Redding Consortium officials said Wednesday night they will prioritize aligning their plans with the Wilmington Learning Collaborative, investing in wraparound services and building community partnerships.
“How do I say what Redding should be doing next if I have no idea what the connection between Redding and the WLC is,” said Cerron Cade, director of the Delaware Office of Management & Budget. “It’s kind of putting the cart before the horse.”
What is the consortium?
The Redding Consortium, founded in 2019, recommends policies and practices to the governor and legislators to ensure educational equality for all segments of society and to improve outcomes, both academically and socially, for students in Wilmington and Northern New Castle County.
Several consortium officials suggested establishing a definition for equity and metrics so they can measure progress in the coming years.
“How do we know when we’ve achieved educational equity?” was asked in some form or another multiple times Wednesday without a clear answer.
The group also has worked to add wraparound services – before- and after-school programs, counseling, social services and wellness centers – to some Wilmington schools as well as awarding scholarships for people studying education.
The consortium’s goals are similar to the Wilmington Learning Collaborative, an agency that was created in November 2022 to help Wilmington children in nine city elementary schools across Brandywine, Red Clay and Christina school districts.
It aims to empower city students and families by giving them a voice in policy making to improve student achievement metrics like test scores, absenteeism and graduation rates. The Collab also plans to help connect families with services that can help solve issues such as homelessness, hunger, poverty and more.
MORE FROM REDDING: Kuumba’s $2.4M grant will expand wellness, after school programs
Wilmington residents are going to be confused when officials knock on their door to talk about the Redding Consortium and then come back a week later to talk about the Learning Collaborative, said Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington.
She said the consortium needs to figure out how to communicate what it offers and how it differs from the Collaborative so community members can better understand Redding’s efforts and initiatives.
EastSide Charter School Chief Executive Officer Aaron Bass said there should be a better alignment between the Department of Education and the consortium.
Misunderstandings and missteps can pop up, Bass said.
He did not give specific examples.
“The relationship and the communication between the WLC and Redding is absolutely essential,” said Education Secretary Mark Holodick. “That will, of course, start happening, I would imagine now that the [Learning Collaborative] board has come together and is in the process of hiring an executive director.”
Holodick said the relationships schools make with community partners is paramount to the success of both groups.
Holodick, Bass and others agreed that the commitment to wraparound services is another top priority.
Lockman said the consortium is in the process of setting up an alignment meeting with officials from the collaborative.
The consortium also established potential research projects that they would like to complete in the future, which include:
- Increase school choice options
- Use a prevention model to identify, align and measure actions
- Develop, legislate and resource family engagement policy
- Create an asset map of educational programs and services in the City of Wilmington
- Coordinate with the state Department of Education to adopt national best practices to improve educational equity in Delaware and avoid duplication of work with educator equity
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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