Great Public Schools Criteria for DelawareGreat Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.
Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Delaware.
Readiness to Learn
- State Policy: The minimum number of hours for full-day kindergarten is not specified in Delaware state statutes. Districts are not required to offer full-day kindergarten and children are not required to attend. Delaware provides the same funding for both full-day and half day kindergarten programs.
- Definition, District Offering and Pupil Attendance: Delaware defines kindergarten as 440 hours per year. Districts are not required to offer full-day kindergarten and children are not required to attend.
- Funding: Delaware provides the same funding for both full-day and half-day kindergarten programs.
(Education Commission of the States [ECS] Kindergarten Database, 2007)
A qualified, caring, diverse, and stable workforce in our schools requires a pool of well-prepared, highly skilled candidates for all vacancies; quality induction for new teachers with mentoring services from trained veteran teachers; opportunities for continual improvement and growth for all employees; working conditions in which they can be successful; and professional compensation and benefits. Here are some facts about Delaware's qualified teaching staff:
- Delaware has state-funded induction/mentoring (grants) for new teachers.
Teacher Mentors Induction
- During the 1999-2000 school year, 41 percent of public high school teachers were teaching math out of field.
Out-of-Field Teaching (17pp)
- The state does not yet offer financial support for teacher professional development.
- The state does not yet participate in professional working/teaching and learning conditions survey.
Statute 14 Del. C. § 151 – § 158
State rewards and also sanctions districts on the basis of performance. Rewards for the districts are non-monetary and are based on absolute and improved performance. State sanctions to districts involve an offer of technical assistance, requirement that district or another entity create and implement an improvement plan, or suffer loss of accreditation.
State rewards and also sanctions schools on the basis of performance. Rewards for school are both monetary (bonuses) and non-monetary for absolute and improved performance. State sanctions on schools include offer of technical assistance, requirement that either school or another entity create and implement a plan for improvement, and threat of loss of accreditation for the school.
Delaware schools that fail to meet the state’s AYP requirements for five consecutive years are subject to restructuring by its district in one of the five ways outlined in NCLB. If the school fails to make AYP again, the district must implement the restructuring plan at the beginning of the school year following the creation of the plan. This policy was enacted because of NCLB and is directly related to NCLB's AYP timeline. [DE ADC 103 6.0]
Delaware believes the most important elements of effective parental and family involvement in education include communication, effective parenting skills, parental involvement in student learning, volunteerism, school-based decision making, and collaboration with the community.The parents' declaration of responsibilities is to be developed and kept up to date with the Delaware State Congress of Parents and Teachers and will identify responsibilities for parents and families as well as the responsibilities public schools have in helping parents meet such responsibilities. The department of education encourages school districts and schools to adopt the declaration as local policy (Del. Code Ann. tit 14, § 157). Enacted 1998.
The engineering and applied science recruitment fund is intended to increase the number of minorities and women enrolled in engineering and science at postsecondary education institutions. Programs approved for funding must meet certain criteria, including the encouragement of parental involvement (Del. Code Ann. tit 14, § 3464). Enacted 2001.
Schools applying for school improvement implementation grants must have plans that include comprehensive school improvement goals tied to state and local academic performance standards and strategies to achieve these and other goals identified by the school, including staff development and parental involvement (Del. Code Ann. tit 14, § 806). Enacted 1996.
Recruitment and Retention
Delaware has state policies that support statewide financial incentives, hard-to-staff schools or subject areas, alternative routes to certification, induction, out-of-field teaching, teacher workload, and maximum class size. There are also policies supporting classroom discipline, state retirement, teacher recognition programs, and certification/licensure of educators from outside the state.
Statewide Financial Incentives: Teachers can receive pay increases depending on which of a variety of professional development clusters they take. Clusters are focused groups of courses and/or activities offered to Delaware educators by the Delaware Department of Education, Delaware districts and outside vendors. Also, there are various loan and scholarship programs available to prospective teachers willing to work in critical curricular areas.
DOE: Approved Professional Development Clusters
14 Del. C. §1108.
14 DE Admin. Code 240
For Hard to-Staff Schools: The department of education may provide a Student Loan Program for candidates admitted to an accredited institution of higher learning in a program that will result in training and certification in Delaware as a teacher in a critical curricular area designated by the department. The recipient of any such loan shall execute a promissory note in the amount of the loan and the loan will be forgiven on the basis of 2 years of teaching as a certified teacher in an actual critical curricular area in a Delaware public school for each year of college training. The loan may be renewed from year to year through a four-year training program, based upon the criteria adopted by the department with state board of education approval.
14 Del. C. §1108.
14 DE Admin. Code 240
Alternative Routes to Certification: The Alternative Route to Teacher Certification is intended to provide essential knowledge and skills to teachers participating in the program. The Special Institute for Teacher Licensure and Certification provides a program for college graduates who hold no license and have no teacher training or teaching experience, to become licensed and certified to teach in the Delaware public schools.
14 DE Admin. Code §1519.
14 Del. C. §1260-1264.
14 Del. C. §1250
Induction Policies: The New Teacher Mentoring/Induction Program is a three-year induction program for beginning teachers to include mentoring by highly trained and well-qualified mentors and mentor teams. Those who must take part in and the length of the program are: all new teachers in district and charter schools on an initial license for three years; all alternate routes to certification teachers for a period of three years; all teachers who have been out of the classroom for more than three years for a period of three years; all teachers new to the state of Delaware, excluding those certified by National Board for Profession Teaching Standards, for a period of one year.
DOE: New Teacher Mentoring/Induction Program
14 DE Admin. Code §1502
Out-of Field Teaching Policies: If the employer of an educator assigns the educator to teach in an area outside the educator's certification, the employer may not reduce the salary of the educator as a result of the assignment.
14 Del. C. §1223
Teacher Workload Policies: A teacher workday is a minimum of 7 1/2 hours, inclusive of 1/2 hour for lunch, plus the amount of time required for the discharge of such duties and services as may be reasonably expected and required of a member of the professional staff of a public school. In all reorganized school districts each teacher in grades 1-12, inclusive, shall have, during each school day, a duty-free period for at least 30 consecutive minutes but this section shall not bar the allowance of a longer or additional duty-free period each day.
14 DE Admin. Code 710.
14 Del. C. §1305 and 1328
Maximum Class Size Policies: The ratio of students to instructors in any class in kindergarten or grades 1-3 in a Delaware public school shall not exceed 22 students as of the last school day of October. In calculating such ratio, a classroom instructional aide shall count as equal to half a teacher. This shall only apply to a class within which students are instructed in the core academic subjects of English/Language Arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
14 Del. C. §1705A
Classroom Discipline Policies: While a student is entrusted in their care or supervision, public school teachers and administrators have the same authority to control the behavior of the student and to discipline or punish the student as a parent, custodian, guardian or other person similarly responsible for the care and supervision of the student except as provided in 14 Del.C. §702. The authority includes removing a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity.
14 Del. C. §701
State Retirement Policies: Teachers who were inactive in their profession on April 23, 1945, who, prior to that date, taught in the public schools of the state for 25 years or more and are no longer capable of teaching, and teachers who were inactive in their profession on April 23, 1945, who, prior to that date, taught in the public schools of the state for 15 years or more and who attain the age of 65, shall be entitled to receive a pension out of the fund continued by §3901 for the duration of their respective lives.
14 Del. C. §3901-3911
Teacher Recognition Programs or Policies: A series of Teacher of the Year awards are established to reward outstanding teachers throughout the state. Those individuals who are chosen teacher of the year in their respective school buildings shall be nominated for the district teacher of the year award who will be awarded $2,000. The individual who is chosen state teacher of the year will be awarded $3,000 in addition to the district-level award.
14 Del. C. §8901-8906.
14 DE Admin. Code 235
Certification/Licensure of Educators from Outside the State: Educators who hold a full and current license/certificate in another U.S. state (including the District of Colombia, Guam, and Puerto Rico) will receive a comparable license/certificate upon applying for licensure/certification in Delaware. Such educators should follow the same application procedures as other candidates, the only exception being that out-of-state educators who hold full and current licensure/certification do not have to meet the Praxis I testing requirement for licensure.