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Dept. of Ed announces new school ratings, funding

Elbert-Palmer Elementary was one of the schools that scored within the bottom five percent and is eligible for Comprehensive Support and Improvement funding

The state of Delaware has released school ratings under its new system for measuring school performance.

Forty-two percent of public schools assessed under the state Department of Education’s new Delaware School Success Framework did not meet expectations, with 40 individual schools scoring “Well-Below Expectations.”

But DOE officials note 45 Delaware public schools achieved an “Exceeds Expectations” rating.

The assessment system is part of Delaware’s compliance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). It takes into account measures including graduation rates, English Learner progress, attendance, college and career readiness, as well as english and math proficiency.

Department of Ed. Secretary Susan Bunting says that last category is what she’s most focused on.

“Overall, we want that academic proficiency to be greater than it is. And I think the other school indicators often contribute to the students’ academic success, and their progress,” said Bunting.

Bunting adds that the ESSA system is focused on helping schools improve, rather than being punitive.

“There will be a great deal of support given to schools that are at this point not meeting the expectations,” said Bunting. “Specific student supports, to social-emotional learning supports, to leadership supports. And schools, depending on their own needs assessments, will choose from this catalog.”

The state also announced Wednesday which schools will receive a piece of $6 million in federal and state funding to support improvement.

The list is based on performance scores for the schools overall and for specific student subgroups— like low-income students or those with disabilities.

$3.4 million of federal money will be split among the schools that scored in the bottom 5 percent. These are Bayard Middle School, Newark High School, Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, Stubbs Elementary School, McCullough Middle School, A.I. duPont Middle School, Shortlidge Academy and Stanton Middle School.

DOE officials note that for schools included in Christina School District’s Wilmington school reconfiguration plan, funding will follow students to their new buildings.

Subpopulations— like low-income students or those with disabilities— within nine schools may receive part of $2.5 million in support funding from the state.

These schools can apply for grants of up to $100,000, which Sec. Bunting says is enough to support roughly one full-time teacher or two paraprofessionals.

These schools qualifying for Targeted Support and Improvement are P.S. duPont Middle School, William Henry Middle School, Shue-Medill Middle School, Gunning Bedford Middle School, Kuumba Academy Charter School, Chipman Middle School, Lake Forest High School, Milford Central Academy and Woodbridge Middle School.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.