• Brandywine School District and the Race to the Top Initiative

    “Timing is Everything” – that old adage is especially true for the Brandywine School District and Delaware's acceptance into the federal Race to the Top program. For several decades, the United States has slowly lost its position of prominence in terms of student achievement among industrialized nations. Dramatic, comprehensive school reform is needed to ensure that our students have the skills and tools necessary to compete globally and develop the divergent thinking and creative leadership needed to pioneer the scientific and technological innovations that will shape and secure America's economic future.

    Perfect timing! Newly appointed Superintendent, Dr. Mark Holodick, with the support of the Brandywine School District Board of Education, began the work of creating a comprehensive reform of educational practices before Delaware was awarded the Race to the Top grant. Due to this foresight, the Brandywine School District's Strategic Plan is strongly aligned to the measures in Race to the Top. The accompanying funds will be used to support the resources necessary to expedite and assist with the District's vision and mission.

    The scope of work for the District's plan is extensive and covers all twelve reform areas as required by Race to the Top. Dr. Holodick and the Board of Education have identified the following four areas as Brandywine's top priorities:

    • Curriculum Alignment and Instructional Best Practices

      * Adoption and alignment of the National Common Core Standards of all of Brandywine's
         academic curriculum and programming.

      * Implementation of Learning Focused Solutions provides the framework and monitoring
         protocol of research-based best practices in every classroom, every day.

    • Building a Culture of College and Career Readiness

      * Closing the achievement gap between groups of student remains a top priority of the District.

              * Increase students taking higher level courses and being ready for college upon graduation.

              * Examine and modify the academic programming for our highest performing students so that
                 all students receive relevant, rigorous learning opportunities.

    • Engage Families and Communities in Supporting Academic Success for All

      * Schools need the partnership, commitment and support of parents, as well as the community at
         large, in order to raise student achievement.

             * Design and implement innovated ways to engage parents, community and business support in
                 the reform process.

    • Professional Development

      * Provide training and follow-up support of research-based instructional best practices.

              * Establish the consistent and pervasive use of these practices as “expectations” defining a 
                 standard of practice and culture that is uniquely Brandywine.

    The magnitude of the comprehensive and systemic reform that is underway is grossly underestimated by the four items listed above. Reform requires extreme change. There are presently a few roadblocks to navigate as we begin; however, working through such obstacles will, in the long run, produce greater commitment and sustainability.
    The race is not about who is driving or who crosses the finish line first. In the end, the only thing that will matter is who stands in the winner's circle – not a Board of Education, a District official, parent or business leader, but our children, grandchildren and the economic prosperity of our country.
    Has the timing ever been more perfect?

    BrandywineRight on Time!