Christina School District Wilmington Learning Collaborative DSU

Christina delays Collaborative vote; DSU wants in 

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Delaware Live, Education

Christina School District Wilmington Learning Collaborative DSU

Christina School District Early Education Pre-K students in June toured Jennie E. Smith Elementary. Photo from the district’s Facebook page.

Christina School District board on Tuesday night once more voted to delay a decision on whether or not to join the Wilmington Learning Collaborative

There was little discussion, but a Delaware State University official did ask the board to include DSU as part of the collaborative.

Rouser, who is DSU’s chair of education, gave a presentation to the board that explained why the institution should have a seat at the table. 

“We would foster support for the high quality materials that you’ve adopted, and help teachers use them well,” Rouser said. “We would help them then make those resources custom and individualized for the children that they are serving.”

Up to now, including universities in draft agreements or management plans has not been mentioned, partly because the collaborative has wanted to make the program a grounds-up, local-control force. However, according to Holodick, the University of Delaware has also expressed interest in joining the collaborative in some fashion. 

On top of the higher-ed institutions looking to involve themselves, Holodick said a number of community-based, faith-based organizations and state business community partners have expressed a real desire to be part of the Wilmington Learning Collaborative.

“I can’t help but think that whether it is through the direct support utilizing personnel, whether it’s through leadership coaching, whether it is through additional wraparound services, or after-school and extended day programming that a number of these organizations can bring to the table,” he said, “they are excited and so am I.”

Rouser said DSU would invest in professional development to help teachers be able to effectively instruct their students to improve test scores and achievement. 

“When you foster teacher leadership and help build that up, you’re again addressing those systems and creating some longevity for years to come,” she said.

She cited that DSU is a global institute and they have plenty of assets to help Wilmington students. 

“You are contemplating whether or not the Wilmington Learning Collaborative is the best thing for you, but know that when I come to you right now talking about DSU involvement, and working alongside you, we think about this as being a convener and collaborating with other entities,” she said. 

Related: Ed. officials field community’s Learning Collaborative questions

She said DSU could help them partner with other institutions of higher education to create a synergy in Delaware that would help improve outcomes for inner-city students. 

A lot of the college’s students come from inner-city schools in Washington D.C, Philadelphia and New York, Rouser said, and many of them would love to contribute in the effort to improve Wilmington education. 

“Delaware State University recently was awarded a $31 million grant for an early childhood Innovation Center,” she said, “and there’s opportunities there for collaboration so that we can pay attention, not just to K-12, but supporting the surrounding centers in the area that are feeding into Christina’s schools.”

Rouser said there should be variety in curricula within the collaborative’s schools in order to meet the specific needs of each school’s students. 

Board President Keeley Powell thanked her for her presentation, and said that the main challenge in education, especially at an elementary and middle school level, is thinking differently and having families embrace change that’s necessary to help their children succeed. 

Board member Donald Patton was also on board for the DSU partnership. 

“We all have that same lens and expectation and I  thank you for the work that you do,” he said.”I hope we can partner up through the Wilmington Learning Collaborative.”

Christina’s next board meeting is Sept. 13, and Collaborative officials hope to have a vote from Christina, Red Clay, and Brandywine by the end of that month. 



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