State law encourages districts to adopt plans, policies, or strategies to engage parents and families in the educational process.
Delaware Administrative Code 14-103-7.0 Accountability for Schools that are Under Improvement
18.104.22.168.1 A district or charter school shall:
- 22.214.171.124.1.9 Provide ongoing mechanisms for family and community engagement;
Delaware Code 14-157 Parental involvement in education expectations of parents expectations of schools and school personnel.
(a) There is no adequate substitute for the involvement of a concerned and committed family in the education of a child. The State therefore endeavors to encourage parents and families to become involved in the education of their children and to operate a system of public schools which welcomes and fosters such positive involvement by parents and families.
(b) Among the most important elements of effective parental and family involvement in education are: communication--regular, 2-way, meaningful communications between parents and schools; effective parenting skills--the exercise by parents of good parenting skills for the benefit of their children and the fostering of such skills by public schools; parental involvement in student learning--parents play an integral role in student learning and emphasize the importance of education, and schools assist parents in these endeavors; volunteerism--parents are welcomed by schools, and commit themselves to providing support to their children's schools as volunteers; school based decisionmaking--parents involve themselves in the educational decisionmaking process at the school and district level and are welcomed in that role by schools; collaboration with the community--parents and schools work together to strengthen the connection between families, schools and community resources such as nonprofit organizations, business and religious institutions.
(c) The Department of Education shall work with the Delaware State Congress of Parents and Teachers to promulgate and maintain in current form a Parents' Declaration of Responsibilities reflecting the elements set forth in subsection (b) of this section and such other elements of effective parental and family involvement as the Department identifies. Such Declaration shall identify responsibilities for parents and families, as well as the responsibilities the public schools have to help parents meet such responsibilities.
(d) The Department of Education shall encourage local school districts and schools to adopt the Parents' Declaration of Responsibilities as local policy and to encourage parents at the beginning of each school year to execute an agreement to commit themselves to carry out, to the best of their abilities, the responsibilities outlined in the Declaration.
Delaware Code 14-1605A. Prevention component.
The Family Services Cabinet Council (Council), with the Department of Education and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families acting as lead agencies, shall administer a program to offer prevention-related student support services (prevention services) to students to prevent them from becoming discipline problems and from failing academically in our schools. Within the limits of appropriations made for this purpose, the Council shall provide rules and regulations for the award of prevention grants and the conduct of prevention programs authorized under this section, subject to the following limitations:
- (1) The Council shall issue prevention funding to local school districts proposing to establish an integrated plan to deliver prevention services including, but not limited to, academic tutoring and student mentoring programs to provide at-risk students with the extra help they may need to succeed academically and with positive adult role models; outreach programs to promote parental, family and community involvement in students’ academic studies and in reducing and resolving school discipline problems; school-linked support services to help students with family or health problems that may be adversely affecting their academic performance and their conduct at school; training to help students and school personnel resolve conflicts peacefully and non-disruptively; and assistance to help teachers better manage the behavior of students in their classrooms.
Delaware Code 14-802 Shared decision-making at the school district level.
(c) The structured conversations and activities of the District Advisory Committee shall result in a Report and Recommendation to the local board, through a decision-making process it developed to produce as much agreement as practicable, that:
(1) They wish to pursue shared decision-making further by developing a district transition plan to implement shared decision-making as a means of pursuing school improvement in the district, identifying the process they recommend for establishing a district transition plan, and determining the composition and roles and responsibilities of the “District Transition Team” to develop the district transition plan; or
(2) They recommend that the district not explore shared decision-making further.
Delaware Code 14-803 District transition plans and grants.
(a) After the local board has endorsed the district transition planning process pursuant to § 802(e) of this title, the board shall initiate the district transition plan by applying for a transition planning grant as authorized in the annual state appropriations act or through the Department of Education’s allocation of federal funds.
Delaware Code 14-804. Shared decision-making at the school level.
(a) Any school in a school district which has adopted a district transition plan as specified in § 803(d) of this title shall establish a school-level shared decision-making advisory committee (“School Advisory Committee”). Such school may also submit a written request to the Department of Education, via its local board of education, in order to receive funds to conduct structured conversations and activities among the school community to decide whether or not to apply to the Department of Education for a school-level shared decision-making transition grant as specified in § 807(d) of this title and as provided for in the annual appropriations act.
(b) The principal shall facilitate the selection of representatives on the School Advisory Committee through an inclusive process as established in the District Transition Plan that has the goal of ensuring a fair selection process for the representatives of constituencies within the school community such as parents, community members, teachers, administrators, other employees and students (where appropriate) which reflects the diversity within the school community. Such process shall ensure that the members of the various constituencies select their respective representatives.
(c) The structured conversations and activities, as defined in this title, shall result in a decision, accompanied by an explanatory report and recommendation, by the School Advisory Committee, through a process it developed to produce as much agreement as practicable, that:
(1) They wish to pursue share decision-making further by developing a school transition plan to implement shared decision-making for educational improvement in the school; or
(2) They choose not to explore shared decision-making further.
(d) If the School Advisory Committee decides to proceed with shared decision-making, the structured conversations and activities shall result in the development of a process to establish a school transition plan, to determine the composition of the “School Transition Team” and to develop the roles and responsibilities delegated to the School Transition Team. The School Transition Team representatives shall be selected through the same process established by subsection (b) of this section for their respective constituency groups. The decision as to these issues shall be reflected in the Report and Recommendation pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or in a supplemental Report and Recommendation, signed in accordance with subsection (e) of this section.
(e) Each representative of a stakeholder group who participates in the structured conversation and activities of the School Advisory Committee pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall sign the Report and Recommendation pursuant to subsection (c) of this section and any supplemental Report and Recommendation pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Each such representative shall also indicate that the representative has made a good faith effort to communicate with the representative’s stakeholder group so as to ensure that the views of the membership of the representative’s stakeholder group were reflected in the Report and Recommendation.
(f) The Department of Education and the relevant local district administration shall provide schools with assistance, guidance and strategies to initiate and plan the implementation of these structured conversations and activities.
Delaware Code 14-805. School transition plans and grants.
(a) A school community which chooses to begin transition to shared decision-making, as defined herein, may apply to the Department of Education via the local board of education for a school transition grant. The State shall provide funding for such grants as authorized in § 807(d) and (e) of this title. [...]
(d) The local board of education, following public review and comments, shall adopt the school transition plan unless evidence demonstrates that the school’s transition plan is inconsistent with specific provisions of the adopted district transition plan and such disapproval shall extend only to such inconsistent provisions of the school transition plan.
Delaware Code 14-806 School improvement plans.
(b) Without limiting the local board’s authority to determine district policy pursuant to § 1049 of this title or to disapprove plans to the extent they are inconsistent with the district transition plan, each school committee may propose in its school improvement plan, policies or suggestions relating to subjects, including but not limited to: Curricular, instructional and assessment strategies to be used at the school; assignment of staff within the school; assignments of students to classes; the school’s calendar; staff development; classroom materials; parental involvement; the need for extra learning time for students through longer days and years and Saturday sessions; the needs of at-risk students; discipline and school climate; teacher orientation and mentoring; and proposed waivers of regulations and district policies.
Delaware Code 14-807. District and school grants supporting shared decision-making.
(a) The amount of appropriations to fund the grants specified in this chapter shall be as determined by the annual Appropriations Act. The Department may allocate available federal funds to fund the grants specified in this chapter. School districts and schools shall not be required to provide a local match to these funds but shall be required in the process established by § 803 of this title to consider and incorporate in their district transition plan the appropriate level of local budget support for such purposes.
(b) Each school district shall be entitled to receive a grant to conduct structured conversations and activities and to design a shared decision-making transition plan. This grant may be used over a period set forth in the annual Appropriations Act. Upon written request to the Department of Education on or before April 1, 1998, a district may use and be awarded up to one third of its grant to conduct its required structured conversations and activities.
(c) Districts meeting the requirements for approval of a transition grant as specified by § 803(a) and (b) of this title and the guidelines developed by the Department of Education with the approval of the State Board of Education for such grants may be awarded the balance of their grants for development of a district transition plan; provided, that no such funding shall be available for award after June 30, 1998, and that any application for such funding shall be made to the Department on or before May 1, 1998.
(d) Each school in a district which has adopted a district transition plan for shared decision-making, as specified in § 803(d) of this title, shall be entitled to receive a grant to conduct structured conversations and activities and to develop a school transition plan which incorporates shared decision-making. The amount of such grants shall be established in the annual Appropriations Act or by allocation of available federal funds. Such grants shall be made available starting July 1, 1997, and shall not be available for award after June 30, 2000. Any application for such a grant shall be made on or before May 1, 2000. The grants awarded may be used over a period set forth in such act or determined by the Department in the case of federal funds. The local boards of such schools shall not reduce the funds otherwise allocated to such schools as a result of such grants or otherwise use such grants to supplant local board expenditures. A school may use and be awarded up to 1/3 of its grant to conduct structured conversations and activities.
(e) Schools meeting the requirements for approval of a transition grant as specified by § 805(a) and (b) of this title and the guidelines developed by the Department of Education with the approval of the State Board of Education for such grants may, if they comply with the deadline set forth in subsection (d) of this section, be awarded the balance of their grants for development of the school’s transition plan.
(f) Upon the adoption of its school transition plan by the local board of education and upon its subsequent approval every 3 years pursuant to § 808 of this title, a school shall be eligible to be awarded annually a school improvement grant to implement its school improvement plan through the application process set forth in § 806(a) of this title. The amount and duration of such grants shall be established by the annual Appropriations Act. The local boards of such schools shall not reduce the funds otherwise allocated to such schools as a result of such grants or otherwise use such grants to supplant local board expenditures.
(g) School committees for school discipline and climate, formed pursuant to Chapter 16 of this title, shall be authorized to continue to receive incentive grants, as provided in Chapter 16 of this title and authorized in the annual state Appropriations Act, until such time as a school transition plan, as defined in § 806 of this title, specifies an alternative governance structure to assume the authority and responsibilities specified in Chapter 16 of this title. Such school improvement plan shall be presented to the Department of Education as evidence upon application for such incentive grants.