Spekciton Biosciences is a bioscience measurement and engineering company dedicated to:
through early warning detection of viability and defects.
We develop and/or implement real time measurement and control solutions that increase process understanding and performance. Spekciton Biosciences supports growers, R&D, academia, and Ag services
Our expertise is real time sensors and applications. We also develop models that predict process outcomes in a way that leads to improved control and/or reduced defects.
Dr Andy Ragone (founder/CTO) Dr Jim McCambridge
Dr Aaron Owens Dr Ted Klein
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 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.
Our first partnership endeavor facilitated the success of the Smithsonian Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) program and the associated curriculum to the extent that Delaware saw the largest increase in student performance in science of all states between 1996 and 2005. Delaware moved from being ranked 35th of the 44 states and jurisdictions that participated in the NAEP assessment (known as “the nation’s report card”) in science achievement in 1996 to being 19th out of 44 in 2005. By 2005, Delaware’s grade 8 students scored higher than the national public school average in all student groups (All, Caucasian, African American, Hispanic and Low-Income). The 4th grade students scored significantly higher in four groups (All, African American, Hispanic, and Low Income) At both the 4th grade and 8th grade levels, large strides were made toward eliminating the achievement gap. In grade 8 the performance gap between low income and non-low income students was significantly narrower than the national average and at the 4th grade level the gaps for Caucasian/African American, Caucasian/Hispanic and Low Income/Non-Low Income were significantly narrower. Delaware’s program became a national exemplar of successful systemic change in science education.
One of DFSME’s math programs, a pilot of Singapore Math, saw large gains in achievement as well as significant decrease in achievement gaps. The pilot ran from 2008 through 2011. One school which had not made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) made their AYP goals. This was largely due to significant gains in their large Hispanic population’s math achievement although there were gains in their Caucasian and African American populations as well. By the end of the pilot, another school which almost exclusively serves low-income inner-city minority students completely erased the achievement gap in some grades. The gap analysis showed that this school narrowed the achievement from 46 points to 17 points in 3rd grade math, and actually reversed the gap in grade 4 by 4 points and in grade 5 by 17 points. At all grades this school’s students performed as well as or better than the average of all Delaware’s students at the same grade level. These achievements led to pilots of the program in other districts. Currently, several districts and charter schools use a U.S. version of the curriculum, while others use Eureka Math, the EngageNY curriculum based on many of the principles of Singapore Math and now used in districts across the country. A number of the trainers and teachers from DFSME’s Singapore Math pilot were instrumental in writing Eureka Math.
DFSME is known for advocating a broad definition of STEM that is understood by students, parents, teachers, and businesses. Through our partnerships with other organizations and business, we ensure that teachers have the training and skills to present STEM in a knowledgeable, engaging and inspiring way and that their professional development is both coordinated and ongoing. We communicate the many excellent programs that currently exist in Delaware and encourage coordination between those running and those seeking such programs so that systemic change becomes possible, and to improve and better define the sustainable impact of high-quality STEM education.
As part of our concern that STEM education be equitable, DFSME initiated a Delaware chapter of Million Women Mentors (MWM). The goals of this group include using mentors (both female and male) to increase the percentage of high school girls planning to pursue STEM careers, increase the percentage of young women pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM fields and increase the percentage of women staying and advancing in STEM careers.
DFSME’s partnership with the Delaware STEM Council saw the introduction of a state-centralized information source of STEM programs, activities, legislation and opinions. This collaboration has produced the recognition of excellence in STEM teaching through the founding of the annual STEM Education Awards and Symposium. We also partner with the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware Science Coalition, supporting the work of lead teachers in developing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curriculum and in NGSS teacher training and professional development. In addition, we work closely with the Delaware Math Coalition on teacher training and professional development and serve as the coalition’s fiscal agent.
How corporate contributions are helping Delaware students prepare for the future
As DFSME continues its education reform initiatives, corporate involvement plays a vital role in its successes. Corporate contributions have
- Supported the Delaware’s pilot and implementation of Smithsonian’s LASER program, commonly known as Smithsonian Science.
- Helped fund the Singapore Math pilot, resulting in the adoption of a U.S. version of the curriculum in a number of districts and charter schools and actually reversing the achievement gap in one pilot school.
- Created sufficient teacher expertise in math content and pedagogy that a number of Delaware teachers were asked to help write Eureka Math, the EngageNY curriculum now used in districts across the nation.
- Funded national experts and authors of ACHIEVE’s Next Generation Science Standards to train lead teachers.
- Provided ongoing training and professional development opportunities for NGSS lead teachers, team leaders and school and district administrators.
- Strengthened Delaware teacher certification standards in Elementary Education so that all teachers must now pass each segment of the Praxis II.
- Identified the need among many elementary and middle school math teachers for a deeper understanding of math and knowledge of best teaching practices resulting in a course at Wilmington University addressing these needs. This course is now mandatory for all teachers seeking a Master’s in Elementary Studies.
- Allowed DFSME to partner with and sit on the board of the Governor’s STEM Council.
- Facilitated the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and the STEM Excellence in Teaching Awards.
- Convened gatherings to bring together topical and geographic groups with common interests in STEM education to foster communication and collaboration.
- Supported DFSME’s participation on national committees and organizations in the STEM fields.
- Funded DFSME’s introduction of Million Women Mentors to Delaware