State seeks grant applications for new, expanding charter schools

State seeks grant applications for new, expanding charter schools

By Alison May

The Delaware Department of Education is seeking grant applications for new charter schools interested in opening in Delaware or highly effective existing schools looking to add seats or additional locations.

The funds are part of the $10.4 million federal grant Delaware won in October to strengthen the state’s charter school system. Funds from the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter School Program will be distributed over five years to support:

  • Sharing best practices between charter schools and other public schools;
  • Evaluating and enhancing the impact of charter schools on student achievement, families and communities;
  • Strengthening the charter school authorization process; and
  • Providing subgrants for the planning, program design and initial implementation of new charter schools and expansion and replication of highly effective existing charter schools.

The grant also will help the Delaware Department of Education to improve its charter authorization process by enhancing reporting to include additional measures, providing technical assistance to charter school stakeholders and addressing policy to strengthen authorization practices.

Those applying for subgrants from the state must show how they will use the funds to:

  • Increase academic achievement for all students in the school as well as educationally disadvantaged students;
  • Collaborate to share best practices with district and charter schools;
  • Engage the families of educationally disadvantaged children on school choice opportunities with a focus on Delaware’s rural and urban areas;
  • Leverage partnerships with local agencies (i.e. social services, behavioral health, mental health, educational support, job placement, before/after care) to enhance school services and ensure sustainability.

The department released its request for applications (find information online here). Applicants must notify their intent to apply by April 30. Applications are due May 31, and awards will be announced in July.

This article originally appeared in Delaware Department of Education News

State seeks public comment on revised proposed antidiscrimination regulation

State seeks public comment on revised proposed antidiscrimination regulation

Friday, June 1, 2018 – The Delaware Department of Education is seeking public comment on a revised proposed 225 Prohibition of Discrimination Regulation, which will be published in the June Register of Regulations today.

The department received more than 11,000 comments on a previous version of the proposed regulation. After careful review of that feedback, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting made responsive changes. The version to be published today:

  • Removes the provision that allowed students to make changes on how they were identified without parental involvement and adds a requirement of parental notification and permission; and
  • Substitutes the state’s suggested model policy for a guidance document to assist districts and charters in creating local policies.

Because the revised proposed regulation reflects substantive changes from the previous version published, the regulation has been published in the Register again with another month-long public comment period before any decision on a final regulation is made.  Secretary Bunting thanks those who shared their feedback during the first formal comment period and encourages the public to again share comments by July 6. All comments received will be posted online after the public comment period ends.

To be considered as part of the public record, comments must either be submitted via email to or via mail to the attention of Tina Shockley, Department of Education, 401 Federal St., Suite 2, Dover, Delaware 19901. Comment submitted to other email addresses will not be accepted. Comments must be received by July 6.

$100,000 LabWare donation supports NextGen Teacher Leader Program

$100,000 LabWare donation supports NextGen Teacher Leader Program

A Delaware business’ $100,000 donation will allow 200 science teachers from across the state to continue in a leadership and professional learning program.

LabWare’s donation will allow the NextGen Teacher Leader project to extend into a third year.

Governor Jack Markell thanked Vance Kershner, president and CEO of LabWare, a Delaware-based  laboratory informatics company, for his company’s continued support.

Under the NextGen Teacher Leader program, educators from across the state have developed and field tested units aligned to the new standards, sharing their knowledge and experiences with their colleagues in their buildings and across the state.

“The NextGen Teacher Leader project is not only an important initiative for supporting quality science education but also an opportunity for science educators to take on leadership responsibilities, one that allows them to do this without leaving the classroom for an administrative position,” Markell said.

This is the second gift LabWare has made to the program. Two years ago, LabWare donated $60,000 to help the state launch the program.

“LabWare is honored to be able to continue to support this very special initiative that will allow Delaware educators to continue their development and will allow students to understand core scientific concepts, to understand the scientific process of developing and testing ideas, and to have a greater ability to evaluate scientific evidence,” Kershner said.

Delaware was among 26 states that participated in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize inquiry, engineering design and understanding the broad concepts common to all scientific disciplines. The State Board of Education unanimously adopted the standards in September 2013, and the state has spent the years since preparing for implementation.

“For more than 200 years, our state has had a tradition of innovation in the sciences and technology, and employers continue to seek employees skilled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If we are going to ensure that Delaware students can meet that need, Delaware schools need to effectively prepare them for STEM careers,” Markell said. “That is why this investment means so much.”

Michelle Kutch, Brandywine School District’s director of STEM, science and social studies and co-chair of the Delaware Science Coalition, said that with the adoption of new standards comes the need for new curricula materials and a great deal of professional development for teachers.

“This is no easy feat and typically brings a large price tag that not one local education agency can carry on its own. The Science Coalition relies on the collaborative philosophy of sharing resources among member districts and charters, however new initiatives require monies above and beyond our budget.  We are very thankful for the generosity of LabWare’s donation to our teacher leader program.  We will be able to continue building our capacity in teacher leadership by providing quality professional development to our staff in supporting science education throughout the state,” she said.

Shelley Rouser, director of K12 initiatives and educator engagement at the Delaware Department of Education, said investments such as this in our teachers are so valuable.

“When it comes to ensuring the best education for our students – the best science education – we know it’s more about investing in people and less about purchasing programs. That is what is so significant about LabWare’s support,” she said. “Their trust in and support of teacher training and leadership development supported the launch of this teacher leader program two years ago, and we are thankful that they are committed to support sustaining it.”


Delaware Foundation for Science and Mathematics Education (DFSME) Executive Director Randy Guschl, Governor Jack Markell and LabWare President and CEO Vance Kershner

Alison May
(302) 735-4006