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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New Castle County Vo-Tech
The district runs four schools: Delcastle, Paul M. Hodgson, Howard and St. Georges. The newest of the four, St. Georges, is an original member of the network organized by Vision 2010—now Vision 2015. All four schools are now members. For its R2T initiatives, the district is enforcing the link between career and academic programs. “We want the academics to be relevant to students,” says superintendent Steven Godowsky. For instance, math teachers might use a carpentry example to illustrate a math principle.
Hodgson plans to use curriculum developed by Project Lead the Way, an organization that prepares students to be leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The school would also like to pilot environment-oriented classes, starting with construction trade students. Howard seeks to improve measures that assess students’ readiness for college. It is also considering a twilight program for students who need extended school hours.
Polytech School District
There are five academies in Polytech High School and 21 technical concentrations. To enroll in a specialty area, students must submit a cover letter and electronic portfolio, then interview for a spot. To graduate, seniors must prepare a research paper on a topic concerning their area and defend it in a PowerPoint presentation. Principal Bruce Curry credits the high graduation rate with students’ desire to attend the school. “They make a commitment,” he says, noting the long distance some travel to school each day.
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