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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Cape Henlopen School District
The district’s sparkling new high school building may salute classical architecture but it houses all the current bells and whistles, including Smart Boards in every classroom and multiple technology learning labs. R2T goals include upping the graduation credit requirement from 22 to up to 28 credits. The school wants to increase the number of students in honor and AP classes and improve math achievement levels. To that end, the school will implement a new ninth-grade math program that takes a real-world approach. The district has already seen the results of this approach in eighth grade, where student scores in math were the highest in public schools for two years running.
CapitAl School District
Dover High has no shortage of scholars. There are currently 59 students in 21 College Board-accredited courses, two of which are online courses. The school consistently wins awards for its music and chorale programs and its Air Force JROTC (understandable, given the school’s proximity to Dover Air Force Base). Students have won state and national recognition in the Odyssey of the Mind competition, and they earn high honors in the Science Olympiad. As part of R2T efforts, Capital seeks to remove or decrease classroom obstacles so teachers can do their jobs better. Both Dover and Caesar Rodney have a part-time attendance officer and a full-time behavior specialist, and the Greater Dover Committee coordinates a mentoring program. The district has lengthened the school year into summer for students who need extra help.
Christina School District
Christiana High’s instructional focus, “Read It, Think It, Write It,” encourages students to extend, refine and apply critical thinking skills through written responses. Meanwhile, Glasgow High is focused on increasing math and language arts through research-based practices, including reasoning, graphic organizers, opinion-formulating and note-taking. Newark High, which adheres to a tradition of “classical firmness” in designing and recommending programs, features the Cambridge Program, a college-preparatory curriculum for academically gifted students. R2T funding will support the goals of college- and career-readiness.
Colonial School District
William Penn High has restructured its school office to better manage this large school, whose student body tops 2,200. Jeffrey Menzer is manager of school improvement, Susan Fois is principal of operations, and Kevin White is principal of curriculum and instruction. There are five assistant principals. Initiatives benefiting from R2T funds include Reaching Balanced Achievement, a professional development program for teachers. Planning has become key. Teachers in the same core subject areas, such as math and English, all have free periods at the same time each day for personal planning.
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