Lt. Gov. Matt Denn and Department of Education Secretary Mark Murphy announced the 2013 winners of the state’s Reward and Recognition School Awards, known informally as the state's Academic Achievement Awards. The announcements were made Oct. 15 in three separate press conferences, one in each county, to honor the winners.
These awards, which carry a $50,000 prize for each school, were created by legislation spearheaded by the lieutenant governor and passed by the Delaware General Assembly in 2009. The awards are given to schools whose students are performing at an exceptionally high level, particularly those schools with large percentages of students coming from low-income households; and to schools that have succeeded in closing the achievement gap for such groups as low-income students, students from minority groups, and students with disabilities. Winners were selected based on 2012-13 data.
This year, there are two Reward and 15 Recognition schools that will receive $50,000 each. Funding for the awards comes from the state's Race to the Top grant. Also, there are Schools of Continued Excellence which won Academic Achievement Awards last year and had outstanding performance again this year, but are not eligible for a financial award again until 2014. The RTTT grant provides funding through 2014.
The winning schools have much discretion in deciding how to spend the money. As in years past, each school will appoint a committee with administration, teacher, support staff and parent representation to determine how the award will be used.
““I am thrilled to be able to honor these schools with an award that will help them expand services for our students. As in past years, I will be trying to visit as many of these schools in person as I can, so we can learn from schools whose kids are succeeding, often in spite of serious challenges,” Denn said.
Murphy also recognized dedication and hard work of the entire school communities - the educators, students, parents and community partners - whose collaboration helped the schools succeed.
Reward Schools are Title I schools (federal classification based on high percentage of low-income population) identified for being either highest performing or high progress. The two schools are Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, Christina School District, and Sussex Academy, Georgetown.
Recognition Schools are chosen for exceptional performance and/or closing the achievement gap. Both Title I and non-Title I schools can qualify.
Cape Region Recognition Schools include the following: East Millsboro Elementary School, Indian River School District; Georgetown Elementary School, Indian River School District; Georgetown Middle School, Indian River School District; Lake Forest East Elementary School, Lake Forest School District; Lake Forest North Elementary School, Lake Forest School District (also a Title I Distinguished school awardee); Lake Forest South Elementary School, Lake Forest School District; and Long Neck Elementary School, Indian River School District.
In addition, Schools of Continued Excellence are schools which have received state awards during 2012 and continue to qualify for Reward or Recognition School distinction in 2013. They are named Schools of Continued Excellence to recognize their sustained accomplishments. They will be eligible for funds again next year if they meet Reward or Recognition School qualification. Cape Region Schools of Excellence include Beacon Middle School, Cape Henlopen School District; John M. Clayton Elementary School, Indian River School District; Lord Baltimore Elementary School, Indian River School District; Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center, Milford School District; Rehoboth Elementary School, Cape Henlopen School District; Richard A. Shields Elementary School, Cape Henlopen School District; and Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, Indian River School District.