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'First State' Tackles Data PD in One of First RTT Projects

The Delaware Department of Education Friday announced it will partner with New York-based Wireless Generation to implement a two-year teacher data coaching plan funded with $8.2 million in federal Race to the Top grant money.

The program will require teachers at all grades, in all core subjects, to meet for at least 90 minutes a week in no less than 45-minute blocks to discuss how to best use educational data to improve their own instruction and their students' progress. Each group will be joined twice monthly by data coaches who will facilitate group instructional planning and give individual teachers feedback, according to a press release.

In all, 29 data coaches will be provided through the professional services division at Wireless Generation, an ed-tech company perhaps best known for its role in constructing the algorithm that drives the School of One adaptive middle school math initiative at three schools in New York City. (Read more about the School of One in our annual "Technology Counts" report, scheduled to be posted online two weeks from today). Those coaches will help teachers build upon the state's longitudinal data system and new computer-adaptive state testing program, the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System.

Wireless Generation chief executive officer and co-founder Larry Berger sits on the board of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit corporation that publishes of Education Week.

Delaware won about $100 million in the first round of the $4 billion Race to the Top grant competition, which asked states to change education policies to raise standards, drive school turnarounds, reward teacher quality, offer students alternatives, and incorporate data analysis.

With the uncertain future of the Enhancing Education Through Technology program, many education technology advocates have expressed concern that other sources of federal funding would not be driven toward tech-related professional development. But perhaps Delaware's actions indicate that some states understand the importance of funding professional development even without funding directed expressly for that purpose.

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