17 schools honored for students’ academic achievement

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting recognized 17 schools from across the state for their students’ academic achievement today.


The students showed exceptional performance on state tests or made remarkable progress in closing the achievement gaps between student groups, including those from low-income families, racial minority groups and students with disabilities.


Each building named a 2019 Recognition School will receive an $8,000 award. Funding for the awards comes from the state’s school improvement funds. Two buildings were named a School of Continued Excellence because they earned Recognition School honors last year and had outstanding performance again this year. Those schools are not eligible for a financial award again until 2020. Two buildings also will be recognized as National ESEA Distinguished Schools.


The Recognition School awards were created by legislation passed by the Delaware General Assembly in 2009.

Representatives from all of the honored schools gathered at Capital School District’s North Dover Elementary School this afternoon for the award ceremony. A description of each principal’s reflections on his or her school’s success is attached. Find photos here.


2019 winners:

  • Beacon Middle School, Cape Henlopen School District, Recognition School

o   Dave Frederick, principal

  • Christiana High School and Middle School Honors Academy, Christina School District, National ESEA Distinguished and Recognition School

o   Eunique Lawrence, principal

  • John M. Clayton Elementary School, Indian River School District, Recognition School

o   Allisa Booth, principal

  • Frederick Douglass Elementary School, Seaford School District, Recognition School

o   Carol Leveillee, principal

  • Forest Oak Elementary School, Red Clay School District, Recognition School

o   Erin NeCastro, principal and Shane Rifenburg, acting principal

  • Allen Frear Elementary School, Caesar Rodney School District, Recognition School

o   Julie Lavender, principal and Barbara Miklus, acting principal

  • Georgetown Middle School, Indian River School District, Recognition School

o   David Hudson, principal

  • Love Creek Elementary School, Cape Henlopen School District, Recognition School

o   Lisa Morris, principal

  • R. Elisabeth Maclary Elementary School, Christina School District, Recognition School

o   Bartley Dryden, principal

  • Joseph M. McVey Elementary School, Christina School District, Recognition School

o   David Wilkie, principal

  • Milton Elementary School, Cape Henlopen School District, Recognition School

o   Beth Conaway, principal

  • North Dover Elementary School, Capital School District, Recognition School

o   Shani Benson, principal

  • Rehoboth Elementary School, Cape Henlopen School District, National ESEA Distinguished and Recognition School

o   Amanda Archambault, principal

  • Lulu M. Ross Elementary School, Milford School District, Recognition School

o   Cynthia McKenzie, principal

  • Star Hill Elementary School, Caesar Rodney School District, Recognition School

o   Katie Fitzgerald, principal

  • West Park Place Elementary School, Christina School District, School of Continued Excellence

o   Tracy Novack, principal

  • Etta J. Wilson Elementary School, Christina School District, School of Continued Excellence

o   Natalie Birch, principal

Students invited to participate in 26th annual Junior Solar Sprint model car competition

(Rob Underwood of DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy, left, watches as students prepare to race their solar cars at the 2018 Delaware Junior Solar Sprint. DNREC photo by Joanna Wilson.)

Registration for schools due by Jan. 10, 2020 deadline

DOVER – Delaware 5th-8th grade students are invited to build and race solar-powered model cars in a statewide challenge of creativity, engineering, and speed in the 2020 Junior Solar Sprint state competition, co-sponsored by DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy and the Delaware Technology Student Association (TSA).

The event will take place on April 2, 2020 at the Delaware Technical Community College campus in Dover as part of the National Junior Solar Sprint Competition, sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program.

Public, private, and parochial schools, and homeschooled children in grades 5-8 across the state may register up to two teams of two to four students each. Registration is free, and the Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy will provide each participating school with two starter kits, each including a solar panel, motor, and wheels.

Interested educators should submit a completed registration form by Jan. 10, 2020 by email to JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov or by mail to DNREC State Street Commons, 100 West Water Street, Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy Suite 5A, Dover, DE 19904.

The registration form and rules and guidelines can be found on the Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy‘s Junior Solar Sprint webpage, or the Delaware TSA State Conference webpage. Schools are not required to have a TSA chapter in order to participate. Additional questions can be directed via email to JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov or by phone at 302-735-3480.

For those not familiar with the event, a video of last year’s Junior Solar Sprint is posted on DNREC’s YouTube channel at 2018 Solar Sprint.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

State awards federal grants for new, expanding charter schools

The Delaware Department of Education has awarded funds to five charter schools as part of a $10.4 million federal grant Delaware won in October to strengthen the state’s charter school system.


The following sub-grants were awarded based on how the charters plan to:

  • Increase academic achievement for all students in the school as well as educationally disadvantaged students;
  • Collaborate to share best practices with district and charter schools;
  • Engage the families of educationally disadvantaged children on school choice opportunities with a focus on Delaware’s rural and urban areas;
  • Leverage partnerships with local agencies (i.e. social services, behavioral health, mental health, educational support, job placement, before/after care) to enhance school services and ensure sustainability.


School Funds Awarded
First State Montessori School $832,363
Las Americas ASPIRA $750,000
Newark Charter School $550,000
Providence Creek Academy $50,000
Sussex Montessori School $800,000
                                        Total Awarded $2,982,363


New charter schools interested in opening in Delaware and highly effective existing schools looking to add seats or additional locations were eligible to apply for the grant.


Funds from the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter School Program will be distributed over five years to support:


  • Sharing best practices between charter schools and other public schools;
  • Evaluating and enhancing the impact of charter schools on student achievement, families and communities;
  • Strengthening the charter school authorization process; and
  • Providing subgrants for the planning, program design and initial implementation of new charter schools and expansion and replication of highly effective existing charter schools.


The grant also will help the Delaware Department of Education to improve its charter authorization process by enhancing reporting to include additional measures, providing technical assistance to charter school stakeholders and addressing policy to strengthen authorization practices.


Media Contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006

Delaware Division of the Arts Announces First Round of Grants in Support of Arts Projects for Fiscal Year 2020

This year the Division will invest nearly $3 million
in more than 100 arts and community organizations

Wilmington, Del. (July 30, 2019) – The Delaware Division of the Arts is investing nearly $3 million in more than 100 arts and community organizations that will serve Delawareans statewide with arts programming and services, arts education, and arts marketing and promotion. This first round of funding for FY2020 includes: General Operating Support, Project Support, Arts Stabilization, StartUp and Education Resource grants.

“Every year I am impressed by the vitality of the arts in Delaware. The applications that come in from communities throughout the state represent the finest in arts programming and services. From art leagues, museums, choral groups, and symphonies, to theaters, dance companies, and film, Delaware’s offerings are tremendous. We are fortunate to live in a state where the elected leaders recognize how this investment in the arts serves our communities, our schools, and our local economies,” said Paul Weagraff, director of the Delaware Division of the Arts.

Grant review panels made up of Delaware artists, arts educators, arts and nonprofit organization administrators, corporate and fundraising managers, and interested community members, provided an impartial peer review of these grant applications based on established evaluation criteria, reflecting the importance of having diverse public and expert participation in the grant-making process.

The awards include:

  • General Operating Support for fifty-nine (59) arts organizations.
  • Project Support for twenty-five (25) community-based organizations that provide arts programming for children and adults; economically disadvantaged and at-risk students; individuals and family members dealing with cancer; and young children and community members from across Delaware.
  • Five (5) Arts Stabilization Fund projects that support capital improvements and repairs to facilities owned by arts organizations.
  • StartUp Support for one arts organization seeking to strengthen its management capacity prior to applying for general operating support.
  • Thirteen (13) education-based partnerships between Delaware’s schools, arts organizations and artists that provide teacher training and standards-based arts learning experiences for pre K-12 students statewide, in alignment with the new Delaware Standards for Learning in the Visual and Performing Arts.

Grants for Fiscal Year 2020

Grant Program # Grants Amount Awarded
General Operating Support 59 $2,467,500
Project Support 25 $243,800
Arts Stablization 5 $70,700
StartUp 1 $2,500
Education Resource 13 $130,000
TOTAL 103 $2,914,500


Funding for the Delaware Division of the Arts comes from the Delaware General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency. In addition, the funds for capital improvements grants—provided by the Arts Stabilization Fund—are drawn from the Arts Consortium of Delaware, Inc. (ArtCo) endowment. A complete list of grants for the first round of FY 2020 can be found here.

The Division also awards grants on an on-going basis throughout the year, including Arts Access grants, Artist Residencies, Individual Artist Fellowships, Individual Artist Opportunity grants, and TranspARTation grants. Full grant descriptions are available on the Division’s website and at the end of the release.

Interested members of the public, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders are encouraged to visit the Division’s website to learn more about these programs. Notification of grant deadlines, guidelines and applications, as well as technical assistance opportunities are published in the monthly e-newsletter, Arts E-News. Please visit our website at arts.delaware.gov for more details.


Arts Organizations: Non-profit Delaware organizations whose primary mission is the promotion, production, presentation, or teaching of the arts

General Operating Support – support of annual operating expenses to ensure that year-round participation in the arts is available to the people of Delaware. This grant category utilizes a three-year application cycle. Full applications are due every three years, with Interim applications due in the “off” years. Annual March 1 deadline.

Arts Stabilization – supports improvements to facilities owned (or under long-term lease) and operated by the organization. Arts Stabilization grants are funded through the Division’s participation in the Arts Consortium of Delaware, Inc. (ArtCo) endowment. Annual March 1 deadline.

StartUp – a comprehensive program of financial support, training, and consultation to develop and strengthen the management capacity of emerging arts organizations so that they can operate in a sustainable manner. Completion of the StartUp program is a prerequisite for emerging organizations seeking General Operating Support. Annual March 1 deadline.

Arts Access – supports small budget projects that include the presentation of performing, visual, literary, media, or folk arts in communities throughout the state. Applications must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the project start date, and are reviewed as they are received, beginning on July 1 of each year. Organizations that receive General Operating or Project Support from the Division are not eligible to apply. Rolling deadline.


Community-Based Organizations: Non-profit Delaware organizations, colleges, universities, and government entities that do not have the arts as their primary mission

Project Support – supports arts programs provided by CBOs that assist in the growth of a vibrant cultural environment by encouraging the continued development of arts activities in communities throughout the state. College and university projects must be non-credit and serve the general community.  Annual March 1 deadline.

Arts Access – supports small budget projects that include the presentation of performing, visual, literary, media, or folk arts in communities throughout the state. Applications must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the project start date, and are reviewed as they are received, beginning on July 1 of each year. Organizations that receive General Operating or Project Support from the Division are not eligible to apply. Rolling deadline.


Schools: Delaware pre-K through 12 public, charter, private, and parochial schools

Artist Residency – grants for residencies with visual, literary, performing, or media artists working with students in the classroom or in professional development workshops with teachers. Rolling deadline.

TranspARTation – grants that support transportation costs for schools to travel to Delaware arts and cultural institutions and venues in order for students to attend arts performances, events and exhibits. Rolling deadline.


Arts Organizations and Schools:

Education Resource – grants to strengthen standards-based arts education projects, programs, and activities that utilize the arts education resources of the Delaware arts community or strengthen arts organizations’ capacity to serve as professional development resources for teaching artists and educators.  Annual March 1 deadline.


Individual Artists: Delaware residents, 18 years of age or older, not enrolled in a degree-granting program

Artist Fellowships – supports individual artists in their work as visual, performing, media, folk, and/or literary artists. Applications are received and processed by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. FY2020 Masters categories are Dance, Jazz or Music. Annual August 1 deadline.

Artist Opportunity Grants – provides up to $750 to support individual artists with unique professional and artistic development or presentation opportunities. Quarterly deadlines, January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.



Contact: Dennis Lawson, Interim Communications Coordinator
302-743-8927, dennis.lawson@delaware.gov

The Delaware Division of the Arts, a branch of the Delaware Department of State, is dedicated to cultivating and supporting the arts to enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support arts programming, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. For more information about the Delaware Division of the Arts, visit arts.delaware.gov or call 302-577-8278.

2020 district/charter Teachers of the Year named

Twenty Delaware teachers are finalists to be named Delaware’s 2020 State Teacher of the Year.

Selected from among the 9,000 public school teachers in the state, the candidates were nominated by their districts or the Delaware Charter School Network because of their ability to inspire students with a love of learning, demonstration of professional traits and devotion to teaching. Already leaders among the colleagues in their buildings, each now has assumed a role representing educators in their districts or the charter network. In October, one will take over the state title from 2019 Delaware Teacher of the Year Dana Bowe, a special education teacher at West Seaford Elementary in the Seaford School District.

The 2020 District/Charter Teachers of the Year are:

District/Charters       Name                                     School                                   Content area

Appoquinimink           Stephen Landry                   Appoquinimink High             Mathematics

Brandywine               Lauren Conrad                     Concord High                       Music (vocal)

Caesar Rodney         Sabra Collins                        Caesar Rodney High          Physical education

Cape Henlopen          Brennan Clarke                    Shields Elementary             English as a second language

Capital                       Erica Richard                        East Dover Elementary       K-4 mathematics specialist

Charters                     Kayla Sweet                          Kuumba Academy               6th grade mathematics

Christina                    Lindsey Muldoon                 Shue Medill Middle              8th grade English language arts

Colonial                     Rebecca Vitelli                     Colwyck Center                    Prekindergarten

Delmar                       Donna Huston                      Delmar High                         English language arts

Indian River              Arthur Henry                         Millsboro Middle                   Music (band)

Lake Forest               Christina Hughes-Gallo      Lake Forest High                 Social studies

Laurel                         Donna Sava                          Laurel Elementary               1st grade

Milford                        Jaime Hill                              Morris Elementary               Kindergarten

NCCVT                      Anthony Webb                     Delcastle High                      Mathematics

POLYTECH              Nick Post                               POLYTECH High                 Electrical trades technology

Red Clay                   Richard Weaver                   AI duPont High                    Music (band)

Seaford                      Laura Burke                          Central Elementary              3rd grade

Smyrna                      Denise Balcerak                   Sunnyside Elementary       Kindergarten

Sussex Tech             Dontez Collins                      Sussex Tech High               Mathematics

Woodbridge              Stephanie Vodvarka            Wheatley Elementary          4th grade


Media contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006