Educators across the state will have the chance to share openly what they need to do their jobs in an anonymous online survey that launches later this month.
TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Delaware will be open to all school-based, licensed educators -- including administrators. By Jan. 22, every school will receive a packet of letters that contains the individual seven-digit, anonymous access codes for educators in the school. These will be sent to each school's representative with the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA), the state's largest school employee union. Principals and DSEA representatives then will distribute the letters randomly at a faculty meeting.
"Teachers know what they need to succeed. We know teachers need to be heard. This confidential survey represents a chance for us to gather information that will help us find the best path forward," said Governor Jack Markell, who will launch the survey with teachers at South Dover Elementary on Jan. 22.
Educators will have until Feb. 15 to take the survey. Results will be released in March.
"Great teaching is critical to great student learning. But it's a real challenge to expect excellent teaching without providing teachers with the supportive working conditions they deserve," Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. "TELL Delaware gives educators the opportunity to tell us anonymously what supports are available in their schools and to help us identify what might be needed to better serve them."
Funded by part of the state's federal Race to the Top grant, TELL Delaware is a project of the Delaware Department of Education's Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit. It will be administered by the New Teacher Center, which since 2008 has conducted similar surveys in 20 states, including almost one million educators. The project is a collaboration between the department and key partners: the State Board of Education, DSEA, Delaware School Board Association, Delaware Association of School Administrators and the Rodel Foundation of Delaware.
The state aims to have at least a 50 percent response rate in each school, the minimum needed for public release of each building's results. A real-time response rate tracker is available at www.telldelaware.org to help promote broad participation in the survey.
"We know what makes a great school -- a strong collaborative leadership, meaningful professional development, appropriate class sizes, time for collaboration with colleagues. This survey has a great chance to help schools and districts see where they are and where they need to improve," DSEA President Frederika Jenner said. "We are urging our teachers to complete it so that we can track progress. There is so much research on what makes a great school that striving to improve in these areas is really a no-brainer."