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Vision 2015 Marks Two Years of Progress toward World-Class Public Schools in Delaware

Expanded Vision Network and LEAD Committee’s Cost Efficiency Study are among 2008 accomplishments

(Information provided by Vision 2015)

Wilmington, Del. – This month marks two years since the release of Vision 2015, Delaware’s nationally-acclaimed plan for achieving the best public schools in the world for every Delaware student. Since its launch in October 2006, Vision 2015 has become the inspiration, guide, and focus for initiatives by people and organizations across Delaware who share a commitment to provide students with an education that can compete with the world’s best.

A report outlining the second year progress of Vision 2015 is available at www.vision2015delaware.org. Copies of the report will be distributed at today’s University of Delaware "Creating Knowledge-Based Partnerships” conference, Delaware Education for a Global Economy: Making Vision 2015 Work, and through other Delaware media and venues in the coming weeks.

Highlights of the past year include the expansion of the Vision Network of public schools and districts, which doubled in 2008 and now includes six school districts and 21 schools serving 14,000 students. Backed by a strong partnership of public and private support, Vision Network schools are implementing recommendations of Vision 2015 by developing more effective school leadership teams, sharpening their instructional focus, and using student data to tailor instruction and accelerate student achievement.

“Vision Network districts and schools are the true pioneers of Delaware’s public education system,” said Rob Rescigno, Vision Network Liaison.” It is exciting to see so many educators, parent-leaders, and community representatives collaborating effectively, building their skills, and implementing the best instructional practices that are crucial to 21st century learning.”

Vision 2015 also was the impetus for a major cost efficiency study released in January 2008 by the Leadership for Education Achievement in Delaware (LEAD) Committee. Produced at the request of Governor Ruth Ann Minner, the report analyzed how Delaware can spend its education dollars more efficiently, identifying up to $158 million in the existing education budget that should be reallocated each year to support student achievement. Vision 2015 has recommended reinvesting recovered funds in three priority areas that will lead to academic improvements: expanding the Vision Network of world-class schools, eliminating the preparation gap through investments in early childhood education, and recruiting and supporting high-quality teachers, especially in high need subjects and high need schools. Through ongoing work of the LEAD Committee, Vision 2015 will support efforts that improve how Delaware raises and allocates its education dollars so that all students have the resources they need to meet high standards.

Public and political support for Vision 2015 continued to expand during the past year. Financial investments from the Rodel Foundation of Delaware, members of the Delaware Business Roundtable, and many other public and private donors (see list below) underwrote the expansion of the Vision Network, the LEAD Cost Efficiency Study, Delaware Stars for Early Success, and other vital programs. The past year also included more opportunities to inform and empower the public about the critical issues of school change in Delaware through education conferences, panel discussions, and a public gubernatorial debate focused on education.

The past two years have seen visible progress toward the goal of the best schools in the world for every Delaware student. Yet the Vision 2015 Implementation Team recognizes the significant work ahead. Priorities for the coming year include spending the state’s education dollars more wisely by following though on the cost efficiencies identified in the LEAD study; redirecting dollars saved to priority areas including expanding the Vision Network, eliminating the preparation gap, and recruiting and supporting high-quality teachers; setting high expectations for all students; and holding ourselves and all our education partners accountable for results.

“By informing the public debate, working with our policy leaders, and demonstrating what's possible in classrooms, we have the potential in Delaware to lead the nation in academic achievement. If we continue to focus on what’s best for our students, we’ll make the right decisions. We have the opportunity, and we only need the full support of public and private partners to get this done,” said Marvin N. “Skip” Schoenhals, Vision 2015 chairman.

2008 Progress: The Numbers

21 – The number of schools throughout Delaware that are participating in the Vision Network.

230 – The number of students from 27 public high schools who took part in the Delaware Virtual School Pilot Program.

240 – The number of parent-leaders who are driving positive outcomes in Delaware schools.

5,000 – The number of Delaware children being served by Delaware’s Stars for Early Success program.

$158 million – The amount in Delaware’s education budget identified by the Governor’s LEAD Committee that could be spent smarter to advance student achievement.

About Vision 2015

Vision 2015 is a collaborative effort by education, government, business and civic leaders throughout Delaware to provide a world-class education to each and every public school student in Delaware. A broad-based, 28-person Steering Committee led the development of Vision 2015. Implementation efforts are directed by a subgroup of the Steering Committee composed of: Chair Marvin N. Schoenhals, Chairman, WSFS Bank; H. Raye Jones Avery, Director, Christina Cultural Arts Center; Kevin Carson, Superintendent, Woodbridge School District; Cynthia DiPinto, WolfBlock Public Strategies; Paul A. Herdman, President and CEO, Rodel Foundation of Delaware; Daniel Rich, Provost, University of Delaware; John H. Taylor, Jr., Executive Director, Delaware Public Policy Institute; Howard Weinberg, Executive Director, Delaware State Education Association; and Valerie A. Woodruff, Delaware Secretary of Education.

Vision 2015 is supported by AAA Mid-Atlantic; AstraZeneca; Bank of America; Barclays Bank Delaware; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware; CAI; Christiana Care Health System; Citizens Bank; Colonial Parking, Inc.; Delaware Community Foundation; Delaware Department of Education (DDOE); Delmarva Power; Dover Downs, Inc.; DuPont; Glenmede Trust Company, N.A.; Hercules Incorporated; JPMorgan Chase Foundation; McConnell Development, Inc.; Peninsula Capital Advisors, LLC; PNC Foundation; Rodel Foundation of Delaware; The Schell Trust, Ltd.; University of Delaware; Verizon Delaware, Inc.; The Wallace Foundation (via the DE DOE); WSFS Foundation.

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