The following summarizes content from the state's application for Lead State Partner in 2011.
Secretary of Education: Mark Murphy
Primary Point of Contact: Tonyea Mead — Education Associate, Science
Partner Organizations: Delaware Math/Science Foundation; DuPont Chemical Company; Delaware Science Coalition; Delaware STEM Council; Delaware Teachers of Science Association; DE Children and Nature Committee.
Background: Delaware students must complete at least three credits of laboratory science, biology, chemistry, and physics, in order to graduate from public high school. Delaware Science Content Standards are broken down into both grade band content standards (K–3, 4–5, 6–8, and 9–12) and grade level expectations. Science is assessed in grades 5, 8, and 10 and through an end of course assessment in Biology through the Delaware Comprehension Assessment System (DCAS). The Delaware Science Content Standards were first adopted in 1995 by the State Board of Education, and have been considered a living document since then. The most recent revision was in 2006 with the collaboration of elementary, middle, and high school teachers in addition to university faculty, community stake-holders from business and industry. Delaware is currently working to align their state adoption timeline including state review, professional development opportunities, and curriculum and assessment material developments to coincide with the anticipated NGSS timeline.
Commitment: Delaware has shown a strong commitment to standards based learning through its adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and its position as a governing state in SMARTER Balanced. Delaware has also shown commitment to the NGSS by aligning their statewide standards revision process with the projected NGSS timeline. Delaware has shown a proven commitment to science education and has been integral in science education reform.
STEM Involvement: Governor Markell signed an executive order creating a statewide STEM Council in order to improve STEM education in Delaware. This council, comprised of business leaders, Delaware Department of Education staff, administrators, politicians, and teachers, will help to increase the number of students engaged in STEM subjects and careers, and work with elementary school students on STEM topics. Delaware has also created additional STEM focused science courses, such as STEM Physics, Science and Global Issues, and Natural Approach to Chemistry. The STEM Coalition meets at least four times a year to discuss further STEM initiatives.
Alliances and Infrastructure: Delaware has numerous business and community partnerships that support NGSS development and provide K-12 science support. DuPont Chemical Company is one of Delaware’s largest science education supporters and sits on numerous math/science committees throughout the state. DuPont holds a strong interest in science education due to its position as a chemical company in a small state, and its need for a talented recruitment base. The Delaware Math/Science Foundation, made up of local businesses and education leaders strongly supports NGSS development and is in position to assist with implementation efforts statewide. The Delaware Science Coalition manages science policy, curriculum, and professional development in Delaware’s 19 districts and 23 charter schools and works with district representatives on science initiatives. Each district and school pays a fee to belong to the Coalition which in return supports professional development and materials. The Delaware Teachers of Science Association is also in support of state and national science reform, and will be dedicated to assisting with NGSS implementation. Additionally, the Delaware Children and Nature Committee, comprised of informal and formal educators, works within the state to promote science education. The above mentioned organizations will be a supportive network to Delaware in NGSS adoption and implementation.
Check back soon for more information on Delaware's state team and implementation plans