Governor Carney Delivers State of the State Address to Joint Session of the General Assembly

 

Governor lays out plan for strengthening Delaware’s economy, improving public schools and investing in state’s workforce

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney delivered his 2018 State of the State Address on Thursday in the House Chamber at Legislative Hall in Dover, outlining his priorities for strengthening Delaware’s economy, improving Delaware’s public schools, lowering healthcare costs for Delaware businesses and families, improving public safety, and investing in Delaware’s state workforce.

Full text of the speech, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

“We won’t always agree on the solutions, but we can all agree on the goals,” said Governor Carney. “To make our economy stronger. Our healthcare system more effective. Our communities safer. Our state workforce strong and stable. Our children more ready to compete for the future. Working hard and working together, we can and we will get this done.”

Below are highlights from the Governor’s address:

ON EDUCATION:

“Working with you last year, we created the Opportunity Grants program to provide new resources to students who need it most. We reached thousands of students across 13 schools last year. Next week, we will be proposing additional funding for Opportunity Grants that will more than triple the number of schools receiving this support. Schools could use this funding for things like after school programs, reading interventions, or other resources to help students and teachers be successful.”

ON THE BUDGET:

“The budget smoothing task force is considering several good ideas to bring more fiscal discipline to our spending patterns. For the long-term, we need structural spending reform, just as we need structural revenue changes. I want to continue working with the General Assembly – Democrats and Republicans – to do both. And, this is important, we cannot build new ongoing spending on top of one-time revenues. It’s just not responsible, and we can’t allow it, no matter how compelling the cause.”

ON HEALTHCARE:

“Here’s the bottom line. We’re spending too much money on healthcare, and not getting the best results. We all need to come to the table – state government and hospitals most of all – and be part of the solution. The hospitals and other providers have been laying the groundwork for this effort for years. Now it’s time to make the hard decisions, and change the way we deliver healthcare.”

ON THE CITY OF WILMINGTON:

“I firmly believe that the strength of our state lies in the strength of our largest city. But as everyone here knows, we continue to face significant challenges in Wilmington that pose a threat to its long-term success. I’ve called Wilmington home for three decades. Tracey and I raised a family there. And I care deeply about its success. But we all have a stake in helping our city succeed. Its success is closely linked to the success of our state. That’s why, over the past year, Delawareans have seen this administration work with Mayor Purzycki and members of Wilmington City Council to devote unprecedented time and attention to making Wilmington strong again.”

ON WORKPLACE CONDITIONS:

“As part of our focus on improving workplace conditions for state employees, I directed Secretary Johnson to analyze our state’s current sexual harassment policy and training, and to recommend ways to improve it. In the coming weeks we will announce a series of changes to ensure that no state employee is made to feel uncomfortable or threatened at work.”

ON DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION:

“We have been working every day since February 2nd to make our prisons safer, and to address the conditions that contributed to that terrible tragedy. Based on the Independent Review Team’s recommendations, we reached an agreement to increase salaries for Delaware’s correctional officers. We have implemented significant investments in equipment, recruitment, technology and training at the Department of Correction. And we’re installing cameras at James T. Vaughn and other correctional facilities as we speak. I made a commitment that the Independent Review report will not collect dust on a shelf. It has not. And it will not.”

###

Full text of the speech, as prepared for delivery, is available here.


Delaware Receives UPenn Technical Assistance Grant to Develop Integrated Data System

Grant will help Delaware support high-risk youth and families in Wilmington, and bolster work of Family Services Cabinet Council

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Wednesday that Delaware has received an 18-month training and technical assistance grant from the University of Pennsylvania’s Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) Integrated Data System Learning Community to help develop an integrated data system across state agencies.

The system will help Delaware coordinate services and support young people and families in Wilmington who are at high risk of violence, and bolster the ongoing work of the Family Services Cabinet Council. Delaware was among six county and state governments to receive the technical assistance grant.

“We re-established the Family Services Cabinet Council to make sure that state agencies are working together more effectively, coordinating services on behalf of Delaware families we serve, and delivering results,” said Governor Carney. “The Council is helping confront some of our most challenging issues – including ways to break the school-to-prison pipeline, expand job training, and reduce crime in our neighborhoods. An integrated data system will help us more effectively target our resources, and reach the kids and families who need our help the most.”

“We are excited to be awarded this technical assistance grant from UPenn’s Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and a board-certified family physician. “This is the technical expertise we need to help make an integrated data system a reality in Delaware, and to help us support the young people in Wilmington who are at high risk for street violence and their families. Being able to see the full picture of the services that young people and their families are receiving and their interactions with the system will help us develop interventions that are coordinated and appropriate for each family.”

Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services will join other state agencies in working with the AISP Learning Community to plan for the implementation of an integrated data system that will establish linkages across multiple stand-alone government data systems. The technical assistance, which will begin in March 2018, will include in-person training, an online learning platform, and a full evaluation of the AISP program at the end of the 18 months. The training will cover governance of integrated data system, legal agreements, data integration and linking procedures, and identifying and carrying out research priorities.

The Data Working Group of the Family Services Cabinet Council, chaired by Secretary Walker, is comprised the eight FSCC agencies including the Department of Technology and Information (DTI). The working group is engaged in the early stages of the development of an integrated data system, drafting necessary data sharing agreements, and creating a vision for the system. The data working group is carrying forward the recommendation of the CDC report on gun violence in Wilmington. The working group also is partnering with CompassRed, a Wilmington-based data and analytics company, to identify the data needed for analysis to provide actionable, data-driven information back to DHSS that can be used to provide the right services to the right families.

“The goal is to increase collaboration between state social service agencies by developing the capacity to link and share data between agencies,” said James Collins, Chief Information Officer for the State of Delaware. “This will enable predictive analytics to better reveal which families and individuals are most at risk and deliver relevant information to social service agencies so they can respond more quickly with appropriate resources.”

The other county and state governments awarded Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy technical assistance grants are Baltimore and Miami-Dade counties and the states of Georgia, North Carolina and Vermont.

###

Related
Governor Carney Hosts Discussion on Wilmington with the Family Services Cabinet Council
Governor Carney Announces Family Services Cabinet Council Summer Initiative
Governor Carney Reestablishes the Family Services Cabinet Council


Governor Carney and Mayor Purzycki Announce New Wilmington Sports Complex, Home to 76ers NBA G League Team

140,000-square-foot facility, developed by the Buccini/Pollin Group, will be named “76ers Fieldhouse”

WILMINGTON, Del. – During a news conference today in Wilmington, Delaware Governor John Carney and Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki will join the Philadelphia 76ers and the Buccini/Pollin Group to announce construction of a 140,000-square-foot, multi-purpose sports complex and youth training center in Wilmington. The new facility will be built on an 8.9 acre parcel of land off U.S. Route 13 and Garasches Lane. The sports complex is designed to be the premier center for youth sports in Delaware while providing thousands of underserved youth with new sports programming and opportunities.

The facility will be named “76ers Fieldhouse” and will be the new home for the 76ers NBA G League affiliate team, the Delaware 87ers. The team will play its home games at 76ers Fieldhouse, configured to host approximately 2,500 fans per game. Additionally, the 76ers will leverage its sales and sponsorship expertise to secure unique partnerships for 76ers Fieldhouse, including naming rights partners.

Rendering of the 76ers Fieldhouse.
Rendering of the 76ers Fieldhouse from the Buccini/Pollin Group. Click to enlarge.

“The Philadelphia 76ers are truly the Delaware Valley’s team, and we’re fortunate to have an incredible fanbase across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. We are thrilled to partner with BPG on 76ers Fieldhouse in Delaware to serve as home to both our NBA G League team and hundreds of youth teams and athletes each year,” 76ers President Chris Heck said. “We’ve set out to create a facility in a city on the rise like Wilmington for our NBA G League team that furthers the 76ers’ commitment to being leaders in sports performance and athlete care. We’re fortunate to partner with a group as respected and accomplished as BPG to reach this goal, while also bringing these amenities to youth teams and athletes in this area. With the support of Delaware Governor John Carney, Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki and our fans across the state, we’re excited to further demonstrate our commitment to Delaware by launching 76ers Fieldhouse.”

“This announcement by the 76ers organization confirms again that Wilmington is a great place for companies to invest, expand, and grow,” said Governor John Carney. “We couldn’t be more excited to help announce the new 76ers Fieldhouse, which will bring an NBA G League team to our city, and help connect development along the banks of the Christina River. Importantly, this facility will create jobs, expand opportunities for kids in Wilmington to participate in sports activities, and attract even more visitors to our great state. Thank you to the 76ers organization and the Buccini/Pollin Group for their commitment to Delaware, and their continued partnership.”

“We are proud to welcome the 76ers and their G league team to the City of Wilmington. The new sports facility will be among the finest in the country for a city our size. This fieldhouse, larger than the Chase Center, will be an outstanding venue for the Delaware sports hungry public,” states Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “This also answers our residents call for healthy options for our kids. Wilmington’s children will be primary beneficiaries of the many levels of programming provided by this magnificent facility. Our gratitude to Buccini/Pollin and the 76ers organization for placing their faith in our great city.”

The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) will manage the development and construction of the facility on the site, which is currently owned by the Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC), and sits at the foot of the new Christina River Bridge that will ultimately connect both banks of the Christina Riverfront.

“This new facility will be the impetus for the development we have envisioned on the East bank of the Christina River,” says Megan McGlinchey, Executive Director of the RDC. “The location delivers an excellent gateway into Wilmington and the Riverfront. Plus, we are thrilled that the Delaware 87ers will now join the growing list of successful family-friendly attractions already located here.”

In addition to the exciting arrival of the 76ers Fieldhouse, the complex will support youth athletic training sessions as well as youth basketball, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, football and other sport competitions through its dynamic mixed-use program including three full-sized, professional basketball courts, two indoor turf soccer fields, a world-class sports performance and athletic training area, as well as retail and office space.

Tenants who are planning to offer services at the 76ers Fieldhouse include TITUS, which will bring its performance training center to the complex and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children part of the Nemours Children’s Health System, which will bring its advanced Sports Medicine capabilities, including pediatric orthopedics and sports physical therapy, to the facility.

Titus Sports Academy, founded in 2001, focuses on long-term athletic development and optimization through training, nutrition and recovery plans based on specific needs of each sport, level or mission. TITUS utilizes technological assessment, evaluation and management tools that allow all athletes the opportunity to improve. The TITUS staff are highly experienced and have trained athletes from hundreds of schools, colleges and professional teams that regularly set the standard for excellence in human performance (www.TheTitusReport.com). “We are excited to share in this unique opportunity and vision which combines elite-level programs, a world-class facility and positive community impact,” says Shawn Hoffman, Managing Partner at Titus Sports.

Nemours is an internationally recognized children’s health system that owns and operates the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, along with outpatient facilities in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, delivering pediatric primary, specialty and urgent care. Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. duPont, Nemours provides pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy, and prevention programs to families in the communities it serves. “The building of the 76ers Fieldhouse is a very welcome addition to the ever-expanding and evolving Wilmington Riverfront. Nemours Children’s Health System is proud to be a part of this new venture in Wilmington. We look forward to expanding our superior and compassionate pediatric care with this new location in Wilmington,” says Roy Proujansky, MD, Chief Executive of Delaware Valley Operations, Nemours Children’s Health System.

The 76ers Fieldhouse will be available for events and field use by local and regional sports clubs and competitions as well. Local youth organizations will be able to practice, train and play soccer, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, football and other sports here, for both competitive and community outreach purposes. Future Soccer Stars Foundation (FSS), a nonprofit providing free soccer programs for economically disadvantaged children in the City of Wilmington (www.fssfoundation.org), and the Delaware Football Club (DEFC) which includes Delaware Rush, Delaware Union, and Kirkwood Soccer players (www.delawarefc.org), are two such organizations that work both independently and collaboratively to enhance youth soccer in the region, and have both committed to this facility as their home. Steve Cavalier is the Founder and Executive Director of FSS, and Coach at DEFC. “By working together, FSS and DEFC create the access and launch points (respectively) of a streamlined and coherent soccer pathway for all children regardless of ethnicity, background, or socioeconomic status. Where FSS introduces play, DEFC, in conjunction with high school play, provides the highest levels of competition before college and beyond.”

DEFC is the product of a long-term vision by its member clubs to create a recognizable soccer pathway for children in Delaware and surrounding states. It is designed to allow young players to move from recreation soccer through competitive club and high school soccer with the greatest opportunity to play in college and even professional soccer. “This is all done from the state of Delaware,” states Ian Hennessey who serves as both the head men’s coach at the University of Delaware and the Technical Director at DEFC. “DEFC is providing opportunities for families, who sometimes feel the need to leave the state to find a similar pathway. This new facility will help DEFC make these opportunities a reality.”

“The Fieldhouse and its partners, and specifically the full-sized soccer fields, will provide FSS the environment and room to house its fast-growing programs and annual events,” says Oliver Yeh, who serves as Board Chair at FSS. “In addition, FSS will have the capacity to run a centralized youth soccer league for the City of Wilmington. It will be a safe place for children to play, a home that will stoke a communal hometown pride, and a place where aspirations can grow to great heights.”

The Buccini/Pollin Group has engaged arena specialists Rossetti Architects of Detroit, MI to design the 76ers Fieldhouse, which will be a highly visible facility and a landmark for the connection of the east and west banks of the Christina River. “I am gratified by the Sixers decision to be part of this transformative project for Wilmington,” says Rob Buccini, Co-President and Co-Founder of The Buccini/Pollin Group. “Their confidence and commitment are affirmations that Wilmington continues to move in the right direction. In addition to providing sports, training and health services for youth in our City and throughout the region, the facility will be a significant economic generator. With the addition of tournaments and associated visitors, the 76ers Fieldhouse will positively impact the local economy.”

A formal groundbreaking ceremony is being planned for the first quarter of 2018, with a season ticket deposit campaign for the NBA G League team also set to begin at the start of the new year. For information on field use reservations, events, and other ways to support the 76ers Fieldhouse please visit www.76ersfieldhouse.com.

###


Governor Carney, Christina School District, Christina Education Association Announce Letter of Intent to Form Wilmington Schools Partnership

Great Seal State of Delaware, Christina School District, CEA logo

State of Delaware, Christina, CEA also announce town hall meetings to gather feedback from families, educators

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, Christina School District Superintendent Richard Gregg, and Christina Education Association President Darren Tyson announced on Thursday that they have signed a joint letter of intent to work together and develop a partnership with the goal of improving educational opportunities in the City of Wilmington.

The partnership will address the long-term success for the 1,640 Christina students in preschool through grade 8 who reside in Wilmington and attend the district’s four city elementary schools and one middle school. These schools are Bancroft Elementary School, Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, Pulaski Elementary School, Stubbs Elementary School, and Bayard Middle School.

Christina School District will work with staff from the Governor’s office, the Delaware Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, and the Christina Education Association to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this calendar year and submit the MOU for approval by the Christina Board of Education.

The MOU will define the roles and commitments of each party in crafting a system designed to create great public schools for every Christina student in the City of Wilmington. Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, and Dorrell Green, Director of the Office of Innovation and Improvement, also signed the joint letter of intent.

“It’s always been clear to me that as goes the City of Wilmington, so goes our state. And improving our city starts with improving our schools,” said Governor Carney. “We are committed to working in partnership with the Christina School District, the Christina Board of Education, the Christina Education Association, families, educators, and community members, to improve outcomes for students in Christina’s city schools. We have a responsibility to do better by these students, and I look forward to getting to work.”

“The Christina School District is committed to exploring every option available to improving achievement for its students,” said Richard Gregg, Superintendent of the Christina School District. “We are willing to enter into this partnership to explore the development of an MOU that clearly outlines the commitments that will be made by all involved. The Christina Board has been clear that any agreement that is developed must focus on what is best for our students, and we will work with the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office toward this goal in good faith.”

“We welcome the Governor’s initiative to partner in service to our Wilmington students,” said George Evans, President of the Christina School District Board of Education. “We need to create and maximize new pathways to excellence and equity within our Wilmington schools.”

“CEA and its members look forward to entering into this partnership and working together to create an MOU that best serves and supports the Christina students in Wilmington,” said Darren Tyson, President of the Christina Education Association.

Read the full letter of intent here.

###

Governor Carney will join Superintendent Richard Gregg and CEA President Darren Tyson at two Wilmington town hall meetings to discuss the partnership between the State of Delaware and the Christina School District:

Town Hall Meeting on Wilmington Schools Partnership

This event is open to the press.

WHAT: Governor John Carney will join Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg, Office of Innovation and Improvement Director Dorrell Green, the Christina Education Association, members of the Christina School Board, and community organizations to discuss the partnership, and ideas for improving Wilmington schools, with families and educators in Wilmington. Governor Carney, Superintendent Gregg and others will take questions.

WHO:          Governor John Carney

Richard Gregg, Superintendent, Christina School District

Members of the Christina School Board of Education

Darren Tyson, President, Christina Education Association

Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary, Delaware Department of Education

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

WHEN:       Wednesday, October 18, 2017

6:30 p.m.

WHERE:    Bancroft Elementary School

700 N. Lombard Street, Wilmington, DE 19801

 

Town Hall Meeting on Wilmington Schools Partnership

This event is open to the press.

WHAT:        Governor John Carney will join Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg, Office of Innovation and Improvement Director Dorrell Green, the Christina Education Association, members of the Christina School Board, and community organizations to discuss the partnership, and ideas for improving Wilmington schools, with families and educators in Wilmington. Governor Carney, Superintendent Gregg and others will take questions.

WHO:          Governor John Carney

Richard Gregg, Superintendent, Christina School District

Members of the Christina School Board of Education

Darren Tyson, President, Christina Education Association

Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary, Delaware Department of Education

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

WHEN:       Wednesday, October 25, 2017

6:30 p.m.

WHERE:     Bayard Middle School

200 S. DuPont Street, Wilmington, DE 19805

###


Governor Carney to Christina Board: Let’s Partner to Improve Wilmington Schools

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday met with the Christina Board of Education during a study session at Bancroft Elementary School to discuss a proposed partnership between the state and Christina School District to more effectively serve educators and students in Christina schools in the City of Wilmington. The following are excerpts from his remarks:

“I’ve lived in this city for 30 years. And it’s always been clear to me that as goes the City of Wilmington, so goes our state. Wilmington is our economic and cultural capital. Its success in many ways will drive Delaware’s long-term success. And so we need a city that is safe, with strong neighborhoods and good schools. We’re working with Mayor Purzycki, legislators, members of city council, businesses and the community service agencies to achieve these goals. Our efforts have to start with improving our schools, and doing a better job educating city children.”

“It’s clear to me that the most important thing we should do now is focus on making changes that will raise achievement levels for city children. That’s part of my responsibility as Governor, Dr. Bunting’s job as Secretary of Education and your jobs as school leaders and Christina Board members. We’re in this together. I’m here today, at the invitation of your Superintendent, because I want to partner with you to say ‘enough.’ I believe it’s time to begin intensive efforts to get our teachers, principals and students what they need in the classroom.”

###

Governor John Carney
Full remarks to Christina School District Board of Education – October 3, 2017
*As prepared for delivery

Thank Rick Gregg, members of the Board, Principals, teachers, parents and others present.

I’m here with Secretary of Education Susan Bunting and Dorrell Green. I appreciate the opportunity to address the Board in this workshop format.

I’ve lived in this city for 30 years. And it’s always been clear to me that as goes the City of Wilmington, so goes our state.

Wilmington is our economic and cultural center. Its success in many ways will drive Delaware’s long-term success. And so we need a city that is safe, with strong neighborhoods and good schools. We’re working with Mayor Purzycki, legislators, members of city council, businesses and the community service agencies to achieve these goals.

Our efforts have to start with improving our schools, and doing a better job educating city children.

One of the first things I did when I took office was ask Secretary Bunting to visit Wilmington schools.

I joined her on some of these visits. And while we certainly saw dedicated teachers and principals, what we saw by and large was very discouraging.

And when the proficiency scores for these schools were released this summer, we saw that they fell well short of what’s acceptable.

All of us, together, are responsible for doing better.

It was pretty clear to us that Christina’s portion of the City schools – Bayard, Stubbs, Bancroft, Palmer, and Pulaski – are in the most need of help.

Already we have taken steps that, I believe, will help our efforts in all city schools.

We opened the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education, to focus state energy on these and other high-needs schools.

We created an Opportunity Grants program that, while not funded at the level that I want, will help identify proven practices for serving disadvantaged students.

We put basic needs closets in Wilmington schools, so students can have access to hygiene products, school supplies, and winter clothing, in a dignified way.

We’ve reestablished the Family Services Cabinet Council to better coordinate services to families and children, and to address issues of poverty that are impeding the success of our city children.

But we need to do much, much more, and that’s why I’m here today.

We didn’t get here over night. And we could spend all day debating the reasons for how we got here. I know a lot of that history through my father who worked in the old Wilmington Public School District and through my many years in state government.

Some blame a lack of resources. Dysfunctional families. Inexperienced teachers. Weak leadership. Busing. Trauma in the home. Segregated neighborhoods. Too much testing. Not enough testing. Bad parenting. Education bureaucracy. Violence in the city.

Over the last few years the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission (WEIC) did a comprehensive study of the challenges, and came up with a plan to make changes. We’ve incorporated many of their recommendations into what I’m about to discuss.

It’s clear to me that the most important thing we should do now is focus on making changes that will raise achievement levels for city children. That’s part of my responsibility as Governor, Dr. Bunting’s job as Secretary of Education and your jobs as school leaders and Christina Board members. We’re in this together.

I’m here today, at the invitation of your Superintendent, because I want to partner with you to say “enough.” I believe it’s time to begin intensive efforts to get our teachers, principals and students what they need in the classroom.

To that end, I’m proposing that the State, Christina School District, and Christina Education Association form a partnership that focuses exclusively on Christina’s city schools.

My vision is to spend the next few months talking as a group about what this partnership would look like, so that by the end of this calendar year we can sign a memorandum of understanding to work together to improve these city schools and the proficiency of the students. I want to be ready to put our new plans into effect by the start of the 2018 school year. This aligns with your Superintendent’s timetable for implementing change as well.

I think our partnership should address five main issues that I’ve heard over and over again as I’ve toured schools in Wilmington.

First, principals need more control over key decisions in their schools. I would like to work with you to give principals the leadership tools they need and the flexibility and autonomy over structural areas such as staffing/hiring, school schedules, and programs. To give them the resources to implement extended learning time, and to create other school conditions necessary to best meet student needs. As part of this partnership, the Office of Innovation and Improvement would work with principals and our institutions of higher education to provide principals with high quality professional learning, coaching, and support. The Department of Education, using state resources, would assist Christina School District in training principals to better use observations to provide effective feedback that will elevate instruction.

Second, educators in high-needs schools need more say in how resources are used. I plan to engage Christina’s city educators to ensure we are working in partnership with them, as they are on the ground every day working to improve student outcomes. I would like to work with you to empower teacher-leader teams at each school to partner with school administration on key decisions like working conditions, resource use, and school culture. The Office of Innovation and Improvement would work with our institutions of higher education and use the full expertise of the Department of Education to provide educators with professional learning that is relevant, consistent, and meaningful.

Third, we need to address the fact that student achievement rates at Christina’s Wilmington schools are among the lowest in the state. In partnership with DSEA and CEA, I want to create more flexibility for these schools to provide students with additional learning time, including vacation and weekend academies. Teachers would receive stipends for additional hours worked, supported by state funds and the redeployment of district resources. I would argue serious conversations, in partnership with the Christina Wilmington community, need to take place around building use. We are doing our students, educators, and taxpayers a disservice when we have half-empty school buildings — needlessly spreading resources thin.

Fourth, we need a plan to address the significant trauma students in Wilmington experience outside the classroom. I’m proud of the work already underway between the Office of Innovation and Improvement, DSEA, the Office of the Child Advocate, and community leaders to train staff to create trauma-informed classrooms. We need to double down on those efforts. I have already directed the Family Services Cabinet Council to work with City leaders to implement the CDC report, including finding a way to share data across state agencies about students in need. That work is under way.

Finally, we need to build systems to create meaningful, sustained change in Christina’s Wilmington schools. As part of a partnership with you, the Family Services Cabinet Council would launch a two-generation network to support infants, toddlers and adults, with the goal of breaking the cycle of generational poverty. Additionally, we ought to convene higher education institutions and create a pipeline to develop teachers and leaders ready to enter into our Wilmington schools. These efforts cannot be a flash in the pan. We need to methodically build systems that will endure.

Give principals a bigger say. Trust and support our teachers. Tackle low proficiency rates. Address trauma. Build systems. That’s what I propose we work on together.

The partnership I’m proposing isn’t flashy. It’s not an education fad or sound bite. It’s about the nuts and bolts of educating children. It is a simple but intense effort to put the focus where I think it belongs — in the classroom.

Frederick Douglass said that “it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” And that’s the choice we’re facing. We all have dreams for our children. But right now, we’re consigning far too many of our students to a life that no parent wants for their child. Every student we graduate who can’t do basic math or who can’t read or write, we’re sending into the world knowing he or she doesn’t have the tools to succeed. Doors are closing for these children before they even leave the third grade.

I believe, and I know you do too, that it would be immoral to let this situation continue this way.

So I’m asking you to form this partnership with us. Let’s take the next few months and work out the details. I’d like to hear your thoughts on what I’ve laid out, and on how you think we can work together.​

###