Delaware Schools Recognized for Student Success

Smyrna Elementary School and West Seaford Elementary School are among a host of U.S. schools that have been named a 2023 National ESEA Distinguished Schools for the extraordinary success of their students. The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA), formerly the National Title I Association, has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools program (formerly the National Title I Distinguished Schools program) since 1996.

Smyrna Elementary School, in the Smyrna School District, is being recognized as a National ESEA Distinguished School for Closing the Achievement Gap between student groups, and the academic progress that the students made during the 2022-2023 school year on standardized achievement tests.  Cynthia McNatt is the school’s principal.

West Seaford Elementary School, in the Seaford School District, is being recognized as a National ESEA Distinguished School for Excellence in Serving Special Populations, and the growth and progress towards English Language proficiency that the multilingual learners made during the 2022-2023 school year.  Laura Schneider is the school’s principal.

The 2023 National ESEA Distinguished Schools will be honored February 7-10, 2024, at the 2024 National ESEA Conference in Portland, Oregon.  More information about all National ESEA Distinguished Schools is available on the NAESPA website:


Sixteen Additional Schools Recognized Locally as DE Recognition Schools

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Holodick is pleased to commend and recognize 16 additional schools from across the state for their growth and progress in three categories.  Awards are given for Exceptional Student Performance and Growth on the state’s assessment for grades 3-8, Academic Growth and Closing the Achievement Gap between student groups on the grade 3-8 assessment, or Excellence in Serving Special Populations where multilingual learners showed exceptional growth toward meeting proficiency on ACCESS tests.

Thirteen schools that are named 2023 Recognition Schools will receive an $8,000 award, a certificate, and a banner to hang in their building.  Three schools are being recognized as Schools of Continued Excellence and will also receive a certificate and a banner. These schools also were recognized last year for their outstanding performance and are not eligible for the financial award in this consecutive year.


2023 Recognition School Award Winners for Exceptional Student Performance:

  • Claymont Elementary School, Brandywine SD
    • Principal – Eryn Smith
  • Lake Forest East Elementary School, Lake Forest SD
    • Principal – Jeffrey Sheehan
  • Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, Indian River SD
    • Principal – Christy Kerr

2023 Recognition School Award Winners for Closing the Achievement Gap:

  • Benjamin Banneker Elementary School, Milford SD
    • School Leader – Chad Luzier
  • Lake Forest North Elementary School, Lake Forest SD
    • Principal – Erin Dotson
  • Etta J. Wilson Elementary School, Christina SD
    • Principal – Mabel Boutte

2023 Recognition School Award Winners for Excellence in Serving Special Populations:

  • Brookside Elementary School, Christina SD
    • Principal – Eric Stephens
  • Harry Eisenberg Elementary School, Colonial SD
    • School Leader – David Distler
  • Milton Elementary School, Cape Henlopen SD
    • Principal – Clara Conn
  • North Georgetown Elementary School, Indian River SD
    • Principal – Sarah Green
  • Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, Woodbridge SD
    • Principal –  Zachary Huber
  • Seaford Central Elementary School, Seaford SD
    • Principal – Chandra Phillips
  • South Dover Elementary School, Capital SD
    • Principal –  Lenita McIntyre

2023 School of Continued Excellence:

  • Blades Elementary School, Seaford SD
    • Principal – Christy Parsons
  • Rehoboth Elementary School, Cape Henlopen SD
    • Principal – Doris Person
  • Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center, Woodbridge SD
    • Principal – Dane Sears


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

Brandywine Springs Student Wins Arbor Day Poster Contest

Photo: Lyla Jones, a second-grader from Brandywine Springs Elementary School in Wilmington, is the winner of the Arbor Day School Poster Contest.

DOVER, Del. (April 13, 2023) – Lyla Jones, a second-grader from Brandywine Springs Elementary School in Wilmington, is the overall winner of the Delaware Forest Service’s annual Arbor Day School Poster Contest. This year’s competition attracted almost 7,600 entries from more than 70 schools. The theme – “Trees Are Terrific…In All Shapes and Sizes!” – highlights how a diverse community forest is a healthier forest that attracts a variety of wildlife and is more visually stimulating. The complete gallery of winners is at

Since 1872, Arbor Day has been observed as a special day to plant trees and celebrate their many benefits!  

The poster contest is designed to increase knowledge about trees and forests while helping students learn about the direct impact of trees on community health and well-being. Trees not only provide beauty but help shade streets and schoolyards while also creating habitat and food for wildlife. Awareness of the difference between tree species helps in selecting the proper tree to plant in a given location based on site conditions, temperature and soil.

The poster contest was open to all K-5 public, private, homeschool, after-school, and other organized youth groups.  Posters are judged on originality, use of theme, neatness, and artistic expression. Each winner receives a gift card, a tree-themed book, and a tree planting at their school.  Twelve winners are selected, one from each county, in four grade categories: kindergarten, grades 1 and 2, grades 3 and 4, and grade 5. All participating classes receive free loblolly pine seedlings delivered to their school, just in time to celebrate Arbor Day!

The 12 winners are invited to the annual State Arbor Day Celebration, hosted by Governor John Carney and scheduled for April 29.

For questions and more information, contact: Ashley Melvin, Trainer-Educator


New Castle County

Kindergarten: Susanna Sanford, Brandywine Springs Elementary, Wilmington 

Grades 1 to 2:  Lyla Jones, Brandywine Springs Elementary, Wilmington 

Grades 3 to 4: Hillary Shen, North Star Elementary, Hockessin 

Grade 5: Easton Parker, Heritage Elementary, Wilmington 


Kent County

Kindergarten: Zadriyan Marshall, Booker T. Washington Elementary, Dover 

Grades 1 to 2: Kylie Clark, Smyrna Elementary, Smyrna 

Grades 3 to 4: Eliana Oberdick, W. B. Simpson Elementary, Wyoming 

Grade 5: Audriana Friday, W. B. Simpson Elementary, Wyoming 


Sussex County

Kindergarten: Henry Hearn, St. John’s Preschool, Seaford 

Grades 1 to 2: Julian Spitzer, Lord Baltimore Elementary, Ocean View 

Grades 3 to 4: Evelyn Maloney, Epworth Christian, Laurel 

Grade 5: Sage McMahon, Rehoboth Elementary, Rehoboth Beach 

Gallery of Winners  **** (click on image to view high-resolution file)

New Castle County

Kent County

Sussex County

Future STEM Leaders Earn 341 Medals with Honor to Represent State at National Conference

Nearly 700 middle and high school students participated last week at the 45th annual Delaware Technology Student Association (DETSA) State Leadership Conference that was hosted by the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering. The conference opened each day with a session led by the state officers of Puiyee Kong and Chuiyee Kong (Caesar Rodney High School) and Sanjana Medisetty, Anaum Allimulla, Kate Li and Anusha Devisetty (Newark Charter School) and the national officers of Sami Vallury (MOT Charter School) and Samra Iqbal (Caesar Rodney High School).

At the conference, students earned 341 medals in 49 contests such as: architectural design; biotechnology; coding; cybersecurity; digital video production; dragster design; engineering design; flight endurance; fashion design and technology; forensic technology; geospatial technology; inventions and innovations; mechanical engineering; medical technology; STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) animation; photographic technology; robotics; structural engineering; system control technology; website design; video game design and more. Eligible students qualified for the National Leadership Conference, which will be held June 21-24, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Delaware Technology Student Association (DETSA) is a career and technical student organization dedicated to students who are interested in pursuing their future in a career in STEM. This year nearly 3,421 members had the opportunity to participate in career focused competitive events, take part in community service, and become leaders of the organization at the school, state, and national level. DETSA incorporates curricular and co-curricular experiences to emphasize the importance of knowledge, leadership, skill development, and teamwork.

Attached find a list of students who have placed. The specific state awards will be announced on the website on April 22, 2023, during a virtual awards ceremony. To learn more about DETSA, please contact Mike Fitzgerald by email at


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

High School Culinary Teams Move on to National Competition

Recently the Delaware Restaurant Association and Delaware Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (DRAEF) hosted more than 400 attendees at the Delaware ProStart Student Invitational in Dover. This event provided students with the opportunity to participate in the state’s premier high school competition for restaurant management and culinary arts.


Caesar Rodney School District’s Caesar Rodney High School vied with 14 other schools to win the state culinary title, while Cape Henlopen School District’s Cape Henlopen High School competed with nine other schools to take the state management competition.


Both schools will be competing at the national competition in Washington, D.C., as well as being featured at the annual DRAEF fundraising dinner. More information can be found on the Pro Start website.


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

Delaware Releases K-12 Mathematics Framework

The Delaware Department of Education released the Delaware K-12 Mathematics Framework today, defining effective and equitable mathematics systems in the state and providing education leaders with the direction, resources, and support needed to provide all students with the mathematics instruction they deserve. Delaware is only the second state, after New Mexico, to release a statewide mathematics framework grounded in high-quality instructional materials and professional learning.


The framework identifies five key–and interconnected–components of effective mathematics systems. Each component includes a set of core actions, planning considerations, and resources to guide school and school system leaders in its execution.

  • Academics: In an effective mathematics system, all teachers use high-quality materials to ensure that all students have meaningful access to grade-appropriate, culturally responsive Tier 1 mathematics instruction.
  • High-Quality Professional Learning: In an effective mathematics system, all educators engage in high-quality professional learning that builds their capacity to ensure excellent, equitable mathematics instruction within their role and context.
  • Collaborative Leadership: In an effective mathematics system, a shared vision and sense of responsibility bring educators together in service of student success, while effective communication and collaboration ensure collective efficacy.
  • Culture of Access and Equity: In an effective mathematics system, all resources–including time, knowledge, materials, talent, expectations, and learning opportunities are allocated equitably to ensure that every adult and student can succeed.
  • Community and Family Engagement: In an effective mathematics system, families and other stakeholders, including educator preparation programs, are welcomed equitably and leveraged effectively as vital partners in executing school systems’ mathematics visions.


The Framework, a complement to the Delaware Literacy Plan, supports the state’s academic vision of every student leaving school ready for success in college, career, and life by ensuring all students can succeed in mathematics and have daily opportunities to engage in meaningful and equitable grade-level mathematics instruction.


“We hope the Delaware K-12 Mathematics Framework will strengthen adult and student understanding and confidence in mathematics, invest all stakeholders in a shared vision for mathematics instruction, and eliminate inequities in mathematics classrooms,” Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said.


The DDOE led the development of the framework in partnership with a steering committee of 26 educators and community members across the state who met over eight months. The DDOE also engaged a broader group of stakeholders, including state legislators, State Board of Education members, and representatives from educator preparation programs and other education-based organizations. For a full list of committee members and stakeholder groups, please see the Framework.


The Delaware K-12 Mathematics Framework and supporting materials, including a toolkit for school and school system leaders, can be found in Digital DE. Educators should reach out to with questions.


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006