The Delaware State Board of Education gave final approval recently to a new state program that will make new funds available for programs targeted toward academically advanced students. The program, created through legislation proposed last year by Lt. Gov. Matt Denn and the chairs of the General Assembly’s education committees, allows school districts to design programs targeted at students who are ahead of grade level in reading, writing, math, or science.
Under the new program, local school districts and schools are permitted to apply through Oct. 25 for start-up grants for new programs targeted at students who are at least a half year ahead of grade level based upon current state standards. Most of the new programs are expected to be offered beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
“There is a tremendous demand among parents for programs in our public schools that will really challenge their kids who are capable of doing advanced work,” said Denn. “This program will make it possible for many of our schools to set up new programs that will give kids a chance to move ahead much more quickly in reading, writing, math, and science.”
Because the new program is only available to schools and districts that submit applications, Denn encouraged parents to contact their local school districts to ask them to apply. “If parents want these types of programs in their school districts, they need to let their superintendents and school board members know,” Denn said.
Programs proposed by schools and districts can also include elements of social studies, the arts, and other subjects as long as they are focused on reading, writing, math, or science.
“When we provide programs that enable our children to excel in their education, we prepare them for future excellence and help them reach their fullest potential,” said Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover, chair of the House Education Committee. “Helping students who may be falling behind is and will always remain one of our top priorities; at the same time, we should also challenge students who surpass their peers in academics.”
Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said, “These programs provide challenging instruction to children with exceptional academic capacity. This legislation is an effort to encourage more programs that provide appropriate opportunities for our students who are capable of advanced academic work.”