This year, the Rodel Foundation of Delaware altered their Rodel Teacher Council (RTC) program this year to focus on advocating for four concrete policy changes to implement the researched recommendations they have completed in previous years. By the summer of this year, the goals of the RTC were:
-Broadband connectivity: Influence the legislature to pass language establishing an annual review of school level broadband capacity to ensure all districts are able to keep up.
-Social and emotional learning: Influence Department of Education and districts to catalyze process for developing statewide social and emotional learning goals and competencies.
-Personalized professional development: Change the state’s education regulations to give educators the option of receiving professional development hours through the use of micro-credentials.
-Competency-based learning: Influence every college and university in Delaware to sign onto a letter indicating that they will accept competency-based transcripts from Delaware high school students starting in the class of 2019.
Rodel staff served in a support role to help the teachers make strategic policy decisions, establish tools to project management, use relationships to connect decision makers with the teachers, and provide event and communications support. This really was a banner year for the RTC, which despite some major hurdles along the way managed to accomplish all their policy goals, and in some cases even surpassed the initial goal. Rodel is energized at seeing a growth in the teachers' capacity to understand the policy process and communicate with state-level decision makers. In addition to RTC policy work, Rodel is excited about the new state and national partnerships that the teachers fostered as well as the national and local recognition through media and newsletters.
Policy / Coalition Partners
Broadband connectivity: Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Department of Technology and Innovation, Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee, legislature
Social and emotional learning: CASEL, Delaware Positive Behavior Supports Project, Delaware Department of Education, local school districts
Personalized professional development: Delaware Professional Standards Board, Delaware Professional Development Advisory Council, Digital Promise
Competency-based learning: Local colleges and universities, local high schools and districts, Knowledgeworks
Key Lessons Learned
Rodel learned the importance of hitting the ground running with educators. They presented specific policy goals they could choose from that were based in the previous recommendations they had made. This allowed the teachers to immediately begin power-mapping and prioritizing from the list of potential strategies that the staff developed.
Educators benefited from Rodel setting the expectation early on that they meet with stakeholders who cared about their issue to begin developing comfort talking about their policy goal. Rodel also brought in Celine Coggins for a full day of training and coaching where she provided tips on communication strategies.
Rodel also learned the importance of setting clear milestones and events that kept the teachers accountable and kept RTC’s work relevant and urgent. It’s important to set up time as staff, and with the teachers, to evaluate strategies throughout the year and pivot as needed.
Bill / Policy ReferenceFY19 Bond Bill
ResourcesSummary of recent RTC accomplishments
Endorsement of competency-based high school transcript
RTC Brief "Creating A Common Language for Social and Emotional Learning in Delaware"
ContactNeil Kirschling, Senior Program Officer
Rodel Foundation of Delaware
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