The City is Their Campus
Wilmington offers learning opportunities of all kinds for all kinds of people. If you’re looking for challenge and stimulation, this is the place.
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Kuumba Academy Charter School
Kuumba Academy Charter School
519 N. Market St., Wilmington, 472-6450
Kuumba Academy Charter School is another special place where the bar is set high and students rise to meet it. Last year it surpassed state targets in all academic areas of the Delaware Student Testing Program. “We’re very clear and focused on what we want for our children and about what we have to do to push ourselves to the next level,” says Dr. Sondra Shippen, head of school.
Kuumba is an arts-based elementary school for at-risk children, most of whom live in Wilmington. Ninety-nine percent of its 238 students are African American. Serving students from kindergarten though sixth grade, it’s the only arts-based elementary school in Delaware. Its proximity to cultural institutions in downtown broadens the students’ educational experiences.
“We put Kuumba here, right in the heart of the city, right next door to significant resources—the Delaware History Museum, the Grand, and the Christina Cultural Arts Center—so that our children can take advantage of all of those things,” Shippen says.
Kuumba receives wonderful support from volunteers in the community who tutor their students. Some of those tutors need only walk across the street to help. They come from the Delaware College of Art & Design.
Delaware College of Art & Design
Among other significant contributions to the city, DCAD students tutor at Kuumba Academy Charter School and Christina Cultural Arts Center. DCAD receives hundreds of requests for community service, whether design work for non-profit organizations or help with a public mural.
The value DCAD brings to the Wilmington community became apparent as soon as it was founded a dozen years ago, for it was the first art and design college in the state of Delaware. Founded as a partnership with Pratt Institute and Corcoran College of Art and Design, DCAD is midway between its partners in New York and Washington, D.C., which helps to draw students from across the Mid-Atlantic region.
DCAD is a two-year professional art and design school at Sixth and Market streets with a diverse student population and an enrollment of 225 full-time degree students. DCAD has more than 1,000 continuing education students.
With DCAD in Wilmington, students have an opportunity to come to a small city that has a big city feel, which is sometimes a more comfortable environment for an 18-year-old who may not be ready for New York.
Wilmington offers tremendous creative opportunities for the students, who can be seen painting, sketching and taking photographs all over town.
Some students were recently given a tour of the soon-to-be-restored Queen Theater and told to redesign it. Results were hung for the annual student exhibition. Such access and reward makes projects meaningful to the students.
Though many DCAD grads go on to get their bachelors of fine arts from Pratt, Corcoran or another similar school, many return to Wilmington to begin their careers. The city becomes their canvas.
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