Governor Carney Sends Letter to Boards on Wilmington Learning Collaborative

Letter urges Christina, Red Clay, Brandywine board members to support schools partnership

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday sent a letter to members of the Christina, Red Clay, and Brandywine boards of education, urging them to support moving forward with negotiations to create the Wilmington Learning Collaborative. The following are excerpts from the letter:

“This letter is to request that, by your February board meetings, you vote to move forward with formally exploring this partnership. This vote would authorize your superintendents to begin formal negotiations to develop memoranda of understanding, with the goal of creating the Collaborative.”

“The Wilmington Learning Collaborative model is one that we’ve seen work in other states. It is a partnership among City schools to work together on behalf of our children in Wilmington – and to empower educators who know best what City students need. It will create a hyper focus on the challenges facing Wilmington students and educators.”

“Unfortunately, we know City students are not getting the education they need and deserve. We have much work to be done to ensure all of our third graders are reading on grade level, to set them up for future academic success. Wilmington children, families, and educators need additional support. I stand ready to offer that support – and I hope you’ll join me.”

“Thanks to the support of the General Assembly, advocates, and educators, significant new funding will be coming to schools across Delaware. Opportunity Funding, K-3 Basic Special Education funding, and additional mental health staff will all make an impact in schools across our state.”

“Additionally, at the end of January, I will be proposing to add $14 million in additional resources to help low-income students, much of which stems from recommendations from the Redding Consortium. Half of that funding will go towards putting the Redding Consortium recommendations into the operating budget, and the other half will go specifically to schools that join the Wilmington Learning Collaborative.”

“I believe City educators are doing everything within their power to help our children succeed. They need our support. I know you feel the same way. That’s what this plan is about: empowering educators on the ground and giving them support they need to improve outcomes for our children who need our help the most.”

Click here to read the full letter to Christina, Red Clay, and Brandywine board members. 

Visit de.gov/wlc to learn more about the Wilmington Learning Collaborative

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Governor Carney Announces DE’s Participation in CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack

CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack offer free, fun games for high school and college students to discover their talent and enter the field of cybersecurity. Registration is open now.

Dover, Delaware — Today, Delaware’s Governor John Carney and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jason Clarke announced that high school and college students across the First State can now register for CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack — innovative, online cybersecurity talent searches and competitions sponsored by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and the SANS Institute. Building on the success of last year’s National Cyber Scholarship Competition and the previous Girls Go CyberStart program, CyberStart America is open to all high school students to explore their aptitude for cybersecurity and computer science. Delaware students in grades nine through twelve will have the chance to win prizes and recognition for their schools, as well as scholarships for advanced training for themselves.  Cyber FastTrack is available for college students, where they too have a chance to win accolades and scholarship awards.

“Cybersecurity is a critical issue facing every state across the country and the future of our innovation economy depends on having a skilled pipeline of cybersecurity talent available,” said Governor John Carney. “Careers in cybersecurity are open across nearly every industry and we want to encourage high school and college students to explore these occupations. The CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack programs give students the chance to discover skills and career paths that can ultimately lead them to success within the cybersecurity field.”

The CyberStart and Cyber FastTrack programs both offer a series of online challenges that allow participants to act as cyber protection agents solving cybersecurity-related puzzles and explore related topics such as code-breaking, programming, networking, and digital forensics. For the high school level, the program can be assigned as part of homework, form the basis of an extracurricular club, or students can simply try it on their own. Participating students and their teachers do not need knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to take part. Everything they need can be learned in the game; however, support and communication about the program to students are needed. Both programs are free for schools and students.

Students who do well in the program can earn access to scholarships and advanced training. Last year, 416 Delaware students participated in CyberStart America — four of whom earned scholarships — while two Cyber FastTrack winners won over $12,000 in training and scholarship awards.

“It’s estimated that there are more than 20 billion devices connected to the Internet and that number is only going to increase exponentially. This past year has proven how ingrained technology is in our personal and professional lives — as well as how imperative it is that we protect all the systems that connect us. Cybercriminals are evolving and becoming more sophisticated, so we must continue to seek out and cultivate the next generation of experts who will defend Delaware and the nation against these cyber threats,” said CIO Jason Clarke.

“Thank you to Governor Carney for his leadership in training the next generation of Cyber Stars,” said Alan Paller, President, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. “Delaware is paving the way in urgently addressing the country’s significant gap in our cyber talent pipeline. We look forward to partnering with the Governor’s office to recruit thousands of Delaware’s students to this effort.”

To learn more about CyberStart America or to register, visit cyberstartamerica.org. College students can view the program details and register to participate at cyber-fasttrack.org.

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About the Delaware Department of Technology and Information
The Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is the state’s central IT organization, chartered to deliver core services to other state organizations and exercise governance over the technology direction and investments of the state. DTI provides enterprise services that enable other organizations to effectively fulfill their missions. DTI.delaware.gov

About CyberStart America
CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack are free national programs for high school and college-level students, aiming to uncover hidden cyber talents and to identify and develop the next generation of cyber superstars. The immersive gamified learning platforms can take students from zero cybersecurity knowledge to possessing the skills necessary to compete in a national-level Capture the Flag challenge in a matter of weeks. Students new to the field with a strong aptitude, as well as students with existing interest in the field, can use the platform to train and qualify for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition, allowing them to compete for life-changing college scholarship opportunities.

About The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF)
The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF) is a national nonprofit whose mission is to identify, nurture and empower the next generation of cybersecurity experts and eliminate the cybersecurity skills gap in the United States. NCSF aims to support the entry of thousands of highly talented students to the cybersecurity industry by providing enrichment opportunities, world-class training, and scholarships to fund advanced skills training.

 


Governor Carney Announces Appointment of Student to State Board of Education

Bridgeville resident to bring student perspective to board

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday announced he has appointed a high school junior from Bridgeville to serve on the State Board of Education.

Shelby Farris, a former Woodbridge High School student who now attends Positive Outcomes Charter School, will join the board for its November meeting and serve through the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

“We need to hear the perspectives of students like Shelby as we make big decisions about education in the state,” said Governor Carney. “Shelby brings a unique perspective from her experiences in traditional district and charter schools. I appreciate her willingness to serve in this important role.”

In 2018, the General Assembly passed House Bill 455, which added two non-voting seats to the State Board of Education: the student seat to be held by Farris and a teacher seat, which is currently held by 2017 Delaware Teacher of the Year Wendy Turner.

Farris has extensive volunteering and leadership experience, including founding HeartArt as an adolescent in 2016. HeartArt’s mission is “to help people turn their creativity into compassion.” To date more than 20,000 volunteers have created more than 60,000 creative compassion items such as pillows for children with cancer, painted rocks for rock gardens at veterans long-term care facilities and cards of encouragement for members of the military, veterans, hospital patients, long-term care residents, teachers and essential workers during the pandemic. Last year, Farris started another group, SEE US (Students for Educational Equity in the U.S.) to help students find ways to get involved in making a positive change in their schools.

Farris is a past recipient of the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Award, former American Red Cross Young Humanitarian of the Year, previous Prudential Spirit of Community Award honoree, President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award winner and Invisalign Changemakers National honoree. She also is a 2021 Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) delegate.

The board’s regular monthly meetings are open to the public, typically scheduled for the third Thursday evening of the month. The board rotates its meetings to be held in all three counties.

“We are looking forward to hearing from Shelby and welcome her perspective as she brings the student voice to the board,” said State Board President Whitney Sweeney. “Having that perspective is increasingly important as students return to classrooms after hybrid/remote learning.”

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Governor Carney, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney Encourage Reading This Fall

September marks Library Card Sign-up Month, Free Story Walks in each county

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney on Friday encouraged students and families to read throughout the school year by promoting the new Story Walks created in partnership with the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Delaware Division of Libraries and Syncretic Press, a multi-lingual book publisher based in Wilmington.

“Delaware students, families and educators worked hard this summer to make sure learning was accelerated before students went back to classrooms. This effort was capped off with the introduction of the Story Walks in our Delaware State Parks,” said Governor Carney. “One of our highest education priorities is to make sure third graders are reading at grade level. Programs like these Story Walks will help children experience reading in an interactive way in all three counties. We encourage you to check out the Story Walks and sign up for a library card if you don’t have one.”

“Language exposure is such a huge part of healthy brain development, and we’re not going to be able to tackle any of our big problems unless we address that healthy brain development for young children,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “Bringing books to settings where kids are comfortable and that they associate with fun, like at our parks, is a great way to encourage reading.”

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The Story Walks launched on September 1 in Brandywine Park, Killen’s Pond, and Trap Pond. There is a different story featured at each park including: Noah and the Red Cat, Spanish Tortilla, and Time to Play. The book titles and installations were managed by Syncretic Press. All stories are available in English and Spanish.

“We are grateful for the State Literacy Plan funding that enabled us to partner with DNREC on this project so we can promote both reading and outdoor exercise. When families visit Delaware’s beautiful parks, we hope the story walks will provide an enjoyable opportunity to jump into a new book,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting. “Families can read the stories together and talk about the books with their children while they are walking. They can discuss what the characters are doing and make predictions from one story board to the next. We hope such experiences encourage reading as a family not just while at the park but also when at home. It’s our goal to create lifelong readers in the state of Delaware.”

“We are excited to host these Story Walks within Delaware State Parks and offer our visitors opportunities to read while in nature,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The stories are fun to read and provide short literary adventures that we hope both children and adults enjoy exploring.”

“In times when everything moves so fast even when we read a story, a Book Walk allows you to pause between the pages and wonder what is coming next as you literally walk to the next page. Engaging the mind and body this way allows the reader to better savor the story and the illustrations,” said Enrique Morás, Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Syncretic Press. “We are excited to introduce these Latin American authors and illustrators to readers in Delaware. Bringing diverse perspectives on art and storytelling open up new windows of understanding, growth and tolerance in our community.”

The Delaware Division of Libraries is also promoting Library Card Sign-up Month throughout September. Individuals can sign up for a library card at delawarelibraries.org or in person at their local public library. 

“September is Library Card Sign-up Month! A library card is a school essential, and it’s free,” said Annie Norman, State Librarian and Director of the Delaware Division of Libraries. “About half of Delawareans have a library card. Register for your library card today, online or in person at your local public library.”

 

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Governor Carney Signs House Bill 86

Legislation increases funding for students K – 3 eligible for basic special education services

WILMINGTON, Del. –Governor John Carney signed House Bill 86 on Friday alongside members of the General Assembly, educators and advocates. This legislation provides increased funding for students kindergarten through third grade identified as eligible for basic special education services. 

“Our goal is to ensure that every child who walks through the door of a school in Delaware has the resources they need to succeed,” said Governor Carney. “This legislation will help us get there by providing important services early in a student’s academic career. Thank you to Representative Williams, Senator Poore, and to all the members of the General Assembly, as well as our educators and administrators and the advocates for your dedication to Delaware’s children and for your work on this legislation.”

“We know that early identification and intervention are critical to a child’s overall success in school and life,” said Representative Kim Williams. “No effort to improve the quality of public education in our state can be considered complete without a commitment to serve these students from their earliest school years. My colleagues and I have worked to advance this legislation for nearly six years, and though it is long overdue I am thrilled that it is now coming to fruition.”

“With Governor Carney’s signature on House Bill 86, Delaware is finally closing a gap in how we fund special education in the earliest grades, where an investment in the right supports can dramatically improve the lives of children,” said Senator Nicole Poore. “None of this would have been possible without the dedication and diligence of educators, parents and advocates who stood with Rep. Kim Williams and I over the last six years to get this legislation passed. I am eternally grateful for all the work they put in on behalf of the countless Delaware children who will now get the support they need to be successful.”

This legislation will increase the unit count funding for K-3 Basic Special Education students by School Year 2023-2024, Fiscal Year 2024, to be consistent with the unit of pupils currently available to students in grades 4 through 12.

“This is an extremely important investment in young students,” said Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education Susan Bunting. “The K-3 special education funding will provide students with the early extra supports that will help them develop strong foundational skills.  For many, this early assistance will translate into their needing fewer services later in their academic years.”

“Until today, Delaware did not provide additional funding for children who qualify for basic special education services in Kindergarten through third grade” said DSEA President Stephanie Ingram. “As educators, we know that early intervention works and that is why we have always supported HB 86. This bill fixes the system by closing the funding gap and gives these children the help they need when it matters the most.”

Rewatch the bill signing ceremony here.

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