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The Wilmington Learning Collaborative Works to Build a Better Future

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A new partnership between the Delaware Department of Education and Gov. John Carney aims to improve outcomes for the State’s most vulnerable students.

The Wilmington Learning Collaborative—comprising the Christina, Red Clay and Brandywine school districts—is based on a model that’s proved successful in major cities. It aims to improve outcomes for students in local schools.

Earlier this year, three Delaware school districts voted to formally explore a partnership called the Wilmington Learning Collaborative, which utilizes a model that’s proven successful in other areas, including Springfield, Massachusetts, Fort Worth and Waco in Texas, and Denver. The collaborative will partner the Christina, Red Clay and Brandywine school districts to build a structure that “creates consistency for students and empowers educators, school leaders and communities, and [will] improve outcomes for students in City of Wilmington schools,” according to Gov. John Carney’s official website.

The collaborative is a joint project between Carney and the Delaware Department of Education. In a letter to school district leaders urging them to vote in favor of entering into negotiations to create a memorandum of understanding about the project, Carney wrote, “I believe city educators are doing everything within their power to help our children succeed. They need our support. I know you feel the same way. That’s what this plan is about: empowering educators on the ground and giving them the support they need to improve outcomes for our children who need our help the most.”

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James Simmons III, chief equity officer at the Delaware Department of Education and a key player in the future of the Learning Collaborative, sees it as aligning with the redistricting efforts currently taking place in Wilmington, aimed at addressing educational reform in the city post-desegregation.

“My hope is that the collaborative will ultimately offer a better educational experience for the students of Wilmington, will lead to better outcomes and create an environment that’s conducive to learning so our students can be prepared to provide a better life for themselves and their families,” he says.

The collaborative will kick off planning in the 2022–23 school year, with Carney also proposing an additional $7 million in resources to help low-income students enrolled in schools that join.

Delaware Today will provide more information about the collaborative and its progress as it becomes available.

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