her sister Red Clay schools in the Green School program, also known as Green Building United, this year. The Green School Program is recognized at the national level, and includes twelve, and growing, environmental pathways for students to pro-actively engage in developing goals, plans, and implement echo-sustainable projects in their school and community.

For our first year in the Green School Program, Brandywine Springs School was committed to the Energy, Schoolyard Habitat, and Healthy Lifestyles Pathways. Each of these pathways required regular meetings and activities with students, teachers, and community members, as well as many volunteer hours driven by the passions and dedication of everyone involved!

Energy Pathway

This year, the Energy Pathway rolled out in three phases. Mrs. Saunders' 5th grade class took the lead. They researched and presented energy sources; their uses, the utilization process, advantages, and disadvantages. Mr. Ashwin Patel, BSS Facilities Manager, showed them the many sources of energy that are used to run the school. After which, they audited the K-8 classrooms to track their energy usage, and then made recommendations for energy conservation.

Cape students win DNREC environmentalist award

Rehoboth Elementary School students are scheduled to receive DNREC's Young Environmentalist of the Year award tomorrow at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington.

Editor's Note: The following spotlight was written by Jacquie Kisiel, a grade 5 teacher at Rehoboth Elementary School in the Cape Henlopen School District and a Delaware Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) teacher leader. 

With just over a month left in the school year, Rehoboth Elementary School students Sawyer Brockstedt, Alex DeEmedio, Melanie McKean and Savannah Montgomery were driven to make a positive impact on local waterways by asking their school to go straw-free. 

With the help of teachers and  students, the 5th grade friends touted the benefits of being strawless during morning announcements. They placed fliers around the school and asked their classmates to sign "I will be straw-
free" pledges. They collected used straws in the school cafeterias to turn into original, turtle-inspired artwork. 
The students are now in the process of making Cape Henlopen School District and the Rehoboth Beach community straw-free as well. 

Tomorrow afternoon, Governor John Carney and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Shawn M. Garvin will honor Brockstedt, DeEmedio, McKean and Montgomery for their work. In a ceremony at the Delaware State Fair's Mann Tharp Pavillion at 1 p.m., the students will receive DNREC's annual Young Environmentalist of the Year award. 

Other Good News in Delaware's Public Schools