The Delaware Education Support System (DESS) is how the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) supports continuous improvement of Delaware public education. DESS is one way the DDOE fulfills its mission:
To promote the highest quality education for every Delaware student by providing visionary leadership and superior service.
Each student is at the center of DESS. DDOE activities, projects, and supports are intended to maximize educational opportunity and quality for each child in our public education system. In Delaware, this includes educational services to children from birth to age 21.
The Delaware Education Support System Advisory Council (DESS) serves as the core stakeholder group charged with guilding the enhancement and implementation of the Delaware Education Support System, including improvements to the Education Success Planning and Evaluation System. The council also provides guidance on Title I implementation by SEA.
DESS has three Domains of Continuous Improvement:
Each domain has a specific focus for educational improvement, but impacts and is impacted by the other two domains. For example, improving student health is likely to result in improved student achievement and day-to-day school functioning. Each domain has subdomains and embedded concepts.
Subdomains are specific and targeted areas of focus within the domain. Embedded concepts are ideas that should be considered within and across all subdomains. For example, Curriculum Alignment, Assessment, Instruction, and Teacher Quality are subdomains of Teaching and Learning. They are specific areas of focus within the broader concept of teaching and learning.
Embedded concepts, such as Global Citizenship, should be considered across each subdomain. For instance, if students are going to understand how and when to use technology appropriately in the 21st century workplace, then technology must be used as a tool within the daily routine. Therefore, technology must be integrated into curriculum design, assessment, instruction, teacher preparation, and professional development.DESS services within each domain include professional development and technical assistance. The DDOE provides these services to:
Public school districts;
Early childhood programs; and
Interagency collaborative projects.
DESS Professional Development services are defined as a combination of job-related, focused and in-depth learning, practice, feedback, reflection, and support experiences designed to enhance participants' perspectives, insights and/or attitudes; and which lead to improved professional practice and student performance. Effective professional development programs include ample opportunities for knowledge acquisition, skill mastery, descriptive feedback, and refinement in the work setting.
DESS Technical Assistance services are defined as timely, specialized guidance, and customized support that help districts and schools, including charter schools, early childhood programs, and other educational programs, solve specific problems and increase their capacity to improve student learning. Technical assistance can be short term,such as a phone call or email exchange, or longer in duration, such as helping a school or district develop and implement an improvement plan.
The Education Success Planning and Evaluation System (ESPES) allows district and school staff to better align actions with resources resulting in improved outcomes for all students. The system is intended to improve communication among the organization's staff and major components of this dynamic system are Planning, Resource Allocation, Evaluation, and Monitoring.
District and school staff can use the System to manage Success Plans for Improvement, apply for grant funding to support Plan implementation, manage projects to support Plan implementation, evaluate Plan progress, and track progress on compliance with Federal and State monitoring requirements.
The Delaware Distinguished Educator Program was established by the Delaware Department of Education to develop a pool of Distinguished Educators with specific expertise to support local educational agencies with schools identified in need of improving student achievement. The Distinguished Educators are not employees of the Department of Education, but rather dedicated individuals available to enter into contractual agreements with local education agencies-districts and charter schools. The benefit to contracting with a Distinguished Educator is hiring someone with teacher and/or principal experience and expertise with improving student achievement.