Delaware Leadership Project is an alternative route to principal certification for teachers who aspire to lead the state’s lowest performing schools. The Delaware Leadership Project is ran through Innovative Schools.
The Leadership Project is operated by a nonprofit organization(Innovative Schools)that has experience working with the state’s low-performing public and charter schools (I was not aware that Innovative Schools has so much experience working in the state’s lowest performing schools). DDOE opted for an external provider for the program (rather than an established educational institution such as a university or school district) to secure independence in the recruitment, selection, evaluation, and dismissal of candidates. (Interesting that DOE would not actually want an educational institution providing these services. It is also interesting that DOE points out that they would want an independence in recruitment, selection, evaluation, and dismissal of candidates, not really sure I understand that statement.)
The Delaware Leadership Project is a 15-month fellowship program for aspiring principals that begins and ends with two full summers of training and includes a school-year residency during which candidates work under a mentor principal in a low-performing school. The program, which is free for participants, also leads to a principal certificate. Participants receive a stipend of up to $65,000 based on their present salaries. The Leadership Project is funded through the state’s Race to the Top grant as well as two private foundations.(Now that Race to the Top Funds are gone, who is actually paying for this program?) Program graduates must make a commitment to work in one of Delaware’s low-performing schools for at least three years after completion of the program; however, there is no guarantee of a principal’s position at the end of the 15 months. (On Innovative Schools website, they do not advertise that the candidate must work in a low performing school,
Some of the folks who have graduated from the program have been place into some of our schools. Not all of the schools where these folks have been placed are low performing schools, so my question is how can this be? Two of the candidates were sent to Forest Oak Elementary School and Conrad Schools of Science neither one of these schools is a low performing school.) Click here to see candidates.
What are the selection criteria for Delaware Leadership Project aspiring principals?
Admission to the Delaware Leadership Project is highly selective. In order to be eligible for the program, candidates must have:
• A master’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university
• A minimum of three to five years of teaching experience
•Valid teacher certification from any state or from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
• A graduate school GPA of 3.0 or higher • A willingness to commit in writing to working in the Delaware public school system for 3 years upon graduation from the program
In 2014, the Department of Education reported on DOE’s School Profile Page 35% of our Delaware public school students are low income and another 13.9% are students with disabilities. The September 30th Enrollment number for the 2014-2015 school year reported that 134,932 students were enrolled in Delaware public schools.
The total number of students attending public school in Delaware is reported to be 134,932 with 47,226 being low income students and 18,756 students being students with disabilities.
I asked the Department of Education how many of the 18,756 students with disabilities are low income and their answer was 45% of the students with disabilities are also low income students 8,440.
Delaware provides additional funding for students with disabilities, there are three categories: Basic Special Education, Intensive Special Education, and Complex Special Education. Currently, Delaware does not fund a Basic Special Education student who is enrolled in Kindergarten through 3rd grade, go to § 1703 Unit of pupils for more details.
Preschool — 12.8
K-3 — 16.2
4-12 Regular Education — 20
4-12 Basic Special Education (Basic) — 8.4
Pre K-12 Intensive Special Education (Intensive) — 6
Pre K-12 Complex Special Education (Complex) — 2.6
January 2015, I introduced a bill, House Bill 30, which would add Basic Special Education funding for grades Kindergarten to 3rd grade. The House Education Committee released it and it was assigned to the House Appropriations Committee in March.
This bill provides State funding to kindergarten through third grade for basic special education. State funding already occurs for intensive and complex special education during these grades. Currently the basic special education funding runs from fourth through twelfth grade. This bill is an effort to promote earlier identification and assistance for basic special education needs which should then mitigate costs over the long term.
81% of our enrolled pre-k students were identified with a disability.
There are currently 5,843 students (pre-k thru 3) identified last year in special education.
In 2013-2014 67.89% of 3rd grade special education students were below standards compared to 24.34% of general education 3rd grade students.
3rd grade is an important year for reading; this is the year that students move from learning to read, decoding words using their knowledge of the alphabet – to reading to learn.
3rd grade students who lack proficiency in reading are four times more likely to become high school dropouts.
3rd grade proficiency is crucial for continued academic success.
House Bill 30 would add 136 more special education teachers to charters and district schools.
Delaware school districts every year have to apply for a class size waiver Title 14 – Chapter § 1705A (c) if their Kindergarten thru 3rd grade classrooms exceeds 22 students on the last school day in October in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. The local school board may vote to waive this at a public meeting before December 1st of each year. This bill would help to reduce class size in grades Kindergarten through 3rd grades.
RTI is a practice of providing high quality instruction and interventions matched to a student’s need.
Tier 1 includes all students,
Tier 2 students with insufficient progress in Tier 1 in reading.
Tier 3 students are students who have not made progress in Tier 1 or Tier 2.
I surveyed the 5 school districts with regards to their RTI numbers. A total of 23,550 RTI students including 3,346 students with a disability are either in Tier 1, 2 or 3. No additional resources are given to the districts in order to support this initiative.
Relay offers a Master of Arts in Teaching in a variety of subjects including K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Eligible teachers may receive a Delaware Initial License through Relay’s Graduate Alternative Route Certification pathway upon completion of the first year of the M.A.T. program. Relay Delaware is eager to welcome the inaugural class of 2017. Visit the admissions page to learn more.
In 1994, a broad-based consortium of Delaware educators and legislators began to develop an alternative certification program for secondary teachers in Delaware. Its goals were to bring highly qualified individuals from other professions into teaching, to help Delaware schools address shortages in “critical needs” subject areas, and to increase the pool of minority teachers.
Wondering why Delaware would want to bring in a program that has only been around since 2011 and spend $500,000, when we have established programs that have been around four times as long?