New DelawareCAN tool compiles and compares district and charter approaches to learning during school closures

Tool reveals stark differences in district and charter school approaches to teaching during school closures

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Wilmington, Del. – Today, DelawareCAN: The Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now released a new database that compiles and compares district and charter school plans for distance learning during school closures.

By comparing the distance learning plans each district and charter school submitted to the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), the database reveals promising practices and stark differences across the state during a time when more 140,000 Delaware students are at home.

Chief among the stark differences is how districts and charters are approaching teaching and learning during the next several weeks while schools have been ordered to close to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Of the 19 Delaware school district plans that were reviewed, only 10 expect their teachers to deliver real-time or recorded teaching to support students while learning at home. In contrast, in 17 of the 21 charter school plans DelawareCAN reviewed, there is an expectation of real-time or recorded teaching while schools are shut down.

The decision to teach new academic content while students are at home rather than provide review and enrichment represents a more drastic difference in the district and charter school distance learning plans.

All 21 charter school plans indicated that new content would be taught to students, while only 7 of the 19 districts plan to teach new content until schools reopen.

“While students at Charter School of Wilmington have been moving forward with their curriculum since March 16th, and students at Eastside Charter School or New Castle County Vo-tech are progressing to new content remotely, other students are inexplicably being asked to rinse and repeat over a two-month period,” said Atnre Alleyne, founding executive director of DelawareCAN.

He added: “Across the country, and right here in Delaware, we are seeing it is possible for schools to support and educate students at a time when so much around them has been upended. It is critical that we do whatever it takes to ensure that learning gaps do not widen substantially by the time schools reopen.”

Across the plans, DelawareCAN also highlighted many bright spots that show how districts and charter schools are rising to the challenge of distance learning during a crisis.

Seaford School District has created the role of “Educational Concierges,” who will communicate a minimum of one time per week with their caseload of students to support them academically, while also checking in on the family’s access to community resources and emotional health.

Gateway Lab Charter School’s Parent Engagement Liaison conducts “Gateway Gladiator Gatherings,” where parents can ask questions, learn about resources, share stories, and encourage one another. Sussex Academy holds Facebook Live conversations with parents to answer their questions and offer support, and Colonial School District has created a robust resource hub for parents on its website.

Milford School District has established student WiFi areas in school parking lots and bus platforms and EastSide Charter School raised $40,000, in partnership with NerdIt Now to ensure every student who needs a laptop has access to one.

DelawareCAN’s new distance learning database is one of the organization’s many new initiatives to empower community members and support schools during the COVID-19 crisis.

DelawareCAN convenes a “People’s Taskforce” virtually each week to learn and support the needs of parents, educators, and students who are adjusting to distance learning.

The organization has also launched a high school student survey and will be hosting a Facebook Live conversation with students on April 22nd at 7:30pm.

You can access the database and learn more about DelawareCAN’s COVID-19 response here.

Delaware Distance Learning Plans


Atnre Alleyne is the founder and Executive Director of the DelawareCAN: The Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now and the co-founder of TeenSHARP, a college access organization. He blogs at www.fiercelyurgent.com and www.parentingfree.com and is based in Wilmington, Delaware.