Summer of Opportunity

By Delaware Education Secretary Mark A. Holodick, Ed.D.

 

Education has seen many challenges over the past two years.  Students and families have had to deal with interrupted learning due to the pandemic as well as limited access to summer programming.  According to independent studies and student achievement data, this has resulted in notable learning deficits among many of our youth.  Some people call those deficits learning loss.  Some call it unfinished learning.  Regardless, the effects are evident, and we, as a state, are working diligently to do something about it.  The Department of Education has been working in tandem with individual school districts and charter schools to ensure that summer learning plans are in place throughout the state.

 

Recognizing that all students, especially disadvantaged students, have been adversely affected by the pandemic, these plans are in place to provide opportunities for robust learning to continue to occur at scale throughout the summer.   We at the department have coined this summer, the Summer of Opportunity.  We want students to continue to stay involved with one another and supported by skilled individuals, so that they continue to grow and thrive while waiting for the 2022-2023 academic year to begin.  This means, regardless of a child’s zip code, all students will have the opportunity to participate in a summer program that is interesting, exciting, and helps them grow academically, socially, and emotionally.  This year’s summer programs, as always, will focus on literacy and mathematics but there will also be various opportunities for students to experience activities that they may not have had access to previously.  Those activities may include drama, the playing of an instrument, art classes, dance, and more.  They may also include the use of local resources such as our state and national parks where there are opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming.  As a state, we hope to effectively address students’ academic and social and emotional learning in an authentic manner, allowing for as much flexibility as possible regarding pace, selection of material, content, topics, and student voice and decision-making around what interests and inspires them.   And we have all come to realize that kids being engaged and involved is not only good for personal growth but also mental health and well-being.

 

Measuring student progress is challenging, especially during the summer months when children are accessing different programs and activities.  For some students and families, a half day program works better than a full day program and vice versa.  Some students will attend summer programs that exposes them to a lot of different content, topics, materials, and experiences while other may choose to focus on a particular topic, subject, or skill.  Providing children and families with many options is a good thing.  However, the greater the differential in programing the more challenging it is to measure growth.  Thus, the Department of Education is working with partners to measure growth in specific summer programs using both qualitative and quantitative data.  In doing so, we can determine what programs had not only the high participation rates but also produced the strongest results.

 

While planning for The Summer of Opportunity, we heard from our districts and charter schools as well as our community-based organizations (CBOs) and faith-based organizations that their greatest hurdle is staffing.  Finding committed and well-trained staff to work with young people is a real challenge right now.  We brought this challenge to the Governor’s Family Services Cabinet Council and brainstormed ways in which this could be addressed.  The answer is the creation of the Governor’s Summer Fellowship program.  High school students, especially those who are currently enrolled in the state’s Teacher Academy Pathway, are being identified and trained to support these summer programs in paid positions.  The Workforce Support Team at the Department of Education, the Governor’s Office, the United Way, other community partners, and our schools and districts have worked collaboratively to launch this initiative in short time.  In fact, we have already had more than 100 high school students in our three counties apply to take part.  All selected students will go through a full week of training in preparation for placement into summer programs in their communities.

 

While we all want for the upcoming summer to be back to normal and resemble the summers of the past, we must also recognize the opportunity that sits before us: an opportunity for our state to provide as many meaningful and exciting opportunities for growth as possible for our young learners, especially those who have historically been left out in the past.  A focused effort steeped in a lens of equity and access is exactly what’s needed as we move from pandemic to endemic and prepare for what will be a strong and more productive 2022-23 school year.

 

Find a searchable database of school and community-based partner summer offerings at de.gov/summerlearning.

 

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


New Website Helps Families Find Summer Opportunities for Their Children

The Delaware Department of Education today launched its Summer of Opportunity website, a searchable database to help families find school- and community-based learning opportunities for their children this summer.

The site, which allows users to toggle between map and table views, helps Delawareans find programs based on targeted grades, dates, location, cost, sponsoring organization and transportation options. Enrollment in some offerings, such as school-based programs, may only be open to specific populations, such as enrolled students, while others have open admission. The site collects the diverse offerings in one location to make it easier for families to navigate opportunities.

“We want every Delaware student to have enriching experiences this summer with opportunities for formal and informal learning,” Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said. “For one student that may mean attending science camp at a park, for another it may mean enrolling in a school program that integrates English language arts supports and sports and for a third it could be a series of day trips with family and friends to explore the rich offerings of our region. Most important is that our students are engaged in some sort of learning and exploration this summer so they return to school in the fall ready to learn and succeed in the new school year. We hope this site helps families find such opportunities.”

Organizations that have not yet submitted their offerings and would like to be included should email Delaware.Department.of.Education@doe.k12.de.us.

 

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


Drivers Needed for DART’s Upcoming Beach Bus Season

Drivers Needed for DART’s Upcoming Beach Bus Season

Dover – May has arrived and the beginning of DART’s Beach Bus season is just a few weeks away. After a successful 2021 season with almost 160,000 riders, DART’s contractor, First Transit, is in need of drivers to meet the demand as residents and visitors take advantage of this convenient service to avoid traffic and parking challenges.

With First Transit, Drivers can earn $20 per hour and receive a signing bonus of $3,000 if they have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL); $2,000 without a CDL. For those without a CDL, First Transit will provide CDL training.

“First Transit currently has 44 of the needed 62 drivers to operate our Beach Bus service and need several more qualified drivers to meet our scheduled service needs for the upcoming summer season to avoid any reduction in service,” said Delaware Transit Corporation CEO John Sisson.

Those interested in the position can apply at workatfirst.com, and search Rehoboth Beach.

Starting May 23, DART’s daily Beach Bus service will be on the road to provide convenient, safe and clean rides to visitors and residents. The bus routes serve Rehoboth Beach and the Boardwalk, Lewes, Long Neck, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, South Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island, Ocean City, MD, Millsboro and Georgetown through September 11.

With the free DART Transit app, riders can plan their trip, view bus stops, get real-time bus information, and track the bus along its route. And, for faster boarding and convenience, riders can pay their fare with DART Pass, a contactless mobile payment app.


Governor Carney Launches Public Education Campaign with Beach Towns as Delaware Beaches Reopen

Effort aims to raise awareness on beach restrictions, individual responsibility in COVID-19 mitigation, ahead of Memorial Day Weekend and summer season

WILMINGTON, Del. –  Governor John Carney on Friday launched the “Summer Safely” public education campaign in partnership with the beach towns, local Chambers of Commerce, the Delaware Tourism Office, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).

The public education effort seeks to reinforce the restrictions on the Delaware beaches and to encourage Delawareans to take the proper steps to mitigate COVID-19 as we head into the summer season. Governor Carney lifted State of Delaware restrictions that limited access for only walking and exercise starting at 5:00 p.m. today, May 22, ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

The key messages of the “Summer Safely” initiative are:

  • Practice social distancing. Stay 6 feet apart.
  • Wear a face covering in public places.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.

“We look forward to welcoming Delawareans back at the beach this weekend, but we all need to take basic precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Carney. “Wear a face covering in public settings. Keep your distance from others. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. I know it’s unusual, but we know that’s the best way to prevent transmission of the disease. Now’s not the time to let up.”

The campaign will begin on Friday with metal signage at entryways to the beaches, stickers on takeout containers, and decals on windows of retailers. Promotional tactics will expand as the summer progresses.

A team of Beach Ambassadors in “Summer Safely” t-shirts will also greet beachgoers starting this Friday to educate Delawareans about the proper ways to mitigate coronavirus and point individuals to resources when they seek additional information. The team of Beach Ambassadors have been trained by the Division of Public Health and the Delaware Tourism Office on how to address questions and the resources to provide members of the public. Beach Ambassadors also will use and distribute hand sanitizer produced by Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna.

“For many, travel will be different this year. As we enter this season, we join with state and local leaders to remind everyone to summer safely and hope Delawareans will use this opportunity to rediscover the landscapes and tourism businesses in their own backyards,” said Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Director. “The beaches are part of what makes Delaware such a special place to live in and travel to. We also look forward to welcoming back out-of-state visitors when it is once again safe to do so.”

“As Health Secretary I know it’s important for people to spend time outside for physical activity as a way to bolster both our physical and emotional health,” said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “While we know that the risk for transmission of the virus does decrease when we are outdoors, we must remain vigilant about maintaining social distancing, wearing a face covering if we can’t stay 6 feet away from others, washing our hands and using hand sanitizer as often as possible, and coughing and sneezing into our face covering or our elbow. To keep the beaches open, we all need to help prevent flare-ups of COVID-19 by protecting ourselves and others.”

“We know the importance of getting outdoors, to stay active and healthy, maybe now more than ever,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Our beaches within Delaware State Parks can be a space for Delawareans to safely enjoy the outdoors – to swim, boat, fish, kayak and more – but only if everyone follows the public health requirements to avoid groups and practice social distancing. We’ll do our part to monitor the number of visitors to our parks, but we also urge Delawareans to take this time to explore our less-traveled parks, trails and spaces.”

“The Association of Coastal Towns membership has worked cooperatively with Governor Carney, State officials and local leaders to ensure a consistent message is relayed to our residents and visitors this coming summer season,” said Association of Coastal Towns Chairman Gene Langan. “The message being conveyed is to come enjoy Delaware’s beautiful beaches and do so safely. We are looking forward to an improving health situation in Delaware and welcoming back visitors to all of our beaches.”

“All of our businesses are ready to once again open their doors and get back to business,” said the Association of Chambers of Commerce in Delaware. “As the Chambers of Commerce in Delaware, we ask everyone in the state, residents and visitors, to do their part so that we can all get back to business as normal and all enjoy shopping locally.”

“Small Businesses and tourism are the lifeblood of our state, and Painted Stave Distilling is very pleased to be able to help get our state beaches open through the beach ambassador program,” said Mike Rasmussen, Co-owner Painted Stave Distilling. “COVID-19 has forced many small businesses to shift how we do business, and we are glad that we have been able to produce something needed to stay safe by so many businesses and citizens in our state.”

For additional details about Delaware’s economic reopening, visit de.gov/economy

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, should call Delaware 2-1-1, or email delaware211@uwde.org. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can text their ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Medical-related questions related to testing, symptoms, and health-related guidance can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

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Harrington PD & OHS Delaware State Fair Non-Traditional Distracted Driving Operation

Harrington Police Department

Chief of Police Norman R. Barlow

Harrington Police Conduct Traffic Initiative for 2019 Delaware State Fair

For Immediate Release

Harrington, DE (August 2, 2019) – During the 10 days of the 2019 Delaware State Fair, the Harrington Police Department conducted several patrols within the city limits targeting distracted driving. These patrols were in conjunction with the Office of Highway Safety 2019 Delaware State Fair Initiative. Officers on patrol worked 4 hours a day and 3 officers were assigned to each patrol. 183 tickets were issued over the 10-day course of the fair.

“The Harrington Police Department is committed to ensuring drivers are keeping their eyes on the road through these non-traditional techniques to enforce the law and provide education. We want people to have fun in Harrington at the Delaware State Fair, but we also want visitors to travel to and from as safely as possible,” Captain Earl K. Brode, Public Information Officer, Harrington Police Department.

With the increase of both pedestrian traffic and motor vehicle traffic during the Delaware State Fair, the Harrington Police Department’s primary goal is to ensure the safety of all the citizens who live in Harrington and those who come to visit the Delaware State Fair.

Totals for Delaware State Fair 10-day patrols are listed below:
Total Cell Phone Citations: 105
Speeding Citations: 22
Other Traffic Citations: 41
Seatbelt Citations: 14
Drug Arrests: 1

 

“With the increased traffic activity surrounding the Delaware State Fair, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety was pleased to partner with the Harrington Police Department in support of their Distracted Driving efforts. Drivers need to be hyper-vigilant and truly focus on road changes where traffic patterns differ due to events like this.  Events aren’t an excuse to use your phone and lose sight of the road,” Sarah Cattie, Distracted Driving Program Manager, Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

 

Media Contacts:

Captain Earl K. Brode

Public Information Officer

Harrington Police Department

Earl.Brode@CJ.State.DE.US

Marketing Specialist Cynthia Cavett

Public Information Officer

Office of Highway Safety

Cynthia.Cavett@delaware.gov 

DE OHS logo

About the Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. FAQs can be found at ArriveAliveDE.com.