The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate, The Partnership Inc., honored the 2019 Superstars in Education award winners at a reception and awards ceremony May 13 in Wilmington University’s Doberstein Admissions Center Auditorium.

The State Chamber also honored Bebe Coker, community activist, with the John H. Taylor Jr. Education Leadership award for her efforts to improve education and education equality throughout Delaware.

The State Chamber also debuted a historical article about the Hockessin Colored School No. 107 in the May/June issue of its magazine, Delaware Business. The eight-panel gatefold covers the background of the school, its local and national significance and encourages Delawareans to consider the best way to preserve a piece of history. The school was part of the Bulah v. Gebhart court case that later became part of the Brown v. Education Supreme Court case. The chamber commissioned the article in collaboration with Friends of HC107 fund in recognition of the 65th anniversary of the Brown v. Education ruling.

A presentation during the program was made by Rick Deadwyler, of Corteva, giving $10,000 to the Blades Elementary School Latino Family Literacy Project. The grant, normally awarded to STEM-related programs, found the program to be valuable in building a better educational community that serves all Delawareans through engaging families in the learning process and building cultural connections.

Gov. John Carney joined in congratulating Coker and the award winners, as well as in applauding the efforts of Delaware’s educators. He made note of the state’s efforts to help the education sector through increased funding and stressed the importance of workforce development.

The 2019 Superstars in Education winning programs:

— Latino Family Literacy Project, Blades Elementary School, Seaford School District. The Latino Family Literacy Project supports culturally responsive teaching practices and additive bilingualism by developing family reading routines. It builds community and cultural exchange among Latino families and bridges connections between home and school. There are three components to the program: literacy, connections and community, that focus on the value and benefit of family reading routines, regardless of language. Bilingual texts are shared each week with families through a lending library system. Trained educators work with adult family members, creating a shared family experience during which both parents and school-age children learn English vocabulary together.

— BARK Builders, Springer Middle School, Brandywine School District. The BARK Builders program was created to develop critical leadership skills among middle school students already exhibiting an interest in leadership, like those in student government, student ambassadors and other leadership clubs. The student applicants are selected based on those who demonstrate academic achievement, the ability to work with others, a positive attitude and the ability to become a spokesperson for their peers. They are examples of the SMS principles that are encouraged from every student. BARK is an acronym for Best effort, Academic achievement, Responsible actions and Kind gestures.

— Wizards of Words "Book Bling" Program, Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center, Woodbridge School District. Woodbridge ECEC and its Wizards of Words Team developed the “Book Bling” program to encourage reading both in and out of school. Students earn charms that they can wear on a necklace at school. For every 10 books/chapters read, a ticket is completed and can then be redeemed for a charm. Book Bling tickets are verified by the student’s ability to verbally summarize or answer questions about what they have read. Students are entered into additional prize drawings with each ticket completed.

Superstars in Education is charged with recognizing outstanding educational programs and individual achievements. This program highlights excellence in innovative teaching, integrated classroom technology practices and school-to-career pathways. It also serves to leverage the business community’s investment in the future workforce.

The Partnership Inc. is a 501(c)(3) education affiliate of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. It was created to promote charitable and educational activities by developing and fostering programs that encourage private sector involvement in workforce development and education. Superstars in Education and Delaware Principal for a Day are the organization’s flagship programs.

For more, visit dscc.com/superstarsineducation.