Proposal to Make Early Teacher Hiring Permanent


Pilot Program Has Dramatically Reduced Late Hiring of Teachers and Improved Schools’ Ability to Compete With Surrounding States for Quality New Teachers

The original sponsors of Delaware’s pilot program to allow school districts to make earlier hiring offers to new teachers have introduced legislation to make the pilot program a permanent one. The pilot program has demonstrated extraordinary success in allowing Delaware school districts to better compete with surrounding states for new teachers and adequately train those new teachers before the start of the school year.

House Bill 259 will make permanent the pilot program originally created in 2011, which required the state’s Department of Education to estimate each school district’s enrollment for the following school year in May, and guarantee state funds to each district sufficient to cover 98% of the state’s share of hiring the teachers justified by that enrollment estimate. The pilot program was created through legislation implementing the recommendations of a task force chaired by Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn and State Senator David Sokola.

“Our task force findings were very straightforward,” said Lieutenant Governor Denn. “The school districts told us that they were holding back on early hiring because they couldn’t risk getting less state money than they expected. And the consequence was that they were losing teaching candidates to other states that were making firm offers earlier in the year. Our solution was to guarantee the districts the vast majority of their money in May, and the results have been striking.”

The University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, in its ninth annual Delaware Teacher and Administrator Supply and Demand Survey Analysis Report[1], quantified the change in early teacher hiring caused by the pilot program: the percentage of school district teachers who were hired after July 31st dropped from 64.3% in the 2010-2011 school year, to 48.6% in 2011-2012 and 46.5% in 2012-2013. Delaware Teacher and Administrator Supply and Demand Survey Analysis Report, June 2013, at p. 12. This significant drop in the percentage of late-hired teachers was directly attributed by the University of Delaware to the pilot early teacher hiring program:

What has led to the reduction in later teacher hiring in Delaware? The most obvious answer is Senate Bill 164 with House Amendment 1, the extension of SB 16. SB 16 requires that projections of enrollment be made by April 15 and that the State will guarantee that school districts receive funds equivalent to 98 percent of these projections. This bill was aimed at decreasing late teacher hiring, and it appears to have had the desired effect.

(Delaware Teacher and Administrator Supply and Demand Survey Analysis Report at p. 50).

State Representative Darryl Scott, prime sponsor of House Bill 259 and one of the original sponsors of the 2011 pilot program, said, “Our goal is to hire the very best teachers and have them prepared to start the first day of school. Early unit counts have proven to be an effective tool for our school districts in accomplishing this goal and removing the sunset provision keeps this tool available to our school districts.”

Senator Sokola, the Senate sponsor of House Bill 259 and the original sponsor Senate Bill 16, added, “In my work, I understand the importance of testing and validating data. I’m pleased that the data have validated this experiment in giving our schools more flexibility in hiring top-quality teachers and that we’re making it permanent.”

Other original sponsors of Senate Bill 16 who are co-sponsoring the legislation making it permanent are Representative Debra Heffernan and Representative Earl Jaques.

[1] The report can be found on-line at

New District-Wide Elementary School Breakfast Program Announcement

Lt. Governor Denn’s Announcement of New District-Wide Elementary School Breakfast Program

WHO: Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn
Julie Giangiulio – Principal, West Seaford Elementary School
Denise Jacono – Principal, Frederick Douglass Elementary School
Jeff Forjan – Principal, Seaford Central Elementary School
Heather Bethurum – Principal,Blades Elementary School
Patricia Cunningham – Nutrition Services Supervisor , Seaford School District
Dr. Kevin Carson – Interim Superintendent, Seaford School District

WHAT: Announcement of New District-Wide Elementary School Breakfast Program

WHEN: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
11:15 a.m.

WHERE: West Seaford Elementary School
511 Sussex Avenue
Seaford, Delaware 19973

DETAILS: Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn will announce Seaford School District as the first district he has recruited to allow students to eat breakfast in the classroom in all of its elementary schools.

The Seaford School District joins Colonial School District in having all elementary schools allow students to eat breakfast in the classroom. Eating breakfast in the classroom has been a proven way to increase participation which increases grades, test scores, and positive behavior throughout the day. Across the country, eating breakfast in the classroom has also reduced tardiness, absenteeism, childhood obesity, and disciplinary issues.

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Lt. Governor and Attorney General Release 1st Report on Public School Anti-Bullying Compliance

WILMINGTON – Earlier today, Delaware Lt. Governor Matt Denn and Deputy Attorney General Patricia Dailey Lewis, Director – Family Division, presented “Unfinished Business: Implementation By Delaware Public Schools Of The State’s 2012 Anti-Bullying Laws.”

This report is the first issued since the General Assembly passed two new laws related to bullying in the state’s public schools in 2012 – Senate Bill 193 (cyberbullying) and House Bill 268 (reporting).

The anti-bullying effort, spearheaded jointly by Lt. Governor Matt Denn and Attorney General Beau Biden, aimed to improve on existing laws created to protect every student.

A few basic conclusions from the report:

  •  Public school districts, with few exceptions, have complied with the provisions of the state’s new cyberbullying laws and regulations.  The majority of charter schools are not yet in compliance.
  • There remains significant variation in the diligence with which schools make reports to the parents of victims and perpetrators in bullying incidents. 
  • The most prevalent reported causes of bullying in Delaware public schools are students’ physical appearance, student disability, and student gender identity. 

Held at Springer Middle, a school known for their impressive anti-bullying culture, the Lt. Governor and DAG Dailey Lewis were joined by Brandywine School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Holodick and Assistant Superintendent Dorrell Green, DSEA President Frederika Jenner, Department of Education School Climate and Discipline Associate John Sadowski, Roberta Gealt from the University of Delaware Center for Drug & Alcohol Studies, and representatives from Delaware PTA, Delaware Bullying Prevention Association, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware, Developmental Disabilities Council.

“”We hope that this report serves as a reminder to our schools of the importance of following the state’s new bullying laws,” said Lt. Governor Matt Denn.  “Bullying remains a real problem in our schools, and we need all of our schools to treat it seriously.”

“Children need safe, secure environments in schools where they can focus on learning,” said Patricia Dailey Lewis, who is the director of Attorney General Biden’s Family Division. “Bullying prevents kids from learning and can leave lifelong emotional scars. The legislation that Attorney General Biden and Lt. Gov. Denn developed in 2012 was designed to increase the reporting of bullying incidents so parents and educators can intervene. Schools are making significant progress, but there is still a lot more work ahead of us.”

Lt. Governor’s Dover Events for November 14: Small Business and School Breakfast

Statewide Small Business Advisory Committee Meets
Speaks at Delaware School Nutrition Meeting about School Breakfast 

DOVER – Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn’s Small Business Advisory Committee began meeting in January of this year about a variety of issues that impact small businesses.  Improvements to the state’s small business loan programs, providing better information to small businesses about requirements of the Affordable Care Act, controlling workers compensation premiums, and state and county regulations are just a few of the topics that have been discussed.  The Committee’s 17 members represent a variety of small businesses throughout the state.

During tomorrow’s meeting – the last of 2013 – the discussion of how to make credit available to more small businesses will continue with John Fleming and Michael Rossi of the state Small Business Administration’s office and a representative of a local lender.  The committee will likely decide on recommendations that can be made to increase access to credit for small businesses.

A further discussion of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on small business is also on the agenda.  The meetings rotate between Wilmington and Dover, are posted in advance and open to the public.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Lt. Governor will be talking at the business meeting of the Delaware School Nutrition House of Delegates about trying to expand school breakfast to every elementary school classroom in the state.

9:30am – 11:30am     Small Business Advisory Committee meeting

The Tatnall Building
150 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, South
2nd floor conference room

4:15pm – 5:15pm       Delaware School Nutrition House of Delegates Meeting
Modern Maturity Center
1121 Forrest Avenue

State Approves New Program for Academically Advanced Students

Lieutenant Governor Asks Parents to Encourage Their School Districts to Apply for Grants

WILMINGTON – The Delaware State Board of Education gave final approval yesterday to a new state program that will make new funds available for programs targeted at academically advanced students. The program, created through legislation proposed last year by Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn and the chairs of the General Assembly’s education committees, allows school districts to design programs targeted at students who are ahead of grade level in reading, writing, math, or science.

Under the new program, local school districts and schools are permitted to apply through October 25th for start-up grants for new programs targeted at students who are at least a half year ahead of grade level based upon current state standards. Most of the new programs are expected to be offered beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.

“There is a tremendous demand among parents for programs in our public schools that will really challenge their kids who are capable of doing advanced work,” said Lieutenant Governor Denn. “This program will make it possible for many of our schools to set up new programs that will give kids a chance to move ahead much more quickly in reading, writing, math, and science.”

Because the new program is only available to schools and districts that submit applications, Denn encouraged parents to contact their local school districts to ask them to apply. “If parents want these types of programs in their school districts, they need to let their superintendents and school board members know,” Denn said.

Programs proposed by schools and districts can also include elements of social studies, the arts, and other subjects as long as they are focused on reading, writing, math or science.

“When we provide programs that enable our children to excel in their education, we prepare them for future excellence and help them reach their fullest potential,” said Rep. Darryl Scott, D – Dover, Chair of the House Education Committee. “Helping students who may be falling behind is and will always remain one of our top priorities; at the same time, we should also challenge students who surpass their peers in academics.”

Sen. Sokola, D – Newark, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said, “These programs provide challenging instruction to children with exceptional academic capacity. This legislation is an effort to encourage more programs that provide appropriate opportunities for our students who are capable of advanced academic work.”