11th Annual Conference Recap

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The Vision Coalition of Delaware would like to extend a sincere thank you to all who attended the 11th Annual Conference earlier this month.

More than 250 Delawareans rallied at Clayton Hall in Newark to celebrate collaboration and discuss progress made in Delaware education.

The conference served as an opportunity to check in on the progress of Student Success 2025, the 10-year plan published by the coalition in 2015. The Vision Coalition’s 2018 Annual Report was also released during the event.

Mount Pleasant High School senior, Destiny Cheeks, opened the conference with a powerful speech about the importance of collaboration in creating opportunity and equity for all students. She has participated in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Communication Contest, now called MLK VOICE 4 YOUTH, since its inception and has made it to the final round each year.

Tony Allen, Vision Coalition Leadership Team member and Provost of Delaware State University, was so inspired by her words that he offered Cheeks a full scholarship to the university at the end of the conference.

Conference attendees then heard from a keynote panel, which featured four successful collaborations in our state. The panel, moderated by Vision Coalition Leadership Team Member Dorrell Green, featured a charter and district collaboration, a higher education and K-12 collaboration, a healthcare and K-12 collaboration, and a government and community group collaboration.

Following the plenary, over 30 unique, small group conversations called Idea Exchanges, commenced.

Matched to the core areas of Student Success 2025, the Idea Exchange brought together education, government, nonprofit, and business leaders around a variety of topics, from innovative practices happening in classrooms around Delaware, to helping students achieve success in college and careers.

Each Idea Exchange table concluded its session by naming one “Big Idea” that can make an impact in that particular focus area.




First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney launches statewide kindergarten registration campaign
On October 18, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney launched Delaware’s first statewide kindergarten registration campaign to highlight the importance of supporting Delaware’s youngest learners.

The campaign, also led by Delaware Readiness Teams, encourages families and caregivers to register students for kindergarten and helps guide them through the process.



Delaware recognized for 100% school connectivity
Delaware is a national leader in classroom broadband speeds and connectivity, according to a 2018 State of the States report Expanding Digital Learning in Every Classroom, Every Day released by Education Superhighway.

The report also highlights that the First State exceeds the 100 kbps per student goal. Over the past three years, connectivity speeds in Delaware schools have increased nearly eight times from 82 to 638 kbps.


Delaware allocates funds for school safety and security grants
Delaware took a step forward to address school security and safety concerns, by leaving it up to schools and district to determine their own needs.

After identifying priorities, they can apply for a portion of $5 million contained in the School Safety and Security Fund, a special appropriation that was set up following a bipartisan effort in the General Assembly.


Nemours, Life Health Center partner with Colonial to open elementary school wellness center
The Colonial School District announced the opening of four satellite elementary wellness centers at Wilmington Manor, Pleasantville, New Castle, and Carrie Downie Elementary Schools

Last April, Eisenberg Elementary School opened a full-scale center with services provided by Life Health Center (LHC) in partnership with Nemours. The four smaller satellite centers were opened after LHC hired additional health care professionals to meet the needs of students in the above-named schools.



Christina revamping high schools to focus on specific career pathways
By 2022, the high school programs in the Christina School District will be reinvented to better serve students and encourage parents to keep their children in the district.

The school board approved the district’s plan that will transform Newark, Glasgow and Christiana high schools by creating structured, concentrated pathways that will give each school a specific brand and focus in order to better compete with charter and vocational technology schools.


More than 90 students will receive career-building experiences during Disability Mentoring Day in New Castle County
More than 90 students with disabilities participated in career-building experiences during Delaware’s Disability Mentoring Day on Oct. 17 at locations in Newark and Talleyville.

Disability Mentoring Day is held each October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Several New Castle County school districts have again joined together to host their Second Annual Career Development Day at the Siegel Jewish Community Center in Talleyville.



Judge allows property tax portion of school funding lawsuit to move forward
Delaware’s three county governments have failed to convince a judge to dismiss part of a lawsuit seeking property value reassessments.

Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the Delaware NAACP are suing the state saying current education funding is failing students who are poor, disabled or English Language Learners. They’re also taking aim at artificially low property values. Eighty percent of property taxes go to public schoolsand property reassessments haven’t been done in more than 30 years.



First State hopes to expand charter seats with federal grant
The Delaware Department of Education has received a $10.4 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve the state’s charter school system.

Officials say the funding will support sharing best practices between charter schools and other public schools and strengthening the charter school authorization process. It will also provide sub-grants to new charter schools for planning and existing charters for expansion.


The Vision Coalition of Delaware is a coalition of public, private, and civic leaders committed to moving education forward for Delaware’s students. The Vision Coalition Leadership Team includes:

Tony Allen, Ph.D.
Provost, Delaware State University

Jeffrey T. Benson, Jr.
President – One Direction Insurance – Benson Development Group, LLC

Susan Bunting
Delaware Secretary of Education

Heath Chasanov
Superintendent, Woodbridge School District

Ernest J. Dianastasis
CEO, The Precisionists, Inc.

Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Farley-Ripple, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy in the School of Education and an Affiliate of the Institute for Public Administration at the University of Delaware

Dorrell Green
Director of Innovation and Improvement, Delaware Department of Education

Paul A. Herdman
President and CEO, Rodel Foundation of Delaware

Mark Holodick
Superintendent, Brandywine School District

Leslie Newman
Chief Executive Officer, Children & Families First of Delaware

Justina M. Sapna
Vice President for Academic Affairs at Delaware Technical Community College

Gary Stockbridge
President, Delmarva Power

Javier G. Torrijos
Chair, Delaware Hispanic Commission and Assistant Director of Construction at Delaware Department of Transportation

Margie López Waite
Head of School at Las Américas ASPIRA Academy