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Dover Post
  • Vision Coalition holds meeting to solicit public input on plan for education in Delaware

  • A crowd of roughly 35 people gathered in a conference room at the Dover Public Library on Wednesday morning to hear about plans for the future of education in Delaware.
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  •  A crowd of roughly 35 people gathered in a conference room at the Dover Public Library on Wednesday morning to hear about plans for the future of education in Delaware.
    “My intent and purpose in being involved in this work is simple and straightforward, and that is to improve outcomes for all students in the state of Delaware,” Said Mark Halodick, a member of the Vision Coalition executive team. “I think every child in Delaware deserves the absolute best that our system can offer.”
    Vision Coalition, a group made up of educators; community stakeholders and members of civic organizations, presented a draft of it’s A Vision for Education in Delaware in 2025 plan at the meeting on Wednesday, which was created using information gathered by surveying Delawareans and through the ideas that were generated by a steering committee and working groups. Previously, the coalition created an education plan that created a vision for education in 2015. They have now moved on to create their next 10-year plan.
    Now that the coalition’s last plan is reaching the end of its lifespan the coalition looked at some of the challenges that still face students in Delaware. Those challenges include only one third of students are performing at grade level in reading and math, college completion rates are low and achievement gaps remain high, according to Halodick.
    The plan attempts to tackle these issues. On component included in the draft was a “north star” for students, which is a set of characteristics and skills that the Vision Coalition has determined students of the future will need. They include life and career skills, citizenship skills and the ability to be innovative, resilient, flexible and self and socially aware. Members of the public were invited to throw out their own terms, outlining what a student should look like in 2025. Participants threw out attributes like cultural sensitivity, literacy skills and technology skills.
    The coalition has also come up with several draft themes that they would like to include in the future plan. They listed breaking down barriers, engaging parents and families, providing and personalized learning experience and building paths to career and college readiness among their nine themes.
    Following the presentation members of the audience were asked both what they liked about the plan and what they felt the plan was missing.
    Capital school board member John Martin Jr. said he felt the presentation was great.
    “I like the fact that they embraced a bold vision of trying to make sure that things are done well to ensure success for all students,” he said.
    However, Wilmington resident Ronald Russo felt that the plan over looked key areas.
    Page 2 of 2 - “My concern is that I don’t think enough attention is being paid to the system itself,” he said. “I think there should be systemic changes…What we have to do with the system is decentralize it.”
    Russo called for taking power out of the hands of school boards and the bureaucracy into school buildings and administrators.
    The public input gathered on Wednesday will be taken into account so the coalition can create a final plan, which is set to be presented at the annual Vision Coalition conference in October. The final plan will then be unveiled in January of 2015. Implementation is still far off though, said Jeff Taschner, a spokesperson for the Vision Coalition.
    “We have to work on the vision, which is going to be focused on children and driven by what they need to succeed,” he said. “Once we have a consensus on what they should look like we’re going to say ‘what does the system need to do’ and then we need to develop the plans to implement it.”
     

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