Frequently Asked Questions
As a state, we have acted on the majority of the recommendations put forth in Vision 2015. With Student Success 2025, we look ahead to a future world very different than 10 years ago or today, informed by our rapid advancements in technology, shifts in global competition, and changing demographics. Additionally, Student Success 2025 focuses attention on postsecondary success, personalized learning, and other subject areas not covered in Vision 2015.
Great progress has been achieved, and Student Success 2025 builds on the foundation of success.
Action has been taken on more than 75 percent of the recommendations in the Vision 2015 plan, including:
- Higher academic standards
- Greater investments in teacher and principal preparation and support
- Investments in quality improvements in early childhood education.
- Policy shifts have resulted in better outcomes for students, including increases in
- Children in high-quality early learning environments
- Students in foreign language immersion programs
- AP course taking and passing
- Students applying, attending, and succeeding in higher education
- New student career pathways to link schools and business in areas such as healthcare to advanced manufacturing
We have made progress in some of the core areas, such as early childhood. In 2006, the Stars quality rating system did not exist, and today the majority of centers participate and low-income children participate in high quality programs. We have financial awards for low-wage staff, and we have provided facility, continuing educational, and technology capacity improvements to providers. Other areas, such as funding, have not seen as much progress.
Throughout 2014, Delawareans weighed in on a draft vision for the future of education in Delaware in 2025 (ED25). The culmination of those efforts is a 10-year plan called Student Success 2025.
The Vision Coalition Leadership Team worked to incorporate the public input and strengthen the vision. Developing the final plan Student Success 2025 took months of thoughtful consideration.
- The North Star, the beacon for all the recommendations included in the plan, is a distillation of Delawareans’ responses to the question, “What skills and attributes should an educated Delawarean have in 2025?”
- Delawareans emphasized the importance of focusing on the students, which inspired the title of the report. The Leadership Team worked to put students at the center of the work and frame the plan around how to help students be prepared for a lifetime of success. Check out the videos of students from across the state talking about aspects of the plan in their own words.
- Other major themes included providing support for the whole child—including social and emotional support; encouraging collaboration across sectors, grade levels, and between families and schools; elevating the value of the teaching profession in the community; securing funding that is adequate, flexible, and equitable; and more.
The resources contributed to the project include:
- The time of 4,000 Delawareans who contributed to the plan
- Hundreds of hours of loaned staff capacity from the full range of public and private leadership team organizations to help staff meetings, take notes, share information with their stakeholders, and host meetings
- Financial contributions by the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee, J. P. Morgan Chase, and the Rodel Foundation of Delaware to support meetings, printed materials, and communications and policy experts that worked with the Leadership Team
Classroom teachers were engaged in developing the plan on each of the six Working Groups and the Steering Committee, as well as in development sessions. The DSEA Executive Leadership Team, State and District Teachers of the Year, and Rodel Teacher Council contributed to the plan.
The president of the PTA served on the Steering Committee, and multiple PTA leadership team members served on Working Groups. The majority of those serving on the leadership groups are parents themselves, and several community organizations representing families were involved, including the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Latin American Community Center, West Side Grows, and Children and Families First.
All Delaware students should have access to a world-class education, no matter what their academic abilities and challenges may be.
The tenets of personalized learning draw from several principles of special education, particularly the idea that each student has unique strengths, needs, challenges, and interests. In addition, a personalized learning environment often incorporates technology to assist students in their learning, much the way assistive technology functions for special education students.
The report also proposes a shift in how Delaware funds education to become more responsive to individual students’ needs, which would help to ensure that schools receive the appropriate resources to best serve education students.
We look forward to working with the next governor, secretary of education, State Board of Education, and others to implement the many opportunities in this plan. Many of the likely candidates have been engaged in improving education in their current and previous roles. The hope in creating a shared long term vision for our schools is to ensure that there is an understanding of the work underway and a general agreement on the priorities ahead so that we can build on what’s working and move forward.
Implementing the plan will take significant resources, especially for expanding services for and meeting the needs to the changing demographics of our students. Our low-income population in Delaware has grown by 68 percent in the last decade, and special education population has grown by 14 percent.
However, the 10-year vision will not be implemented all at once, will require tough choices about the resources we have today, and may need to be piloted in some areas before taken to scale.
Many of the ideas in Student Success 2025 involve finding efficiencies and offsets in existing budgets. For example, as more open educational resources become available online, textbooks and digital content may become less expensive. Districts already are sharing resources and utilizing purchasing in areas such as professional development and technology.
The recommendations should serve as a guiding framework for how we can accelerate our efforts to build a more coherent and high performing system of public education, over time.
Action on these recommendations will take all of us working together. Some of these recommendations are already underway and others will need champions to take off. To learn about groups of Delawareans that are already working on a number of areas in each category, please visit the Get Involved page and join the “action groups” at the Annual Vision Coalition conference on October 28.
The Vision Coalition Leadership Team acknowledges that major stakeholders in Delaware will not always agree on everything. But as a collaborative group, the coalition remains committed to working together on issues that its members do agree on—which make up the overwhelming majority—in order to keep the work moving forward. We accept that there will be real disagreements on the margins, but we can’t let that slow us down.
The “2025” in the title reflects our target goal: an education landscape 10 years in the future that better prepares students for success in life. However, most of the hard work necessary to reach that vision can begin immediately—and can begin impacting student outcomes immediately. Many of the changes and initiatives outlined in Student Success 2025 are already underway in Delaware.
While some goals may indeed take 10 years to reach, the coalition feels strongly about tackling some key short-term priorities mentioned in Student Success 2025, including:
- Continued investments in quality early learning programs and support, to build upon the critical progress we’ve made
- Building upon the statewide momentum in areas such as college access and career readiness
- Addressing structural revenue issues to ensure we can meet the many growing needs in the state
Strategies will surely change and evolve over the next 10 years, but our essential commitment is to the North Star, and to equipping our young people for the world that awaits them.