Local Teachers Named To Dream Team

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34Staff Report
Forty-five educators have been named to the Delaware Department of Education’s 2016 Delaware Dream Team including Tracey Keller of Morris Early Childhood Center and Tenesha Duffy of Lulu Ross Elementary School. These talented educators were nominated by their districts and charter schools to participate in an intense math and leadership-focused professional learning opportunity that will strengthen the Common Core State Standards in Delaware. This is the third year educators have participated in the Delaware Dream Team led by LearnZillion, a digital curriculum and professional learning provider.
“Participating as a teacher in the Delaware Dream Team has been one of the best professional developments that I have received. I felt so invigorated following my experience that I felt the desire to be part of this community again,” said Jennifer Guido, a 3rd grade teacher at Shields Elementary in the Cape Henlopen School District. “I am thrilled to return as a coach for the third cohort of Dream Team educators and help them scale their impact beyond their classrooms.”

Members of the 2016 Delaware Dream Team were nominated by their district or charter leaders for their passion for learning, collaborative mindset and strong leadership in the classroom. These math educators represent 17 districts and four charter schools in the state, with an average of 11 years of classroom experience. Among the group, 28 teach elementary math and 17 teach middle and high school math.

“The Delaware Dream Team develops teacher leadership that supports and furthers the Common Core standards,” said Michael Watson, the chief academic officer for the Delaware Department of Education. “Each year this opportunity allows districts to identify talent and build school support around practices that engage and benefit all Delaware students. We are excited about the state’s deep focus on math, and we congratulate every member of the new 2016 team.”

Eleven of the 45 teachers participated in TeachFest Delaware: Spring Academy, a one-day, state-wide Common Core professional learning workshop hosted by the Delaware Department of Education and LearnZillion in May 2015. Spring Academy participants created practical instructional resources in math and literacy with the support of Delaware Dream Team teachers from the 2014 and 2015 cohorts, who served as small group facilitators during the event.

“This experience has been transformative in many ways,” said Maggie Brady, a second grade teacher at Richey Elementary in the Red Clay Consolidated School District. “The LearnZillion community has helped me see myself as a leader in my own school community. I’m now part of the Social Studies Council in my district, I’m participating in the Schools That Lead Teacher Leadership Institute and I’m a mentor teacher for Wilmington University’s year-long residency program. I’m now pushing myself into an exciting new territory as I take on the role of math coach for this year’s Delaware Dream Team. I am really looking forward to helping teachers start their own exciting and powerful journeys.”

The Delaware Dream Team teachers will convene at TeachFest Delaware, a two-day professional learning experience January 28 to 29 in Dover. At TeachFest Delaware, teachers will dive into an intensive program of highly structured coach and peer collaboration led by LearnZillion. Teachers will develop their skills in teaching for conceptual understanding and fostering productive struggle in their classrooms. Post-TeachFest Delaware, the 2016 Delaware Dream Team members will apply what they’ve learned in their classrooms and meet virtually with their coaching group to reflect and continue planning.

Joined by alumni from the 2014 and 2015 cohorts, the 2016 Delaware Dream Team will reconvene for three evening workshops throughout the spring focused on leading impactful professional learning with colleagues and models of teacher leadership. The Delaware Dream Team network will plan for leading professional learning experiences and will debrief their experiences in person and through virtual coaching group meetings.

“We are thrilled to support the growing community of teacher-leaders throughout Delaware,” said LearnZillion CEO Eric Westendorf. “The 2014 and 2015 Delaware Dream Team teachers have made such a positive impact on their students, schools, and communities over the past two years. We’re excited to see the 2016 Dream Team cohort strengthening this impact, leading change, and improving student outcomes in their home schools and districts throughout the state.”