The Public High School Special: A Real Education
With millions in federal funds given to Delaware based on its potential to improve public schools, there’s a lot on the line. Is this another case of the government throwing money at a problem? Here’s a look at the schools’ performance now, and a survey of how they intend to reform education. Plus, find out how your school rates in our High School Ranking chart.
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Brandywine School District
Home to three high schools, Brandywine plans to use R2T funds to support the initiatives identified in the district's 2007-2012 strategic plan, which covers all R2T reform areas, says Mark Holodick, superintendent. Top priorities for year one include curriculum alignment and best practices, building a culture of college and career readiness, engaging families and communities, and professional development.
Mount Pleasant High plans to hire another associate principal to improve instruction and maintain a positive school culture, says principal Jim Simmons. Mount Pleasant High was Delaware’s first public school to teach the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Brandywine High’s priorities include hiring a business manager so the principal has more time to spend in classrooms, and it plans to upgrade technology with more LCD projectors, Smart Boards and a dedicated computer lab. Principal Al Thompson says the school seeks to add math and English teachers and reduce class size. Other Brandywine High goals include extending the school day for struggling students or students with unique needs, a program known as “twilight.”
An academic leader among the non-charter public high schools, Concord High also would like to offer a transitional program to prepare middle-school students for high school. With R2T funds, Concord High will further academic programs, including professional development for teachers who have special education students in their classes. The school takes its college-readiness initiatives seriously. The best-selling T-shirt reads “Concord Nerds” on the front. On the back: “Your Future Boss.”
Caesar Rodney School District
R2T is “a great opportunity for us,” says Kevin Fitzgerald, superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District. “We’re trying to launch innovative programs to reach students and provide enhanced instruction.” The district would like to increase training that helps content teachers and special ed professionals work together more effectively. Integrating technology is also a top priority. “iPads, Smart Boards, laptops—there are so many different things coming into the classroom,” Fitzgerald says. The high school would like to add Arabic and other languages to its already diverse offerings and create a transitional program for middle-schoolers. “Our goal is to enrich and remediate,” Fitzgerald says.
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