If it can’t be done in Delaware, it can’t be done anywhere.—Maria Matos, Executive Director, The Latin American Community Center
Fundamental change is taking place within Delaware’s education system. Progress toward K-12 reform can be seen as the lens shifts from a focus on casting a bold vision for excellence to collaborating and implementing strategic initiatives.
Delaware’s first place Race to the Top win of $119 million in 2010 and its receipt of the Frank Newman Award in 2013 for innovation from the Education Commission of the States attest to Delaware’s advance toward becoming a world-class education system.
While some of Delaware’s advances have made national headlines, others, while less known, are still important strategic and tactical accomplishments. For example, as part of the Race to the Top initiative, all eleventh grade students take the SAT and do so free of charge. New teachers participate in a multi-year induction program to facilitate early success. Educators leverage 90 minutes of weekly planning time with colleagues and data coaches to deliver more data-driven instruction. Student learning is now a factor in performance appraisals and has begun to guide professional learning. Effective educators who choose to work with Delaware’s neediest students are handsomely compensated through the Delaware Talent Cooperative.
Student achievement gains provide a further indication that Delaware’s efforts for K-12 reform are having an impact. In 2011-12, 10,000 more students achieved proficiency in reading and 9,000 more achieved proficiency in math.