A Letter From the Executive Director
Alliance of Model Schools Surges into 2013
Funder Spotlight: JPMorgan Chase
Delaware Leadership Project invited to join AREL Network
Leaders for Change: Don Liberati
Attend Innovative Practices Showcase
Project Based Learning workshop
'Meet and Greet' for Charter Schools
Leaders for Change: Dawn Downes
Debbie Doordan talks about deeper learning
Two great professional development sessions
Implementing deeper learning
The national reach of IS Advisory Board
Leaders for Change: Rhonda Hill
U.S. Senator Visits New Tech Academy
Alliance of Model Schools Learning Walks Scheduled
Spotlight on Delaware Talent Management
People Working Constantly for Change: Edward J. Emmett Jr.
Assisting Charter School Applications
Alliance of Model Schools Members
Spotlight on Delaware Leadership Project
People Working Constantly for Change
Letter from the Executive Director
DE New Tech Academy
Charter School Start-up
DLP and DTF - Putting Practice Into Action
Project Based Learning 101
Employee Spotlight - Deborah Scanlan
Meet the DLP
Delaware teaching Fellows
New to Our Portfolio
What We Are Reading
Changes to the Innovative Schools' Team
Additions to the Innovative Schools' Team
Parent Information Center Picnic
Save the Date
Innovative Schools Launches Two New Programs
Local School District Taking Bold Steps
What Delaware Educators Are Saying
Save the Date
News and Newsletters
Press Release: Delaware Leadership Project Graduates Second Class of Outstanding School Administrators, Now Eligible to Lead Delaware Schools
Delaware districts and charter schools looking to fill principal and assistant principal vacancies in their highest needs schools for the 2013-2014 school year will have six specially trained applicants to add to their interview pool. This June, the Delaware Leadership Project is proud to graduate its second class of six aspiring principals. This group joins the six graduates of the program’s inaugural year, who, like the members of new graduating class, have committed to serve a minimum of three years of service to Delaware public schools and are already reaching nearly 5,780 students in K-12 schools throughout the state.
Nakia Fambro, a graduate of the first cohort and now Dean of Students at Reach Academy for Girls, shared her insights into how her training has prepared her for her current role. "The Delaware Leadership Project has provided me with the insight into the overwhelming demands of being a school leader, but above all the skills to build a culture that is supportive and reflective of student learning and is driven every second by what is best for students."
Growing base of support for unique principal training program
Now entering its third year, the Delaware Leadership Project, developed by Innovative Schools in partnership with the Delaware Department of Education as part of the State’s Race to the Top reform agenda, is designed to produce highly qualified, rigorously trained leaders for the state’s most high-needs schools. While the program started out small, it has recently been gaining attention from a growing base of supporters.
“When we first started the Delaware Leadership Project, five districts were willing to take a risk on this program and serve as a residency site,” shared Debbie Doordan, Executive Director of Innovative Schools. “Today, we have to limit the number of aspiring principals districts can host because the demand is so high.”
Trained by and alongside Delaware principals, graduates of the Delaware Leadership Project have had the unique opportunity to put theory and curriculum into practice for over a year as they complete a principal residency in a high need building. The intensive 15-month program has prepared them to effectively lead public schools through challenging circumstances by building a collaborative community of instructional support. The training is producing strong results.
“Red Clay School District was fortunate to have Amy Cantymagli, a member of this year’s Delaware Leadership Project cohort, serve her residency at John Dickenson High School,” shared Hugh Broomall, Deputy Superintendent of the Red Clay Consolidated School District. “Working alongside Principal Byron Murphy, we have seen Amy grow as a leader and a valuable member of the Red Clay team. Her instructional leadership skills are on par with what we expect of our top principals.”
Public schools participating in the program this year include schools in the Red Clay, Christina, Brandywine, Colonial, Capital, Woodbridg,e and Seaford school districts as well as EastSide, Kuumba and Prestige Academy charter schools. Other local supporters of this innovative program include The Rodel Foundation of Delaware and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, who have contributed grant funding. Barclays and American Automobile Association (AAA) have also supported the Delaware Leadership Project by allowing the cohort to participate in their corporate leadership training programs.
The Delaware Leadership Project was also recently invited to become a member of the George W. Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL). AREL’s mission is to help improve the way in which school principals throughout the U.S. are recruited, selected, prepared, certified, empowered, compensated, supported, and evaluated. Other member organizations of AREL include New Leaders for New Schools, KIPP, Building Excellent Schools, NYC Leadership Academy, and others.
The Delaware Leadership Project will welcome its third cohort this June.
About the Delaware Leadership Project
A Race to the Top initiative, the Delaware Leadership Project provides a vital new pathway to increase the pool of high-performing principals who are prepared to improve student outcomes in Delaware’s highest-need, hardest-to-staff schools. Now entering its third year of operation, the Delaware Leadership Project is Delaware’s first and only state-approved alternate route to principal certification.
The full-time, 15-month program involves a 5-week summer intensive, a 10 month-residency under the tutelage of an experienced mentor principal, and a planning summer. Graduates receive two years of coaching support after they are hired as a principal or assistant principal. The program is designed only to graduate those participants that are truly ready for leadership positions. Graduates must commit to serving for three years as a leader of a high-need Delaware school – those that serve a diverse student population with a high percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
2013 ISMI Grant Competition Kicks Off!
Innovative Schools and The United Way of Delaware are proud to announce the second round of the Innovative School Model Initiative, a competitive grant competition for Delaware public schools interested in replicating deeper learning school designs including Big Picture Learning, EdWorks’ Early College, Expeditionary Learning or New Tech Network. Deeper learning academic programs have become increasing popular in Delaware public education, with eight public schools moving in this direction since 2011. They have since formed the Alliance of Model Schools. Ashley Biden, Associate Director of the Delaware Center for Justice, recently visited a deeper learning program, and spoke to the members of the Alliance about her experience,
“Many of the youth I work with cite disengagement with learning as the catalyst for their truancy and subsequent criminal offenses. The type of teaching and learning I witnessed in a Big Picture school was inspiring. Students, with poise and confidence, detailed their project expeditions and lit up when discussing their various internships. The students are not only succeeding but thriving. The type of learning that I was able to witness and that the Alliance is cultivating in similar deeper learning models throughout the state of Delaware is work that should be recognized and commended. Allowing students to learn through their passions and interests, as the Alliance of Model Schools is doing, is the education of tomorrow.”
“We are very excited to be able to announce the second round of this grant competition for Delaware public schools,” shared Debbie Doordan, Executive Director of Innovative Schools. “We have seen first-hand that educators implementing these 21st century academic programs in their classroom have been able to make dramatic changes that are not only improving academic achievement for their students but are also reinvigorating their teaching careers. Through the Innovative School Model Initiative grant competition, we are happy to be able to make it possible for more educators to explore deeper learning and determine if they are interested in moving in this direction.”
“We are pleased to see this very important work progressing,” added Michelle Taylor, President and CEO of United Way of Delaware. “We are in the middle of a great journey in advancing the quality of education throughout Delaware. As we prepare and implement quality programming in our classrooms, we not only affect our youths’ collective academic experience and achievement, but also our collective future prosperity and quality of life, as responsible stewards of our next generation of leaders.”
Local Students Produce Award Winning Financial Literacy Materials!
During National Credit Union Youth Week, being celebrated April 21 – 27, 2013, Sussex County Federal Credit Union will unveil award winning financial literacy youth materials, produced by DE New Tech Academy students.
While the winning materials will be showcased during National Credit Union Youth Week, Sussex County FCU will use the products on a daily basis to educate and promote the credit union’s youth accounts. Vice President of Marketing, Sharee Coleman stated “These materials are valuable to us, as they were developed by students for students. They reflect the images and content that this age group can relate to. The students have helped us better understand how we can better educate this age group on the importance of responsible money management.”
National Credit Union Youth Week allows Credit unions across the country to recognize the saving power of youth, while showing them how they can benefit from saving at their credit union. Through a partnership between DE New Tech Academy and Sussex County Federal Credit Union, students have been learning financial education through project-based lesson plans, which they in turn developed into real-life, educational resources designed to educate fellow students and their families on the importance of savings. Sussex County FCU has taken an active role to support and educate the needs of students within our local community, not just during one week, but during the course of a school year. SCFCU Vice President of Marketing, Sharee Coleman stated “As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, it’s our duty to make a positive contribution to the future financial success of these students. We are thankful for the partnership opportunity that DE New Tech Academy provided to us and will do our part to make it a success for the betterment of the students”.
Sussex County Federal Credit Union has embraced the opportunity to collaborate ideas and develop financial education assignments that apply project-based learning to help develop personal and professional life skill sets. We all have a commitment to empower our future leaders of tomorrow; working with this style of curriculum allows students to apply their knowledge into real-world experiences and learn skill sets that will assist them to succeed both personally and professionally.
Special kudos to Mr. Jason Jeandell, who has taken a very active role in ensuring his students understand economics and develop financial life skills that will positively impact their future personal and professional financial success. As a result of his enthusiastic commitment, the students thrive in the learning environment. Debbie Jewell, Sussex County FCU Business Development Manager, taught the financial literacy program and challenged the students to develop 3 products (A Television commercial, Comic Book and Brochure). The tasks included developing age-appropriate materials in the 3 assigned categories that would educate and inform students and their parents on the importance of saving. Ms. Jewell and members from WBOC worked with the students to lend development support, answer questions and provide guidance. Once the projects were complete, a team of judges elected a winner in each category, with an unexpected tie in the commercial category. Beginning April 22, 2013, the winning materials will be available to view at any SCFCU branch, online at www.sussexcfcu.com or by watchingthe student’s special television segment on WBOC’s Delmarva Life on Friday, April 26.
The Delaware Met Hosts Big Picture Student Panel
to see clips of Principal Timothy Jenkins and students of the MetEast High School in Camden, NJ speaking about the importance of their experiences with Big Picture Learning.
Innovative Schools Supports the writing of two proposed charters
to learn about the charter applications Innovative Schools has been working on over the past few months.
Delaware Leadership Project's Success Recognized by DDOE; Third Cohort Approved
to learn about the continued success of the Delaware Leadership Project and the DDOE's extension of the project to a third cohort.
Delaware New Tech Academy Students Wow at Vision 2015
Click here to read about Delaware New Tech Academy's student panel at Vision 2015. Innovative Schools' Rhonda Hill played a major role in the planing of this panel.
Bright Ideas: Innovations, new test results, signal improvements in public school
By Larry Nagengast. Published in Delaware Business September/October 2012 issue.
To read the article, click here.
Conditions and Policies Needed to Create and Sustain High Performing Schools
For more information and to read the paper, click here.
Delaware State University’s Early College High School approved by state
The Delaware State Board of Education has approved Delaware State University’s plan to establish an Early College High School on its campus.
The state Board of Education approved DSU’s application for the charter school at its meeting on Thursday.
The planned charter high school will be the state’s first Early College High School, which will be designed specifically to serve first generation college-bound students.
In the Early College High School model, high school and college curricula combine to form a coherent educational program in which students work toward a high school diploma and up to two years of college credits in four years of high school, DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said. Located on a college campus, the model directly challenges the belief system of under-prepared poor and minority students about their ability to do college level work and get a postsecondary degree.
The Early College model is a nationally recognized school design brought to Delaware through a partnership between Innovative Schools and EDWorks, Holmes said. Innovative Schools is a non-profit public school support organization based in Wilmington, and EDWorks is a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based KnowledgeWorks, which created the Ohio High School Transformation Initiative and the Ohio Early College High School Network.
Delaware State University and Innovative Schools submitted the charter school application to the Delaware Department of Education in December, he said. After several meetings with DOE’s Charter School Accountability Committee and a May 8 public hearing, the committee recommended the approval of the application. The State Board approved the charter based on that recommendation.
“We are excited about the opportunity to provide an exceptional secondary/post-secondary educational experience to Delawareans,” DSU provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alton Thompson said. “As the first early college high school in the state, we are partnering with the DOE to implement a rigorous curriculum and other support services to ensure our students are competitive on an international level.”
The university has included the Early College High School as part of its development of a new Facilities Master Plan, which is expected to be finalized by the fall of 2012. The location of the charter school will be determined by the master plan. The University plans to enroll students in the school by the 2013-2014 school year, Thompson said.
Housing a high school on the DSU campus is not unprecedented in the University’s history. In the 1893-1894 school year, the then-State College for Colored Students established a two-year preparatory school to help students get ready for a college education. In 1917, a Model Grade School was established by DSU, which granted a high school diploma to graduates. Capital improvement donations by philanthropist Pierre du Pont in the 1920s included funding to construct a new school building named the Du Pont Building. That building served as the only high school facility for African Americans in Kent County until 1952. “
Students participating in the Early College High School model launched by EDWorks in Ohio have an average graduation rate of 91 percent and outperform state averages in high stakes graduation tests for reading, writing and mathematics. At the completion of four years of high school, 100 percent of students attending Early College High Schools have earned a minimum of 30 hours of college credit, and as many as 60 percent of students earn an associate’s degree, or the equivalent of 45 to 60 college credits.
The University intends to blend the Early College Charter High School with its existing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiative.
“The Early College High School at DSU will be an innovative learning environment designed to inspire students who have the potential and motivation to be the first in their families to graduate from college,” Thompson said. “We are committed to making this school a good fit for our community.”
Delaware Leadership Project: On the job training for prospective principals
Whether he’s observing student behavior or seeking out a teacher to ask about some missing paperwork, Reshid Walker strides through the halls of Cape Henlopen High School with a sense of purpose. With every step, he’s learning.
One of his first lessons came from Brian Donahue, the Cape principal who is serving as his mentor. “If you stand in the right spot in the rotunda,” Walker says, “it’s pretty easy to monitor what’s going on in all three hallways at one time.”
He has also learned a lot about building relationships. “You need a good relationship with the secretary, the custodian and the union representative,” he says. “Secretaries know everything that is going on.”
To read the entire article on www.delawarefirst.org, click here.
Growing popularity of Delaware charter schools stirs fierce debate
Jeremy and Patti Carlson tried for two years to get their oldest son into Newark Charter School. Finally, before the start of fourth grade, Ryan drew No. 16 in a lottery for 18 open spots.
With middle school now approaching and the charter school only offering classes up to eighth grade, the Carlsons' attention shifted to where he would attend high school.
They weren't enthused with the option in their feeder pattern: Glasgow High School, one of the state's most challenged and, consequently, lowest-performing schools. Their initial interest in Newark Charter was sparked by the school's high test scores and strong academic reputation. Private school wasn't financially feasible.
To download the the article from DelawareOnline.com, click here.
Downstate, new learning choices being studied
When she heard Delaware State University wanted to start a charter high school on its campus, Joan Engel recognized it as a great idea.
So much so that she was delighted to volunteer to serve on DSU's advisory board for the project. Engel needed to do one thing first: clear it with her boss.
Engel is a public school teacher at Central Middle School in the Capital School District, and she wanted to make sure her principal felt comfortable with her advocating for a charter school, in essence a potential competitor.
To download the the article from DelawareOnline.com, click here.
Seaford students organize forum
High school students, some of them not yet old enough to vote, will still have their voices heard today when they question candidates in Seaford's mayoral election during a public forum the students organized as an extension of a civics class.
Students from Delaware New Tech Academy in Seaford High School worked to publicize the forum with fliers sent to local businesses. They also thought up questions for the candidates. A panel of five students will pose those questions to the candidates, then open the floor to questions from anyone in attendance.
"It's not for a grade or anything, but they've really jumped into it," said civics teacher Gary Zoll, whose classes have taken the lead in setting up the event.
To download the the article from DelawareOnline.com, click here.
Seaford Tests Novel Approaches
At Seaford High School, a 10th-grade course in biology brings together literature and the sciences.
Students read "The Lovely Bones," a novel about a serial killer and murder investigations. At the same time, the class learns about macro molecules, acting out a murder mystery and using biochemistry to solve a fictional crime.
This isn't the typical science classroom.
"I'm having more fun in my teaching career than I ever have," said Rita Salisbury. "The kids are so engaged. It's realistic stuff. It has a purpose. ... I don't want to ever go back to the traditional classroom."
To download the the article from DelawareOnline.com, click here.
Innovative Schools' Efforts for Charters
Get Front-Page Spotlight in News Journal
Newark Charter School has proposed an expansion that would add four grade levels and nearly double its enrollment by 2020.
If approved by the state Board of Education, the school -- which now stops at eighth grade -- would add a ninth grade in the 2013-14 school year and a higher grade each year after that. By the end of the decade, the school could have 2,500 students, up from the current enrollment of about 1,300, officials said.
The plan is one of several proposals announced this week to open new Delaware charter schools or change enrollments at existing ones.
Newark Charter's plan is welcome news for some parents, who say they struggle to find a suitable high school option after their children finish eighth grade.
To download the the article from DelawareOnline.com, click here.
Delaware Leadership Project Featured
in WDEL Education Watch Report
Delaware's under-performing schools need new principals.
That's why Innovative Schools has launched the Delaware Leadership Project (DLP). They're seeking applications for the state's only alternate route to principal certification. But Katie Gallup with Innovative Schools warns this program is not for the faint of heart.
Katie Gallup: "It takes them through a very intensive unique training process. It's a five-week summer intensive followed by a year-long residency in an actual school with a mentor principal -- that's based on the medical residency model, and then these principals would receive two years of additional coaching support once they are placed as a principal in a high-need school."
To read the article on wdel.com, click here.
News Journal Outlines Goals
of Early College High School at DSU
Earlier this year, two top Delaware State University officials visited two colleges in Ohio.
President Harry L. Williams and Provost Alton Thompson took the trips not to meet with fellow leaders in higher education. They wanted to see two high schools -- operated by and located on the campuses of Akron University and Lorain County Community College.
The model they saw in action on their visits is known as "Early College High School." And if the state approves its charter school application, DSU will open the first school of that type in Delaware on its Dover campus by the fall of 2013.
To download the article from DelawareOnline.com, click here.
U.S. Senator Tom Carper Visits
Delaware New Tech Academy in Seaford
SEAFORD, Del. - Senator Tom Carper dropped in on Seaford High School Monday to tour the New Tech Academy. Seaford High received a $1.3 million grant to implement this hands-on program, that's proven to be a success in 60 other schools. It's uses project-based learning, while practicing 21st century skills like work ethic and collaboration. Senator Carper says it will help prepare the students for college and their careers.
To read the article on wmdt.com, click here.
News Journal Spotlights Delaware Leadership Project
DOVER - After revving up a few hundred adolescents in the Central Middle School auditorium during a recent homecoming pep rally, educators had to get the children out the doors and onto school buses idling outside. And there wasn't much time to do it.
As the children began to get up, principal Darren Guido jumped to direct traffic. Moments later, outside, aspiring school leader Nakia Fambro noticed some students were dallying. She rushed to the office.
"If you are a bus rider, the buses are leaving in 30 seconds," Fambro announced over the intercom system, repeating the urgent message several times.
To download a PDF of the full News Journal story, click here.
Delaware New Tech Academy
Under Way at Seaford High School
Thanks to a federal grant of $1.3-million, Seaford High School has begun the Delaware New Tech Academy.
Delaware New Tech Academy uses a project-based model of education that has been proven to be successful at more than 60 public schools across the nation. Students are encouraged and taught to learn through creative use of technology, including computers, video and Smart Phones.
To read more at newsworks.org, click here.
Delaware State University, Innovative Schools Plan to Establish Charter High School
Dover, Del. - Delaware State University and Innovative Schools have formed a partnership to create an Early College High School that would allow students to simultaneously earn a diploma and college credits on DSU’s campus.
DSU and Innovative Schools plan to submit an application for the innovative charter school in December to the Delaware Department of Education, which oversees such applications.
“If approved, the proposed charter high school would implement the state’s first Early College High School, a nationally recognized school design,” Delaware State University spokesman Carlos Holmes said.
To read the full article in the Dover Post, click here .
DSU to Explore New Charter High School On Campus
Delaware State University and representatives of the local community have partnered with Innovative Schools, a Delaware-based non-profit public school support organization, to submit a charter application to the Delaware Department of Education this December. If approved, the proposed charter high school would implement the state’s first Early College High School, a nationally recognized school design brought to Delaware through a partnership between Innovative Schools and EdWorks, and would be located on the DSU campus in Dover. The school would be designed specifically to serve first generation college-bound students.
In the Early College model, high school and college combine to form a coherent educational program in which students work toward a high school diploma and up to two years of college credits in four years of high school. Located on a college campus, the model directly challenges the belief system of under-prepared poor and minority students about their ability to do college level work and get a postsecondary degree.
To read the full article in the Newark Post, click here.
Delaware State University to Explore New Charter High School On Campus
Dover, Del. - Delaware State University and representatives of the local community have partnered with Innovative Schools, a Delaware-based non-profit public school support organization, to submit a charter application to the state Department of Education this December.
DSU officials said that if approved, the proposed charter high school would implement the state's first Early College High School, a nationally recognized school design brought to Delaware through a partnership between Innovative Schools and EdWorks, and would be located on the DSU campus in Dover. The school would be designed specifically to serve first generation college-bound students.
To read the full article from WBOC News, click here.
New Charter School Aims to Have Students Bilingual
A new charter school is opening in Newark Monday with a goal of ensuring Delaware's students are bilingual by the time they're in the sixth grade.
Las Americas Aspira Academy Charter School will kick off the school year with more than 300 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
To read the article in its entirety and listen to clip, click here.
Delaware's New Charter Schools Learn Lessons Before Teaching Them
The operators of Delaware’s three newest charter schools have learned at least two lessons from the controversies that have swirled about two other charters in the past year: manage well and watch your money.
Leadership and financial problems earlier this year brought the Reach Academy for Girls and the Pencader Business and Finance Charter High School to the brink of closure. The state’s Charter School Accountability Committee recommended in June that charters for both schools be revoked. However, in July, after both schools took steps to strengthen their operations, the State Board of Education agreed with Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery’s recommendation to place both schools on probation.
To read the article in its entirety, click here.
Deeper Learning is an Imperative for all Students, New Brief Finds
WASHINGTON, DC – Policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels should support the concepts of “deeper learning” to help all students meet higher expectations and be prepared for college and career, according to a new policy brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education. It argues that deeper learning provides students with the deep content knowledge students need to succeed after high school and the critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills that today’s jobs demand.
“The term ‘deeper learning’ may be new, but its basic concepts are not,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Deeper learning is what highly effective educators have always provided: the delivery of rich core content to students in innovative ways that allow them to learn and then apply what they have learned.”
According to the brief, “A Time for Deeper Learning: Preparing Students for a Changing World,” today’s increasingly complex world requires that young people learn more, process more, and produce more, but the nation’s education infrastructure is not currently designed to support these increasing demands. As evidence, the brief points to results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) showing that American students trail their peers from other developed countries in using their knowledge to solve problems in key subjects like reading, math, and science.
“A Time for Deeper Learning” argues that American schools tend to offer a two-tiered curriculum in which some students—primarily white and relatively affluent—have had opportunities for deeper learning, while others—primarily low-income and students of color—have focused almost exclusively on basic skills and knowledge. It finds that the nation’s prosperity in the near future will depend more than ever on students from underserved groups.
There are hundreds of schools across the country that are successfully incorporating deeper learning principles and are seeing promising educational results, the brief finds. For example, Envision Schools, which operates four urban high schools in the San Francisco Bay area, educates predominately disadvantaged students, the majority of whom are first-generation college bound. In 2008, 95 percent of Envision graduates were admitted and have stayed in college.
Although individual schools and systems are successfully applying deeper learning and can demonstrate its effectiveness and practicality, bringing such experiences to all students is a formidable undertaking. However, as the brief notes, supportive policies such as the adoption of common core state standards that support college and career readiness, the development of next-generational assessments aligned to those standards, and recent developments in educational technology indicate that policymakers are starting to come together on the changes and investments that are needed.
The brief observes that the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind, presents a unique opportunity for federal policymakers to create opportunities for states and districts to put into place the kinds of policies and practices that a deeper learning environment requires. It outlines policy actions that support deeper learning in five different areas—standards, assessments, accountability, professional development and teaching practice, and state-level polices—and provides a picture of what deeper learning might look in the classroom.
The complete brief is available at http://www.all4ed.org/files/DeeperLearning.pdf.
Alliance Brief call for Assessments that Measure Deeper Learning
WASHINGTON, DC - New assessments that measure a broader range of knowledge and skills than typical assessments measure are vital to ensure that students learn what they need to succeed in the future, according to a new policy brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education. Such assessments would indicate whether students understand challenging content and are able to apply that knowledge to think critically, solve problems, communicate their understanding, and work with their peers, the brief argues.
"All students need these deeper learning competencies in an increasingly complex society," said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. "New assessments are needed not only to show whether students are developing those abilities but also to foster deeper learning in the classroom."
According to the brief, "Assessing Deeper Learning," state tests used for accountability purposes exert a strong influence on classroom practice. Such assessments make the expectations for student learning concrete, and they signal to teachers the kinds of performances students need to demonstrate in order to meet standards. Two consortia of states are currently developing new assessments, scheduled to be in place in 2014-15, that will measure the state-initiated common core state standards in English language arts and mathematics.
The brief notes that other countries routinely employ assessments that ask students to demonstrate deeper learning abilities. These assessments are used to hold schools accountable for results as well as to inform instruction. In addition, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which compares student performance among fifteen-year-olds in sixty nations around the world, tests students' abilities to apply their knowledge to real-world problems.
Technology can support a shift to assessments that measure deeper learning, the brief notes. Online assessments can employ simulations and other techniques that enable students to show their abilities to use their knowledge to think critically and solve problems. Such assessments also provide results almost instantaneously, making them more useful to teachers.
The brief also notes that assessments that measure deeper learning are feasible to develop and administer. Through the use of technology, and by pooling funds among states, states can lower the cost of high-quality assessments.
Federal policy can support the development and implementation of new assessments that measure deeper learning, the brief states. The federal government can require that assessments measure deeper learning competencies, support professional development for teachers, ensure that assessments fairly measure the performance of students with disabilities and English learners, and continue to provide support to states for ongoing operational costs of state assessments.
"Assessing Deeper Learning" is available online at http://www.all4ed.org/files/AssessingDeeperLearning.pdf.
For Prospective Principals, School is Still in Session.
For seven aspiring principals in Delaware’s high-need public schools, this summer has been just the beginning — a very intensive beginning.
“The information and experience I’ve gained in the first four weeks far surpasses what I picked up in traditional pathways,” said Reshid Walker, one of seven participants in the Delaware Leadership Project (DLP), a 14-month training program financed primarily by federal Race to the Top education reform funds and a grant from the Rodel Foundation.
Walker, who has worked in the Capital School district and in the New York City Department of Education, already is certified as an assistant principal and principal, but was attracted to the program by its rigor and the opportunity for hands-on training while building a strong relationship with a mentoring principal.
For the full article, click here.
Recruiting New Help to Bridge the Gap
The first class of a program designed to help bridge the achievement gap of students in Delaware graduated on Friday.
The 24 Delaware Teaching Fellows, trained to work with higher-needs students, will start this fall.
The program was created to address the fact that the community the child is raised in correlates with his or her academic success, said Christopher Ruszkowski, the Delaware Department of Education's Deputy Officer in Teacher and Leader Effectiveness.
The new teachers will work at schools where 60 percent of students come from lower-income communities. The districts include Capital, Christina, Seaford, Colonial and Red Clay Consolidated. All are new teachers who have never worked in a K-12 classroom. Some have changed their careers.
For the whole story, click here.
The People Behind Delaware's Principal Training
Innovative Schools Inc., the nonprofit public school resource center that is managing the Delaware Leadership Project certification program for aspiring principals, was founded in 2002 with a much narrower purpose: to help new charter schools obtain financing to acquire buildings needed to house their programs.
The organization raised $5 million from local foundations to establish a loan guaranty fund that subsequently helped seven charter schools purchase or construct adequate facilities.
Innovative Schools subsequently broadened its work with charter schools, providing back-office services in financial management, human resources, information technology, and technical assistance with completing the application and renewal paperwork required by the state Department of Education. It has already provided some form of support to 16 of Delaware’s charter schools and is assisting three groups with applications for new charter schools that will be filed with the state later this year.
To continue reading, click here.
New Program bringing more Than 20 Outstanding Recruits to State's Highest-Need Classrooms
Delaware Teaching Fellows will strengthen the state’s teaching force by offering another alternative pathway for talented professionals and recent college graduates to teach in high-need schools and subject areas.The Delaware Department of Education today announces the inaugural class of Delaware Teaching Fellows (DTF), a highly-selective program designed to recruit, select, train, and support accomplished professionals and outstanding recent college graduates to teach in the state’s highest-need schools. The new program is a key component in the state’s Race to the Top plan, which includes specific goals around the recruitment, development and retention of effective teachers.
After an intensive summer training program that includes leading a summer school class under the mentorship of a seasoned educator, this first class of more than 20 Fellows will teach math, science, English, and special education this fall to middle and high school students in all three Delaware counties. Throughout the year they will continue to receive close mentorship and support in the classroom while also taking classes at Wilmington University to earn their certification.
For the full article, click here.
New Program Gives Alternative for Principal Certification
Seven future principals say they're on a mission to make a difference in needy schools.
The Delaware Leadership Project, run by non-profit Innovative Schools, is a 15-month, principal certification that includes a five-week summer intensive and 10-month residency with a mentor principal.
Innovative Schools Executive Director Deborah Doordan tells WDEL the program goes above and beyond to prepare the candidates.
The candidates, most of whom have education backgrounds, have to serve for three years as principals in under-performing schools after completing the program.
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Special Leaders for Needy Schools
In the neediest schools, finding qualified leaders can be a challenge.
When children are coming to school with problems that go beyond learning math and reading, these social and economic issues often require leaders who are trained specially to meet those needs.
To help, Delaware recently began a new program that aims to train and retain specially trained school leaders. The Delaware Leadership Project, funded with part of the state's $119 million Race to the Top grant, is a new way for educators to train to work in schools that struggle with low test scores.
Leah Anderson, a former Howard High School teacher, is one of seven educators selected to be part of the first round of the program. She decided to take part because the Delaware Leadership Project presented an opportunity to get trained in an area that she's passionate about: Helping youth in schools that struggle. Anderson, who is a Pittsburgh-area native, went to a low-achieving school, and that sparked her interest in helping others.
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Program Trains principals to Work in High-needs Schools
DOVER — The Delaware Leadership Project — an intensive 14-month training program for aspiring school leaders that is the state’s first alternate route to principal certification pathway — launches this week.
The first cohort of seven candidates began its intensive summer training Monday