Top national mathematics, science teachers recognized

Four Delaware teachers have been named as recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the highest recognition that K-12 mathematics and science teachers can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. The finalists were honored last week at the national awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

The 2017 national awardees are:

Kathleen Olenderski (mathematics) of Alfred G. Waters Middle School in the Appoquinimink School District.
Joshua Gates (science) of the private Tatnall School

The 2018 national awardees are:

Jennah Truitt (mathematics) of Lord Baltimore Elementary School in the Indian River School District
Danielle Rash (science) of Olive B. Loss Elementary School in the Appoquinimink School District

The Delaware Department of Education also has named six teachers as 2019 state PAEMST finalists:

Katherine Hoffecker (mathematics) of Middletown High School in the Appoquinimink School District
Eileen Voltz (mathematics) of the Charter School of Wilmington in the Red Clay Consolidated School District
Kathleen Wilson (mathematics) of St. Georges Vocational Technical High School in the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District
Jordan Estock (science) of Concord High School in the Brandywine School District
Elizabeth Plant (science) of First State Montessori Academy Charter School
Rachael Smith (science) of Hodgson Vo-Tech High School in the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District

The national finalists and state awardees will be recognized later this school year at the Delaware STEM Conference. Information will be forthcoming.

The goal of the PAEMST award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching in addition to honoring individual achievement. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. The award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. Every year each state selects up to three mathematics teachers and three science teachers as state finalists. A national selection committee reviews state finalist applications and selects one awardee in each content area for every state. Teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science. As part of the recognition process, awardees take part in a weeklong series of networking and professional development activities in Washington, D.C., and receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

For more information about PAEMST and to see nomination forms and application instructions, visit www.paemst.org.


2019 state assessment results released

The Delaware Department of Education on Thursday released the 2019 statewide student assessment results.

 

Statewide, 53 percent of students in grades 3 to 8 scored at the proficient level or higher this year in the Smarter English language arts (ELA) assessment, compared to 54 percent in 2018. For mathematics, 44 percent of students in grades 3 to 8 scored at the proficient level or higher, no change from the 2018 results. At the high school level, students took the SAT with the results relatively unchanged.

 

Because Delaware transitioned this year to new science and social studies assessments, state officials will spend the fall setting cut scores to determine which scores are proficient on the new tests. Results will be released this winter. Results for the state’s alternate assessment, administered to those students with significant cognitive disabilities, were released today as well. Those results also were relatively unchanged.

 

Educators already received their students’ scores — Smarter results, for example, are available to teachers three weeks after their students complete the test. Families will receive score reports with their children’s results via U.S. mail beginning next week. Family guides and other resources also are available online.

 

For more information on state assessment results, visit the Delaware Report Card site and see the 2019 assessment presentation.

 

Smarter Assessment (ELA/mathematics)

 

Nationwide, states administering the Smarter assessment have seen similar trends to Delaware – slow growth at the state level with larger gains at some school levels.

Delaware did see slight gains in some subgroups statewide between 2018 and 2019, with English learners and students with disabilities averages increasing by one percentage point each in ELA and one percentage point in math for both students with disabilities and Hispanic students.

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting thanked students and educators for their hard work. She also committed to continue to provide supports from the state.

“We must focus our time and resources on promoting early diagnosis and intervention, using a range of assessments throughout the year and training educators on how to use the data available to them to effect change in curriculum and instruction,” she said. “We also must provide technical assistance and other support to our schools and districts  as they select local curricula so all children have access to high quality materials and assessments.”

Bunting also pointed to bright spots across the state, such as in Seaford School District, which has seen steady growth in both ELA and mathematics scores since 2015, the first year the state administered the Smarter assessment. For ELA, 56 percent of students scored at the proficient level or higher, above the state average and up 2 percentage points from last year. In 2015, only 38 percent of Seaford students were proficient. Math scores also are continuing to climb: This year 48 percent of students scored at proficient or higher, above the state average and 2 percentage points higher than in 2018. It is a 20-point gain from 2015.

 

Seaford’s Frederick Douglass Elementary particularly has shown strong growth. For ELA, 42 percent of students were proficient in 2015. The number has consistently improved since then, reaching 67 percent of students this year. In 2015, only 7 percent of the school’s English learners were proficient in ELA; 60 percent were this year. Other subgroups also showed strong ELA growth: the percent proficient went from 39 percent to 64 percent for low-income students, and 7 percent to 47 percent for students with disabilities.

 

Douglass’ math scores also have increased steadily, moving from 35 percent to 69 percent for all students between 2015 and 2019. English learner scores went from 7 percent to 70 percent proficient, students with disabilities went from 14 percent to 41 percent, low-income went from 30 percent to 66 percent, and Hispanic students went from 37 to 76 percent.

 

“When asked to explain our success we are able to point to simple addition,” Seaford Superintendent David Perrington said. “The district has worked hard at bringing together a number of dynamics that are essential for student achievement.  These include a supportive school board, a vision-driven district office staff, a strong building leadership, a committed teaching staff, an engaged student body, and a caring school community.

“At the beginning of the school year we discussed the concept ‘Push Don’t Pity.’  This model is grounded in the belief of high expectations for all students,” he said. “It requires us as educators to accept the responsibility of each student’s learning experience and each student to believe they have the capacity to succeed.  When added successfully together we have a sum of increasing student achievement.”

Lake Forest also saw some strong gains, particularly among subgroups in mathematics in several of its elementary schools. Lake Forest East, for example, saw gains between 2018 and 2019 of 39 percentage points for Hispanic students, 39 percentage points for English learners, 20 percentage points for low-income students and 14 percentage points for African American students. The gain was 12 percentage points for all students.

 

At Lake Forest North, the 2018 to 2019 scores show gains of 23 percentage points for low-income students, 17 percentage points for English learners, 8 percentage points for African American students, 7 percentage points for Hispanic students and 4 percentage points for all students.

 

“The Lake Forest School District attributes our success to using the standards to refine curriculum and lesson plans, analyzing formative and summative data during professional learning communities and staff development days and providing time for teacher collaboration throughout the year,” Superintendent Brenda Wynder said. “We are proud of our teachers’ willingness to strive for student achievement and continuous improvement in our data. It has taken our entire ‘village’ to achieve this success.”

Bunting also spotlighted several other schools that have shown strong growth for subgroups and students overall.

  • Caesar Rodney School District’s Allen Frear Elementary saw ELA proficiency for all students go from 69 percent to 83 percent between 2015 and 2019 with African American student proficiency improving from 46 percent to 72 percent. Math proficiency for all students moved from 60 percent to 72 percent with African American proficiency up from 34 percent to 57 percent in the same time period.
  • Christina School District’s Etta Wilson Elementary also has seen consistent growth for multiple subgroups and students overall in both ELA and math. For ELA, all student proficiency this year is 72 percent, up from 49 percent in 2015. English learner proficiency improved from 13 percent to 66 percent, low-income from 35 percent to 61 percent, students with disabilities from 17 percent to 39 percent and Hispanic students from 34 percent to 67 in the same period. In math, 73 percent of students scored at the proficient level or higher this year, compared to 52 percent in 2015. These subgroups also saw growth throughout the years: African American (40 percent to 59 percent), English learner (19 percent to 63 percent), low-income (35 percent to 63 percent), students with disabilities (19 percent to 43 percent) and Hispanic (40 percent to 69 percent).
  • Indian River School District’s Georgetown Middle School also has seen consistent success improving the scores of its students in ELA and math. For ELA, 64 percent of students overall passed the test in 2019, compared to 49 percent in 2015. Improvement among African American (40 percent to 60 percent), low-income (41 percent to 59 percent) and Hispanic students (44 percent to 62 percent) were included in the gains. For math, the growth from 2015 to 2019 overall was 34 percent to 55 percent with increases almost every year overall and among subgroups with an 11-percentage point gain just this year for English learner students. The overall growth for EL was 6 percent proficient in 2015 to 19 percent in 2019. Low-income students grew from 28 percent in 2015 to 50 percent this year with Hispanic student proficiency up to 52 percent in 2019, compared to 33 percent in 2015.

 

SAT

 

Delaware’s high school federal accountability test is the SAT, typically taken in 11th grade. Statewide 48 percent of students scored at the proficient level or higher in 2019 on the evidence-based reading and writing (ERW) portion, down 2 percentage points from 2018. In math, 28 percent of students did so, the same percentage as in 2018. For the essay portion of the exam, 42 percent of students scored at proficient or higher, down from 44 percent in 2018.

 

For math, Indian River School District saw gains. Indian River High School had 35 percent of students scoring at the proficient level or higher in 2019, up from 29 percent in 2018 and 32 percent in 2017. Sussex Central High School had 22 percent in 2019, up from 19 percent in 2018 and 21 percent in 2017.  Colonial School District’s William Penn High School also has seen steady growth: 15 percent in 2019, up from 13 percent in 2018 and 10 percent in 2017.

 

Alternate assessment

 

This is the second year of administration for Delaware’s alternate assessment. The percentage of students scoring proficient is down in all three subject areas (ELA, math and science) from last year’s initial administration. The 2019 state average for ELA was 28 percent proficient, down from 32 percent in 2018; math was 15 percent in 2019, down from 17 percent in 2018; and science was 17 percent in 2019, down from 19 percent in 2018.

 

Media Contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006


Top mathematics, science teachers recognized

Seven Delaware teachers have been named finalists for the highest recognition that K-12 mathematics and science teachers can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. These finalists will be honored at a banquet in Dover on November 9, alongside the state’s Lifetime Achievement Award winners, who will be named at the event.

The 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) finalists include three math and four science teachers from Appoquinimink, Caesar Rodney, POLYTECH and Indian River school districts, MOT Charter School, and the private Tatnall School. PAEMST finalists earn a chance to be named a 2017 math or science awardee by the U.S. Department of Education.

Awarded each year by the White House, PAEMST is given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the PAEMST award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.

Every year each state selects up to five mathematics teachers and five science teachers as state finalists. The award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.

A national selection committee reviews state finalist applications and selects one awardee in each content area for every state. Teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science. As part of the recognition process, awardees take part in a weeklong series of networking and professional development activities in Washington, D.C., and receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.

“Delaware’s state winners are educators whose deep content knowledge and high quality instruction support strong student learning in math and science,” Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. “PAEMST educators are role models in math and science; thus we applaud the impact they are having on students across our state.”

The PAEMST award was established by Congress in 1983. It is administered through the National Science Foundation.  For more information about PAEMST and to see nomination forms and applications instructions, visit www.paemst.org.

On November 9, Delaware also will announce two Delaware mathematics and science education Lifetime Achievement awardees. Delaware’s Mathematics and Science Education Lifetime Achievement Awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions to furthering mathematics and science education over the course of their careers. Nominations are reviewed by the PAEMST state selection committee. Previous awardees include: Denise Griffiths from the Delaware Council of Teachers of Mathematics; retired Department of Education employees Jack Cairns, William Geppert and Sally Caldwell; and DuPont education liaison Peggy Vavalla.

Media is welcome to cover the Nov. 9 event. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served shortly after 6:00 p.m., at Delaware State University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center in Dover.

2017 Finalists

Mathematics
Thomas Becker, MOT Charter School, Grades 9-11
Kathleen Olenderski, Appoquinimink School District’s Alfred G. Waters Middle School, Grade 8
Vickie Pendleton, Indian River School District’s Georgetown Middle School, Grade 8

Science
Jennifer Bradshaw, POLYTECH School District’s POLYTECH High School, Grade 10 Biology
Robert Ferrell, Appoquinimink School District’s Louis L. Redding Middle School, Grade 8
Joshua Gates, private Tatnall School, Grades 11-12 Physics
Todd Klawinski, Caesar Rodney School District’s F. Niel Postlethwait Middle School, Grades 7-8

Photos of the educators are available here.

 

Media Contact: Alison May, (302) 735-4006, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us


State assessment results show more students proficient in math and English

More Delaware students are participating in statewide mathematics and English language arts (ELA) assessments, and more students are proficient in these subjects, according to preliminary 2017 state assessment results for grades 3 to 8 and high school.

Delaware’s participation rate in the state’s Smarter assessment increased from 98 percent in 2016 to 99 percent this year in both ELA and mathematics. The overall state proficiency in math is 45 percent this year – up 1 percentage point from last year and up 3 points from 2015. With more students testing, the number of students on track to college and career readiness in math increased more than 1,300 this year from last year and more than 3,500 since Delaware established its Smarter baseline in 2015. The most significant gains this year were in mathematics in grades 5, 6 and 7.

“Last year as a state we recognized the need to focus on middle school mathematics and, therefore, provided targeted professional learning and resources to our districts and schools. I am excited to see the progress in this area, which results from the hard work of our students and educators,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.

For example, the Department of Education provided supports to middle school math teachers by developing a Mathematics Curriculum Academy. The professional learning opportunity guides math teachers and leaders as they develop high-quality lessons to use in their classrooms. The instructional units they created are now available to educators statewide, and the academy continues to support math teachers across districts.

Last year the department also established Reimagining Professional Learning grants to support the work of districts and charters committed to improving the quality of professional learning for Delaware teachers. Grants were given to districts and charters based on plans in English/language arts, mathematics, and literacy.

Milford took an innovative approach with the grants, applying them to improve math outcomes across all elementary schools in the district. Superintendent Kevin Dickerson credits the leadership and commitment of the elementary teaching staff and the dedication of more time to focus on math instructional strategies for students as part of the reason why the district saw a 7-point increase in math proficiency this year.

“The grant helped empower our elementary teachers with having deeper, more-focused conversations concerning math instruction and student math performance throughout the school year,” said Dickerson. “As a result, our teachers and school administrators are really doing outstanding work in analyzing how to best meet individual student needs and are having a lot of intense conversations in PLCs (professional learning communities) and in staff meetings focused on mathematical instruction and achievement, particularly in the area of number sense.”

In ELA, Delaware scores dipped slightly by 1 percentage point to 54 percent and increased 2 points from the 2015 baseline. Despite the slight dip in overall performance, Delaware has more students who rated “proficient” or “advanced.” This year, approximately 300 more students are on track to college and career readiness in ELA in grades 3 to 8 than last year, and nearly 2,600 more students have achieved this level of ELA proficiency since 2015.

Laurel Middle School, one of Delaware’s priority schools, saw large gains in both ELA and math across all grades. In math, Laurel Middle went up 11 points since last year and has gone up 24 points since 2015. In ELA, Laurel has gained 19 percentage points since 2015

Shawn Larrimore, superintendent of the Laurel School District, credits their overarching belief in people, practices, and performance for their success. 

“We recruit the best people and then we do our best to develop them to be even better,” said Larrimore. “We don’t focus on test prep. We focus on the standards and then deliver them via research-based practices – strategies that are proven to increase student achievement.  And finally, we regularly analyze how we’re performing–including loads of walkthrough data–and meet to discuss how we can do better.  Dr. Rick Evans and his staff at Laurel Middle School exemplify our district mission of People, Practices, and Performance.”

In SAT, the state’s accountability test for high school, this year’s results reflect a larger student population than in previous years due to a change in business rules. Nearly 900 more students participated in the SAT this year than in 2016. While overall state proficiency in the SAT evidence-based reading and writing (ERW) assessment held steady at 53 percent this year – the same percent proficient as last year – 516 additional students are now demonstrating college and career readiness. In math, while 29 percent of students demonstrated proficiency this year compared to 31 percent in 2016, 52 more students are now college and career ready than were last year.

It is important to note that today’s score release is distinct from the College Board release in September. In that annual release, the College Board reports on graduating class data. Today’s release by the state reflects the scores of the incoming Class of 2018.

Also released today were statewide scores for the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) Science exam, administered in grades 5, 8 and 10, and the DCAS-Alt, which is administered to students with severe cognitive disabilities. For DCAS Science, Delaware saw an overall 2-point decline in both grade 5 and grade 8 and maintained in grade 10. Delaware is transitioning to a new science assessment system this year to align more closely to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) taught in Delaware classrooms. The new assessment will begin field testing in the upcoming school year.  

For DCAS-Alt, results varied. Students taking the DCAS-Alt1 have specific needs within each grade so that year-to-year comparisons are more challenging. In grades 6 to 8, Delaware saw an increase from 64 percent to 65 percent in reading and a 6-point increase from 60 percent to 66 percent in math. All other grade bands were down from last year.

The state did not administer a social studies exam this year. A new assessment will launch in the 2017-18 school year.

For more information on State of Delaware assessment results, review the 2017 data charts and Delaware’s Executive Summary.

 

Media Contact: Susan Haberstroh, susan.haberstroh@doe.k12.de.us, (302) 735-4003


Governor’s Weekly Message: Preparing Students for Post-Secondary Education Success

DOVER – In his weekly message, Governor Markell highlights a new partnership in Delaware focused on reducing college remediation rates.

“Delaware must be a leader in addressing this challenge and we’re taking an important step this year by launching a new math course in three high schools,” said Governor Markell. “It’s designed with input from our higher education community, so that we can guarantee that if students successfully complete the course, they will be able to earn credits for all of their math courses in our colleges.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

YouTube: http://youtu.be/gXOyuJUCrS4
Delaware.Gov: http://governor.delaware.gov/podcast_video.shtml
By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/governormarkell
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/governormarkell

FULL TEXT OF MESSAGE

We’re proud Delaware has been recognized for eliminating obstacles for students who want to attend college. But that effort will only produce the results we want if students successfully complete their post-secondary education. Thanks to a partnership with our colleges and universities we now have data to understand better than ever the academic obstacles facing students who pursue a two or four year degree.

One pitfall is clear: too many students are required to enroll in “remedial courses” to relearn what they should have mastered in high school. They invest time and money in those courses, but earn no college credit, making no progress towards graduation. Unsurprisingly, these students have higher college costs and are far less likely to earn a degree. Nationally, only a quarter of community college students who take a remedial course graduate within eight years. This problem is pervasive nationwide, affecting as many as fifty percent of students at some schools. The numbers are highest for low-income students and students of color.

Delaware must be a leader in addressing this challenge and we’re taking an important step this year by launching a new math course in three high schools. It’s designed with input from our higher education community, so that we can guarantee that if students successfully complete the course, they will be able to earn credits for all of their math courses in our colleges. We must expand this program and continue working on solutions to end the dead-end cycle of remediation for Delaware students.

By ensuring Delaware students arrive at college ready to pursue a degree without paying to repeat high school classes, we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.