DELAWARE – The Delaware Department of Education says nine schools across the state are moving away from their labels as low-performing schools.
According to the DOE, the schools are exiting state support programs used in low-performing schools.
“I applaud the administrators, educators, students and families of these schools who have worked hard to make progress for our students,” Gov. Jack Markell said in a statement. “As we recognize these improvements, it's important that we remember that the statistics aren't just numbers. They represent young people who will have better opportunities to reach their potential, thriving in the classroom and beyond. Smart investments in the right programs and the leadership of schools that serve our highest need populations can make a difference and help all of our students succeed.”
Four of the schools were part of the state's second cohot of Partnership Zone schools, according to the DOE. Those include Capital School District's Dover High School and Red Clay Consolidated School District's Lewis Dual Language Elementary, Marbrook Elementary and Stanton Middle schools.
Education officials said Dover, Lewis and Marbrook each made adequate yearly progress at least once over the past two years and did not show any major regressions in student performance, the exit criteria outlined under the state's federal Race to the Top plan. In addition to performance goals in reading or math, schools must meet other targets, such as participation in reading or math and graduation rate or attendance rate to meet AYP.
Stanton is being upgraded based on a second option for targets set under the state's federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver, according to the DOE. Calculated based on the school's baseline data, these were year-by-year targets to reduce the non-proficiency rates in the school by 2017 for reading and math.
Secretary of Education Mark Murphy also congratulated the schools.
“Thanks to targeted resources and support coupled with the hard work of our educators and their school communities, students in these buildings across the state are learning more and performing better in reading and math,” Murphy said. “When schools are struggling, we have an obligation to their students and families to ensure they get the help they need. These school communities should be proud of how their hard work has paid off for the benefit of their children.”
The other five schools that are leaving state programs that benefit low-performing schools are Capital's Booker T. Washington and Fairview elementary schools, Christina's Newark High School and Oberle Elementary School and Milford's Banneker Elementary School.
Both Fairview and Booker T. Washington have improved educational outcomes for their students from low-income families, according to the DOE. Since the 2010-11 academic year, low-income students at Fairview have shown strong growth in reading and math of more than 22 points while Booker T. Washington Elementary has seen impressive growth among this group of students in reading and math of more than 37 points. Fairview narrowed its achievement gap from 22.8 points to 10.9 points while Booker T. Washington did so from 36.8 points to 8.7 points, according to education officials.
At Newark High, students from low-income families have shown growth over the same time period of more than 20 points, at almost double the pace of other subgroups. The achievement gap between low-income and non-low income students was reduced by 8.6 points, according to the DOE.
Since the 2012-2013 school year, Oberle Elementary School has not only recovered from the drop in performance for its English learner students but the percent of students proficient increased from 23.3 percent to 56.6 percent, showing a one-year growth gain of 33.3 percent, education officials say. This is a gain of 47 percent from the school's baseline in 2010-2011. During the same time period, the school's subgroups of low-income and Hispanic students made gains of more than 26 percent and 27 percent, respectively.
Over at Banneker Elementary School since the 2010-2011 school year, low-income students have shown remarkable gains of more than 41 points in reading and math, and Hispanic students have shown gains of more than 52 points, according to the DOE.
The department also noted it has provided each school with funding to use toward celebrations at the school sites, recognizing the hard work and commitment of teachers and staff.