16 schools to be honored for students’ academic achievement

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting will recognize 16 schools from across the state for their students’ academic achievement on Monday, Dec. 10.


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 2018 Recognition School will receive an $8,000 award. Funding for the awards comes from the state’s School Improvement funds. One building was named a School of Continued Excellence because it earned Recognition School honors last year and had outstanding performance again this year. It is not eligible for a financial award again until 2019. 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 will gather at 1 p.m. Dec. 10 at Clayton Intermediate School for the award ceremony. The event is open to the media. The school is located at 86 Sorrento Drive in Clayton.


2018 winners:


  • Campus Community Charter School, Dover, Recognition School
    • Heidi Green, Head of School       
  • Clayton Elementary School, Smyrna School District, Recognition School
    • Katherine Wood, Principal         
  • Clayton Intermediate School, Smyrna School District, Recognition School
    • David Paltrineri, Principal 
  • Robert S. Gallaher Elementary School, Christina School District, Recognition School
    • Erin Cassel, Principal
  • Albert H. Jones Elementary School, Christina School District, Recognition School
    • Shevena Cale, Principal
  • Long Neck Elementary School, Indian River School District, Recognition School
    • Clara Conn, Principal
  • Marbrook Elementary School, Red Clay School District, Recognition School
    • Melissa Phillips, Principal
  • Millsboro Middle School, Indian River School District, Recognition School
    • Jessica Jackson, Principal
  • Mispillion Elementary School, Milford School District, Recognition School
    • Teresa Wallace, Principal
  • Nellie Hughes Stokes Elementary School, Caesar Rodney School District, Recognition School
    • Darisa Everett, Principal
  • North Smyrna Elementary School, Smyrna School District, School of Continued Excellence
    • Stephanie Smeltzer, Principal
  • Seaford Central Elementary School, Seaford School District, Recognition School
    • Becky Neubert, Principal
  • Silver Lake Elementary School, Appoquinimink School District, Recognition School
    • Christy Boyd, Principal
  • Sunnyside Elementary School, Smyrna School District, Recognition School
    • Michael Grant, Principal
  • West Park Place Elementary School, Christina School District, National ESEA Distinguished and Recognition School
    • Ledonnis Hernandez and Tracy Novack, Principals
  • Etta J. Wilson Elementary School, Christina School District, National ESEA Distinguished and Recognition School
    • Natalie Birch, Principal



Delaware wins $10.4 million federal grant to strengthen charter school system

Delaware has won a $10.4 million federal grant to strengthen the state’s charter school system, including improved collaboration with other public schools.

Funds from the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter School Program will be distributed over four 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.

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said the state always is looking for effective practices that can be used in schools across the state. The state’s role is to help share what is working across district and charter lines.

“Delaware designed charter schools with the legislative intent to improve education. This grant will assist the Delaware Department of Education in leveraging best practices and innovative ideas to help all Delaware students, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status, to have access to a high-quality education,” she said.

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.

Delaware charter schools applying for subgrants from the state must show how they will use the funds 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.

“Schools seeking subgrants must demonstrate that they have a proven track record of success in providing a quality education to all students and supporting the achievement of educationally disadvantaged students,” Bunting said.

Kendall Massett, executive director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network, said Delaware’s charter school community is excited for the opportunities this federal grant will provide.

“I have been advocating for an increase in the U.S. Department of Education Charter School Program Fund for the past six years,” Massett said. “I saw how previous grants from this fund positively impacted the lives of children in Delaware, and when the federal funding ran out, I knew we needed to get it back. Charter schools are an incredible choice for our children, but the funding challenges to open, expand, or replicate highly effective charter schools can sometimes be too much. The Delaware Charter Schools Network is excited to partner with the Delaware Department of Education on this grant that will open opportunities and provide more choice for students throughout the state.”


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

Three Delaware schools receive National Blue Ribbon honors

Three Delaware schools are among the schools that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized today as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Cedar Lane Elementary School in the Appoquinimink School District, Lake Forest South Elementary School in the Lake Forest School District, and Selbyville Middle School in the Indian River School District are among the schools that will be honored at an awards ceremony November 7 and 9 in Washington, D.C. The school leaders: Melisa Stilwell (Cedar Lane Elementary School), Clifford S. Owens (Lake Forest South Elementary School), and Jason M. Macrides (Selbyville Middle School) will be invited to attend the national awards ceremony with a teacher representative from each of their schools.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

This coveted award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,800 schools.

All schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).


A listing of all National Blue Ribbon Schools in Delaware:

Cedar Lane Elementary School                 Middletown     2018

Lake Forest South Elementary School      Harrington      2018

Selbyville Middle School                           Selbyville         2018

East Millsboro Elementary School            Millsboro         2017

Olive B. Loss Elementary School               Bear                2017

Seaford Central Elementary School          Seaford            2017

Christ the Teacher Catholic School           Newark            2016

Dover Air Force Base Middle School         Dover              2016

Newark Charter School                             Newark            2016

St John the Beloved School                       Wilmington     2016

Sussex Academy                                       Georgetown    2016

Cape Henlopen High School                      Lewes              2015

Lake Forest East Elementary School         Frederica         2015

W. B. Simpson Elementary School Wyoming 2015

The Academy of Dover                             Dover              2014

John M. Clayton Elementary School         Frankford        2014

Lake Forest North Elementary School      Felton              2014

The Charter School of Wilmington           Wilmington     2013

Richard A. Shields Elementary School      Lewes              2013

Allen Frear Elementary School                 Dover              2013

Linden Hill Elementary School                  Wilmington     2012

Harry O. Eisenberg Elementary School     New Castle      2012

Star Hill Elementary School                      Dover              2012

West Park Place Elementary School         Newark            2011

Long Neck Elementary School                  Millsboro         2011

Nellie Hughes Stokes Elementary School Dover              2011

Christ the Teacher Catholic School           Newark            2010

Newark Charter School                             Newark            2010

Robert S. Gallaher Elementary School      Newark            2010

Woodbridge Elementary School               Greenwood     2010

Marbrook Elementary School                   Wilmington     2009

East Millsboro Elementary School            Millsboro         2008

Sussex Technical High School                   Georgetown    2008

Lancashire Elementary School                  Wilmington     2007

Etta J. Wilson Elementary School             Newark            2007

Joseph M. McVey Elementary School       Newark            2007

North Georgetown Elementary School    Georgetown    2006

Lake Forest East Elementary School         Frederica         2006

Fairview Elementary School                      Dover              2006

Long Neck Elementary School                  Millsboro         2005

Booker T. Washington Elementary School Dover            2005

Lulu M. Ross Elementary School               Milford            2004

Frankford Elementary School                   Frankford        2004

Phillip C. Showell Elementary School        Selbyville         2003

Corpus Christi Elementary School             Wilmington     2001

Lord Baltimore Elementary School           Ocean View     2001

Padua Academy                                        Wilmington     1996

Seaford Middle School                              Seaford            1996

Sussex Technical High School                   Georgetown    1996

St. Matthew School                                   Wilmington     1992

Corpus Christi School                                Wilmington     1990

Dover High School                                     Dover              1987

Skyline Middle School                               Wilmington     1985

Christiana High School                              Newark            1984

Caesar Rodney Senior High School           Camden           1984

Brandywine High School                           Wilmington     1983

Shue Middle School                                  Newark            1983


NOTE TO MEDIA: Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.


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

Department of Education sets public hearings on school-level financial reporting

The Delaware Department of Education is soliciting public input on the development of standardized school-level financial reporting.

Both the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Senate Bill 172, passed by the 149th General Assembly earlier this year, require the development of a statewide approach to define and report school-level expenditures so school leaders and the public can better compare per-pupil spending across Delaware. The Department of Education (DOE) will begin reporting school-level per-pupil expenditures in December 2019.

The Department of Education will develop a standardized approach with input from district/charter leaders and other community members. To that end, three public meetings are scheduled for this fall so DOE can share its vision and hear from members of the public. See information below. Public comment will be limited to five minutes per person; DOE will accept written comments at any of the meetings or via email by Friday, October 12th to jennifer.roussell@doe.k12.de.us with SB 172 Public Comment in the subject line.

Once developed, DOE also will host annual optional training sessions for school boards/citizen budget oversight committees, district/charter leaders and the general public on how to understand and use the data to make decisions in the best interest of our students.

Kent County
5 to 7 p.m., Monday, October 1
2nd floor Cabinet Room, Townsend Building
401 Federal Street, Dover

New Castle County
6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, October 3
Route 9 Library & Innovation Center
3022 New Castle Avenue, New Castle

Sussex County
5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, October 11
Lewes Public Library
111 Adams Avenue, Lewes

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 2019

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

Wilmington, Del. (August 8, 2018) – 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 FY2019 includes: General Operating Support, Project Support, Arts Stabilization, StartUp and Education Resource grants.

“The wealth of arts in Delaware speaks to the abundance of creativity in our communities—from Arden to Dewey Beach to Seaford. We are proud to invest in arts education, arts and community development, and arts for underserved communities,” 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 sixty-one (61) arts organizations.
  • Project Support for twenty-seven (27) community-based organizations that provide arts programming for children and adults with physical or intellectual disabilities; economically disadvantaged and at-risk students; individuals and family members dealing with cancer; and young children and community members from across Delaware.
  • Twelve (12) 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.
  • Five (5) Arts Stabilization Fund projects that support capital improvements and repairs to facilities owned by arts organizations.
  • StartUp Support for two emerging arts organizations, providing a combination of technical assistance and financial support for these new organizations.

Grants for Fiscal Year 2019

Grant Program # Grants Amount Awarded
General Operating Support 61 $2,425.900
Project Support 27 $221,500
Arts Stablization 5 $70,000
StartUp 2 $5,000
Education Resource 12 $128,500
TOTAL 105 $2,850,900


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 2019 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: Leeann Wallett, Program Officer, Communications and Marketing
302-577-8280, leeann.wallett@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.