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DFSME Background


In 1992, the Delaware business community, the education system and the legislature made the commitment to go to a standards-based education process in our public school system and championed the need for high standards for science, math, language arts and social studies.  Recognizing that educational reform is generational, the corporate community made the decision to stay involved for the long haul. One of the actions that grew out of this commitment was the formation of the Delaware Foundation for Science and Mathematics Education (DFSME). Since its inception in 1995, DFSME has been essential in orchestrating effective systemic reform in science and math education in Delaware’s public schools.  First focusing on science reform, DFSME was fiscal agent for a $6MM NSF LSC grant piloting Smithsonian LASER. The curriculum, which became known as Smithsonian Science, was adopted by all the state’s districts. In the mid-2000s, while still supporting science, particularly regarding updating units to include new discoveries and incorporate new technology and methodologies, DFSME began to turn its attention to math, identifying and piloting an international math program and supporting a number of other math initiatives in districts throughout the state. At the same time, the nation was becoming aware of the increasing importance of technology and engineering to remain competitive on the world stage. While its definition of science always was inclusive of these topics, DFSME began expanding its embrace to include the specific activities which for the last decade have been referred to as “STEM”—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—and has been working to raise awareness of the broad variety of STEM fields, STEM education and STEM careers.

​​DFSME was instrumental in changing curriculum for University students pursuing education degrees so that they have to pass stricter requirements in order to become a teacher in Delaware?

DFSME is involved in raising awareness of the meaning and importance of STEM so that the Delaware public understands what STEM encompasses and how vital it is to our students’ future. We communicate Delaware’s STEM successes, help coordinate the elements of systemic STEM education reform, and work to improve the effectiveness of new and existing STEM resources and programs. DFSME’s mission is to advocate the adoption of world-class standards; to enable the piloting, evaluation, adaptation and implementation of innovative, effective and systemic STEM programs in Delaware schools, and to work to improve the performance of all Delaware students so that they all graduate from high school ready for careers, college, and success in the global economy.

Turning commitment into action

DFSME began and still exists to bring together thought leaders and actors in business, K-12 education, higher education, and state and local government. Our common focus on ensuring educational success for every student in Delaware informs this collaboration, bringing together the many working parts needed to have a measurable impact on improving science and math education in Delaware. This interaction provides crucial input in determining which programs will have maximum impact and has led to numerous successes.​​