Five local schools from the Christina School District were honored Monday for their students’ academic achievement.
They were among 17 schools statewide that were recognized by Secretary of Education Susan Bunting during a ceremony in Dover.
“This is a wonderful accomplishment for these five schools,” Superintendent Richard Gregg said in a prepared statement. “We want students to go out in the world prepared to be productive citizens.”
Maclary Elementary and McVey Elementary both received the Recognition School Award, which honors schools where students showed exceptional performance on state tests or made progress in closing the achievement gaps between student groups, including those from low-income families, racial minority groups and students with disabilities. They both will receive an $8,000 prize from the state.
“Maclary Elementary School’s recent success in raising achievement for all students and subgroups and closing disproportionate achievement gaps is attributable to continual improvement efforts by staff who continue to utilize new and fresh strategies to reach and engage scholars across the spectrum of learners at Maclary,” Principal Bartley Dryden said. “Clever and creative use of time and grouping patterns have also been beneficial in supporting students’ growth and engagement in in all facets of learning.”
McVey Principal David Wilkie attributed his school’s success to efforts to increase literacy. The school partnered with the Newark-based International Literacy Association, gave students the opportunity to chat with authors via Skype and created libraries outdoors and in the cafeteria to provide continuous access to books.
“The school has created a culture of literacy to increase the love of reading and writing, which is the key to unlocking students’ desire to achieve,” Wilkie said.
West Park Place Elementary and Wilson Elementary were each named a School of Continued Excellence because they earned Recognition School honors last year and had outstanding performance again this year.
“The staff exhibits a love of learning with students and provide opportunities for students to take risks and discover their strengths,” West Park Principal Tracy Novack said. “Parental engagement remains a priority, and working together as a team, West Park Place continues to succeed.”
Wilson Principal Natalie Birch credited the school-wide positive behavior support program and various intervention programs like mentoring and “chill zones” in each classroom. Above all, though, she credited the teachers.
“Wilson would not have received this recognition without the amazing, talented and dedicated teachers,” Birch said. “Wilson teachers work tirelessly during Professional Learning Communities, lesson planning and analyzing data, to provide the best instruction possible for their students to succeed at the highest levels possible. At Wilson, there truly is a team approach to teaching and learning.”
Meanwhile, Christiana High School received the 2019 National ESEA Distinguished and Recognition School Award.
Principal Eunique Lawrence said that Christiana’s partnership with Wilmington University, which allows students to earn up to 24 college credits, is a “point of pride” for the school.
“This unique opportunity creates access for students to experience classes on a college campus, and provides staff a chance to be adjunct teachers, while continuing to work in the school building,” Lawrence said.