Gov. John Carney visited Cape High Sept. 30 to meet with students, teachers and administrators benefitting from the state opportunity funding program to assist English-learner and low-income pupils.
Working with the General Assembly, Carney set aside $75 million over three years beginning in fiscal year 2020 to support these students and those in need of mental health support.
In 2021, Carney signed legislation to increase funding and make it permanent; by the 2025 fiscal year, annual funding for the program will increase to $60 million each year.
Cape High teacher Kate Huff said she was hired as a result of the funding. Huff said she co-teaches in three classrooms and has two targeted English language development classrooms in which she works with students outside class to help them develop content-specific language skills to use in the classroom and to advocate for themselves.
In total, Cape is allocated $950,411 and receives $616.35 in funding per English-learner or low-income student; students who are in both categories receive only one allocation.
Before the opportunity funding initiative, the district did not have an English-learner teacher in each building. Now, every school has one or more full-time English-learner teachers except for Love Creek Elementary, which has a smaller number of English learners than other schools. As a result, the school has a half-time teacher.
Funds were also used to add more school counselors and a bilingual social worker at Cape High who assists at other schools when needed, and an English-learner specialist who helps with training and staff support district-wide.
Grant funding has also been used for additional school counselors, and partial funding was used to place counselors at the elementary level.
In August, the Cape Henlopen school board voted unanimously to approve an opportunity flex funding waiver so the district can use funding formulas already in place to support English-learner and low-income students across all schools, rather than splitting the funding among schools.