Delaware’s Court of Chancery has shared plans to mark one of the country’s largest legal victories with a student art contest.
Also a hydroponic lab, goats, chickens, outdoor gardens and much more led one Wilmington agriscience teacher to national recognition. Yet another agriscience educator was honored in Sussex, while her high school plans a comedy show.
It’s been a uplifting week in Delaware education news; we’ll try to catch you up with headlines you may have missed:
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Court marking historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling with an art contest
The Wilmington courthouse that just saw Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems settle for $787.5 million under a barrage of national media attention — is hosting an art contest.
The Delaware Court of Chancery announced it would be marking the upcoming 70th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling, in May of next year, with its first “Legal History Art Contest.” It will aim at students in middle and high school.
This is, of course, the 1954 decision desegregating public schools, and this small state held its own key role.
Before this case, the Court of Chancery desegregated Delaware public schools in cases known as Belton v. Gebhart and Bulah v. Gebhart — later incorporated into Brown v. Board of Education. It was the only state case in the consolidated Brown case, the court said in a press release, where the plaintiffs prevailed in challenging segregation.
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Students are now invited to submit works representing Delaware’s role in the case and its impact. Participants should focus on the two Delaware cases, the people and places making up this history. Original submissions are due electronically by June 16. Additional information, details on cash prizes and more are available online.
“We are excited to have this competition and recognize the importance of these opinions and the legacy of the Court of Chancery,” said Master in Chancery Loren Mitchell in a statement. “The art contest allows the court the opportunity to celebrate these historic cases while also educating younger generations on their significance.”
Delaware food studies teacher recognized for innovation
Odyssey Charter School’s Melissa Tracy won a McGraw Hill’s Pathfinder Award, honoring K-12 educators throughout the country for their “innovative and inventive teaching.”
The food studies and social studies teacher won a cash prize alongside the recognition for her work in the Wilmington charter school. McGraw Hill called her “the driving force behind one of the most unique career and technical education programs in the country,” in its press release.
Her elective food studies course is now a massive agriscience program, with multiple outdoor gardens, goats, chickens, a hydroponic lab and opportunities for students to earn college credits. Students learn about history, culture and power through the lens of food, organizers said, while much of the 3,500 vegetables they grow on-site monthly are donated to local charities.
“If you had told me when I first started teaching that I would be an agriscience teacher almost full time,” Tracy told the education organization, “I would have told you that you’re insane.”
Tracy went on to offer advice to other teachers: “Never stop learning. … Surround yourself with solutions-oriented people.”
Delaware’s most ‘Distinguished Principal’ found in Red Clay
Melissa Brady, Linden Hill Elementary’s principal, has been named Delaware’s National Distinguished Principal for 2023 by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
The two-decade educator has worked in Red Clay Consolidated School District for eight of those years, leading her elementary school to a National Blue Ribbon recognition in 2022. Colleagues described her as going above and beyond.
“Congratulations to our very own Melissa Brady,” said Dorrell Green, Red Clay’s superintendent, in a statement. “This honor is a testament to her dedication, leadership, and unwavering commitment to our school and community.”
The awarding national program was established in 1984 to recognize elementary and middle school principals, selected by NAESP affiliates and committees representing private and overseas schools.
Indian River honors its own teacher of the year
Another agriscience educator felt the love this past week in Delaware.
Kasey Revel of Sussex Central High School was selected as the Indian River School District’s “Teacher of the Year” for 2023-2024. She has been an agriscience teacher there since 2020, according to the district, having previously taught and coached in math. Back in 2017, Revel was named Teacher of the Year at Woodbridge Middle School.
The FFA adviser and teacher mentor hascoordinated landscape scenery for events like prom, graduation, homecoming, the senior awards ceremony and the Hall of Fame induction, always alongside her students. Revel has also advised in state competitions, overseen the construction of Sussex Central’s landscape display at the Delaware State Fair, organized plant sales from the school’s greenhouse and much more.
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“Kasey is not only Sussex Central’s greatest example of a highly effective teacher, she is truly one of the best educators in our district,” said Sussex Central High School Principal Bradley Layfield in a statement.
Revel is now eligible for the state Teacher of the Year Award, announced in October.
Wilmington students get their hands dirty with first spring harvest
William C. Lewis Dual Language Elementary School celebrated its students’ first spring harvest at the Rodney Reservoir Community Garden on May 4. This marked the first growing season with partner Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids, according to a press release from the organization, and the first time HFHK used community garden space for a school garden.
“Today as we celebrate this season’s labors … may we be inspired to keep making connections in the community and working together to imagine and manifest ways that public greenspaces like the Rodney Reservoir Community Garden can serve our community’s health and wellness,” said Jamila Davey of Green for the Greater Good.
Two Delaware coalitions, West Side Grows Together and Green for the Greater Good, offered this space at the Rodney Reservoir Community Garden — allowing the Wilmington magnet school to operate its first school garden.
Now, its an outdoor classroom.
The “Education Cultivation” program helps students learn how to grow and eat various vegetables, while HFHK science lessons support grade-specific curriculum. The program operates across nearly 50 Delaware schools.
“We need to work together to expand access to the outdoors among Wilmington students,” added Christian Willauer, Rodney Community Garden Co-President and Co-Founder, in a statement.
“Lewis School has planted a seed. Let’s all help it grow.”
Delaware students bring home honors at national conference
More than 200 Delawareans were among about 6,500 middle-level, secondary-level and postsecondary-level business students participating in the 2023 Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference in California late last month.
Students came from some 25 states, Puerto Rico, China, Haiti and Peru for the conference.
They competed in 52 events — management, marketing, digital communications, management information systems, business administration and finance — according to the Delaware Department of Education. A list of Delaware’s top-10 winners is online.
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Sussex high school students want you to come laugh
Take Two Drama Club is bringing a comedy show to Sussex Central High School.
Student-written and directed, the annual show is a beloved, decades-running tradition at Sussex Central High School, according to Indian River School District. And this year it will come as “Comedy Club 2023.”
The show at 6 p.m. on May 12 is directed by senior Dakhi Conquest. Lead writers in seniors Katey Megginson and Joshua Dement head up the multi-student team creating comic sketches in the style of “Saturday Night Live,” “In Living Color” and “Kids in the Hall.”
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“These are some of the most talented students we have in the district,” said club adviser and teacher David Warick. “And under the guidance of their incredibly capable student director, they have created a classic night of comedy everyone should see.”
Tickets are $5 ahead of time or at the door. Ticket and concession profits to back into future show production for students.
Have a story? Kelly Powers covers race, culture and equity for the USA TODAY Network’s Northeast Region and Delaware Online, with a focus on education. Contact her at email@example.com or (231) 622-2191, and follow her on Twitter @kpowers01.