The Wilmington Learning Collaborative governing council voted Thursday night to hire Delaware State University and Empower Schools as project managers.
The council also announced it has posted a job description for executive director and already has a dozen applicants.
The initial contracts with DSU and Empower Schools, a national education group that partners with local groups to provide improved and accessible education, will be for six months.
The council will pay $160,000 to DSU and $140,000 to Empower Schools, the first big chunk it’s used of its expected $10 million budget.
“My role would be playing a significant role in your strategic planning, facilitating those key conversations that are going to take you from these initial launch pieces to getting deep in the work,” said Shelley Rouser, chair of DSU’s education department.
She said the project management team will make sure that the Learning Collab’s aspirations are put to paper and facilitated.
“I would be a key point person for making sure that your team is coming together and that our work is coordinated to serve the deliverables that you have in mind,” Rouser said.
DSU will focus on four main areas: project design, strategic advising, technical assistance and implementation.
“The collaboration between Empower and Delaware State University really gives us the full package,” said council member Alethea Smith-Tucker. “You have anticipated our needs and have been a part of this process from the very beginning.”
Both Rouser and Empower Schools expressed interest and essentially lobbied to partner with the Collab before it was created last November.
Learning Collab project breakdown
The project management team will consist of four representatives from DSU and three from Empower Schools and be divided into three parts.
DSU’s Srabani Mohanty and Empower’s Malik Stewart will focus on project leadership and management.
DSU’s Rouser, Empower’s Matt Matera and Empower’s Rachell Davis will hone in on project support and offer subject matter expertise.
DSU’s Darren Rainey and DSU’s Tina Mitchell will work on educator support.
In addition to sharing some DSU highlights, Rouser told the council that the university recently announced a $31.6 million investment for an early childhood innovation center.
That’s important to the Collab, Rouser said, because it shows DSU is focused on making sure it gives all the support possible to community centers because of the importance of education at an early age.
Empower Schools has worked in 10 different states and has directly affected 33,000 students, according to Malik Stewart, the group’s director.
Here’s the breakdown of what both will be responsible for:
The Learning Collaborative is an agency created in November 2022 to help Wilmington children in nine city elementary schools across Brandywine, Red Clay and Christina school districts.
It hopes to empower city students and families, as well as on-the-ground workers, by giving them a voice in policy making to improve student achievement metrics like test scores, absenteeism and graduation rates.
It also plans on connecting families with social services to address issues like homelessness, poverty and hunger.
The job description for its executive director position cites an annual salary of $156,257-$175,616.
It asks for the applicant to have at least five years and preferably eight of successful experience as a school, district, state, corporate or nonprofit leader. Educator experience is preferred, the description said.
The candidate’s experience should include “organizational change and improvement experience in an urban setting.”
In related news, the Redding Consortium agreed this week to prioritize aligning their plans with the Wilmington Learning Collaborative so city residents aren’t confused.
Both groups seek to improve education experiences and help students and their families in Wilmington.
The council’s next meeting is Thursday, March 9, at 6 p.m. Watch it here.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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