Governor Carney Announces Summer Acceleration Milestones

Programs aim to keep children engaged this Summer

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday announced the progress underway with summer acceleration and encouraged Delaware families to take advantage of the free services offered by their districts and charter schools.

The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) has introduced a variety of programs for Delaware families this summer including Sora/OverDrive, a reading app featuring thousands of titles, Zearn Math, on-demand math lessons, and one-on-one tutoring with the support of Back to Basics, Reading Assist, and many community-based organizations. These programs are in addition to the many plans being offered by the school districts/charters across the state. So far, Delaware students have checked out 9,620 books on SORA and have read for nearly 4,000 hours.

“This has been a challenging year for all Delaware families. These summer acceleration programs offered by community partners, Department of Education, and school districts will help students keep learning this summer and be ready for the next school year this fall,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware families: Take advantage of these free programs. Pick up a great book. Try your hand at Zearn math. Our goal is to help more Delaware children read at grade level by third grade, be proficient in math by eighth grade, and to graduate college or career-ready. These free programs will help Delaware’s children reach those goals.”

As of June 30, more than 400 Delaware educators have been trained on High Quality Instructional Materials, more than 200 teachers and leaders have been trained on Zearn, more than 125 tutors have been trained on Zearn, and nearly 100 tutors have been trained on Core Language Knowledge Arts. DDOE has partnered with 13 community-based organizations at 38 sites to provide one-on-one tutoring for about 5,000 Delaware students.

Sites include: 

  • A Child’s Better Future
  • A Friend of the Family
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware
  • Community Learning and Wellness Hub which includes:
    • City of Love
    • Neighborhood House
    • Urban Promise
  • First State Community Action Agency
  • Girls, Inc.
  • Latin American Community Center
  • Network Connect Co-Learning Space
  • Phyllis Wheatley Elementary School and Century Middle School 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • WAVE

“The state-funded resources – which supplement local programming also being offered by our districts and charter schools – allow every public school student in Delaware to have access to summer acceleration supports,” said Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “If your child isn’t yet taking part, reach out to your school. Let’s keep our students learning this summer so they are ready for the new school year.”

The department also introduced a language line to increase accessibility. The language line offers over-the-phone interpreting features in 195 languages available on demand 24/7. In just one month, there have been 314 calls with 56 hours of usage, 24 average calls per day, and 15 languages used so far. Reasons for calls vary from invitations to summer programs, responding to family phone calls, nurse calls, student programming, enrollment and pantry services.

“The language line is a great resource to help our school connect with families in their preferred language.  Interpreters are easy to work with, and the service enhances our opportunities to create strong home-school connections,” said Mabel Boutte, principal at Wilson Elementary School in Christina School District.

“Yes, I think this [the language line] is perfect. Five days ago, I received a call from my children’s school and they told me they are now offering a Spanish line. This is a lot easier and faster instead of having to communicate with a translator. Before, when I would call the school, they would have to find someone and then call me back and now, with this service, I can call directly to the school. The Spanish line is a lot more helpful,” said a parent in the Cape Henlopen School District.   

For more information about summer acceleration, visit: de.gov/digitalde 

To start using the state-funded resources, contact your district or charter school.

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Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Expand and Make Permanent Opportunity Funding in Schools 

Senate Bill 56 expands and makes permanent supports for low-income students and English learners

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed legislation to increase classroom-based support for low-income students and English learners in Delaware public schools.

Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Senator Laura Sturgeon, expands and makes permanent Delaware’s Opportunity Funding program. The weighted funding program provides direct, classroom-based support for low-income students and English learners. By Fiscal Year 2025, funding for the program would more than double to $60 million annually.

Learn more about how public schools are using Opportunity Funding to support low-income students and English learners.

“My top priority has remained the same. We need to make sure that Delaware’s most disadvantaged students are getting the education they need and deserve. This legislation will help us live up to that promise,” said Governor Carney. “Our Opportunity Funding program is already providing direct, classroom-based support for low-income students and children who are still learning English. Senate Bill 56 will expand those efforts. We’ll also look closely at how schools are using this new funding, and make sure we know what’s getting results for Delaware students – and what’s not. Thank you to Senator Sturgeon and members of the General Assembly for their overwhelming, bipartisan support of this legislation.”

Watch the signing ceremony or view photos from the event.

“Whether it’s one-on-one time after school for extra help or access to a good counselor to work through trauma, or smaller class sizes to help with focus and attention, these Opportunity Funds will allow schools to address the needs of our most vulnerable students,” said Senator Laura Sturgeon. “I am proud to have sponsored SB 56 as an important step toward closing the achievement gap and I thank Governor Carney for signing this legislation into law today.”

“The operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022 and Senate Bill 56 will go a long way toward addressing long standing inequities in how we fund education in Delaware by recognizing the simple fact that students facing the greatest challenges require extra support to succeed,” said Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman. “These bills represent an important step forward, but they are not the end of our journey. We owe it to our children to make even more targeted investments that will support students with the greatest need and undertake deeper systemic reforms in the coming years.”

“The opportunity funding is a very important first step to making our state’s education funding system more equitable, flexible and responsive to student needs,” said Representative Nnamdi Chukwuocha. “It truly puts our students first and provides the flexibility needed at the school level to promote student growth and development.”

“Today, we are at a key moment in history for public education in Delaware, with many different efforts converging around the same goals of access, equity, early intervention, and resources for underserved communities. SB 56 and the expansion of the Opportunity Funding program is a key component of this progress,” said Representative Kim Williams. “Real change is within our reach for the first time in many, many years, and I truly believe that we will achieve the progress that our children and families have been waiting for.”

“During my tenure as superintendent of Indian River School District, I watched as our English learner population continued to grow and our schools were challenged to meet those increasing needs with no additional state support,” said Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “This funding is significant, not just because of the dollar amount but because of the lives it will change, the children who will receive the supports they need so they can succeed. This is changing their lives and their families’ lives, and ultimately the future of our communities and state.”

“With increased funding for more EL teachers and resources by signing SB 56 into law, thousands of students and their families will have more opportunities to break barriers, and help create a better Delaware for all of us,” said Kimberly Stock, Delaware’s Teacher of the Year. “Governor Carney, on behalf of all the Delaware educators and our EL students, I thank you.”

“SB56 is a major accomplishment, signaling that Delaware is addressing historic education funding disparities for students who come from low-income communities and those who receive ELL services,” said Dorrell Green, Superintendent of Red Clay School District. “The fact that Delaware has formally put permanent weighted funding into law is progress towards helping so many at-promise students reach their full potential. Governor Carney’s signing of the legislation demonstrates his commitment to children statewide.”

“We are encouraged by the passing of SB 56 and the permanent funding for our highest needs students,” said Stephanie Ingram, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “We thank Delawareans for Educational Opportunity, the Delaware NAACP, and the ACLU for bringing this issue forward and fighting to have Opportunity Funding become permanent. We thank the members of the General Assembly and the Governor for quickly responding to the terms of settlement so that the schools and the children that need this funding the most have it as they return to the classroom this Fall.”

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Student State Board of Education Member Application Due July 2

The application for student membership on the Delaware State Board of Education is currently open. Application requirements and information can be found below and in the application packet.   

Applicants for the student Board member position must meet the following requirements:

  • Delaware resident;
  • 11th or 12th grade student during the 2021-22 school year;
  • Attend a public school located in the state of Delaware;
  • Committed to ensuring quality education for Delaware students;
  • In good academic and attendance standing and eligible to participate in extra-curricular activities within your school district;
  • Recommended by school staff;
  • Ability to provide your own transportation to and attend monthly State Board meetings held during this time period. Meetings are usually held at 5pm and last approximately 2-3 hours. Meeting locations rotate throughout the State of Delaware. At some times during this Board term, it is possible that meetings may be held electronically in accordance with the Governor’s State of Emergency or as allowed by State Code. A proposed schedule can be found here.

The student must submit a full application, including: an application form, confirmation of eligibility form, resume, and answers to essay prompts by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 2, 2021.  

Questions about the application process should be directed to sbestudentapplication@delaware.gov. Questions about the State Board of Education may be directed to Jenna Ahner, Executive Director of the State Board of Education, at jenna.ahner@sbe.k12.de.us or 302-735-4011.


Governor Carney’s Statement on the Passage of Opportunity Funding

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday released the following statement on the General Assembly’s final passage of Senate Bill 56, which makes Opportunity Funding permanent for low-income students and English learners.

“This is a historic day in our state. We have an obligation to make sure that our most vulnerable students get the education that they need and deserve. Students who are living in poverty. Students who are still learning English. With the passage of Senate Bill 56, an expansion of our Opportunity Funding Program, we are making good on that promise.

Four years ago, we designed Opportunity Funding to offer classroom-based support for those students who need our help the most. And for the educators at the front of those classrooms, who have dedicated their careers to teaching the next generation of Delawareans. By Fiscal Year 2025, a minimum of $60 million per year will be allocated to schools to support low-income students and English learners.

Thank you to all the parents and advocates who have fought so hard over the years for a weighted funding system. And thank you to Senator Sturgeon, Senator Lockman, Representative Williams, Representative Chukwuocha, and members of the General Assembly for their overwhelming support of this legislation. I look forward to signing the legislation soon, and making Opportunity Funding a permanent part of our education funding system.”

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Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting Announce One-Time Enrollment Funding for Schools

Additional $9 million will help districts and charters prevent layoffs 

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) announced on Thursday that the State of Delaware will provide $9 million in one-time funding to Delaware school districts and charter schools to prevent educator and staff layoffs due to enrollment reductions.

To access the one-time funding, districts and charters must certify they will not lay off educators or staff, and that the funds will go toward student instruction, focused on those students who have been most negatively impacted by the loss of in-person instruction. Based on enrollment levels, districts and charters will receive as much as $1.1 million in additional state funding to prevent layoffs.

“Our educators, school personnel, and school leaders have taken on the challenges of this pandemic and ensured children remain fed, educated, and supported,” said Governor Carney. “We are pleased to make this funding available to districts and charter schools to ensure no staff members are laid off because of enrollment declines during the pandemic. We look forward to seeing students back in classrooms in a hybrid format in January, and I thank our schools for all the work they are doing to bring children back safely.”

“This funding will give our educators and students the stability they need as they finish this unprecedented school year,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Whether our children have chosen hybrid or remote learning for the spring semester, they will highly profit from the instructional consistency and learning support that the current staff offers.”

“We thank the Governor and Secretary of Education for this funding, which will avoid the negative impact of the decline in enrollment due to this pandemic. At a time when educators have so much to worry about, this solution means they won’t have to worry about layoffs this year,” said Stephanie Ingram, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “Instead, educators can continue to focus on safety, health, instruction and student learning.”

“Enrollment this year has been particularly transient due to the harsh realities our families have faced due to COVID-19,” said Dan Shelton, Ed.D., Superintendent of Christina School District and President of the Chief School Officers’ Association. “We are pleased that the Governor and Secretary Bunting have supported our educators with the funding needed to maintain our services and supports at their current levels. Our educators are working tirelessly to engage students in new ways, under changing conditions. This recognition goes a long way in helping to meet the needs of our students, staff and families as we navigate this pandemic together.”

“The funds received through this agreement will be used to maintain critical jobs and best support students in our district communities,” said Jason S. Hale, Ed.D., CPA,  Chief Financial Officer for Brandywine School District. “On behalf of school districts across the state, I would like to thank the Governor for his support and recognize the efforts of the Secretary of Education, Director of the Office of Management and Budget and all those who worked to come to this resolution. This collaborative effort shows the collective commitment to the students of Delaware and those that serve them. This is a great day for education in the State of Delaware.”

“I am overwhelmed by this recognition of the issues facing schools. This critical support for our school will help ensure that we can continue to provide the increased assistance for our students that has been necessary during this unprecedented time,” said Ed Emmett, Head of School at Positive Outcomes Charter School. “By providing for the unique challenges this pandemic has brought to our school’s budget, the State and Department of Education recognize that our faculty and staff are our most precious resource.”

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