A Letter from Rodel Foundation of Delaware President and CEO on Race to the Top

Delaware Today feature fails to address that Delaware’s growth on NAEP is third fastest in the country.




On Race to the Top

While I appreciate the passion that went into the magazine’s coverage of Race to the Top (“Race to the Bottom?” January 2014), the federal education initiative that Delaware won in 2010, the magazine’s cover art and Dr. Hess’ letter mischaracterized where we are as a state. During the last three years, the time since the state received federal funding for its major reforms, in-state student performance went up double digits positively impacting 10,000 children, and high school graduation rates steadily moved up to close to 90 percent, the goal set in Delaware’s Race to the Top (RTTT) plan. That said, if we look at national measures, the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP, over the last three years, the article fairly points out that the gains have been modest at best.

Fair enough, but if we pull the lens back to the last 20 years, which was not addressed in the article, Delaware’s growth on NAEP, as determined by Harvard and Stanford, is the third fastest in the country. More importantly, the report asserts that we were on track to not only be able to move to the top tier in the United States, but become internationally competitive.

Improvement is never a straight line. Historically, because changes in public education are inherently political and hard, the pattern nationally tends to go something like this—a new leader is elected and brings with her a new raft of ideas. There is fanfare about the initial implementation, then the hard work begins and implementation slows. A review of the results after two to three years of incomplete implementation yields mixed results. The next leader comes in and throws out those ideas; the cycle repeats. Consequently, there is a lot of churn around the edges in public education, but the core structure changes little yielding classrooms that often look pretty similar to those from a century ago.

In Delaware, the Vision 2015 coalition, a group that I serve on and includes leaders from education, the community, and business, is committed to breaking that cycle. 

Very few states have a structure by which public and private leaders can sit face-to-face and speak candidly about what’s working and how the system needs to change. Over the last several years we decided to take the long view; we moved past the political noise and contributed to a set of long-term, systemic solutions. This group, with the support of RTTT funds, helped catalyze statewide efforts that simply may not have happened otherwise, efforts to raise student expectations across the board, ensure every child walks into kindergarten well-prepared; build a system that finds and keeps great teachers and principals, contribute to a system that distributes public dollars in ways that are both fair and flexible, and embrace innovation.

Bottom line, I believe in Delaware. Educators and policymakers have already done a huge amount of heavy lifting, the state leadership is strong, and the business community is more engaged than ever, and we are poised for another massive shift in performance. Through the Vision Network, a group of 30 district and charter schools working together on performance, and our Rodel Teacher Council, I see teachers and administrators that are fired up, educators that inspire me. That story was not told.

The Vision 2015 plan was developed by hundreds of Delawareans in 2006, but the funding for most of these ideas were secured via RTTT in 2010 (or 2011 in the case of the early childhood funding). Big policy ideas like the revised teacher evaluation system and the infrastructure to support hundreds of early learning centers rolled out statewide for the first time last fall. Would all of us have liked to have seen massive shifts in student performance in 2013? Absolutely, and I personally welcome the focus on results, but we are collectively trying to move a system of 130,000 students and 10,000 adults and as such need to balance our sense of urgency with a commitment to planting trees that will take some time to bear fruit.  

Dr. Paul A. Herdman
President & CEO, Rodel Foundation of Delaware


Thank you for your article (“Race to the Bottom?”). Since we last talked our research has continued to show the direction of education in Delaware needs to change. Spending more money on top-down big education programs simply is not working, at least for those that need it the most. A recent study demonstrates who benefits. Delaware’s Department of Education has the fourth-largest number of employees when compared on common scale of per million population with other states. NCLB created some of this and, as you know, half the RTTT funds went to DOE. And, SAT and NAEP scores continue at unsatisfactory levels.

More and more we are hearing from government and nonprofits language that is setting the groundwork to extend the vision to sometime in the future: In 2006 it was 2012 now 2015 and shortly to be 2020. That sucks money along with it and leaves those most in need waiting for results. CRI believes funding parent choice to allow all income levels to select the best education experience is an essential building block to reform and refocus education back in the classroom and with teachers and families.

You did a wonderful job in your article giving a fair explanation of a complex situation. I hope other media follows.

Jim Hosley
Director, Center for Excellence in Education, Caesar Rodney Institute


There is no educational reform in Delaware, there is only political interference with student learning. If I told you there was a high school in Delaware that had 48 percent of its graduates going to college and 0 AP scholars in 2004 and in 2012, 84 percent of its graduates went to college and they had 26 AP scholars, would that be called school improvement? If you asked the state Department of Education they would say NO! It happened and I was the principal of that high school and no one at DOE cared. To be honest, I did not do enough for my students during my tenure. What politicians do not understand is that NCLB and RTTT have nothing to do with student learning or preparing them for the future. Both are failures and politicians can’t and won’t admit that failure and they never will. They are educational fools!

Anthony Siligo, Dover


Corrections

  • In the Top Docs feature (October 2013), the office address and phone number for Dr. Neeraj Kapur should have been listed as 2601 Annand Drive, Ste. 3, Wilmington, 789-0545.
  • In “Race to the Bottom?” (January 2014), the state referenced as a leader in reform efforts should be Massachusetts, and not Maine.
  • In “That’s What Friends Were For” (January 2014), the writer incorrectly named Judy Filipkowski as a president of the Friends of Rockwood. Also, he stated that Joseph Shipley was a mill owner. He was actually a wealth merchant banker.
  • In the 30 Seconds interview with Jimmy Hackett (January 2014), a Wilmington business should have been called S.S. Kresge.

We regret the errors.

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February 2016

Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

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Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
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Cost: Free

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First State Heritage Park
121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd N
43 The Green
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
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The Station Gallery
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Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
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Cost: Free

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Kennett Township Building
801 Burrows Run Road
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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

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The Station Gallery
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
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Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

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Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

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Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

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The Station Gallery
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Cost: Call for information.

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611x2446
Contact Name: Nanticoke's Diabetes Education Department
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Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
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Hagley Museum
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Cost: Depends on what you purchase

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30336 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church
500 McKennans Church Rd
Room 206
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Join us every Tuesday for this fun and educational enrichment activity. Students will learn to draw pictures from a variety of themes, including woodland animals, creatures by the sea, creepy...

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Where:
Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church
500 McKennans Church Rd
Room 206
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Participants must be at least 18 years old to register and be able to attend all sessions. For more information, contact Terry Towne, RN, at 744-6724, or teresa_towne@bayhealth.org...

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Bayhealth Kent General
4th-Floor Conference Room
640 S. State St.
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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

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Ditch the winter whites for a world of dazzling color at Longwood Gardens, where you can stroll through thousands of orchids in bloom. Kennett Square, www.longwoodgardens.org 

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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
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Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
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Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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It's a jam session, it's a dance party, it's a live show—and it always features the hottest talent on the scene! Sittin' In is the free monthly jam session at the Kimmel...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kimmel Center - Commonwealth Plaza
300 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA  19102
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Sponsor: Kimmel Center
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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

Where:
, DE

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Where:
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Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

More information

Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
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Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
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Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
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Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: $50

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Rd.
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 ext. 2540
Contact Name: Maternal Child Health Clinical Educator
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Regional artists Carol Tippit Woolworth, Catherine Drabkin, Pahl Alexander Hluchan, Colleen Randall and Dan Jackson explore the concept of place—physical, emotional and spiritual—in...

Where:
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Ditch the winter whites for a world of dazzling color at Longwood Gardens, where you can stroll through thousands of orchids in bloom. Kennett Square, www.longwoodgardens.org 

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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from Feb. 12–14 and 19–21. The show will feature highly interactive...

Cost: $13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
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This art exhibit features fine art works and three dimensional pieces that embrace the subject “red.” Artist are free to use their imagination and creativity, so works will include...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
View map »


Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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This art exhibit features fine art works and three dimensional pieces that embrace the subject “red.” Artist are free to use their imagination and creativity, so works will include...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
View map »


Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
Website »

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Cost: $15–$18

Where:
The Secret Garden
47 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
View map »


Sponsor: The Everett Theatre
Telephone: 302-540-8561
Contact Name: Chris Everett
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Cost: 0.00

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Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: Free

Where:
First State Heritage Park
The Old State House
25 The Green
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 739-9194
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Cost: $40

Where:
Humpty's Dumplings
277 N Keswick Ave
Glenside, PA  19038
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Sponsor: Creative Paint Nites
Telephone: 267-312-8339
Contact Name: Charisse R McGill
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Ditch the winter whites for a world of dazzling color at Longwood Gardens, where you can stroll through thousands of orchids in bloom. Kennett Square, www.longwoodgardens.org 

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Where:
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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

Where:
, DE

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »

More information

The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from Feb. 12–14 and 19–21. The show will feature highly interactive...

Cost: $13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


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What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Guests can explore three floors of exhibitions in the Visitor Center, stroll along the river through dozens of historic structures from the Industrial Revolution, and explore the gardens and...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
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Penn Museum opens the world premiere exhibition The Golden Age of King Midas—featuring ancient treasures on loan from the Republic of Turkey—with a spectacular daylong public...

Cost: $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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This art exhibit features fine art works and three dimensional pieces that embrace the subject “red.” Artist are free to use their imagination and creativity, so works will include...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
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For more information, please contact: Dave Ruffner ​Rehoboth Beach Film Society 107 Truitt Ave. Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 302-645-9095, ext. 4 administrator@rehobothfilm.com...

Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and CAMP Rehoboth will co-present "Tab Hunter Confidential" and "Portrait of a Serial Monogamist" as part of its annual Another Take...

Cost: $8

Where:
Metropolitan Community Church
19369 Plantation Rd.
Rehoboth Beach, DE  19971
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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"La Sylphide" shares the beautiful and romantic story of our hero, James—a young Scottish farmer who, on the eve of hid wedding, abandons his betrothed, Effie, after being...

Cost: $25

Where:
Salesanium School
1801 North Broom St.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Academy of International Ballet
Telephone: 1-866-908-5666
Contact Name: Denis Gronostayskiy
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Venture back with us for an evening where we re-imagine the Victorian Industrial Age as seen through our steam-powered, futuristic goggles.  Our biggest fundraiser of the year and all proceeds...

Cost: $100-$110

Where:
Smyrna Opera House
7 West South Street
Smyrna, DE  19977
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A spoiled orphan girl is sent to live with her uncle on the Yorkshire moors and discovers renewed life, for herself and her sickly cousin, in bringing her dead aunt’s secret garden back to...

Cost: $15–$18

Where:
The Secret Garden
47 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Everett Theatre
Telephone: 302-540-8561
Contact Name: Chris Everett
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Location: St. Mark’s High School, 2501 Pike Creek Road, Wilmington Time: Registration: 11:30 a.m. Race: 12:30 p.m. Fee: $25 (until Thursday, Feb. 11), $35 after and day of event...

Where:
, DE

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Location: Beebe Healthcare’s Medical Center, 424 Savannah Road, Lewes Date: Saturday, Feb. 13 (and the second Saturday of each month) Time: 9 a.m. Fee: Free For more...

Where:
, DE

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Ditch the winter whites for a world of dazzling color at Longwood Gardens, where you can stroll through thousands of orchids in bloom. Kennett Square, www.longwoodgardens.org 

Where:
, DE

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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

Where:
, DE

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Regional artists Carol Tippit Woolworth, Catherine Drabkin, Pahl Alexander Hluchan, Colleen Randall and Dan Jackson explore the concept of place—physical, emotional and spiritual—in...

Where:
, DE

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