Cape Henlopen officials say Gov. John Carney’s recent order regarding teachers and students, announced May 10, will have little impact at district schools.
The governor suspended end-of-year evaluations, professional development requirements and assessments of educators due to interruptions of the school year caused by COVID-19. Carney’s order also waived required learning hours for student and teacher days.
“Students and educators across our state, especially our 2020 senior class, have been significantly affected by this COVID-19 crisis,” said Carney. “These changes ... will make sure students and educators are not punished because of the shortened school year.”
Cape Superintendent Bob Fulton said May 12 Cape already submitted its remote learning plans, including a revised schedule for the remainder of the school year, to the Delaware Department of Education. The district-approved last day of school for students and staff will not change, Fulton said.
Fulton said the 16th modification to the state of emergency declaration limits negative repercussions for students and educators from weeks of remote learning.
“An example would be not being able to administer Smarter Balanced Assessments to our students this year, which means accountability ratings will not be established” for teachers, Fulton said.
While state annual assessments will not be conducted, the district established a grading system for secondary students; elementary students do not receive numbered grades. Beginning with the fourth marking period, teachers began introducing new lessons; students will complete a minimum of 10 graded assessments per class through the end of the school year. Fourth marking-period grades will be determined by grades earned on the minimum 10 assignments or by an average of the first three marking periods, whichever is higher.
“We did not want any grades given during the fourth marking period to have a negative impact on students’ yearly grades,” Fulton said.
Regarding teacher observations, novice teachers are observed three times a year, and veteran teachers are observed once a year, Cape Assistant Superintendent Jenny Nauman said. With the governor’s modification, teachers will not be penalized for a lapse of licensure for not having been observed the mandated number of times.