Cape scores high in state test scores

Gaps remain within district schools
July 29, 2014

Cape Henlopen schools finished among the top in the state in the last year of testing under the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System.

“I am extremely proud of our results and the efforts of our entire staff. We have a group of dedicated professionals who take pride in what they do and care about the students they teach,” said Superintendent Robert Fulton.

Cape Henlopen outperformed most traditional school districts with the exception of Appoquinimink, a northern district that edged Cape's performance in 13 of the 21 tested categories. Students statewide in grades 3 to 10 are tested in reading and math; only 4th- and 7th-graders are tested for social studies and only 5th-, 8th- and 10th-graders are tested in science.

Factoring in charter schools and vocational schools – both which historically outperform traditional school districts because some impose admission standards – Cape students still made the top 10 in each grade category with the exception of ninth- and 10th-grade math where Cape placed 12th among the state's 41 high schools.

Cape performed above state averages in every age category except for 6th-grade math at Mariner Middle and reading and math for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at H.O. Brittingham.

The gaps between scores at H.O. Brittingham and the other three Cape elementaries remained this year, although extra staff and programs for struggling learners were instituted last year.

Donna Kolakowski, supervisor of elementary education, said the district will expand the Read 180 program from 30 students to 44 fourth- and fifth-graders at H.O. Brittingham. The program works to improve reading and comprehension skills for struggling students, she said.

Staffwise, HOB will hire another part-time teacher, in addition to the part-time position hired last year, she said.

The school will continue to offer its afterschool programs – Learning through the Arts with help from Clear Space and an acceleration program that emphasizes classwork. The acceleration program meets for 18 weeks during the school year and is a way for students to preview work that will be assigned to the class.

“It gives the students opportunities with the text ahead of time,” Kolakowski said. “It gives them an extra leg up.”

Students who need extra help are identified through their DCAS scores as well as report cards and other classroom assessments.

New for this year is a two-week summer program that will be held close to the start of school. Much like the 18-week school year program, Kolakowski said, the two-week program will give students a jump start on the school year through a review of upcoming classwork.